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All The Potential Outcomes For The Vancouver Canucks In The 2019 Draft Lottery

The 2018/19 NHL regular season has drawn to a close and—while other franchises prepare for a potentially lengthy playoff run—the Vancouver Canucks and GM Jim Benning are gearing up for what promises to be a crucial offseason.

While July 1’s Free Agent Frenzy and the re-opening of the trade market are also important items of focus in the summer of 2019, the franchise’s primary concern will be the 2019 NHL Entry Draft—where the team will, in all likelihood, once again be picking in the top ten.

The first date of note in the offseason calendar—Tuesday, April 9’s televised Draft Lottery—will determine exactly where that pick falls. The Lottery will take place at around 5:00PM PST on the 9th, and will be broadcast amidst that evening’s pre-playoff coverage on CBC and Sportsnet.

With all the numbered balls and sequences that go into such a lottery, it can prove a little difficult to figure out what the exact odds are—so we’ve laid all the potential outcomes out below.

In short, the Canucks will have three shots at winning three different lotteries—for the first, second, and third overall picks respectively. The other 15 franchises will also take part in the lotteries—with descending odds depending on their place in the final standings—and so it’s also possible that the Canucks stay put at ninth overall, or move up to three spots lower than that.

In the interest of positivity, the outcomes are listed in order of best-case to worst-case scenarios—though their actual chances of happening will also be listed in the interest of realism.


Scenario: Vancouver Wins The First Draft Lottery

Outcome: Drafts 1st Overall

Chance of Happening: 5.0%

This is the dream. The Canucks have a one-in-20 chance of winning the 2019 Draft Lottery outright and taking home the first overall pick—and, presumably, Jack Hughes. It would be difficult to argue that a 5% possibility qualifies as good odds, but they’re also not astronomical—and so there’s still reason for hope of a Hughes Brothers reunion. Of course, there’s also a 95% chance it doesn’t happen.


Scenario: Vancouver Wins The Second Draft Lottery

Outcome: Drafts 2nd Overall

Chance of Happening: 5.3%

By earning the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Canucks would find themselves in the enviable position of picking whichever of Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko wasn’t selected first overall. While this might prevent them from uniting the Hughes’, it would also take the pressure off of Jim Benning to select the “correct” player out of the two highest-ranked prospects. Realistically, the odds are still slim on this one.


Scenario: Vancouver Wins The Third Draft Lottery

Outcome: Drafts 3rd Overall

Chance of Happening: 5.7%

The odds of the Canucks winning third overall isn’t even a percentage point higher than their chances of winning first overall, so this scenario also qualifies as a long-shot. It might, however, also qualify as the most heartbreaking outcome—lucky enough to win a lottery, but not fortunate enough to pick up Hughes or Kakko. Of course, picking from the best of the rest wouldn’t be all that disappointing—and there are certainly worse scenarios.


Scenario: Vancouver Does Not Win A Draft Lottery, But Neither Do Any Of The Teams Ranked Higher In The Standings

Outcome: Drafts 9th Overall

Chance of Happening: 48.8%

Of course, the likeliest single outcome by far is that the Canucks draft in the spot their correlates to their final position in the standings—9th overall. Even then, it’s basically a coin toss—and Vancouver actually has a slightly higher chance (51.2%) of slotting elsewhere in the draft. However, if you’re planning to lay money down on the 2019 Draft Lottery, this is the safest bet.


Scenario: Vancouver Does Not Win A Draft Lottery, And One Team Ranked Higher In The Standings Does

Outcome: Drafts 10th Overall

Chance of Happening: 30.7%

If the Canucks don’t manage to hang on to their 9th overall slot—and they don’t move up via a lottery win—there’s still a very good chance they remain in the draft’s top-ten. With the prospect crop in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft promising to be a strong one, this isn’t a bad scenario at all—and it’s one the Canucks should be prepared for, as it has a nearly one-in-three chance of happening. Dropping in the draft is always disappointing, but one spot is fairly negligible.


