Monday, April 07, 2008

The 2008 draft lottery

The draft lottery goes at 8 p.m. tonight on TSN, and I've provided a run through of how the process works previously.

Here's a look at the chances teams have to "win" the thing this time around:

1. Tampa Bay 25.00%
2. Los Angeles 18.80%
3. Atlanta 14.20%
4. St. Louis 10.70%
5. NY Islanders 8.10%
6. Columbus 6.20%
7. Toronto 4.70%
8. Phoenix 3.60%
9. Nashville (from Florida) 2.70%
10. Vancouver 2.10%
11. Chicago
12. Anaheim (from Edmonton) 1.10%
13. Buffalo 0.80%
14. Carolina 0.50%

Now, if any team below the top five wins the lottery, Tampa Bay would retain the No. 1 overall pick, which means the Lightning have roughly a 50/50 chance at picking first in Ottawa in June.

TSN's Bob McKenzie had a must-read look at how what's happened in the past doesn't really jive with the fact the top two teams should, in theory, win the majority of these things:
So do this math. Tampa, at 30th, has a 48 per cent chance of holding onto the No. 1 pick. The Los Angles Kings, at 29th, have an almost 19 per cent chance of winning the lottery. That means there's a better than 67 per cent chance either the Lightning or Kings will be picking first overall in this year's draft.

Except we know from history that in 12 lotteries, the last place team has picked first only three times and the second last place team has never, not once, jumped up to pick first. I'm no math major but nine times in 12 years, that's 75 per cent.
Of course, this has no bearing on tonight's draw. But do any probability experts out there want to take a stab at the chances that the top two teams have won just three of these draws previously?

Hard to believe.

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At 1:28 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

The answer is about one-third of one percent.

If you're doing some random thing where A is 67% likely to happen and B is 33% likely to happen,

and you do it 12 times in a row,

then the odds of B happening 9 (or more) out of 12 times is about 0.35%.

So yeah, it's unlikely and surprising, but not a lightning strike. Hope that's clear enough.

At 1:36 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger McLea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:42 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

If you follow the link, Bob posted a quasi-correction that acknowledged his mistake. Then he said something about pocket protectors.

The point he makes that's interesting is just how unlikely what's happened previously was. Almost worth looking into, if you know what I mean.

At 1:55 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

You know James, Chicago still has a NHL team.

At 1:55 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:06 p.m., April 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, you underestimate how much it means to a douchebag to see his dismissals on screen.

At 2:17 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger McLea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:22 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You know James, Chicago still has a NHL team.

That's right from the NHL's release, and I can't for the life of me figure out why there are only 13 teams.

At 2:28 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I've fixed it — the NHL obviously was out to lunch on that one.

At 2:32 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

I still don't see what McKenzie is apologizing for... he said what has happened in the previous 12 years is "weird"... which it is. Much weirder and you'd have cause to question whether the NHL is telling the truth about the lottery odds and/or whether they have actually made an arithmetic error in setting it up.

And "who cares?" remains the rudest thing you can comment onto someone else's weblog. It actually means "*I* don't care", but to put that in someone else's blog comments, you'd have to face up to how bloody bizarre it is to do so.

At 2:45 p.m., April 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone feel bad for the player that ends up in Tampa or Atlanta? I do.
Stamkos should pull a Lindros and not report.

At 3:13 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger Mike said...

I'm sure people felt bad for Ovechkin ending up in washington too. But the teams at the bottom are the ones that need the high end talent infusion.

It can certainly be argued that stamkos to tampa is bad for the NHL "product" since it's, well, tampa. But you can't change the system year to year for marketing purposes.

It's been discussed countless times, but organizational strength and depth is what is necessary in the "new nhl". You can't have 10 high priced players. You can have 3 or 4, but you have to have solid contributors on entry level contracts or you're likely to be in a situation like the Bolts are in now.

Draft and develop well or your destined to be watching after march instead of playing.

At 4:17 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger hoeker said...

This is some pretty sloppy research. Going from what information I could piece together, the last place team won the lottery four times: Ottawa in '96, Boston in '97, Tampa Bay in '98, and St. Louis in '06. And the seventh last place team won twice: Los Angeles in '95 and Chicago in '99. That's a total of six times the last place team had the first overall pick (or would have, if they had kept the pick) out of twelve, or 50%. Not so far from 67% any more.

At 6:01 p.m., April 07, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Heh, well in that case, that's not weird at all...

At 12:33 a.m., April 08, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What surprised me was how stacked the deck is in favor of the worst team.

I always thought it was something like worst team got 30 balls in the drum. Second-worst got 29, etc. for all non-playoff teams. With the proviso that a team couldn't move up more than three picks (which seemed like enough of a handicapping system).

But a 50% chance (when you include the NHL's stacked deck AND the move-up handicap)? A coin flip's chance of getting the No. 1 pick for finishing last. With those odds, I'm surprised more teams don't tank it in the race for the bottom.


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