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How Tonight’s Game & Vegas Affect Canucks Draft Lottery Odds

With the end of the Canucks season just on the horizon, fan attention will quickly turn to the NHL Entry Draft Lottery.

Last year, the Canucks finished the season in 28th spot and entered the three lotteries with the highest probability of selecting fifth overall. That happened as the Toronto Maple Leafs won the first lottery, the Winnipeg Jets the second and the Columbus Blue Jackets the final of the three. Winnipeg and Columbus leap frogged the Canucks, pushing them back two spots.

This year, the Vegas Golden Knights are added to the mix. Since they are an expansion team, the NHL’s granted them the same odds as the 28th place team for the 2016-17 season. The only difference being that if both the 28th overall team and Vegas lose all three drafts, then Vegas will be slotted ahead of the 28th team. The rules as it pertains to the Golden Knights for the NHL Entry Draft are below:

This affects the odds and probabilities of where each team will select.

Micah Blake McCurdy created a very handy visualization of how the odds shake out:

This means that if the Canucks remain in the 28th overall place, the probabilities suggest picking 6th as the most likely outcome. If Vegas and the 28th team lose all three lotteries, Vegas will be slotted ahead of the Canucks, thus putting them another spot back.

If the Canucks are able to fall to 29th, they increase their odds when it comes to draft lottery, but also ensures that if for some reason they and Vegas lose all of the draft lotteries, Vegas will remain slotted behind them.

The Canuck play the Arizona Coyotes tonight, who happen to be the 29th ranked team at the moment. If the Coyotes can win in regulation tonight, they will leap frog the Canucks into 28th overall. Vancouver has 69 points to Arizona’s 68.

The Canucks do currently hold the first tie breaker with more regulation wins than Arizona (26 compared to 23), so Arizona will need to finish with more points. A tie results in the Canucks being slotted higher in the overall standings.

A loss tonight puts Arizona in front of Vancouver, leaving the Canucks with two games against Edmonton to close out their season. Lose out and fate is sealed. The Coyotes end the season on Saturday with a home date against the Minnesota Wild.

New Jersey currently has 70 points with three games remaining in their schedule. So it’s possible the Canucks and Coyotes could also pass the Devils.

If the Canucks win in any capacity tomorrow (regulation, overtime or shootout), the Coyotes will be unable to pass the Canucks.

So, it starts tonight with a loss to the Coyotes, and then lose out the rest of the way. Do so, and the Canucks lock up the 29th overall position and the second best odds heading into the NHL Draft Lottery.

You can’t control how the lottery balls fall, but giving the Canucks the 2nd best odds heading into the lottery is the best thing that can happen at this point. It also ensures that all of the Canucks original picks remaining will be as high as possible. By ending the season with the 2nd worst record, the Canucks would also lock up the 33rd, 64th, 95th, and 188th overall picks.

  • Ranger2k2

    I’ve never wanted the Canucks to lose so bad in my life. I went and watched the video of the Coyotes inviting an autistic boy for the team picture just to give my emotions an extra kick. Not only am I cheering for my team to lose but the team I want to beat them is full of good guys! Win-win.

  • John660

    As a proud Canucks fan for the past 36 years, I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted them to lose as badly as I want them to lose tonight (and the final two against the Oil).

  • Killer Marmot

    This means that if the Canucks remain in the 28th overall place, the probabilities suggest picking 6th as the most likely outcome.

    Sort of. The 6th position is the mode, meaning that if you had to bet on exactly one position, 6th would be the best odds.

    The 5th position is the median, meaning that there is less than a 50% chance that it will be above 5 or below 5.

    The 5th position (or close to it) is also the expected value, which is the probability-weighted average of the positions.

    To summarize, the odds are that the Canucks will pick sooner than 6’th, although it’s hard to say exactly which position.

  • apr

    If the Nucks picked 4th last year, they would have chosen Dubois. The handwringing they would have gotten for passing on both Tkachuck and Juolevi would have been through the roof. It does not matter where you pick, in so much as not missing with the player you pick. That’s why JV hurts so much. Falling back and getting Nylander, Ehlers, or Domi would have been so much better….

    • Free_the_skate

      Columus picked Dubois third overall last year, so the Canucks wouldn’t have taken him at 4… I wonder if Nucks would have picked Puljujarvi 4th, or stuck wtih Juolevi. I feel they were picking a d-man no matter what…

    • Killer Marmot

      It’s far too early to declare who won or lost last year’s draft. The Jackets chose to let Dubois develop in the juniors for a year. The kid’s 18 years old — it makes perfect sense.

      Let’s return to the topic of who won the 2016 draft in, say, 2022.

      • Carl Smith

        How about no and let’s discuss it now. By 2022, some of our older generation fans (who have already suffered immensely cheering the Nucks) will have passed away by then.

    • tyhee

      1. The handwriting over last season is already through the roof.
      2. If the Canucks had fallen back 2 or 3 places in 2014, Virtanen would still have been available and selected, though in accordance with your point the arguing over the pick would be less severe.

      • Van94

        Yes but only if a GM is feeling really suicidal will he pick out of order. Because if he gets an out of order pick wrong he will drawn and quartered in front of the arena. If he takes a pick in the consensus order and it turns out badly he can always say everyone else would have done the same. It is the safe thing to do. And as you and everyone else knows all GMs do it. Also it may be just a tad early to write off Vertanen and Juolevi.

    • Van94

      Yes but only if a GM is feeling really suicidal will he pick out of order. Because if he gets an out of order pick wrong he will drawn and quartered in front of the arena. If he takes a pick in the consensus order and it turns out badly he can always say everyone else would have done the same. It is the safe thing to do. And as you and everyone else knows all GMs do it. Also it may be just a tad early to write off Vertanen and Juolevi.

  • krutov

    is there a clear delineation in the top 5 this year so it matters? it seems to me it might be a blessing not to get #1 this year. chances are you draft an average to bust player, and somebody else gets the one or two guys in the top 5 who excel.

    which is why i think we will get #1

  • Rodeobill

    Our last 2 against the oil should be safe losses, so we really need this one for the tank! Not only for first round but so we dont slip 3 spots in each round after!.

    • Van94

      Bizmack Biyombo cmon now you know whats really gonna happen dontcha? Admit it, you know. Somehow it will all go sideways at the last second. And when that happens tell me if you will be surprised.