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The odds haven’t been in the Calgary Flames’ favour at the draft lottery

Ryan Pike
9 months ago
The National Hockey League has run their annual draft lottery every year since 1995. The Calgary Flames have participated in the lottery on 15 occasions… and have never, ever won a drawing.
With the 2023 edition of the lottery coming up on Monday, let’s take a trip down a fairly painful memory lane. The Flames haven’t won a draft lottery, and that’s primarily because they’ve never really had particular great odds.
1997
The Flames finished the 1996-97 season at 21st overall and were allocated the 6th overall pick (and the sixth-best odds in the lottery at 5.9%). Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames selected Daniel Tkaczuk at 6th overall.
1998
The Flames finished the 1997-98 season at 22nd overall and were allocated the 6th overall pick again – Nashville entered the league and nudged the Flames down a spot – and the sixth-best odds in the lottery at 5.7%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames selected Rico Fata at 6th overall.
1999
The Flames finished the 1998-99 season at 20th overall and were allocated the 9th overall pick – Atlanta entered the league and nudged the Flames down a spot – and the ninth-best odds in the lottery at 2.7%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames traded down from 9th to 11th in a swap with the New York Rangers and selected Oleg Saprykin.
2000
The Flames finished the 1999-2000 season at 22nd overall and were allocated the 9th overall pick – both Columbus and Minnesota entered the league and nudged the Flames down two spots – and the ninth-best odds in the lottery at 2.7%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames selected Brent Krahn at 9th overall.
2001
The Flames finished the 2000-01 season at 20th overall and were allocated the 11th overall pick and the 11th-best odds in the lottery at 1.5%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames traded down from 11th to 14th in a swap with Phoenix and selected Chuck Kobasew.
2002
The Flames finished the 2001-02 season at 22nd overall and were allocated the 9th overall pick and the ninth-best odds in the lottery at 2.7%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames traded down from 9th to 10th in a swap with Florida and selected Eric Nystrom.
2003
The Flames finished the 2002-03 season at 22nd overall and were allocated the 9th overall pick and the ninth-best odds in the lottery at 2.7%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames selected Dion Phaneuf at 9th overall.
2005
Coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, the 2005 lottery – the Sidney Crosby lottery – was set up to advantage teams that hadn’t made the playoffs in the three preceding seasons or gotten a first overall pick in the four preceding drafts. Teams were allocated three, two or one ball in the lottery. The Flames were allocated two balls and a 4.2% chance at getting first overall… but they did not win. The remainder of the spots were also determined via a random draw, with the Flames ending up with the 26th pick.
The Flames selected Matt Pelech at 26th overall.
2010
The Flames finished the 2009-10 season at 15th overall (missing the playoffs by virtue of a strong Western Conference) and were allocated the 13th overall pick (as the second-best team that missed the playoffs) and the 13th-best odds in the lottery at 0.8%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
This pick was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in the Olli Jokinen trade.
2011
The Flames finished the 2010-11 season at 17th overall and were allocated the 13th overall pick (as the second-best team that missed the playoffs) and the 13th-best odds in the lottery at 0.8%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames selected Sven Baertschi at 13th overall.
2012
The Flames finished the 2011-12 season at 17th overall and were allocated the 14th overall pick (as the best team that missed the playoffs) and the 14th-best odds in the lottery at 0.5%. Lottery winners could move up a maximum of four spots. They did not win.
The Flames traded down from 14th to 21st overall in a swap with Buffalo and selected Mark Jankowski.
2013
The Flames finished the 2012-13 season at 25th overall and were allocated the 6th overall pick and the sixth-best odds in the lottery at 6.2%. Lottery winners would be allocated 1st overall, regardless of their original draft slot. They did not win.
The Flames selected Sean Monahan at 6th overall.
2014
The Flames finished the 2013-14 season at 27th overall and were allocated the 4th overall pick and the fourth-best odds in the lottery at 10.7%. Lottery winners would be allocated 1st overall, regardless of their original draft slot. They did not win.
The Flames selected Sam Bennett at 4th overall.
2016
The Flames finished the 2015-16 season at 26th overall and were allocated the 5th overall pick and the fifth-best odds in the three lottery drawings at 8.5%. This lottery featured three draws to determine the first three picks, with all lottery teams eligible to move up. Not only did they not win, but Winnipeg (with the sixth-best odds) won the second drawing and the Flames slid back to 6th overall. Because of how the three draws were structured, the Flames sliding back to 6th overall was actually the most statistically likely scenario, though.
The Flames ended up passing Columbus in the standings with a win in their final game, which gave Columbus the fourth-best odds… and they ended up winning one of the draws and moving up to third overall in the process.
The Flames selected Matthew Tkachuk at 6th overall.
2018
The Flames finished the 2017-18 season at 20th overall and were allocated the 12th overall pick and the 12th-best odds in the three lottery drawings at 2.5%. This was another lottery where three draws were conducted for the first three picks. They did not win.
This pick was traded to the New York Islanders in the Travis Hamonic trade.
2021
The Flames finished the 2020-21 season at 20th overall and were allocated the 13th overall pick – Seattle entered the league and nudged the Flames down a spot – and the 13th-best odds in the two lottery drawings at 2.5%. (Rather than three draws for the first three picks, it was reduced to two draws for the first two picks.) They did not win.
The Flames selected Matt Coronato at 13th overall.
All-told, the Flames have participated in 21 separate drawings since the draft lottery began (excluding the many, many 2005 draws for later picks). They have won zero of them, despite having a 57.14% chance of winning at least once.
But the Flames only had a 5% or greater chance in the draft lottery five times, meaning that for the majority of their lottery draws, they didn’t have particularly strong odds.
We’ll see if the Flames have better luck on Monday night at the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery.

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