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Tag: NHL Draft Lottery

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.)

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Diversification Of Potential Talent Was Key In Building Golden Knights

Ask any financial advisor, the best way to build wealth is to diversify your portfolio. With money, that means a 401k, IRA, stocks, bonds, and whatever else that will make money over time. The same rings true in the world of sports, especially when we are talking about a team built from scratch.

The Golden Knights were granted with 30 Expansion Draft selections and seven Entry Draft picks for each season starting in 2017. The task was to build a hockey team that will eventually become the champion of the world’s best league.

There were actually rules set up forcing the Golden Knights to diversify by position (must select 14F, 11D, 3G), by contract status (20 players under contract), and by total dollars spent (at least 60% of the salary cap).

George McPhee made it clear from the get go the goal of the Expansion Draft was to accumulate assets, something he did a lot of both on June 21st and in the weeks following. Now it’s time to take a look at what he actually got, and how diversified the talent on the roster turned out.

Draft Picks

The league gives each team a pick in each round of the draft every year. So over the first four years of the organization the Golden Knights were given 28 picks. In 2017, Vegas ended up selecting 12 times in the Entry Draft, including three times in the first round and six times in the top 65. All 12 players currently stand as completely unproven assets with massive potential upside, especially Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, and Nic Hague.

They also acquired a bundle of picks for the next three drafts. As of this moment, the Golden Knights have 27 picks in between 2018-2020 including their original three 1st rounders, seven 2nd round picks, and four 3rd round picks.

Non-NHL Ready Talent Prospects

Here we are talking about players like Keegan Kolesar, Jake Bischoff, Reid Duke, Tomas Hyka, and the other free agent signings. These players are essentially Golden Knights draft picks from 2013-2016, drafts they did not participate in… because they weren’t a team yet. They are low risk players than can offer high reward, but the probability of massive success is incredibly slim.

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Golden Knights Lose Lottery; Will Pick 6th In NHL Draft

Well that sucked.

In the first ever official competition the Vegas Golden Knights participated in, they came up with the worst possible result. With a 10.3% chance to pick first, and about a 35% chance to pick in the top three, the Golden Knights crapped out and wound up with the 6th pick, the lowest they could get, which had about an 19% chance.

The day started out pretty tough as George McPhee didn’t even make it to Toronto.

The New Jersey Devils won the lottery 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.

This disaster of a lottery can really be tracked back to one poor decision from the team.

And he decided to leave Stanley the Rooster home rather than try to explain to Canadian Customs officials why the gift given to the team by the Mandarin Oriental in February during Chinese New Year should be allowed into the country as a good luck prop. -Steve Carp, LVRJ

In all seriousness, dropping to the 6th pick isn’t the end of the world, but it does make things a bit more difficult on McPhee. There are two players widely considered to be the cream of the crop in the draft, and with the lottery “loss” it’s highly unlikely the Golden Knight will move up to get either. In fact, McPhee has already ruled it out.

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Draft Lottery Party Tonight At Miller’s Ale House

Tonight is the first night ever there’s an event in which the Golden Knights can win, and the rest of the NHL can lose. Of course, there’s a 89.7% chance of the opposite, but I’m trying to stay positive here. The NHL Draft Lottery will be aired live on NBC starting at 5PM. is hosting a party at Miller’s Ale House at Town Square to watch and hopefully celebrate the Golden Knights winning the lottery and securing the first pick.

Vegas has a 10.3% chance of winning the first pick and about a 35% chance of winning one of the three lotteries and picking in the top three. (To read all about how the lottery actually works, read this) GM George McPhee will be on hand in Toronto representing the Golden Knights, but made the grave mistake of not bringing along Stanley the Golden Rooster as a good luck charm. Again, trying to stay positive, but man, what an error in judgement.

We’ve got Viva VGK and SinBin shirts, SinBin hats, commemorative lottery ping pong balls, and food and drink specials at Miller’s tonight for what should be a fun night. Admission is free and the doors are open to everybody including those under 21.

See you tonight, and Viva VGK!

**Note: The lottery is expected to start pretty close to 5PM as the Penguins/Capitals   game is scheduled for 5:11 and the lottery is supposed to take place before that.**

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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