NHL will make video of draft lottery available

Ken Campbell
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Multiple sources have confirmed to thn.com that even though this year’s draft lottery will not be televised live, a video of the entire process will be made available for public consumption after the fact.

The lottery has been available in previous years to ensure there is not impropriety, but it will likely be televised this year for mass consumption, as well as be available on the website. With so much at stake, the league wants everyone to have the opportunity to see the process unfold so there will be no accusations of impropriety. With large market teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and (possibly) the Los Angeles Kings having a chance at getting the first pick and the right to draft phenom Connor McDavid, sources say the league wants to make sure everyone can see evidence that the process is above-board.

“There will be full disclosure,” a source said. What form that disclosure takes is not yet known because both the league and its broadcast partners – Rogers Sportsnet, NBC Sports and TVA Sports – are still working out the details. We do know that the lottery will be held the night of April 18, which is the first Saturday of the playoffs. It will likely be held as part of the pre-game show for that night’s national game, which will be decided once the final playoff seedings have been determined. All 14 teams that have a chance of winning the lottery will be invited to send a representative to the event.

What is actually interesting about this year’s lottery is that despite the fact that it’s the most hyped draft in decades, the actual draft lottery show will be low-key. Because of all the hype surrounding McDavid and Jack Eichel, as well as the fact that the league apparently doesn’t want to take away from the teams that are competing in that night’s playoff games it feels this is the best way to go. In previous years, the draft lottery results were televised and presented as a separate show. One can only imagine the ratings a separate show would get, particularly if the Toronto Maple Leafs have a decent shot at winning the lottery.

The lottery has actually been videotaped every year and a tape is made available to the teams to prove its authenticity. The only difference is that this year, that video will also be available for mass consumption, either on television after the results of the lottery have been announced or perhaps, as one source suggested, in an online format. Until this year, only the results had been televised, with deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealing the winner and representatives of the five teams with a shot at the first overall pick all on hand for the event.

Another difference is this year’s actual lottery will be held in Toronto at the Rogers Sportsnet instead of the NHL office in New York. A separate room has been set aside where the lottery will take place. It will involve a limited number of participants, none of whom will have communication devices with them. Once the lottery is completed, the results will be delivered by one of the people in the room to Daly or commissioner Gary Bettman while the others will remain sequestered inside.

The way the lottery works is that it is done by a machine that has ping-pong balls which have a different digit. Four of those balls will fall down the chute to create a four-digit number. That creates a total of 1,001 different possibilities and the number of random four-digit numbers each team receives prior to the lottery is dependent upon where it finished in the standings. The team with the winning number wins the lottery and gets the first pick overall.

So the team that finishes 30th overall (if the season were over after Friday night’s games,that would be Buffalo) gets 200 balls, or roughly 20 percent of the total. The team that finishes 29th (Arizona) receives 135 numbers, 28th (Edmonton) gets 115, 27th (Toronto) receives 95, 26th (Carolina) is awarded 85, 25th (New Jersey) gets 75, 24th (Philadelphia) receives 65, 23rd (Columbus) gets 60, 22nd (Colorado) receives 50, 21st (Dallas) gets 35, 20th (San Jose) receives 30, 19th (Florida) gets 25; 18th (Los Angeles) receives 20 and the 17th place team (Winnipeg) gets 10. (Yes, this adds up to 1,000, not 1,001. Somewhere in there one of the teams must be getting an extra ball.)

Of course, it will all change next year when the NHL holds separate lotteries to determine the first, second and third picks overall. At this point, the players projected as the top three prospects for that draft are right winger Auston Matthew of the U.S. under-18 team, right winger Jesse Puljujarvi of Karpat in Finland and defenseman Jakob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting.