For Philadelphia Flyers fans, the 2021-22 season can’t end soon enough.
Following a 4-0 shutout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, the Flyers will close out this grim campaign when the Ottawa Senators visit Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.
Counting Lottery Balls
The next big date on the hockey calendar will be Tuesday, May 10. That’s when the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery will be held at the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey (6:30 p.m. ET).
Back in March of 2021, the NHL announced some changes to the draft lottery format.
Last year’s drawing saw the introduction of a 32nd team. The expansion Seattle Kraken moved up one spot to select Matty Beniers with the second overall pick.
Also, instead of three drawings, only the top two selections were up for grabs. This is intended to guarantee that no team can drop by more than two spots if its number isn’t drawn.
Call this the Steve Yzerman rule. It was put into place after the Detroit Red Wings fell from the first pick to the fourth in the 2020 Draft. They finished last that season, by a 23-point margin.
There are two more changes for 2022:
- No lottery team can move up by more than 10 positions. This is also intended to increase the chances of the lowest-ranked teams getting the highest picks. Call this the New York Rangers rule. After the Blueshirts moved up from sixth to second to grab Kaapo Kakko in 2019, the sparks flew when they parlayed their 18th-place finish into the first-overall selection just one year later, and picked Alexis Lafreniere.
- No team will be allowed to move up through a draft lottery win more than twice in a five-year period. This rule applies to all lottery wins, not just for the first pick. Along with the Rangers, fellow Metropolitan Division rivals the New Jersey Devils have also had two lottery wins in the last five years. They picked Nico Hischier first overall in 2017 and Jack Hughes in 2019. But these teams need not worry: the five-year counter starts this season.
If the rule about the 10-spot maximum had been in place in 2017, that could have changed the course of history for the Flyers.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ draft lottery win that year moved them from the 13th pick all the way up to second, where they selected Nolan Patrick. Drafted as a promising power forward, injury issues have impeded his development, and he was dealt away last summer as part of the Ryan Ellis trade. Now in Vegas, Patrick was limited to 25 games this season and posted seven points.
If the new rule had been in place, the Flyers would obtain the third pick. And if the third drawing was eliminated, the Dallas Stars wouldn’t have had the chance to move up five spots.
Here’s how the top of the 2017 NHL Draft actually looked — and how it could have changed:
- New Jersey Devils (Nico Hischier) -> unchanged
- Philadelphia Flyers (Nolan Patrick) -> drop to No. 3
- Dallas Stars (Miro Heiskanen) -> drop to No. 8
- Colorado Avalanche (Cale Makar) -> move up to No. 2
- Vancouver Canucks (Elias Pettersson) -> move up to No. 4
- Vegas Golden Knights (Cody Glass) -> move up to No. 5
- New York Rangers (Lias Andersson) -> move up to No. 6
- Buffalo Sabres (Casey Mittelstadt) -> move up to No. 7
How much would those tweaks have shuffled the player selection order? Would stars like Makar and Heiskanen be on different teams today?
Philadelphia Flyers’ 2022 Draft Lottery Odds
Heading into games on Thursday, April 28, the Flyers sit 29th in the NHL standings, with 61 points in 81 games.
If that’s where they finish up, they’ll have the fourth-best odds in the draft lottery, with a 9.5% chance of winning the first overall pick. The odds for the second drawing will be adjusted after the first drawing is complete.
But that position is not yet locked in. The Flyers could still move up or down by one spot.
The Devils sit 28th with 63 points. They play Carolina on Thursday, then are home to Detroit on Friday.
If New Jersey loses both of those games in regulation, and the Flyers beat the Senators on Friday, then Philadelphia will finish 28th based on the first tiebreaker, most regulation wins. That would earn them the fifth-best odds of selecting first, at 8.5%.
Seattle is currently 30th, with 58 points. The Kraken host the San Jose Sharks on Friday, then finish up in Winnipeg on Sunday.
Seattle also holds the edge in the tiebreaker over Philadelphia. So if the Kraken win both their remaining games and the Flyers lose to the Senators in any fashion, Seattle will move up to 29th. They’ll also move up if they collect three of their four available points and the Flyers lose in regulation to Ottawa.
If the Flyers beat the Senators, they can’t finish lower than 29th. If they do drop to 30th, their odds of selecting first increase to 11.5%.
The worst-case scenario would be to see the Flyers move to the 28th spot, then watch two teams above them in the standings win the lottery drawings. Even if that happens, they can’t move lower than the seventh pick.
Try your luck at the Tankathon website to peruse draft positions and player rankings, and see if you can secure a lottery win for the Philadelphia Flyers.
What’s At Stake?
The two top names on most draft lists for 2022 are a pair of North American centers — Canada’s Shane Wright and Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Other highly touted talent includes Czech defender David Jiricek, WHL center Matthew Savoie of the Winnipeg Ice and a pair of Slovaks, power forward Juraj Slafkovsky and defenseman Simon Nemec.
As they always like to say on draft lottery day — no matter where the Flyers end up picking, if they’re in the top seven they’re basically assured of getting a very good player to build around.
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