LOCKOUT JOURNAL — So What Happens to the Draft If There Isn’t A Season?

This is the Lockout Journal, where we’ll occasionally chime in with answers to questions, rants, and the latest news on the cat fight between the NHL and NHLPA. If you have any stories, rants, or questions you would like to see appear here, send ’em in!

How about a story on the next draft, should the season be cancelled? We would have another shot at #1, no?


Kevin Schultz

Pete, if the season does get wiped out, the Islanders would have a shot at the #1 pick but it wouldn’t be a great one. My assumption is that the draft lottery would probably be worked out similarly to how it was done in 2005.

If we go back to 2005, the draft following the Lost Season, the Penguins ended up with the first pick and Sidney Crosby followed by the Ducks, who got Bobby Ryan, and the Hurricanes, who snagged Jack Johnson (not a bad top 3). That year, every team in the league had a shot at the #1 pick, although the Penguins still had the worst record and ended up with the best pick.

The way the draft was worked out in 2005 was that every team in the league started with three lottery balls. If a team had reached the playoffs in any of previous three seasons, one ball was removed. A ball was also removed if a team had a #1 overall pick during any of the previous four drafts. So, the Islanders had one lottery ball removed that year as they had made the playoffs in each of the previous three seasons, but Rick DiPietro’s #1 overall selection was five years previous so they did not lose a second ball. They ended up with the 15th overall pick and Ryan O’Marra.

If the same system was in place for the upcoming 2013 draft, the Islanders would have two balls yet again. They have not made the playoffs in the last three years, so they wouldn’t lose any balls on that. However, they selected John Tavares first overall in 2009, which would be the fourth previous draft, which is a minus one. They would have a decent, but not great, shot at the top pick. In 2005, the ten teams who lost one ball each had a 4.2% chance of winning the lottery. However, of the top five selections in 2005, three of those teams had a ball missing. It’s really quite a crap shoot.