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Understanding The NHL Draft Lottery

The first time the Vegas Golden Knights will officially participate in an NHL sanctioned “competition” will be at the NHL Draft Lottery on April 29th. With a little help from TSN’s finest Frank Seravalli, the math wizards at, and this thing called Twitter, we unearthed the exact odds the NHL will be using for the 2017 lottery.

For those who are new to the NHL, the lottery is a system that was implemented in 1995 to curb the appeal of tanking. Rather than awarding the team with the worst record in the league the first overall pick (like NFL and MLB) the league instead gives them the best chance to win the lottery. All non-playoff teams are entered into the lottery with their odds to win corresponding to their record; worse the team, better the odds.

The NHL Lottery is actually a series of three lotteries using identical odds to determine the top three selections in the NHL Draft. After the lotteries decide the first three picks, teams are slotted in to the draft order based on their record. Therefore, the worst team can select no lower than fourth in the first round, and are guaranteed the first pick in the second round.

Still with me?

Now let’s move into how the Vegas Golden Knights fit into this year’s lottery.

The Las Vegas franchise will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season. –NHL Expansion Draft Rules

Thus, two teams have better odds than the Golden Knights. After the lotteries, Vegas is technically the third worst team meaning they can select no worse than sixth (will explain how in a moment), and are guaranteed to pick third in the second through seventh rounds.

NHL Draft Lottery Odds (courtesy of

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No One But McPhee May Be Able To See Protection Lists, Even Other GMs

This strange saga keeps getting stranger. We’ve long expected the NHL Expansion Draft protections lists to be made public the day the Golden Knights 72 hour draft period begins allowing speculation to dominate the world of sports talk. Then recently we found out the NHL may keep the lists private from the media and the pubic in what would be a giant mistake.

Now, it looks like they may even take it one step further. It’s possible no one but the Golden Knights will get to see the full lists.

The managers have expressed a preference for maintaining the confidentiality of that information. We will make a final decision in due time. There is no rush here. -Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner

The issue here, I think, is that some GMs are hesitant to let everyone else in the league see how they are ranking or otherwise valuing their own players. I would argue that they already do show their cards when they reveal how they compensate the players in terms of salary. But I suppose that, if lower-paid players end up getting protected over higher-paid players in some cases, teams might not want that kind of naked truth being blatantly blasted out there for posterity. –Pierre LeBrun, ESPN

Before you go nuts about how ridiculous this is, let me take a moment to explain why this is the only way as a Golden Knights fan you should be okay with them not making the lists available to the public.

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Bettman Talks Vegas In Pre All Star Game Presser

Remember the days when every time Gary Bettman spoke we got all excited hoping he would say something significant about the league’s expansion to Las Vegas? We’d pick apart every word trying to get a feel of if it was going to happen, and then when. Well now we’ve got our team, so these pressers are far less interesting, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Bettman touched on the Olympics, said Carolina is not moving, and claimed ads on jerseys were not in the works for the NHL. But he did have a few things to say about the league’s newest child.

So there you have it. All Star Weekend is coming to Vegas…”in the earlier days” of the franchise. When does that mean? First five years? 10? Who knows?

Here’s to hoping the Stanley Cup makes a visit here “in the earlier days” as well.

Golden Knights Unveil Event Recap; Pictures, Videos, Observations

Aside from the video hiccup during the unveil, last night’s unveil party was an absolute hit. From attendance to flare to merchandise the Golden Knights organization really came through in it’s first major stage. Whether you like the name, or the logos, or the colors, the fact is, Las Vegas (or should I say Vegas) is now the Golden Knights. Here’s a look back at the event with some observations, pictures and then a bundle of videos.


