In case you missed Saturday’s NHL Draft Lottery, consider this your spoiler warning: The Buffalo Sabres won the rights to the 1st overall selection, while the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens each jumped up to the 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively.
Except… that’s not the way it all played out.
First, a quick explanation of how the NHL makes its selection for the lottery. To determine the order of the top three selections, a representative of the league, a legal representative, a representative for each of the teams involved as well as some journalists gather in a room where four numbered balls are drawn automatically, which form a precise combination of several figures. Before the lottery, each team receives a precise number of possible combinations, according to the percentage of chance that is attributed to them according to their place in the final classification of the season. Make sense? Kind of? Close enough.
All you really need to know is that each team in the lottery has a specific combination of numbers assigned to it. The league draws three combinations and if your combination of numbers comes up, you win the lottery.
With that understanding, here's how things played out on Saturday evening:
According to Associated Press reporter John Wawrow, the Sabres first won the first overall pick in the opening draw with the Hurricanes winning the second overall pick in the second draw. For the third draw, it was once again the Sabres who also won, instigating a fourth draw to determine the winner of the third overall selection.
The league determined that since the Sabres could not win an additional selection, that a fourth draw was necessary to complete the lottery. On that draw the Canadiens were the winners.
Considering the Habs initially had possession of the fourth overall selection in the draft and stood to drop as many as two places in the lottery, this was obviously a huge win for the team.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? That after failed lottery attempts for Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid that the Sabres essentially end up winning TWO lottery selections in one draft. Funny how that works out…