What you need to know about the NHL Draft Lottery

You have to go back to the 1980 draft to find the last time the Habs had the very first choice. He had set his sights at the time on Doug Wickenheiser, when many people believed that he would select Denis Savard. But that’s another story.

Changes will come into effect for the lottery, which will be held at NHL TV studios in New Jersey.

  • Teams will not be able to improve their selection rank by more than 10 places in the first round.
  • Teams may not win the draft lottery more than twice in a five-year period. The results of lotteries carried out before 2022 will not be taken into account.

In addition, since 2021, the lottery concerns the first two choices and no longer the first three to prevent the worst team from slipping to fourth place, as happened in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Consequently, in the worst case scenario for the CH, he could end up with the third choice. Two draws will therefore be made, one for the first choice, the other for the second.

A man inserts numbered ping-pong balls into a machine.

A technician tests the machine that will pick the ping-pong balls in the 2008 draft.

Photo: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

For fans of statistics, the Bleu-blanc-rouge has an 18.5% chance of seeing the ping-pong ball with its number drawn first. But in reality, the team has a 25.5% chance of getting the first choice since if the first ball to be selected represents one of the teams ranked between the 12th and 16th echelons, this team will not be able to beat the Canadian. Only 11 of the 16 teams are eligible for the first selection tonight.

Are you still following?

If you’re having trouble figuring it out, it might be because the NHL changed its lottery system in 2012, 2015, 2019, 2020 (due to the season cut short by COVID-19), 2021 and 2022!

Since the start of the repechage in 1963, it is the CH which has had the first choice most often in total (five times), even if it has been more than 40 years since it had this honor.

  • 1963: Garry Monahan
  • 1968: Michel Plasse
  • 1969: Rejean Houle
  • 1971: Guy Lafleur
  • 1980: Doug Wickenheiser

If we limit ourselves to the draft since 1980, the year when all players aged 18 to 20 became eligible, it is the Buffalo Sabers and the Edmonton Oilers who win the palm of the first picks with four. Note that Edmonton also had its first choices in a short period, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Carey Price flanked by Bob Gainey (left) and Trevor Timmins (right) at the 2005 National League Draft

Carey Price flanked by Bob Gainey (left) and Trevor Timmins (right) at the 2005 National League Draft

Photo: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

Since 1980, the Habs have never drafted first, but have had the opportunity to choose quite early on a few occasions.

Here is an overview of the last 20 years:

  • 2018, 3rd pick in the first round: Jesperi Kotkaniemi
  • 2016, 9th pick in the first round: Mikhail Sergachev
  • 2012, 3rd pick in the first round: Alex Galchenyuk
  • 2005, 5th pick in the first round: Carey Price
  • 2003, 10th pick in the first round: Andrei Kostitsyn
  • 2001, 7th pick in the first round: Mike Komisarek
Three men pose for the photo.

George Gillett, Mike Komisarek and André Savard in the 2001 draft

Photo: The Canadian Press/RYAN REMIORZ

The history of the repechage is closely linked to the city of Montreal, first of all because the very first edition took place in 1963 at the Reine-Elizabeth hotel, but also because the city hosted it without interruption until 1984. Subsequently, Montreal presented the repechage four other times, in 1986, 1988, 1992, 2009.

Two men shake hands.

Jean Beliveau, then vice-president of the Canadiens and Daniel Geoffrion during the 1978 draft in Montreal

Photo: The Canadian Press / John Goddard

The draft was first televised in 1984 when Radio-Canada and CBC presented the event in French and English. The first broadcast in the United States was held in 1987.

High angle view of a full amphitheater for the NHL Draft.

The 2009 Draft at the Bell Center

Photo: The Canadian Press / Paul Chiasson

And who could the CH fish out?

The very first name to be called next July is that of Shane Wright, a right-handed OHL center who is compared to Nico Hischier or Mathew Barzal.

He skates with the puck in practice.

Shane Wright, from the Frontenacs

Photo: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

There are still three players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League who could be drafted in the first round:

  • Tristan Luneau, a defender for the Gatineau Olympiques,
  • Nathan Gaucher, a center for the Quebec Remparts,
  • Maveric Lamoureux, a defenseman for the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
He wears the Gatineau Olympiques uniform.

Tristan Luneau

Photo: Dominic Charette Photographer

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