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How The Blue Jackets Fared in Our Draft Lottery Simulations

Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen announces David Jiricek (not pictured) as the number six overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen announces David Jiricek (not pictured) as the number six overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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We took the arduous task of running the NHL Draft Lottery simulator at Tankathon for 91 consecutive days. Starting February 6th, we ran it once – and only once – every day until May 7th, and posted the results as they came through. It was a fascinating experiment, and I think you’ll be interested in the results.

In our simulations, the Jackets held the best odds 48 times. In those 48 runs, they won the first pick 13 times (27%), fell to second 16 times (33.3%), and picked third 19 times (39.5%). The odds of landing the first overall pick were 25.5%, so this was a slightly above average win percentage for the Jackets – good news.

They held the second best odds 40 times; winning the first overall pick 7 times (17.5%). The odds of a win here? 13.5% – again, slightly ahead of the odds with their win percentage here. With the second best odds, they picked second overall 9 times (22.5%); third overall 12 times (30%), and fourth overall 12 times (30%). These are the odds we hold at the lottery today, so if you believe in premonitions, it’s really a crapshoot – these picks landed all over the place.

They held the third best odds 3 times, moving up to second once (33.3%), and falling all the way to fifth twice (66.7%). In all of our simulations, they never moved beyond the third best odds – which really paints a picture of how this team played over the last two months of the season. They were neck and neck with the other teams around them, and never managed to move past more than two of them at any given time.

The Jackets came out like this, over 91 sims (rounded to the first percentage point):

1st overall – 20 (22%)

2nd overall – 26 (28.6%)

3rd overall – 31 (34.1%)

4th overall – 12 (13.2%)

5th overall – 2 (2.1%)

NEW YORK – APRIL 07: The balls are readied for placement in the lottery machine during the 2008 NHL Draft Drawing on April 7, 2008 at the National Hockey League headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL)
NEW YORK – APRIL 07: The balls are readied for placement in the lottery machine during the 2008 NHL Draft Drawing on April 7, 2008 at the National Hockey League headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL) /

What was really interesting in all of this, was tallying up how the other teams fared as well. In 91 tries, we only had three instances where there was no movement – the teams finishing 32nd and 31st won the first and second overall picks, with no change.

In the other 88 tries, we had movement somewhere in the order. Some led to no changes at the top, but in most cases, teams moved all the way up into the first or second spots. The most peculiar days might have been day 64 – with St Louis moving up 9 spots to pick first overall, and Pittsburgh moving up 10 spots to pick sixth. Or, maybe the last day (91), where Pittsburgh again moved up 10 spots to pick fourth – but Calgary moved up 10 spots to pick sixth.

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We tracked the other teams’ movement as well, and if you believe in conspiracy theories you might bet on the Sharks (they won 20 lotteries), or the Blackhawks (they won 14). Washington (13 wins), Philadelphia and Montreal (12 each); and Arizona (11) also won more than 10 times. The other winners went like this: Vancouver (9), Anaheim (9), Columbus (8), St Louis (8), Detroit (5), Pittsburgh (4), Ottawa (3), Nashville (2), Florida (2), Buffalo (1), Calgary (1), NY Islanders (1), and Ottawa (1).

It will be interesting to compare our results with the results of the actual lottery, which takes place tonight at 8:00 Eastern and will be televised on ESPN and ESPN+. If the Sharks win the lottery, I may have to dawn my tin foil hat and do a live broadcast. Kidding, of course.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JULY 08: Jarmo Kekäläinen of the Columbus Blue Jackets attends the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JULY 08: Jarmo Kekäläinen of the Columbus Blue Jackets attends the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Ultimately, in a terrible season that most of us struggled through, this was a fun way to pass the time. Thanks to everyone for following along, liking and commenting on our results (even the mean ones!), and all of the support along the way. Fingers crossed that the Jackets will land a pick that allows them to select your favorite prospect at the upcoming draft.

Next. Three Qualities the Jackets Need in a New Head Coach. dark