The Canucks didn’t exactly tank to end the 2018-19 season, winning three of their last five games and picking up a point in their final game with a shootout loss that carried them above the Anaheim Ducks into 23rd place. They finished the season with 35-36-11 record for a total of 81 points.
While a fun way to end the season for Canucks fans, particularly with the debut of Quinn Hughes, but it does mean the Canucks get reduced odds at winning the draft lottery, which takes place on Tuesday, April 9th.
With the ninth-worst record in the NHL, the Canucks have the ninth-best chance at moving up into one of the top-three picks at the draft. If the balls fall their way on Tuesday, they could get the chance to pick Jack Hughes, Kappo Kakko, or their pick of the several players that could potentially get picked third overall.
Even if the Canucks don’t pick in the top-three, the odds are that they’re still going to pick in the top ten. There’s something about those big, divisible-by-five numbers that appeals to our five-finger-having brains. Picking 11th or 12th would make people have to use their toes and no one wants that.
The most likely result on Tuesday will be, appropriately, the ninth overall pick. They have close to a 50% chance at ninth: 48.8%. Next highest odds is tenth overall at 30.7%. That’s a 79.5% chance at picking ninth or tenth, so get used to that idea, Canucks fans.
When it comes to the lottery picks, the Canucks have a 16% chance of landing in the top-three: 5% chance of first overall, 5.3% of second, and 5.7% of third.
Combine those odds and the Canucks have a 95.5% chance of picking in the top ten. With some of the rounding occurring, I believe it’s closer to 95.6%.
Given Canucks luck in the past, you might be skeptical that it will work out that way. The Canucks have had terrible draft luck right from day one, when a spin of the wheel gave the Buffalo Sabres the first overall pick and Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault and the Canucks the second overall pick and future frequent trade partner Dale Tallon.
If three teams that finished ahead of the Canucks in the standings see their combination of numbers come up in the draft lottery and move past the Canucks into the top three, the Canucks could fall as far as 12th overall. Toes territory.
The odds are slim, however: just a 0.1% chance of the Canucks falling to 12th. The 11th pick is a little more likely at 4.3%.
No matter what, the Canucks should be able to find a promising prospect at the 2019 draft, but it would certainly feel a lot better if those 16% odds come through and they get into the top three. Picking in the top ten will still feel pretty good, even if it’s ninth overall. The last time the Canucks picked ninth, they got a core piece for their future: Bo Horvat.