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Canadiens Analysis

NHL Draft Lottery Rule Works To Montreal Canadiens Advantage



Montreal Canadiens forward Juraj Slafkovsky draft day

With the NHL’s Draft Lottery quickly approaching, certain conditions in play must be considered by teams that are in the midst of a rebuild.

While the NHL does reward failure with high draft picks, it has put a rule in place to avoid giving the first overall pick to the same club within a specific time frame.

The rule is as follows.

Limit on Teams Winning a Lottery Draw

No single team will be able to advance in the Draft order by reason of winning a Lottery Draw more than two (2) times in any five (5) year period. This limitation will not affect a Club’s ability to retain its presumptive Draft position in any Draft Lottery, nor would it preclude the possibility of the Club moving down in Draft Order to the extent other Clubs advance by reason of winning the Lottery Draws. For purposes of clarity, the limitation would attach to the team, not the specific pick.

By way of example, if a Club were to win the first Lottery Draw as the 7th Worst-Finishing Club in Year 1 (thereby earning the First Overall Selection in the succeeding Draft), and the second Lottery Draw as the 13th Worst-Finishing Club in Year 3 (thereby earning the Third Overall Selection in the succeeding Draft), that Club would no longer be eligible to benefit by winning a Lottery Draw in either of Year 4 or Year 5, and would not be able to benefit again by winning the Draft Lottery (or either of the Draft Lottery Draws) until Year 6 at the earliest.

Montreal Canadiens Angle

Even though the Montreal Canadiens were awarded the No.1 overall pick in 2022, the rule was put in place following the draft, which means they’re the last team in the NHL to have been awarded the first overall pick and not be affected by the new rule.

Of course, there are very low odds the Habs will win the Draft Lottery this season, as they will have the fifth-best odds heading into Tuesday’s event. That being said, the history of the Draft Lottery is littered with teams moving up because statistically speaking, the team that finishes with the best odds to draft first overall actually has better odds of drafting third overall.

It’s also questionable whether the Habs will be in a similar situation following the conclusion of the 2024-25 season. But if they are, they won’t have to worry about the NHL’s new rule.

Montreal canadiens draft lottery odds


All 2024 NHL Draft Lottery odds via Tankathon.

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It didn’t apply to them not because of that but because they already were last overall and won the lottery but did not move up.


Peter, i got this from nhl website:

The changes, approved by the NHL Board of Governors, will determine the order of the NHL Draft for the teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Two other changes will begin with the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery:
— Teams will be restricted from moving up more than 10 spots if it wins one of the lottery draws.
— Teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period. Wins in the lottery prior to 2022 will not be counted toward this total.

My understanding is that the habs 1st pick in 2022 does count as 1 win in 5 years.

Last edited 20 days ago by Rocks99

They should change the rule so you can only move up a maximum of 5 spots and only bottom 7 are eligible

Last edited 20 days ago by Dave
Michael Barnes

If you did that, you’d risk more teams intentionally tanking, which I believe they set it up as they did.
I’m sure they’ll continually adjust and no matter how many fans call for tanking, it’s bad for the sport


No it didn’t count as a win because they didn’t move up, I remember that because it was mentioned at the time.


Yo are incorrect. “winning the lottery” in this case means moving up. Without the lottery the Canadiens already had the 1st pick so they did not “WIN”.
The article stipulates this “This limitation will not affect a Club’s ability to retain its presumptive Draft position in any Draft Lottery”.
The Canadiens simply retained its presumptive position.

Last edited 20 days ago by Graham

I don’t fully get it – if the rule means “to avoid giving the first overall pick to the same club within a specific time frame.” Then how does Chicago have a 13.5% chance to select first after having won last years lottery?


Because you can win two times in five years. If they win this year, they cannot win for next three years.


Please explain how Habs could move up 3rd pick?


Habs draft 3rd only if the 12th worst team wins the first lottery, locking in 2nd place and locking SJ in at 1st, then Habs win the 2nd lottery but can only move up to 3rd.


There are 2 lottery balls drawn. If the 12th place teams wins the first lottery draw they can only move up 10 spots which means they get the 2nd pick. This automatically means that San Jose keeps their 1st pick. Thus whoever wins the second lottery draw ends up with the best remaining pick which is now the 3rd pick.


This could happen in the event that 11th place team (Buffalo) were to win the first place draw. This will take them up 10 spots to 2nd overall and thus giving San Hose the first overall selection automatically. Then if Montreal were to win the second lottery draw for 2nd place; seeing that Buffalo already owns the 2nd overall selection we would get the third overall selection.

Brett weir

The big draft is 2026 thats the one a team will want Gavin mckenna

Brett weir

It should be how it used to be
All ontario boys go to the leafs
All quebec go to Habs
And BC boys to Canucks
The same for American the wild get minnesots
All tge rest are egual
Rewsrd who really likes hockey and stop catering to crsppy American markets
They allready destroyed our game enough with trying to take out goons
You telling me any team would not be better with a probert
And while im complaining why are 6 – 6 goalies allowed to wear oversized gear that position now is who blocks the most net
They no longer save pucks they block with oversized upper body gear its a joke