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The Calgary Flames missed the 6th overall selection by a single ping pong ball

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
The National Hockey League conducted its annual draft lottery on Monday night, held at NHL Network studios in New Jersey. A pair of draws determined the first 16 selections in the 2023 NHL Draft, with the Chicago Blackhawks landing first overall.
The Calgary Flames narrowly missed moving up to the sixth overall selection by a single ping pong ball.

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So here’s how the lottery goes down: 14 numbered ping pong balls go into a tumbler, with four balls drawn at random. The league looks up the four number combinations associated with those balls and whichever team has been assigned that combination wins that drawing. They did this twice, with teams having a chance to move up a maximum of 10 spots in the draft order.
The first draw, for a potential first overall spot, saw 5, 13, 4 and 9 drawn in that order. That four digit combination – 4 5 9 13 – was assigned to Chicago, and they moved up from their original slot of third overall to first overall.
The second draw, for a potential second overall spot, saw 9, 8 and 10 as the first three balls selected.
That left 11 balls remaining in the tumbler for the final selection:
  • If 1 was drawn, Chicago would have won again (and there would be a redraw).
  • If 2 or 11 were drawn, Montreal would have won (and moved up to second overall).
  • If 3, 4 or 6 were drawn, Anaheim would have won (and moved up to second overall).
  • If 5 was drawn, Washington would have won (and moved up to second overall).
  • If 7 was drawn, Pittsburgh would have won (and moved up to fourth overall).
  • If 12 was drawn, Arizona would have won (and moved up to second overall).
  • If 13 was drawn, Calgary would have won (and moved up to sixth overall).
  • If 14 was drawn, Ottawa would have won (and moved up to second overall).
The fourth and final number drawn was 6, so Anaheim won and was assigned second overall. Of the teams that had a chance to win on that final ball, the Ducks had the best odds, but in an alternate universe, things may have gone Calgary’s way and they would have moved up 10 spots to sixth overall.
Alas, they will instead draft at 16th overall when the 2023 NHL Draft takes place on June 28 & 29 in Nashville.

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