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Reliving The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery

(Photo Credit: Brian Idziak,

By now you’ve probably heard about yesterday’s Draft Lottery in which a mystery team to be decided later won the 1st overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Of course, because the Golden Knights don’t suck, they had no chance at winning last night’s lottery and because they were one of the eight best teams in the league at the pause, they also have no shot at becoming the mystery team.

The NHL’s first live event in more than 100 days was conducted without the Golden Knights, and Vegas fans should be proud that it was.

Many Vegas fans probably don’t even remember the only time the Golden Knights were actually involved in the Draft Lottery, so I figured today was a good day to take a trip down memory lane to reminisce about the days when Stanley Cup hope was more a joke than a realistic feeling. (It’ll also remind you of why you never want your team’s fate to rest on the lottery.)

The date was April 29th, 2017. Six months after the Golden Knights got their name and two months before they picked their players at the Expansion Draft. (The team had signed Gerard Gallant two weeks prior and they were a week away from signing Vadim Shipachyov)

Historically, expansion teams are awarded the 1st overall pick in the Entry Draft to go along with their selections in the Expansion Draft. However, since the NHL believed the rules of that Expansion Draft were the best they’d ever had, the decision was made to give Vegas a high place in the lottery as opposed to an automatic top pick.

The rules stated that Vegas would have the same odds as the team that finished with the 3rd worst points percentage in the 2016-17 season. That team ended up being the Arizona Coyotes. Both teams were given a 10.3% chance to win the 1st overall pick and about a 30% chance to land in the top three.

Here were the Golden Knights exact odds in that lottery.

1st – 10.3%
2nd – 10.3%
3rd – 10.1%
4th – 11.8%
5th – 39.3%
6th – 18.1%

The lottery was slated to take place between a pair of playoff games at around 5PM Vegas time. All of the participating GMs flew to Toronto to be there for the unveiling of the 2017 Draft order. Vegas’ GM, however, got stuck in Washington DC after his flight was delayed due to weather. (That was probably foreshadowing of what was to come when the order was read.)

When the balls were pulled, the New Jersey Devils won the 1st pick with their 8.5% chance, Philadelphia hit the second lottery with just a 2.4% shot, and Dallas moved up from 8th to 3rd with their 6.4% chance. Meaning three teams all slotted below the Golden Knights moved up and Vegas went from a 30.7% chance to select in the top three, to seeing the just 18% chance of selecting 6th become a reality.

To make matters worse, Dallas’s 3rd pick was won with the combination of numbers reading 2, 6, 8, 13. If that last number was a 14, the Golden Knights would have selected 3rd.

So the Golden Knights fell as far as they could leaving them out of the top five picks completely. Here’s how the first six picks of the Draft went a few months later.

1st – New Jersey – Nico Hischier (209 GP, 135 PTS)
2nd – Philadelphia – Nolan Patrick (145GP, 61 PTS)
3rd – Dallas – Miro Heiskanen (150 GP, 68 PTS)
4th – Colorado – Cale Makar (57 GP, 50 PTS)
5th – Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (139 GP, 132 PTS)
6th – Vegas – Cody Glass (39 GP, 12 PTS)

All in all, the Draft Lottery was a nightmare for the Golden Knights on the day it happened and now three years later it hurts even more seeing just how close they were to players like Heiskanen, Makar, and Pettersson.

The Golden Knights had an 82% chance of selecting in the top 5 but the ping pong balls had other ideas.

And that is the story of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery. One of the most forgettable nights in franchise history.


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  1. Joe Blow

    What a stupid article.

    It was well known that Vegas was approached by Vancouver to slide up to the 5th slot. They declined, because they knew that Vancouver would not select their intended pick, which was Cody Glass all along.

    Slow news day?

  2. Walt T

    I remember watching the draft in 2017 thinking too bad the Golden Knights didn’t automatically get the first spot like other expansion teams did in the past. The drop to #6 with those dreaded balls gave me a sinking feeling. The season turned out to be movie material, but the number 6 pick is still a work-in-progress. We won’t be seeing high draft picks until the Golden Knights turn into the Kings/Ducks/Sharks (thankfully not yet). The pressure is on to maintain excellence with what they have considering the cap and moves. The 2020 draft sees the Kings getting a great pick, and a pretty good team in the hunt for the cup getting an outstanding pick. 2020 can’t end soon enough.

  3. THE hockey GOD

    now post what happened this year

    Bettman’s NHL is a freaking joke.

    See my other comment on draft under Patches article. I am not going to copy and paste it here again.

  4. Tim

    Speaking of the draft if anyone doesn’t think the fix was in at yesterday’s draft I’ve got a bridge I’ll sell you. Let’s break it down over 110 days of reruns games very little news except Ken I’ve got to give you kudo’s for some interesting stories. So how do you pump people up I know let’s have a 2 1/2 % mystery team win the #1 draft place and by chance this years number one is a generational player. Now the buzz is on 8 losers of the 3 out of 5 playin round will all have a 12 1/2 % of winning the prize. This is what we used to call the Vegas shuffle now you see it now you don’t. The NHL is so desperate to do something they resort to cheating. I wonder what there thinking in Detroit and Ottawa? Just like this hub city nonsense Vegas has been a done deal and they keep this fake news going when no one really gives a shit. Anyone want to bet Toronto isn’t the other hub. While I’m on a roll another irritating piece of fake news for months and that is what’s Seattle’s name going to be. Do they really think were on the edge of our seats in anticipation what a bunch of nonsense. While I’m at it the Knights are just as bad it’s a given in less then three years were not only one of the best franchises but the number one fan base and they dick us around on showing us the Silver Knights sweaters and the third Knights sweater. What are we little kids because that’s how they treat us.

    • the angry Hockey GOD

      i hear ya TIM, I posted Steve Yzerman’s comment on prior PATCHES article before this one came out. RED WInGS got stiffed yet again.

      Seattle CHOP BLOCK HEADS would be my pick for nick name; the most extremist idiot of idiot cities in North America, next to San Fransicko. I don’t go for this cop hating/killing/ spitting on cops attitude AT ALL. The NHL should rescind this “city” membership. They have no regard for laws , bunch of pot head idiots ruining this once fine city. I won’t be going there to see any games. Passing right over to Vancouver. Nicer over all environment.

      I remember when these same types drove Charlie Finley and Golden Seals out of Oakland. Have no use for them or their wrong headed approach to nearly everything that matters to most Americans.

  5. Doktor Hockey

    Didn’t think this story would get any comments. But, just like the writer(s), its getting hard to have meaningful stuff to talk about!

  6. VGK74

    I know some of the guys in the top 5 are stars already, but I still have faith in Cody. If he stays healthy and his body fills out, with the right line mates he can be a huge piece for the next decade.

  7. Tim

    To add to my above comments as of now the NHL could lose a billion dollars haveing the playoffs and generating interest could cut that in half or more. They needed a gimmick to help salvage the season and the mystery draft will help keep fans watching.

  8. Mike StG

    Man, seems like most of the commenters on this article might be happier finding a different sport to watch. MLB seems like a good fit for y’all.

    • Doktor Hockey

      I agree Mike ….. Seems like recently this site has moved more toward promoting divides or giving voice to negativity and away from just HOCKEY!!!!

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