NHL Draft Lottery 2015: The Battle for Eichel and McDavid


The NHL Draft Lottery for 2015 is scheduled to take place tonight at 7:30pm. Those familiar with lottery systems might think of the tank-a-palloza that is the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers getting the top pick last season under ridiculously low odds. It’s not quite like that in the NHL, but it is still an exciting time for the future of some teams.


The three worst teams in hockey this year were the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers. They will likely have the top three picks. Buffalo has the highest chances of getting super prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel since they can’t finish any lower than the second pick and likely will have the first pick.

If you like statistics, the draft lottery process will seem really cool. Basically the NHL has a chart of every possibility of four number combinations between 1-14. There are about 1,000 possibilities. Each team owns a percentage of the combinations. Buffalo owns 20% of them, for example, while the last team to miss the playoffs, the Boston Bruins, own just 1% of it.

Then we have the NBA-like draft balls. The league pulls four numbered balls out of a machine and gets a number combination. Let’s say something like 5-3-12-2. Whoever owns that number on the draft board will get that pick. Since Buffalo owns 20% of the board and can’t finish below the second pick, they have a great shot at the first pick. Arizona and Edmonton have the next best chances.

The order of the team percentages are as follows, via NHL.com:

1Buffalo Sabres20%
2Arizona Coyotes13.5%
3Edmonton Oilers11.5%
4Toronto Maple Leafs9.5%
5Carolina Hurricanes8.5%
6New Jersey Devils7.5%
7Philadelphia Flyers6.5%
8Columbus Blue Jackets6%
9San Jose Sharks5%
10Colorado Avalanche3.5%
11Florida Panthers3%
12Dallas Stars2.5%
13Los Angeles Kings2%
14Boston Bruins1%

The reason why the lottery is so exciting this year is the two prospects at the top, McDavid and Eichel. We haven’t seen a top two like this since the hype for Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin who have both become NHL stars.

McDavid, and Dylan Strome, who is projected to be the third pick, played for the top seeded Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. He should be the top pick to Buffalo, more than likely. Arizona and/or Edmonton will have a find as well with Eichel who led Boston University to an NCAA championship appearance.

The NHL draft lottery isn’t as broken as the NBA’s; it’s doubtful the lowest possibility of Boston will get the top pick like Cleveland did in the NBA. The bad teams will get the good prospects.

The teams with the top shot for #1 realistically are Buffalo, Arizona, Edmonton, Toronto, and maybe Carolina. All of which could use a new face to their franchise.

The lottery has garnered more interest than in recent years, and its easy to see why. Stay tuned for more as we will update later tonight who gets the top pick.