Sunday, April 28, 2013

Do-It-Yourself NHL Draft Simulator - Try it!

We'll know for sure how the NHL Draft Lottery will shake down on Monday at 6 pm MT when TSN will turn the act of a ball falling out of a re-furbished bingo machine -- a 2-3 second long process, into an 'enthralling' 30 minute television event.

But, who can blame them. They know they'll have millions of eyes on them, especially with the new draft lottery rules that took effect this year in which any of the 14 non-playoff teams could win the lottery and secure that coveted first overall pick. Sure, the odds are better of Florida (1 in 4 chance) winning than Columbus (1 in 200), but anything can happen.

But, why wait for Monday night?  Hold your own NHL Draft Lottery today!

By following my easy five-step, do-it-yourself NHL Draft lottery instructions, you can play the role of James Duthie, Bob McKenzie or any of your favourite TSN hockey personalities and re-create the NHL Draft Lottery event in your own garage, or living room, or even in your kitchen and you can do it right now.

There are two versions -- the simple version, tailored for Calgary Flames fans, and an advanced version.

Note: For some insight into where Calgary's other two draft picks from St. Louis and Pittsburgh could end up, read my Best-case/Worst-case Scenario from earlier today.

NHL Draft Lottery Simulation - Simple Version

This version is specific for Calgary Flames fans and will allow you to hold the lottery, then hold it again, then again, and again, and you can keep going until the Flames win it and get the No. 1 pick. Then, you can go to bed Sunday night and have blissful dreams of Nathan MacKinnon rather than tossing and turning in agony as you have recurring nightmares about Rico Fata (1998) and Daniel Tkaczuk (1997), the Flames last two attempts at drafting sixth overall.

Step 1 - You need 48 of something. Golf balls would work well as it's early in the season and surely you haven't lost that many yet. You could also use pennies because what are they good for anymore. Or, cherry tomatoes, socks, or cheerios from the backseat of your car.

Step 2 - To mimic the 6.2% odds of the Flames winning the lottery, mark three of the 48 objects you've chosen as "#1". If you're using socks because it's laundry day and you have way more than 48 to pick from, then pick three particular ones that will represent #1 pick.

Step 3 - To mimic the 17% odds that a team that finished higher in the overall standings than Calgary wins the lottery and jumps to No. 1, subsequently dropping the Flames down one pick to No. 7, mark eight of the 48 objects with a "#7".

If one of the other 37 objects is drawn, it will mean Florida, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Nashville or Carolina won the lottery and the Flames remain at sixth pick.

Step 4 - Put all of the objects into a bag, box, salad bowl, or laundry hamper and shuffle them up.

Step 5 - Close your eyes, cross your fingers and pick one. 

So, how do the odds in this simulation compare with real life?  It's very close.

For Real - Flames have 6.2% chance of picking No. 1, 17% chance of dropping to No. 7
Simulation - Flames have 6.25% chance of picking No. 1, 16.7% chance of dropping to No. 7

NHL Draft Lottery Simulation - Advanced Version

With this version, you can take your NHL Draft lottery re-creation to the next level by not just determining Calgary's fate, but actually learning who does win the lottery and if it's Edmonton, you can let out a 'phew' and be relieved that it's just a simulation.

Step 1 - Same as above.  You need 48 of something.

Step 2 - You need to allot a certain number of objects to all of the primary teams involved in the lottery. Here's how many of the objects each team will get. Write down the team name or somehow designate that quantity of objects to represent that team.
  • Florida - 12
  • Colorado - 9
  • Tampa Bay - 7
  • Nashville - 5
  • Carolina - 4
  • Calgary - 3
  • Edmonton - 2
  • Other - 6
Step 3 - Put all of the objects into a bag, box, salad bowl, or laundry hamper and shuffle them up.

Step 4 - Close your eyes, cross your fingers and pick one.

Step 5 - If you pick the "Other" object, then that means Calgary didn't win the lottery, nor did the Oilers, and both Alberta teams will end up dropping down one spot in the draft.

No, that doesn't help you with who actually wins, but what you know is it would have been either Buffalo, New Jersey, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Winnipeg or Columbus. Sorry, that's as precise as this simulation gets.

How do the odds compare with real life? Again, it's very close. Below are the real percentages followed in brackets by the percentages per this simulation.

Florida25% (25%)
Colorado - 18.8% (18.8%)
Tampa Bay - 14.2% (14.6%)
Nashville - 10.7% (10.4%)
Carolina - 8.1% (8.3%)
Calgary - 6.2% (6.25%)
Edmonton - 4.7% (4.2%)
Other - 12.3% (12.5%)

Have fun!

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