2023 NHL Draft Lottery Primer

Photo: NHL.com

For the first time in quite a while, Washington Capitals fans will have intrigue surrounding the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery in the coming days. Here is all you need to know for the biggest night for non-postseason teams while the Stanley Cup Playoffs are going on:


  • Monday 5/8, 8 PM ET

How To Watch

  • ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN in United States
  • Sportsnet, Sportsnet Now, TVA Sports (French) in Canada

Draft Lottery Odds

Photo: @PR_NHL
  • Teams can
    • only move up a maximum of 10 spots in the draft selection order
    • down a maximum of just two from their current seed in the rankings above

How It Works

  • 14 ping-pong balls loaded into lottery machine
    • each of them labeled with number between 1-14
      • 1,001 different four-digit number combinations between 1 and 14
      • NHL needs 1,000 various possible numbers to execute lottery
      • One possible combination chosen at random, removed from pool of possible numbers to leave process with 1,000 numbers
  • each NHL team in the lottery assigned series of randomly-selected four-digit numbers in accordance with their lottery odds
    • Anaheim Ducks have an 18.5% chance based on their last-place finish, so 185 number combinations, but they also win if the 12th through 16th-place teams win and move up 10 spots
      • five clubs combined have a 7% chance of winning (70 four-number combinations), which gives Anaheim 255 four-number combinations that would lead to first overall selection
      • Columbus Blue Jackets next at 13.5% (135 four-number combinations), followed by Chicago Blackhawks at 11.5% (115), San Jose Sharks at 9.5% (95), Montreal Canadiens at 8.5% (85), and so on
  • list of numbers and 1,001st number that was previously randomly selected and set aside is made public by NHL
    • lottery draw, and there are actually two
      • first to select the No. 1 pick
      • second for the No. 2
    • four-number combination that pops up from the lottery machine matched with list of numbers to see winner
      • If it is any of the bottom 11 teams, that is the club that gets to pick No. 1
      • If winner is a team in the No. 12-No. 16 range, Anaheim will get the No. 1 pick
        • that “winning” team will slot up 10 spots from their pre-set lottery odds
      • second draw then held to determine the next-highest available spot

Top Prospects, According To NHL Central Scouting

North American Skaters

Screenshot: NHL.com

North American Goaltenders

Screenshot: NHL.com

European Skaters

Screenshot: NHL.com

European Goaltenders

Screenshot: NHL.com

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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9 Responses to 2023 NHL Draft Lottery Primer

  1. Dave says:

    So you’re saying there’s a chance…

    (Sorry, just wanted to be the first person to say this 😊 )

  2. vanorm says:

    So, the Caps have close to a 20% chance to move up?

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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