How much does a ping-pong ball weigh?
In a literal sense, it weighs 2.7 grams, or less than one-tenth of an ounce. But for several NHL franchises — this year especially — it’s the weight of the world, the future of their entire organization and their best hope to get out of their current doldrums.
The NHL draft lottery will be held on May 8 in Secaucus, N.J., at a studio within NHL Network headquarters. It will determine who gets the NHL’s next “generational” talent in forward Connor Bedard, a native of Vancouver, B.C., who has rocketed to hockey celebrity status at only 17 years old.
The Anaheim Ducks, by virtue of finishing with the league’s worst record, have the best chance, out of the 11 eligible non-playoff teams, to land Bedard at 25.5 percent. The Columbus Blue Jackets (13.5 percent) are next, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks (11.5), San Jose Sharks (9.5) and Montreal Canadiens (8.5).
The NHL has changed its lottery format several times through the years in its attempt to fulfill three different objectives:
- to reward the clubs at the bottom of the league’s standings with the best shot at drafting the next wave of talent
- to establish a process that is equitable but not a guarantee, with the hopes that clubs won’t “tank” — lose intentionally — to guarantee a certain draft pick
- to have a process that is full of drama for as many clubs as possible
As for that last objective …
From 2001-14, the most a club could move up in the lottery was four spots, so only the five worst clubs in the league had a chance to pick No. 1.
Thanks to changes instituted with the 2021 draft, a team can now jump 10 spots via the lottery.