The Colorado Avalanche had a miserable finish to their season., there's no denying that. But all of the on-ice pain that fans had to suffer through has its reward, as Colorado has a chance to revitalize their team through the 2011 NHL Entry Draft on June 24-25. Remember, the last time Colorado held a top three pick they chose star forward Matt Duchene, changing the direction of the franchise. Before the team picks it's bright new star, they have to find out where they will select in the upcoming draft.
Here's how the NHL draft lottery works. All 14 teams that failed to make the playoffs this season get entered into the lottery. Unlike the NBA system, where any non-playoff team gets a chance at the first overall selection, only the five worst teams can gain the top selection. By NHL rules, a team can move up a maximum of four draft slots by winning the lottery, but can only be bumped down a single spot.
The Colorado Avalanche finished with the second worst record, giving them a solid chance at the top overall selection. If that fails, they would slide down to third place at the very worst. Essentially, Colorado is guaranteed a top three pick in June, and has an 18.8% chance at the top selection.
Furthermore, since the Avalanche acquired a first round selection from the St. Louis Blues in the Erik Johnson trade, they also have a very good chance at the 11th overall selection in the draft. St. Louis finished with the 11th worst record in the standings, and the pick is top 10 protected. The only way that the Blues preserve their selection is by winning the entire draft and moving up to the seventh overall selection. (There's only a 1.5% chance of this happening, but Avalanche fans know how unlucky their team was this season.) If the Blues somehow win the lottery, then that first round pick will automatically be granted to Colorado in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The draft will be televised live on Versus Tuesday night at 6 p.m. MDT.