Try as TSN might, the 2008 NHL Entry Draft isn't anywhere near as captivating as the 2005 edition. However, there's still plenty at stake. Learn a bit more about the convoluted lottery process in today's Bugg Bytes.
It's probably the most common question come April: "How the **** does this work?" The NHL Entry Draft lottery is a silly, silly thing. A lot of it has to do with the terminology. For example: the Leafs could win the draft lottery. It's an absolutely true statement. But it doesn't mean they can get the first overall pick. Similarly, the Lightning could lose the lottery, but pick first overall. Dumb, ain't it?
The 'prize' of the lottery isn't the first overall pick- it's the ability to move up in the draft order by as many as four spots. Any non-playoff team can win the lottery. The losers of the lottery- every other team- can drop only one spot in the order.
17. Carolina (92 pts, 43 W, 0 GR)
18. Chicago (88 pts, 40 W, 1 GR)
19. Buffalo (88 pts, 38 W, 1 GR)
20. Vancouver (88 pts, 38 W, 1 GR)
21. Edmonton (88 pts, 41 W, 0 GR)
22. Florida (85 pts, 38 W, 1 GR)
23. Toronto (83 pts, 36 W, 1 GR)
24. Phoenix (82 pts, 38 W, 1 GR)
25. Columbus (80 pts, 34 W, 2 GR)
26. Islanders (79 pts, 35 W, 0 GR)
27. St. Louis (75 pts, 31 W, 2 GR)
28. Atlanta (74 pts, 33 W, 1 GR)
29. Los Angeles (71 pts, 32 W, 1 GR)
30. Tampa Bay (71 pts, 31 W, 1 GR)
Let's assume this is how the standings finish. Order prior to lottery:
04. St. Louis
02. Los Angeles
01. Tampa Bay
So, Carolina can win the lottery, and jump from 14th overall to 10th overall. Burke could get the ultimate revenge and have Edmonton's pick become the sixth- a dream scenario as there are seven players he feels are above everyone else.
Of course, it's not that simple. The odds are weighted in favor of the lesser teams, with Tampa Bay having 25% of the 'balls' in the 'lottery machine'*. Carolina has 0.5%.
To make it more difficult, you'll hear other statistics. Tampa has 25% of the balls, but has a 48.2% chance of keeping the first overall pick. Why? Only four other teams can win and unseat Tampa from the first overall pick- LA, Atlanta, St. Louis and the Isles. The combined balls of the other teams are more than are owned by each of LA, Atlanta, St. Louis and NYI, and of course Tampa has more balls than anyone.
Despite owning an almost 50/50 chance of picking first overall, the last-place team has been shafted since 2000:
2000- Islanders 1st overall (5th before lottery)
2001- Atlanta 1st overall (3rd before lottery)
2002- Florida 1st overall (3rd before lottery)
2003- Florida 1st overall (4th before lottery)
2004- Washington 1st overall (3rd before lottery)
2006- St. Louis 1st overall (1st before lottery)
2007- Chicago 1st overall (5th before lottery)
Now, if that wasn't exhaustive enough, it may not even matter what