  • Almost incredibly neither the logo nor name were leaked until about 3 PM and the leak appeared to be somewhat contained until about an hour before the actual event.
  • The official name is the Vegas Golden Knights, not the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
  • Personally, of the three possible adjectives Golden was my least favorite. I’m indifferent on the choice of Vegas over Las Vegas, the color scheme looks good but I’m hoping for more “Red Rock Red” when the jerseys come out, and I absolutely love the logos.
  • The main helmet logo features the exact same V from the script in the word Vegas in the official team name font.
  • The Vegas star makes multiple appearances, first as the inspiration for the secondary logo, and second next to the word Vegas and above Golden Knights on almost all apparel.
  • There is not an official attendance, but estimates put the number somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000. My guess is closer to 5 than 3.
  • The lasting image, which I’m told was not shown on or NHL Network, was the New York New York parking garage being lined on every floor by fans watching the event. There are a few pictures of it below.
  • There were also plenty of windows open across the street at Monte Carlo getting a birds eye view.
  • Here is the link to the video that didn’t play. The story on that is still a bit of a mystery. It began playing on both the small screen and on the arena LEDs, then the small screen went to an image that said “Placeholder Vegas Hockey” and the sound cut out. The video continued playing on the big screen on the arena before they eventually cut that. The word Golden Knights did appear on the arena before they did the countdown. Then, they went back to the video and it once again did not play on either screen. Then they brought The Creator back up and asked him for a countdown. Most believed that was for the video, but instead, that was for the actual naming of the team. Pretty much an epic disaster, but it’ll be forgotten in a few days or so. The name and logos will be what people remember.
  • The countdown from 10 to 1 before they announced the name featured white letters with gold and red trim. Possibly hint to jersey numbers?
  • The Maverick helicopter, which dropped a ton of shirts onto the crowd arrived on time, but because of the video glitch had to circle and added to the sound issues many in the back described to us.
  • All in all, the event should be qualified as a major success, but because many don’t like the name, colors, and logos, it will likely be ridiculed all over the web. Welcome to the Internet!


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GM Meetings In Toronto; Vegas Still Not Invited

Here we go again. Two months ago, NHL owners met for another round of the Board of Governors and their newest colleague, The Creator, was not invited. The reason given was because the final payments had yet to be made, so he was not technically an owner yet.

Well, they’ve finally put a name on this ridiculousness calling it, “franchise rights” and now it’s affecting GM George McPhee.

Noticeably absent from the GMs meeting was Las Vegas GM George McPhee. The Vegas expansion team doesn’t yet have “franchise rights” until their transaction to enter the league officially closes, which is expected sometime in the spring. In other words, not until their final payment on that $500 million expansion fee is made. –Pierre LeBrun, ESPN

Earlier this month we heard from The Creator himself on Sportsbook Radio saying he’s planning on “accelerating the payment” which should come before the March GM meetings. But he also mentioned something else that really shouldn’t go unnoticed.

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Creator Not Invited To Board Of Governors Meeting This Week

In an interview with Steve Carp of the RJ, The Creator revealed he will not be attending the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting scheduled for this Friday. The reason given was because he has not fully paid off the ridiculous $500 million entry fee the league required to award Las Vegas a franchise.

Last September all the news surrounding the Board of Governors meeting was about the official presentations of Las Vegas and Quebec City. But they also took a look at early returns on 3v3 overtime, concussion protocols, coaches challenges, and more. All important aspects that will affect the Las Vegas TBA Knights when they hit the ice in October.

The Creator’s lost invitation is just another example of the league not doing any favors to help promote their newest organization. Right now on, the only mention of Las Vegas is a news aggregate box way down on the right side. Any time you see a team list, Las Vegas is not there. Head over to the shop, Las Vegas is no where to be found. Of course, there’s nothing to sell and nothing to really show, but would it not make sense to have placeholders? A little greyed out name that says Las Vegas. A shop that says coming soon. These are little things that keep the new franchise front of mind, something the NHL seems uninterested in doing.

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League Officially Announces Expansion, NHL Coming To Las Vegas!

The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here! NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has announced the league is expanding to Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas franchise owned by The Creator, Bill Foley, will become the 31st franchise in the NHL and will begin play in 2017-18 in the Western Conference.

They will play their games at the brand new T-Mobile Arena located in between New York New York and Monte Carlo on the South end of the iconic Las Vegas Strip. The team will become the first professional sports franchise in the history of Las Vegas.

Expansion talks involving Las Vegas date as far back as 2007, but the current ownership group first began its push for a team in 2014. The NHL gave The Creator the go-ahead to launch a ticket drive on February 10th of last year. That ticket drive hit the 10,000 seat goal within a few months and currently sits just north of 14,000.

The Creator formally submitted an application for expansion on June 20th and less than a year later and no fewer than 5,000 mentions of “the process,” Las Vegas finally has its first major professional sports franchise.

