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.