Tonight is a big night for the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight, and a bunch of ping pong balls could determine the trajectory of the Blue Jackets franchise.
How important is winning a top-pick? Every Stanley Cup champion since the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins has had at least one top-five pick on its roster that it originally drafted.
The Blue Jackets have selected in the top-five six times in their franchise history, with the most recent pick in 2021 when they selected Kent Johnson at No. 5 overall.
Where and When Can I watch it?
The draft lottery will be televised on ESPN and ESPN+ in the United States and on Sportsnet, Sportsnet Now, and TVAS in Canada. The broadcast will begin at 6:30 PM ET with lottery results coming shortly thereafter.
This is the first year of the NHL Draft Lottery's new format. That format includes a rule that a team can jump no more than 10 spots. So, because the Blue Jackets have 12th-best odds, they can pick no higher than second.
The pick with the 12th-best odds belongs to the Blue Jackets, but that's not the only pick they are concerned with tonight. They also own Chicago's first-round pick that they acquired in the Seth Jones trade last summer; however, if Chicago's pick lands in the top two, it goes to Chicago in 2022, but Columbus will have Chicago's 2023 unprotected first-round pick. So, if the Blackhawks win a top-two pick tonight, their first-round pick goes to Columbus next year no matter what.
What Are the Blue Jackets' Odds?
Our very own Ed Francis put together a great chart displaying the odds of where the Jackets pick could land, in his piece linked here.
The draft lottery is Tuesday evening, and the results are a big deal for the 5th Line. Heres the odds of the #CBJ picking from each spot, and how things would pan out this year if previous lotteries came to fruition again. pic.twitter.com/ghquJn60AM— CBJ Stats (@BlueJacketStats) May 10, 2022
The most likely outcome, according to the math, is that the Blue Jackets will own the seventh and 12th picks in this year's draft.
Do the Jackets want Chicago's pick this year?
The 2023 draft is regarded as much deeper and skilled than the 2022 draft, so it would make sense for Columbus to want Chicago to win this year's lottery.
The Blackhawks are coming off of a brutal season and it does not look like 2023 will be much better with new GM Kyle Davidson committing to a full-scale rebuilding project. In that case, the Blue Jackets would likely be staring at a top-five pick in the 2023 draft. Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov, and Adam Fantilli are the favorites to be top-three selections in next year's draft, and Columbus would love a chance to draft one of those three players to accelerate the rebuilding phase.
However, if the Blue Jackets get Chicago's pick this year, all is not lost. Having another likely top-10 pick is never a bad thing.
Tonight could be a franchise-altering night for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The future of the franchise rests on ping pong balls.