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 HockeyViz.com, 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.
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.