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The Calgary Flames await their fate in the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery (4:30pm MT)

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Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Every National Hockey League season, 31 teams fail to win the Stanley Cup. For one of those teams, there’s a consolation prize: the first overall selection in the annual NHL Draft. The Calgary Flames finished 17 points out of a playoff position during the 2023-24 season, but a couple of draws involving the selection of four numbered ping-pong balls could change the trajectory of the franchise for years to come.
Or they could just stay at ninth overall. That’s the fund of the draft lottery: you’re never entirely sure how it will unfold. This year’s event takes place at 4:30 p.m. MT and can be experienced on Sportsnet! (We’ll be doing a live watch-along show on the FlamesNation YouTube channel, starting at 4 p.m. MT!)

The odds

Via the NHL, here are the odds in the first draw, assigned to the 16 non-playoff teams:
  1. San Jose – 18.5%
  2. Chicago – 13.5%
  3. Anaheim – 11.5%
  4. Columbus – 9.5%
  5. Montreal – 8.5%
  6. Utah – 7.5%
  7. Ottawa – 6.5%
  8. Seattle – 6.0%
  9. Calgary – 5.0%
  10. New Jersey – 3.5%
  11. Buffalo – 3.0%
  12. Philadelphia – 2.5% [cannot draft higher than 2nd]
  13. Minnesota – 2.0% [cannot draft higher than 3rd]
  14. Pittsburgh – 1.5% [cannot draft higher than 4th]
  15. Detroit – 0.5% [cannot draft higher than 5th]
  16. St. Louis – 0.5% [cannot draft higher than 6th]
So here’s how it works: the NHL has a machine that includes 14 numbered balls. Each team is assigned random four-number combinations with the combinations proportionate to their draft odds – for example, the Flames will have 5% of the winning number combinations assigned to them. Four balls are drawn to determine which team drafts first overall, and then they replace the balls and draw again for second overall. However, teams can only move up 10 spots in the lottery draw, so only the top 11 teams in lottery odds can actually win the first overall selection. (There are 1,001 combinations of the 14 numbers; if the one unassigned number combination is selected they draw again, and they also draw again if the team that won the first draw also wins the second draw.)
The league broadcast of the lottery wins typically goes in reverse order, with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealing which teams will draft in what order – starting at 16th overall and finishing with first overall – and if the order deviates from the reverse standings order, you can tell which teams won the two draws.

Possible Flames outcomes

1st overall – 5.0%
If the Flames win the first draw, they’ll draft first overall. They wouldn’t be included in the second draw.
2nd overall – 5.2%
If a team with higher lottery odds than the Flames win the first draw, but they win the second draw, they’ll draft second overall.
3rd overall – 0.2%
If Philadelphia (with the 12st-best lottery odds) wins the first draw, they’ll be assigned second overall because they cannot move up more than 10 spots via the lottery. If the Flames subsequently win the next draw, they would be slotted in behind Philadelphia at third overall.
9th overall – 64.4%
If teams with higher lottery odds than the Flames win both draws, the Flames will draft ninth overall.
10th overall – 23.5%
If a team with lower lottery odds than the Flames wins one of the two draws – it doesn’t matter in what order it happens – then the Flames will get pushed down to 10th overall.
11th overall – 1.7%
If teams with lower lottery odds than the Flames win both draws, the Flames will get pushed down to 11th overall.
Where do you think the Flames will end up selecting in the first round? Let us know in the comments!
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