John Tavares and the Draft Lottery


The Canucks played a terrible game today against the Sharks, so I rather not talk about them.

Let’s talk about this guy called John Tavares, 18 yr-old, 6’0″ and 203 lbs.

Granted the status of “Exceptional Player”, at the age of 14, which allowed him to be drafted before turning 15, making him the youngest player ever drafted in the OHL. Tavares scored 45 goals, 32 assists in his first season with the Generals, winning him both the CHL and OHL Rookie of the Year Awards.

His second season in Oshawa was even better, scoring 72 goals, breaking a 29-year-old OHL record for most goals by a 16-yr-old. The previous record was held by some guy called Gretzky, and he only had 70 goals. The same season, he won the Red Tilson Trophy for the most outstanding player in the OHL. He was also the CHL Player of the year.

His third year showed some signs of decline, as he’s probably bored of the lack of challenge, amassing “only” 40G and 78A for 118Pts. (He did play eight games fewer than his last season).

Entering his fourth seasons with Oshawa, as of today, Tavares’ played 31 games, and has 25G, 27A and 52Pts.

Tavares’ birthday in 2008 was just 5 days short of the NHL Entry Draft cut-off requirements, but there are many who believes that if Tavares was eligible to be drafted in 2008, Steven Stamkos would not be the 1st overall pick.

In fact, few would make this comparison between Tavares and Stamkos, instead most analysts have compared Tavares to Crosby, and the resemblence of their upcoming rivlary to the Gretzky-Lemieux rivalry. Wow, that’s quite a compliment!!

I still remember how Crosby single-handedly saved the entire Penguins organization from bankruptcy and re-location. Imagine the team which drafts Tavares!! It’s certainly more than what Stamkos is doing for the Lightning right now. TSN’s Pirerre McGuire once said that Tavares is “…more of a refined scorer than Sid is…Sid would be a better goal scorer than Peter Forsberg, and he has been, and now…Tavares is more a refined scorer than Sid.” I think that anyone who’s seen Tavares play at games or from Youtube will surely agree that Tavares has excellent vision, hand-eye co-ordination and scoring touch.

So if a team can choose a season to tank, this will certainly be the season. But with the Draft Lottery system, it’s more difficult than it seems. From the people I talked to, no-one really understands how the Draft Lottery works, it’s deliberately made to confuse everyone, I guess to avoid manipulation and cheating!!???

Anyways, I thought it’d be interesting to share how this works:

Each seasons, the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs are eligible for the Lottery. (Let’s assume every team keeps their own draft pick, for simplicity sake) The club selected in the draw may not move up more than four positions in the draft order, so this means only the bottom 5 teams in the standings have the chance to select the first overall pick.

Then, it gets complicated, accoriding to, “Fourteen balls, numbered 1-14, are placed in a lottery machine and four are drawn, forming a series of numbers. A probability chart, created by Bortz & Company, divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs. The four-digit series that results from the balls drawn are be compared to the probability chart to determine the team to which that combination has been assigned.”

Okay, no matter how many time I read that, I just can’t seem to understand what it means. But luckily, I don’t need to, all I need to know is the probability for each of the 5 teams in landing Tavares!

Let’s use the current standings as an example, right now from bottom to top, the five teams are:

 New York Islanders (30), Tampa Bay Lightning (29), Atlanta Thrashers (28), St. Louis Blues (27), Ottawa Senators (26).

Wierd how some of these teams suddenly suck so much that they are bottom-feeders….the Sens????!!!! Come-on!!! And spreading all the Spezza trading rumors too!! Everyone knows what they are up to~

So, if the Draft Lottery starts tomorrow, their chances of landing Super John are:

Islanders – 48.2%
Lightning – 18.8%
Thrashers –  14.2%
Blues – 10.7%
Senators – 8.1%

8.1% isn’t that bad of a chance really, but there’s still 48 games to be played, and I am sure teams can easily lower their standings to fight for the 48.2%. I know right now Toronto is ranked 22, but with the organization’s intend for rebuild, and especially Burke’s motto of “either fighting for the cup or fighting for the 1st pick”, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Toronto near the bottom by the end of the season.

I mean, Tavares have many times stated that the Maple Leafs are his favorite hockey club growing up in Mississauga, Ontario.

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