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NHL confirms date, lottery rules for 2013 Draft

The 2013 NHL Draft will have complicated lottery rules. Even under the complicated new formula, want to bet the first pick goes to Edmonton again? (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

The good news for this year's wait'll-next-year teams? More of them than ever can harbor the illusion of a shot at the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft...and they won't have to wait long to learn if they've actually won something for a change.

The 2013 NHL Draft Lottery, slated for Apr. 29, will be the first in which all 14 clubs that do not qualify for the playoffs (or a team that's acquired their pick) will have a chance at winning the right to make the first overall choice.

Previously, a team could move up no more than four spots, so only the five teams with the fewest point totals could claim the first selection.

The lottery itself will work the same as always, meaning the Oilers will defy the odds and win the first pick. (I kid, I kid!) Fourteen balls will be placed in a lottery machine. Four are expelled, forming a four-digit number that will be matched against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs. Seriously. They can't just chunk in a certain number of balls with each team's logo and have the machine spit one out because, well, maybe they'd have to lay off the league's crack staff of mathematicians or something.

Here is the likelihood of each team gaining the right to the first pick. Team 1 is Columbus (come on, we've all seen this movie before) with the other teams in reverse order of finish:

Team 1 --  25.0%

Team 2 -- 18.8%

Team 3 -- 14.2%

Team 4 -- 10.7%

Team 5 -- 8.1%

Team 6 -- 6.2%

Team 7 -- 4.7%

Team 8 -- 3.6%

Team 9 -- 2.7%

Team 10 -- 2.1%

Team 11 -- 1.5%

Team 12 -- 1.1%

Team 13 -- 0.8%

Team 14 -- 0.5%

A team other than the 30th-place club has won the lottery 10 times in the previous 17 drawings. Seven times, that team moved up to pick first overall. Only six times has the team with the best odds retained the top pick.

The draft itself is set for June 30, a Sunday for a change, with all seven rounds being conducted on the same day for the first time since 2006. The event will be hosted by the New Jersey Devils, who apparently forgot that they needed a log for this event until 10 minutes before the meeting.

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