Odds don’t favor Coyotes at NHL Draft Lottery

Apr 27, 2016, 6:54 PM | Updated: Apr 28, 2016, 8:48 am

Auston Matthews, pictured playing for USA, is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL...

Auston Matthews, pictured playing for USA, is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. (Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva via AP)

(Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva via AP)

The Coyotes have a 6.5 percent chance of landing the top pick in the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday. If you can’t handle that sobering truth, and the likely odds that Scottsdale product Auston Matthews will be playing for a Canadian team next fall, we suggest you play out your fantasies on the NHL Draft Lottery simulator until the odds turn in your favor.

We ran it 20 times. Edmonton won fives times. We’ll stop there and give you a moment to vent.

Toronto and Winnipeg won it three times apiece while Vancouver, Montreal and Buffalo won it twice. The Coyotes won it once, along with seven other teams, and Arizona placed in the top three picks four times.

The NHL changed its format this season so that the top three picks are all determined via the lottery. Last season, it was just the top pick when Edmonton infamously leapfrogged the Sabres and Coyotes to land franchise center Connor McDavid — the fourth time in the last six years that Edmonton has chosen first.

The Coyotes ownership group was publicly frustrated by that result.

“It felt like someone punched me in the stomach,” Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said at the time.

LeBlanc won’t be bringing any talismans or charms to change his luck this time around when he attends the lottery in Toronto. Instead, he’ll bring a co-owner.

“Yes, Gary Drummond,” LeBlanc said. “He’s our good luck charm.”

Matthews was gracious when asked which team he’d like to play for at the Coyotes’ home finale.

“Ask anybody if they’d love to play for their hometown team, it would be pretty special,” Matthews said. “The Coyotes are the reason I started playing hockey. We’re pretty fortunate to have them in the Valley.”

Unfortunately for Matthews and the Coyotes, it doesn’t work that way. Here’s how the lottery works. Fourteen balls numbered 1 to 14 are placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly selects four balls. The resulting four-number sequence (without regard to selection order) is matched against a chart that shows all the possible combinations and the teams to which each is assigned.

One combination (11, 12, 13, 14) is designated as a re-draw, allowing for the division of exactly 1,000 combinations proportionately.

With the Coyotes’ odds of landing any of the top three picks slim, LeBlanc is taking a more measured approach this year.

“Obviously, it would be incredible if the Coyotes were to win the lottery and be awarded the first overall selection,” he said. “Whatever happens, we know that this is a deep draft and with two first-round draft choices (their own and the New York Rangers’), we hope to come back from Buffalo with two very good prospects.

“In the past, we have always chosen the best player available with our selection. Gary Drummond, Dave Tippett and our hockey operations department will determine what our needs are and make the right selection.”

Here’s a look at each team’s odds at landing each of the top three picks. All 14 non-playoff teams are listed in reverse order of their finish in the NHL standings.

Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter



Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller, center, celebrates after his goal against the Vegas Gold...

Associated Press

NHL committed to keeping Coyotes in Arizona, Bettman says

Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL is still committed to Arizona after Tempe voters rejected a referendum for a Coyotes arena.

2 days ago

Lawson Crouse of Canada, Milan Lucic of Canada and Peyton Krebs of Canada Team Canada celebrates af...

Associated Press

Lawson Crouse scores, Andre Tourigny-coached Canada defeats Germany to win hockey worlds

Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse scored for Canada in a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

8 days ago

Mesa Mayor John Giles, Tempe mayor Corey Woods...

Arizona Sports

Mesa mayor ‘encouraging’ Coyotes to look at private sites for new arena

Could the Arizona Coyotes find a new arena home in Mesa and find a way to avoid a public vote like the squashed Tempe plans required?

14 days ago

Logan Cooley #92 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up before a game against the Quinnipiac Bobc...

Wills Rice

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley to stay 1 more year in college

Arizona Coyotes highly regarded center prospect Logan Cooley announced he is staying in college for one more year.

16 days ago

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes reportedly inquire about Mesa’s Fiesta Mall site in arena land search

Mesa's old Fiesta Mall footprint is among the land the Arizona Coyotes have inquired about, CBS5's and 3TV's Dennis Welch reported Thursday.

18 days ago

Mullett Arena, Arizona Coyotes, tempe...

Arizona Sports

Coyotes to play at Mullett Arena in 2023-24, seeking new Valley site

The Arizona Coyotes expect to play at Mullett Arena as planned in the 2023-24 season amid uncertainty about their future, the team confirmed.

19 days ago

Odds don’t favor Coyotes at NHL Draft Lottery