NHL Draft lottery: The actual draw explained

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Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks before the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

With the Rangers in the draft lottery for the second consecutive year, it may be helpful to explain how the actual draw works. Every year, we hear fans complain about it being rigged, but the NHL has developed a process which is fair and tamper-proof. But how does it work?

Commissioner Bettman is in a room with representatives of each team, plus journalists and two representatives of Ernest & Young who will manually verify the combination with the chart they have in front of them. The look-up chart is available to everyone in the room, including the team’s representatives. The people in the room are not allowed any contact with the outside world until the results of the draw are announced on television in the next room.

The lottery machine is filled with 14 balls numbered 1-14. Each lottery draws four balls which creates a unique four-number combination, regardless of sequence. This results in 1001 possible combinations, with the combination 11-12-13-14 being designated as a redraw. In addition, if a team’s combination appears a second time, there is an automatic redraw. The remaining 1000 combinations are divided among the teams at random, and based on their percentage. The New York Rangers will have 75 possible combinations assigned to them out of 1000.

The person controlling the machine does not face the machine as he presses the button to draw the numbers, which are drawn in ten second intervals. Each ball is shown to the representatives of Ernst & Young who then individually verify the combination before the balls are redistributed for the next draw. Once the three draws are completed, the winners are announced during the live broadcast on NBC. The video of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery draw is available on YouTube for anyone who is interested in seeing the process in action.

The fate of the Rangers in the 2019 NHL Draft will be announced tonight at 8 pm on NBCSN.

Rangers fan living in Europe, traveling around the world to attend hockey games, see prospects and contribute with interviews

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