Whether they pick first, second, third, or fourth — Monday is a significant day for the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise.
The NHL Draft Lottery results will be announced Monday evening, with anticipation at an all-time high.
The top prize, certainly, is Connor Bedard. It has been years since a prospect with the amount of skills, stats, and hype the likes of Bedard has been available. Adam Fantilli is the second-best prospect available and even then, is the number one guy in most other years. The "second tier" trio of Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov, and Will Smith still bring phenomenal talent to a historically deep pool of players.
Where the next generation of superstars will play — and who the Blue Jackets will likely target — are the questions that will have answers by the end of Monday. Here is everything that the 5th Line needs to know in advance of the lottery results.
WHEN & WHERE TO WATCH
The lottery results will air on ESPN (and streaming on ESPN+) at 8:00 p.m., before game four between the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights. Note the time change, as the lottery was originally announced to be at an hour earlier. The show will be live from the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey.
WHAT THE PROCESS LOOKS LIKE
On air, you will only see the results and it's a pretty simple process. The 16th pick will be announced first, and we will move up from there. Each team's logo will be in a made-for-television envelope, and that's how the reveal will be made.
Here's the more complicated part you won't see on television: Commissioner Gary Bettman, representatives from each team, as well as journalists and representatives from Ernest & Young will verify a fair lottery system, which is as followed per NHL.com: For each of the two drawings, 14 balls, numbered 1 to 14, will be placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly will select four balls. The resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) will be matched against a chart that shows all possible combinations and the team to which each combination was assigned.
The combinations are random and can be found here. The Blue Jackets own 135 of the 1000 combinations, thus the 13.5% chance of winning. Anaheim, at 25.5%, has 255 combinations and the best odds.
If you really want to have some fun and stress yourself out, you can pick a number between 1 and 1000 (spoiler: 1001 is a redraw) and see who wins your lottery, or if you really want to rabbit hole: pick four numbers 1-14 (in ascending order) in your head, go to the link above, type CTRL+F and type in your combination. For my own entertainment, I will now pick three combinations of each and then look them up:
373: Anaheim Ducks
678: Anaheim Ducks
912: Ottawa Senators
Dammit. Alright, let's try this again. Combinations:
3-8-9-11: Anaheim Ducks
5-6-7-13: Philadelphia Flyers. (John Tortorella and Bedard, what could go wrong...)
It's fitting that this will air before the Oilers game. No team has benefitted more from the lottery over the last number of years than the Oilers, who made the first overall pick in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. The most recent of those gave them Connor McDavid, who is the only reason that Bedard won't be the best Connor in the NHL next season (sorry, Hellebuyck). The Oilers moved from third to first that year as a result of the lottery system, a gut punch to the team that would have drafted McDavid had results held serve — the Buffalo Sabres.
The Blue Jackets cannot drop below the 4th pick, but that's also where they are most likely to pick. Numbers can tell you anything you want, though, because the Chicago Blackhawks are more likely than the Blue Jackets to pick 4th. Math, man.
Each team's odds of where they will pick:
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Anaheim 25.5 18.8 55.7 Columbus 13.5 14.4 32.0 40.2 Chicago 11.5 11.5 7.4 40.7 28.8 San Jose 9.5 9.8 15.4 44.9 20.5 Montreal 8.5 8.8 24.5 44.2 13.9 Arizona 7.5 7.9 34.1 41.4 9.1 Philadelphia 6.5 6.9 44.4 36.5 5.6 Washington 6.0 6.4 54.4 30.0 3.2 Detroit 5.0 5.4 64.4 23.5 1.7 St. Louis 3.5 3.8 73.3 18.4 0.9 Vancouver 3.0 3.3 79.9 13.4 0.5 Ottawa 2.9 2.4 85.7 8.9 0.2 Buffalo 2.6 1.7 90.7 5.1 >0.0 Pittsburgh 2.1 1.0 94.7 2.1 >0.0 Calgary 0.8 0.3 97.9 1.1 Nashville 0.8 0.2 98.9