Two years ago Steve Tambellini made his first appearance at the NHL's annual draft lottery, the event held to determine which of the leagues five worst teams will be given the opportunity to make the first selection in the upcoming NHL draft. Last year after a second consecutive 30th place finish Tambellini made another trip to Toronto to be part of the show. And this year Tambellini will be part of the festivities one more time as the Oilers find themselves in the unenviable position of being in the draft lottery for a third straight season.
After hosting a draft lottery party in each of the last two seasons the Oilers have taken a different, more subdued, approach to the event this time around. Perhaps that's because Tambellini, as he told us in January, didn't want to be a lottery team again. Or maybe it's because the Oilers finished 29th this season meaning that the Blue Jackets have the best chance at securing the first overall selection. Or maybe the team realized that celebrating failure year after year tends to get old quickly. Lottery odds and more after the jump.
Update: Things went the Oilers way tonight, they won the lottery and will be picking first overall for the third season in a row this June.
As an Oilers fan you're probably familiar with how the lottery works but in case you've forgotten it's actually quite simple. Every non-playoff team has a chance at winning the lottery but the winning team can only move up four spots in the draft order. That means the Blue Jackets, Oilers, Canadiens, Islanders, and Maple Leafs are the only teams that have a chance to get the first overall selection, if any other team wins then Columbus retains the first overall pick. Each team's odds of winning the lottery are summarized in the table below:
|Columbus||Retain 1st pick||25.00%||48.20%|
|Edmonton||2nd to 1st||18.80%||18.80%|
|Montreal||3rd to 1st||14.20%||14.20%|
|NY Islanders||4th to 1st||10.70%||10.70%|
|Toronto||5th to 1st||8.10%||8.10%|
|Anaheim||6th to 2nd||6.20%||0.00%|
|Minnesota||7th to 3rd||4.70%||0.00%|
|Carolina||8th to 4th||3.60%||0.00%|
|Winnipeg||9th to 5th||2.70%||0.00%|
|Tampa Bay||10th to 6th||2.10%||0.00%|
|Washington (from COL)||11th to 7th||1.50%||0.00%|
|Buffalo||12th to 8th||1.10%||0.00%|
|Dallas||13th to 9th||0.80%||0.00%|
|Calgary||14th to 10th||0.50%||0.00%|
Obviously the Oilers have a much lower chance of picking first this season compared to each of the last two but as Alan Hull pointed out last night, the team with the second best odds of winning the lottery has never actually won so perhaps that means that spot is due. Of course I know that it actually means nothing but I'm an Oilers fan so a certain amount of delusional thinking is a necessity.
Anyway the lottery starts at 6 pm Edmonton time and I'll be hoping for the Oilers to win. I'll also be hoping that I don't have to hope for that again any time in the near future.