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Bettman stands by NHL draft lottery system: ‘Nobody tanks’

Gary Bettman is adamant teams across the NHL don’t throw their seasons in hopes for some lottery luck.

“Nobody tanks because we have a weighted lottery,” the commissioner said Tuesday, per The Athletic’s Arpon Basu. “You’re not going to lose games to increase your odds by a couple of percentage points. That’s silly.

“And frankly, suggesting tanking, I believe is inconsistent with the professionalism that our players and our coaches have. Nobody tanks. Our players and coaches do their best to win. And again, just because you may finish with the worst record in the league. you’ve got something like a 75% chance that you’re not going to get the first pick.”

Tanking is a hot topic this year due to the franchise-altering potential of consensus no. 1 draft prospect Connor Bedard. The 17-year-old Canadian phenom is fresh off capturing MVP at the world juniors in January, and entered Tuesday with a whopping 81 points in 33 games for the WHL’s Regina Pats.

All 16 teams who fail to qualify for the playoffs will be entered in the lottery. However, the NHL made an adjustment to the format in 2021 preventing teams from moving up more than 10 spots.

The Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets are currently tied at the bottom of the NHL standings with 31 points apiece. Here’s how the odds will stack up in June for the top five teams in the running to win the lottery based on standings:

Position (current holder) Odds
32nd (Ducks) 18.5%
31st (Blue Jackets) 13.5%
30th (Blackhawks) 11.5%
29th (Coyotes) 9.5%
28th (Sharks) 8.5%

The Montreal Canadiens, currently ranked 26th, won the lottery in 2022 and selected winger Juraj Slafkovsky first overall. Teams aren’t allowed to win the lottery more than twice in a five-year span.

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