Scenario: Vancouver Does Not Win A Draft Lottery, And Two Teams Ranked Higher In The Standings Do

Outcome: Drafts 11th Overall

Chance of Happening: 4.3%

The Canucks have less a chance of dropping out of the top-ten than they do of drafting first overall—but just barely. Seeing two of Philadelphia, Minnesota, Chicago, Florida, Arizona, or Montreal move ahead of Vancouver in the draft lineup would hurt, but it’s probably not something that is worth actively worrying about due to the long odds.


Scenario: Vancouver Does Not Win A Draft Lottery, And Three Teams Ranked Higher In The Standings Do

Outcome: Drafts 12th Overall

Chance of Happening: 0.1%

This is the nightmare scenario, but it’s a possibility so small as to consider it nearly impossible. If this outcome does come to pass, it would constitute the most unlikely result in NHL Draft Lottery history—and it would provide Vancouver fans with ample reason to bust out the tinfoil hats and start protesting en masse.


Other Numbers To Consider 

-The Canucks have a 95.5% chance of picking in the top-ten.

-The overwhelmingly most likely scenario is to stay put or move down at 83.9% chances.

-The Canucks have a much higher chance of drafting lower than 9th overall (35.1%) than they do of drafting in the top-three (16.0%).

-The Ottawa Senators (whose pick belongs to the Colorado Avalanche) have a better chance of winning the first lottery (18.5%) than the Canucks do of winning any of the three (16%).

-The 2019 numbers are only slightly worse for the Canucks than they were in 2018—where they had a 7.5% chance at first overall and a 23.3% chance of picking in the top-three.

In any case, stay tuned to CanucksArmy—where there’s a 100% chance that we’ll be around to explain the results of the 2019 Draft Lottery, whatever they may be.

  • Mike Bossy

    “Outcome: Drafts 12th Overall
    Chance of Happening: 0.1%
    This is the nightmare scenario, but it’s a possibility so small as to consider it nearly impossible. If this outcome does come to pass, it would constitute the most unlikely result in NHL Draft Lottery history—and it would provide Vancouver fans with ample reason to bust out the tinfoil hats and start protesting en masse.”

    …..I am so…so scared…

  • Burnabybob

    Given that this is the Canucks fourth bottom-ten finish in a row, you would expect that at some point they would get a break and get one of the top three picks. If you roll a six sided die four times, you odds are you are going to roll a one at least once, especially given that the 2016 and 2017 drafts they had a better than 30% chance of picking top three. Alas, these are the Canucks. All the way back to the 1970 draft, they have NEVER gotten a break. You would think at some point their luck would change, but I’ve yet to see it happen.

    • ClassOF2011

      Re: All the way back to the 1970 draft, they have NEVER gotten a break.

      Absolute nonsense. Burke traded up to a first overall and flipped it to secure the Sedins at 2 and 3 – ever heard of them

      Linden was chosen second overall in 88 – Ever heard of him.

      Nedved went number 2 in 1990 and was later traded for Canuck greats Jeff Brown, Bret Hedican and Nathan LaFayette.

      But do keep rehashing #fakenews, yappers love spreading that around here.

      • Billy Pilgrim

        There was no form of luck required in the 1988 or 1990 drafts. The order you finished dictated draft. In 1970 the roulette wheel gave Buffalo Gilbert Perreault leaving Dale Tallon to the Canucks. That might be considered bad luck by some. Then consistently moving down in the draft lottery every year that the Canucks have been eligible might be considered unlucky as well. It is what it is.

    • Tedchinook

      Burnaby Bob – you don’t really understand odds. Your six sided die comment is off base because each roll is independent of the previous ones. Your odds of rolling a one are one in six every time, no matter how many times you roll.

      • Burnabybob

        I am referring to their odds of picking in the top 3 this year, which is 16% according to tankathon. That is roughly a 1 in 6 chance. Last year they had almost a 1 in 4 chance of picking in the top three. The two years before that, they had about a 1 in 3 chance. They’ve had crappy lucky, plain and simple.

    • Kootenaydude

      Burnabybob my friend works for B.C. gambling. The addiction side of it. People think if they keep rolling the dice or pulling the slot machine handle their odds will get better. The truth is the odds are the exact same every time. The Canucks have an approximately 5% chance of going top 3 and will more than likely draft 9th or 10th. Regardless of their previous years of unfortunate lottery ball luck. That loser point against St Louis isn’t looking so good right now.

