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How to watch the 2018 NHL draft lottery

Stan Bowman

Stan Bowman will be repping the Hawks at the draft lottery. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

The top three spots in the 2018 NHL Draft will be determined with the lottery Saturday night in Toronto. Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is considered the biggest prize in this year’s class, and whoever wins the No. 1 overall pick will likely end up taking the potential superstar blue liner in June.

The NHL couldn’t help but make this year’s lottery more complicated than it needs to be, however, so we won’t find out the entire draft order in a single sitting. Instead, the league will unveil No. 15 through No. 4 in the draft order in a special show on NBCSN starting at 6:30 p.m. CT, then the No. 3 through No. 1 spots will be revealed during the second intermission of the Sharks-Golden Knights playoff game.

So, yes, if your team ends up in the top three of the draft, you’ll know by 7 p.m. But it will be a while after that until we’ll know who actually receives the top overall pick.

The Sabres have the top odds for the No. 1 pick at 18.5 percent after finishing last in the league standings for the 2017-18 season. The Senators (13.5 percent) and Coyotes (11.5 percent) also have double-digit odds. At the other end of the spectrum, the Panthers have the lowest odds at one percent. Here’s the full breakdown.

Team No. 1 odds Top 3 odds
Sabres 18.5% 49.4%
Senators 13.5% 38.8%
Coyotes 11.5% 33.9%
Canadiens 9.5% 28.8%
Red Wings 8.5% 26.1%
Canucks 7.5% 23.3%
Blackhawks 6.5% 20.4%
Rangers 6.0% 19.0%
Oilers 5.0% 16.0%
Islanders 3.5% 11.4%
Hurricanes 3.0% 9.9%
Islanders (via Flames) 2.5% 8.2%
Stars 2.0% 6.6%
Blues 1.5% 5.0%
Panthers 1.0% 3.3%

The league uses a system where 1,001 four-digit combinations are distributed among the teams based on the lottery odds. Fourteen balls numbered 1-14 are placed in a chamber, and four of them are plucked out to create a four-digit sequence.

The team with the corresponding four-digit sequence is awarded that pick. This process is first done for the No. 1 pick, then the No. 2 pick, then the No. 3 pick. All of that is done behind closed doors before the results are unveiled on TV.

Here’s how to tune into a night that could change several franchises’ fortunes for years.

How to watch the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery

Time: 6:30 p.m. CT


Live stream: NBC Sports Live