Folks, it’s been a pretty disappointing year to be a hockey fan in the Calgary area. The Calgary Flames missed the playoffs, after all, but there’s a chance for a bit of a bounce-back on Wednesday night as the club takes part in the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery!
The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet’s national feed (and Sportsnet 960 The Fan), and is immediately followed by Game 1 of the Montreal/Winnipeg series.
How it works
The draft lottery features the 15 non-playoff teams from the 2021 season, plus the expansion Seattle Kraken, with two draws that will determine the top two selections in the July 23 first round of the NHL Draft. The draw only determines the first round order, while the remaining six rounds are set in stone based on the league standings – Seattle will draft third in every round, though.
The odds for the 16 clubs participating are based upon 1,000 combinations of 14 numbered bingo balls that are selected via a tumbler. (If the 1,001st combination is drawn, there’s a re-do.) Two draws will be made – first for first overall, then for second overall. Since the Arizona Coyotes have forfeited their first round pick this year as a punishment for violating the NHL’s prospect fitness testing rules, in the event a Coyotes ball combination is drawn they’ll simply redo the draw.
For the curious, here are Calgary’s 22 winning lottery ball combinations:
- 1 4 6 13 
- 1 6 9 10 
- 1 6 11 12 
- 1 8 11 12 
- 2 4 12 13 
- 2 8 10 13 
- 2 9 10 12 
- 3 4 7 9 
- 3 4 7 12 
- 3 4 12 13 
- 3 5 7 13 
- 3 5 11 12 
- 4 5 9 13 
- 4 6 11 12 
- 4 6 11 13 
- 4 6 11 14 
- 4 8 9 10 
- 4 8 11 14 
- 5 8 9 11 
- 6 8 10 13 
- 7 11 12 14 
- 8 10 12 13 
Let’s get into the math!
Via Tankathon, here are the five possible outcomes for the Flames:
1st overall: 2.2%
If the Flames get one of their combinations drawn first, they get bumped up to first overall.
2nd overall: 2.4%
If the Flames get one of their combinations drawn second, they get bumped up to second overall.
13th overall: 87.0%
If the first two picks end up with one of the 11 eligible teams with better odds with the Flames – and odds are strong that’ll happen – then the Flames sit idle at 13th overall and don’t move anywhere.
14th overall: 8.4%
If one of the first two picks ends up being drawn by Philadelphia, Dallas or the NY Rangers – the three lottery teams ahead of the Flames in the standings – then the Flames will slide to 14th overall.
15th overall: 0.1%
If both of the first two picks ends up being drawn by Philadelphia, Dallas and/or the Rangers, the Flames will slide twice and draft at 15th overall.
The modern multiple draw lottery began in 2016 and this is the first season that it has been reduced from three draws to two. There have been three pretty big jumps in the draft order in the past:
- In 2017, Philadelphia moved up from 13th to 2nd and selected Nolan Patrick.
- In 2018, Carolina moved up from 11th to 2nd and selected Andrei Svechnikov.
- In 2019, Chicago moved up from 12th to 3rd and selected Kirby Dach.
- In 2020, the NY Rangers (Team E) moved up from 12th to 1st and selected Alexis Lafreniere.
The odds aren’t necessarily in the Flames’ favour, but a jump up the order would be very much in keeping with the spirit of the draft lottery in its modern form.
Keys to watching along
If you’re following along on TV or radio, the NHL will reveal the teams in reverse order – starting at 16th overall and working their way up to the two lottery picks.
Here’s the pre-lottery order:
- New Jersey
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- Arizona (forfeited)
- NY Rangers
If a team isn’t revealed at the spot they’re slotted in here, that means they won one of the two draws. (If they’re revealed earlier than expected, it means a team behind them won one of the two draws.)