  • Fred-65

    Surely the odds over the long haul of the likelihood of the Canucks falling in the draft has to be in Vcr favour. Not sure how to explain it but after falling each year in the draft surely the probability of falling again is lower this year ??

      • I doubt you would get either player. Edmonton fans especially love RNH, they want him to be an Oiler for life. Also, the paradigm that they are working with is that they don’t have 3 centres (McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH) but 3 scoring forwards who can play centre. So if they get Kakko or Hughes, they’ll add him to the other 3 to get some scoring balance in their Top 6.

    • 51Geezer

      If Edmonton wins, all we can do is weep and watch it unfold. The incompetents in charge of the Oilers today would pick Hughes even though centre is the only position at which they don’t need help. If capable people are put in charge by draft day, the Oilers will trade the first overall pick for two or three top-flight players who can help immediately. Either way, the Canucks would be out of the loop.

  • Kanuckhotep

    So what if the Oilers get the top pick? Unless things change dramatically in Oil Land they’ll go on being the worst NHL franchise of the 21st century despite all the draft lottery breaks they’ve had.

    • Spiel

      True. The Oilers already won the lottery for the best player of the last ten years. Helped them, but they still somehow managed to beat the odds and miss the playoffs.

    • Me

      Past two years they’ve picked someone unexpected and both times it seems it’s worked out spectacularly well. Many re-drafts have Pettersson at #1 overall now, and Hughes was climbing the re-draft pools quickly even before he got some NHL time. I don’t think this year will be any different if they end up outside the top 3.

    • It would be a real test for Benning and Brackett to find a steal near the end of the Top 10 but it happens. In 2014, there was Larkin (15), Schmaltz (20), Pastrnak (25). In 2015, there was Barzal (16), Connor (17), Chabot (18), Boeser (23), Konecny (24). 2016 was a bit of a dud but in 2017, you had Brannstrom (15) and Valimaki (16), who are considered top pairing or Top 4 respectively. I’m confident we can get a Top 6 forward picking BPA and start hunting for an offensive RHD in the 2nd round.

  • rediiis

    I was walking by this guy today and really not paying attention. He shouts “good luck with the 5th pick,” I turn and see a flame hat smiling at me. I said to him “1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th or 11th.” Looking back, I guess I could have included 12th. I think 6 players in this draft are gonna be stellar. Another 10-15 will have 8-13 yr careers. I think a few, as always are overrated. Drafting in the top 10 should get another Horvat/Hughes type player. Lottery 1-3 gives the Canucks a chance at another Pettersson. This would be epic. Every lottery is fresh odds and I really don’t want to revisit past lotteries. Great luck tomorrow night Canucks and all Canuck fans.

  • kermit

    Does anyone else here have mixed feeling about watching the live broadcast of the lottery? Like it’s the same as watching Lucy pull the football out from under Charlie Brown. Are we being weak by tuning in? We know how bad our lottery luck is, and yet we keep watching. It feels like holding onto lottery hope might be some form of gambling addiction.

    • Beefus

      The difference this year is that given their odds I’m not expecting the Canucks to win the lottery. I’m still hoping they get a top three pick just not counting on it,

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    Canucks are a very lucky team, unfortunately it’s only bad luck. I’m sure they will drop at least one spot in the draft.
    Has any other team dropped more in draft since the draft lottery was implemented?

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      I called it. Typical Canucks luck. I wish they would show the actual balls being picked in the lottery machine live, instead of just showing the aftermath and saying “Hey trust us, it was completely random”.

  • Gino über alles

    Chicago, seriously…..when I saw that card flip I was livid. Having Taylor Hall on your team really pays off apparently, his team has got the #1 pick 6 times now

    • Gino über alles

      One of Zegras, Krebs, Turcotte, or Boldy will be available….and I think we’d want them in that order. Or see what it takes from Colorado to move up to #4 and get a shot at drafting Byram, they’re the only non-rebuilding team in the top 10 and could be convinced if the offer is good enough for them and reasonable enough for us.