The actual lottery is typically conducted 30 minutes earlier at NHL Headquarters in New York City. This video from 2013, featuring NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offers a detailed explanation of the process.
Designed to guard against teams purposely losing regular season games to improve their draft position, the weighted lottery system implemented prior to the 1995 NHL Entry Draft provides weaker teams with a greater chance of a higher pick without any guarantees for poor performance.
Until 2013, only the league's five worst regular season teams were eligible for the top overall pick, allowing teams to advance up to four spots and fall only one spot in the lottery. That changed in 2013 with all non-playoff teams eligible for the top overall pick albeit with their statistical likelihood directly tied to their final regular season standing. A team can still only fall one spot in lottery position.
For the third year in a row, the top pick went to someone other than the statistical favorite with the last place Buffalo Sabres edged out by the lottery winning Panthers. The win gives Florida their second top overall pick in franchise draft history since they selected defenseman Ed Jovanovski first in the 1994 Draft.
Other than Buffalo and Florida trading places, the remaining clubs placed as predicted by their statistical probabilities. The chart below shows final draft position by team and their accompanying odds of having won first pick overall in the lottery.
|Draft Position||Likelihood of 1st Pick|
|5. New York*||
|30. New Jersey***||
* New York Islanders
** Anaheim received pick from Ottawa for Bobby Ryan trade
*** New Jersey to pick 30th despite final standings and lottery outcome ------- owing to Ilya Kovalchuk's contract cap circumvention penalty.
Remaining NHL Entry Draft positions are set after the playoffs with the Stanley Cup champion and runner-up picking 30th and 29th, respectively. Conference finalists (28th, 27th) as well as division winners and wildcard teams (26th through 15th) are then ordered among their respective subgroup based on regular season standings, positioning teams with better regular season records to pick later than their peers.
* See also 2015 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2013 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2012 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2011 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2010 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2009 NHL Draft Lottery Results.