Fair warning: I'm about to help you waste a good part of your day. If you have an important deadline to hit or a child being born or some other pressing matter, you might want to turn back now.
Still here? OK. Then settle in for an epic time kill ... especially if you support a team that's out of the playoff mix.
We all know that the NHL draft lottery is going to be different this year, with new odds aimed at "more appropriately reflecting the current state of competitive balance." But it might take a visit to Rob Zaenglein's lottery simulator to appreciate just how impactful those changes could be.
Zaenglein's minimalist site offers daily updates of the 14 non-playoff teams, their point totals, and their chances of ending up with the first pick in this June's draft.
Oh, and there's a button. A button you will likely spend way too much time pushing.
What this button does is simulate the lottery scenario, demonstrating that any one of these teams could end up with the top pick and the right to draft Connor McDavid.
To prove the point: the winner of the draft on our first push was the Dallas Stars, despite their having only a 3% chance. The next push gave us Los Angeles, with just a 3.5% chance.
In fact, it wasn't until the sixth spin that the Sabres, who as the NHL's worst team would have an NHL-best 20% chance of winning, actually came out on top.
To illustrate just how likely it is that a team other than the one that finishes last will win, we then ran it 10 times. Buffalo came up twice, as expected, but so did Arizona (9.5%) and Minnesota (2.5%). Florida, Ottawa, Carolina and New Jersey came up once each. And Edmonton? Despite having the second most balls in the hopper, they were relegated to the third pick every time.
There's no guarantee that a tank job will pay off, of course, but this simulator clearly reinforces the value of finishing 30th instead of 29th. That last place team may only have a 20% chance at McDavid, but it will have a 100% shot at McDavid or Jack Eichel, the consensus second pick. For everyone else, it's just a roll of the dice.