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NHL Draft Lottery Explained

Here's how the NHL Draft Lottery works.


Updated March 05, 2013

Introduced in 1995, the NHL draft lottery is a weighted lottery allowing one team to move up in the order of selection in the first round of the annual NHL Entry Draft.

The bottom 14 teams in the league (the teams that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs) participate in the lottery.

If one of those 14 teams has traded its first-round draft pick, the acquiring team participates in the lottery.

From 1995 to 2012, the team winning the draft lottery could rise no more than four positions in the draft order.

As of 2013, all 14 lottery teams have a chance to win the first overall selection in the draft.

The lottery is weighted to give the worst teams the best chances of winning.

Odds of winning the draft lottery remain the same as they were under the 1995-2012 system.

The likelihood of each team gaining the right to the first pick is:
30th place: 25.0%
29th place: 18.8%
28th place: 14.2%
27th place: 10.7%
26th place: 8.1%
25th place: 6.2%
24th place: 4.7%
23th place: 3.6%
22th place: 2.7%
21th place: 2.1%
20th place: 1.5%
19th place: 1.1%
18th place: 0.8%
17th place: 0.5%

No team can move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Lottery.

The lottery result applies only to the first round of the draft. In all subsequent rounds, selection order reverts to what it was before the lottery was held.

Lottery picks can be traded, like any other draft pick.

See also: How the NHL Entry Draft Works.

Our Guide to the NHL Draft includes a history of the draft, a look at how many draft picks make it to the NHL, a list of greatest busts of the draft, and more.

NHL Draft Lottery Results: Eery lottery winner and lottery pick since 1995.

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