Despite Clinching Last Place, Red Wings Most Likely To Pick Fourth In Draft

Hopefully a better fate awaits them.

97.1 The Ticket
March 11, 2020 - 11:35 am
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With their loss to the Hurricanes Tuesday night, the Red Wings clinched last place in the NHL.

Horray! Now they'll have the best odds of winning the draft lottery. 

But don't count on it. 

Since the NHL adjusted its draft format in 2015, the last-place team is only guaranteed a top-four pick. In fact, the Red Wings are more likely to pick fourth overall this year than they are to pick anywhere in the top three.

The lottery odds give Detroit an 18.5 percent chance at the top pick and a 49.4 percent chance at a top-three pick. If you're doing the math at home, that means Detroit has a 50.6 percent chance of picking fourth. 

We saw this happen just last year. The Senators finished last in the league, then dropped to fourth in the draft. (Of course, Ottawa's pick had already been traded to Colorado.) The same fate befell the Avalanche in 2017.

It doesn't mean the top pick is out of the question for the Red Wings. The last-place Maple Leafs won the Austin Matthews sweepstakes in 2016, and the last-place Sabres won the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes in 2018. 

Lord knows the Wings, one of the worst teams in the salary cap era, deserve to win the rights to star-in-the-making Alexis Lafreniere. 

But if the ping pong balls don't fall in their favor April 9, don't be surprised.