Don’t look now, but the Vancouver Canucks are about to experience some even more bad luck on Tuesday.
Despite their heroic postseason push at the end of the year, the team once again failed to clinch the playoffs, finishing fifth in the Pacific Division with 92 points in 82 games.
More importantly, the Canucks also became one of the 16 non-playoff teams to enter the league’s annual Draft Lottery, an experience that Vancouver has qualified for six out of the past seven years to help determine which club would land the coveted first overall pick.
In the past, this regular season disappointment would’ve actually served as a silver lining for the Canucks who, despite finishing with the second-best record amongst all non-playoff teams, would’ve still have a microscopic chance of 0.5% to win the lottery.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore.
As outlined in the league’s new draft lottery rules, which will be implemented for the first time this season, teams are not allowed to move up in the lottery standings by more than 10 positions.
Given that the Canucks finished 15th amongst all non-playoff teams, this means that the Vancouver organization will only be able to pick as high as fifth overall if the lottery balls roll in their favour.
This will also be the second year that only the top two picks will be determined by the lottery, instead of three. Montreal currently has the best odds at the Shane Wright sweepstakes, sitting at 18.5% thanks to their dismal 22-49-11 record.
Of course, fifth overall isn’t the worst position to be in for the Canucks, especially when you consider who the team selected back in 2017 with that exact spot in the lottery standings.
It’s also important to remember that Vancouver hasn’t even had a first round selection over the past two years, thanks to the J.T Miller trade that sacrificed their 2020 pick to Tampa Bay, as well as the blockbuster draft day deal that sent the team’s 2021 first rounder to Arizona in return for Conor Garland, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and one less year of Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel.
However, given all of that, it’s still hard not to believe that the Canucks haven’t been hit with another case of classic Vancouver bad luck, given that this is the inaugural year of the new draft lottery rules that favour the league’s top-10 worst teams instead of top-16.
According to Thomas Drance of The Athletic, as well as Tankathon, the Canucks currently have 97.9% odds to secure the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft lottery.
With those numbers, it’s essentially a lock that Vancouver will be that mid-first round selection to choose a young prospect during the NHL Entry Draft on July 7th, unless they miraculously move up in the rankings or if Buffalo, who acquired Vegas’s first round pick from the Jack Eichel trade, swaps spots with Vancouver.
Unfortunately, the latter does seem likely the more likely scenario to happen if Vancouver does end up moving away from the 15th spot.
In addition to not winning the draft lottery between 2016 and 2019, the Canucks also dropped in the lottery order during all four of those years. The results? Olli Juolevi in 2016, Elias Pettersson in 2017, Quinn Hughes in 2018 and Vasily Podkolzin in 2019.
Fortunately, it sounds like all teams who have a first round selection will be able to snag an elite-level talent for their prospect pool, but we’ll still have to wait and see if Vancouver’s dropping history repeats itself this time around.
The Draft Lottery is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 3:30pm PST, with coverage taking place on Sportsnet.
What are your thoughts heading into the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery? Let us know in the comments!