A team name contest is expected to be held shortly (#VoteRatPack) and the team colors are expected to be black, gold and grey.

Today is a monumental day in the history of Las Vegas and all the credit goes to one man, The Creator, Bill Foley. On behalf of myself, Dana, Jason, and the entire family, we would like to say Thank You. Now it’s time to bring the Stanley Cup to Vegas!!!

Quotes coming soon. First, we party!

How To Watch/Listen To Tomorrow’s NHL Presser

Tomorrow is set to be a historic day for the city of Las Vegas as the NHL is scheduled to officially announce expansion to Sin City.

Gary Bettman will hold a special press conference in advance of the NHL Awards. It will take place at 1PM Pacific time from the Encore at the Wynn Hotel.

In the US, the event will likely be carried on NHL Network (TV), but to be safe our friends at the RJ are streaming it live on their Facebook. It’s also expected to be aired live on Sirius XM’s NHL Network Radio.

For Canadians, SportsNet TV is airing the press conference in it’s entirety and it will likely be on streamed on their website as well. Here’s the link to their live feed.

Check back on this page tomorrow at around noon or so, we’ll be sure to update this with working links to stream the event online.

What We Learned From Yesterday’s Presser

Surprisingly a lot more came out of Gary Bettman and Bill Daly’s “State of the NHL” press conference in Pittsburgh than we expected. Of course, they did not give us the good news we’ve been waiting for, but they were much more forthcoming on the remaining timeline than they’ve ever been before.

Here’s the new timeline. The NHL’s Executive Committee will meet “a week or so” in advance of the full Board of Governors meeting on June 22nd. We’ve been told through the grapevine that June 7th will be the date of the Executive Committee meeting, but that’s yet to be confirmed. The full Board of Governors will meet on the morning of June 22nd in Las Vegas, and then an announcement will follow, most likely at the Hard Rock Hotel at the NHL Awards.

But that was just the beginning of what the commish and vice-commish had to say.

The most telling quote from the entire press conference for me was about the NFL.

Our own belief is if the NFL comes to Las Vegas at some point, so be it. -Gary Bettman

Not only did he once again say that the NFL has no bearing on the NHL’s decision, but the way it was said pretty clearly indicates the NHL is already in bed with Las Vegas. If the league wasn’t planning to expand to Vegas, why would he even care what the NFL’s plans are?

The next comment, which came after the official press conference was about the NHL Entry Draft and an expansion team’s role in it. I have always guessed the league would hold the lottery for the top three picks and then slot the new team(s) in at 4th. Well, that’s not going to be the case as Bill Daly told reporters any expansion teams would be placed in the lottery. Therefore, when the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago takes place, Las Vegas could be first to the podium, something I never expected to be a reality. Still have to win a lottery, but at least there’s a chance.

Finally, a lot has been made of the commissioner’s “three possible outcomes” comment. Those being, no expansion, deferred expansion, or expansion of one or two teams. It is the first time we’ve heard the NHL use the term deferred or defer in regards to the process, however those have been the possible outcomes all along. Nothing has changed other than them introducing a new word.

I believe the word deferred is being used as a way for the NHL to let Quebec City down softly. Rather than expanding to Las Vegas while killing off the possibility of Quebec City, they’ll use the word deferred to keep from creating riots in Canada.

All in all, the press conference brought nothing but positive news for Vegas. Las Vegas is getting a team, and they’ll be on the ice in 2017-18. Believe me.


Commissioner Bettman Nails Down June 22 For Expansion Announcement

Gary Bettman delivered his “State of the NHL” today at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

As expected, the commissioner didn’t have much to say about expansion when asked, but he did at least give us one specific date.

Prior to the Awards event the Board of Governors will meet and I anticipate being able to provide a more definitive word on where the expansion process stands. That word will probably come in one of three following forms. Whether there will be no expansion, whether expansion will be deferred to a later time in the future, or whether there will be expansion and if so whether will be a one team or two teams expansion.

I am not going to handicap what’s going to happen, but again when the board meets in Las Vegas on June 22 I am fairly certain that we will know more than we do today I also anticipate that the executive committee will be making a recommendation to the board in advance of that meeting. -Gary Bettman

On when the Executive Committee may make official recommendation…

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