Don’t tell me the odds: The Flames’ draft lottery positioning is still up in the air

2018 NHL Draft
Photo credit:Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
13 days ago
We’re into the short strokes of the 2023-24 season, friends, and the Calgary Flames are playing for pride, for jobs, and to potentially alter their draft lottery positioning. Since the last time we provided an update on the lottery math, things have become a littler clearer, but there’s still a lot up in the air as the Flames head into the final two games.

Flames playoff contention/elimination

At present, the Flames are 17 points behind Nashville for the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference. They have two games remaining.
The Flames are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Draft lottery contention

We’ve mentioned this before and we’ll mention this again: by virtue of the Flames missing the playoffs, their draft selection cannot land in the range (between 20th and 32nd overall) that would give Montreal the option to take it rather than wait for a future draft pick. In short: the Flames will maintain control of their own first-round pick.
The draft lottery odds increase as you work backwards in the standings. Here’s a snapshot of the inverse standings as of the end of Sunday’s games, with each team’s current point totals, as well as their maximum possible point totals.
OverallTeamPts.Max.1st Odds
32ndSan Jose475125.5%
23rdNew Jersey81833.5%
A few lottery slots have been locked in:
  • San Jose is locked into 32nd, as they can tie Chicago in points but would lose out on tiebreakers.
  • Chicago is locked into 31st.
  • Anaheim is locked into 30th.
  • Columbus is locked into 29th.
The Flames cannot finish any lower in the standings than 26th overall, and cannot finish any higher than 2nd overall. They have two games remaining: Tuesday night in Vancouver and Thursday night at home against San Jose. Based on the relative standings of the teams they’re facing, and bearing in mind that the Canucks could sew up the Pacific Division’s top spot with a win, it’s probably not unreasonable to expect the Flames to split their two remaining games and finish the season with 81 points. Where that lands them depends quite a bit on what the teams around them do with their remaining games.
Based on the overall standings, the Flames will finish with somewhere between the 7th and 11th-best lottery odds. They’ll have between a 3.0% and 6.5% chance at landing the first overall selection via the lottery. We’ll have a lot more about the 2024 NHL Draft class and the type of players the Flames could potentially land in the draft in the coming days and weeks.

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