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Number of interest... 2.9004%

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Author's Note: I'd like to take a quick moment to thank the team at Copper & Blue for providing me the opportunity to contribute to the site as a columnist. There is a ton of great talent here and I'll do my best to meet their high standards. I appreciate the opportunity.

By now, most Oiler fans know the deal with the draft lottery being held on TSN tomorrow night. While any team can win the lottery, only five teams have a shot at landing the #1 overall pick because teams can only move up a maximum of four places as the New Jersey Devils did last year (moving from 8th to 4th and giving the Oilers the #1 selection in the process). Just for a quick review, here are the respective odds of landing #1 for the (Not) fab five tomorrow:

Team

Odds

Columbus

25.0%

Edmonton

18.8%

Montreal

14.2%

NY Islanders

10.7%

Toronto

8.1%

After the jump, I'll explain what interesting statistic belongs to the lottery position the OIlers find themselves in heading into Tuesday night's draw.

if you look at the history of the NHL draft lottery, which dates back to 1995, there is an interesting history when it comes to the #2 spot (2nd most likely to get the 1st overall pick - where the Oilers find themselves this year)...it never wins.

NHL Draft Lottery History:

Year

Selected

Effect On Draft Order

1995

Los Angeles

Moved from 7th to 3rd

1996

Ottawa

Retained 1st selection

1997

Boston

Retained 1st selection

1998

Tampa Bay

Moved from 3rd to 1st via trades

1999

Chicago

Moved from 8th to 4th

2000

NY Islanders

Moved from 5th to 1st

2001

Atlanta

Moved from 3rd to 1st

200

Florida

Moved from 3rd to 1st

2003

Florida

Moved from 4th to 1st

2004

Washington

Moved from 3rd to 1st

2005

Pittsburgh

n/a

2006

St. Louis

Retained 1st selection

2007

Chicago

Moved from 5th to 1st

2008

Tampa Bay

Retained 1st selection

2009

NY Islanders

Retained 1st selection

2010

Edmonton

Retained 1st selection

2011

New Jersey

Moved from 8th to 4th

The one instance where the team with the 2nd worst record won the lottery was in 1998. However, that was a unique scenario in that the expansion Nashville Predators were joining the league that season, so the lottery odds were impacted by the involvement of a team who had not played the previous season.

As a result when the 2nd last place finisher, the San Jose Sharks, ended up winning the lottery, they actually had the 3rd worst odds of getting the top pick. (The Sharks ended up having to swap picks with the Lightning [Vincent LeCavalier] following a complicated series of events from previous deals...another story for another day)

So, really, in the 17 year history of the draft lottery, the team with the 2nd best odds of picking #1 has never won the lottery. This certainly doesn't change the odds of the Oilers winning this year, but I thought it was interesting enough to note. Based on the current 18.8% odds, there is a more than 97% likelihood that the #2 team's ball SHOULD have come up by now...but it hasn't.

Here is the quick math:

x = 18.8% chance of winning the lottery

y = 1-x = 0.812

probability of an event NOT happening = y^z (^ = to the power of)

0.812^17 = 0.029004 or 2.9004%

Sorry if that put some readers to sleep, but basically it means that for an event with an 18.8% chance of occurring, the likelihood of that event NOT happening 17 times in a row is less than 3%. That's not an exact calculation, as the odds shifted slightly as a result of expansion, and the odds were also different in the draft following the lockout (a.k.a. The Crosby draft), but within a slight margin of error, it gives us a good idea as to just how unlikely it is that the position where the Oilers find themselves this year has never delivered a lottery win.

As previously mentioned, this has no impact on the results of this year's draft. The #2 spot is no more likely to come up this year than any other year. But for the Oilers in the Tambellini era, it could be a good omen. Keep finishing in 29th a few more times, and maybe we'll be there when it finally does happen.

After all, for Oiler fans, bragging about our great draft positions is all we have.