Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames are frustratingly close to entering the NHL draft lottery

The Calgary Flames have been in a strange position for weeks. If they win five straight, they might be in a playoff spot, and if they lose three straight, they might be in the Bedard lottery. All of this is also dependent on how other teams perform too, of course.

A week and a half ago, things were looking good, as the Flames had just beaten the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild on back-to-back nights. Coupled with Winnipeg losing a few games, and suddenly the Flames were only four points out of a playoff spot, with equal games at hand on the Jets.

But, the Flames laid an egg against the Ducks (pun intended) and Winnipeg won, so they again found themselves six points out of a playoff spot, with equal games played. A few days ago, the Flames only got a point against the Coyotes. This has been a troubling conundrum for the Flames all season, as they can play and win against good opponents, but take weaker opponents too lightly and often fail to capture two points. It has been very frustrating for fans, and I’m sure management as well.

The NHL draft lottery

As we have wrote about before, the NHL changed the draft lottery system heading into the 2023 NHL Draft. Now, teams can only move up a maximum of ten spots in the draft. Two lotteries are held, one for the 1st overall, and another for the 2nd overall. The 2023 draft class holds a ton of top-end talent, starting with the household name everyone knows, Connor Bedard.

If a team wants a shot at Connor Bedard, they have to finish 22nd or worse in the league—or the bottom 11 if that makes it easier. The Flames find themselves in 18th overall in the standings, and therefore 14th overall for the draft. The Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, and Ottawa Senators are the trio of teams standing in their way of the lottery.

This definitely isn’t the position the Flames, fans, or people around the league thought Calgary would be in at all, but here they are. Now, it’s very likely the Flames go on a winning streak here to seal their inevitable doom of not making the playoffs and not getting a high draft pick. But for the Flames to contend in the lottery, they realistically might only drop to 22nd overall, thus meaning they’d have 3% lottery odds at first overall, and 3.3% at second overall.

Getting either Bedard or Adam Fantilli would be franchise altering for a Flames team that has never picked in the top three. In fact, the Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights—who joined the league via expansion in 2017—are the only two teams to never pick in the top three. Getting even a 3% chance at changing your franchise for the next fifteen plus years is massive, so hopefully they can hold onto their lottery positioning.

This graphic from helps to demonstrate the Flames’ current odds and what they’d be if they drop to 22nd in the league (where Ottawa is in the graphic).

Flurry of teams around the Flames

There is a massive pileup of teams around the Flames positioning, which could affect their chances at landing in the Bedard lottery. Those teams include the aforementioned Sabres, Capitals, and Senators, as well as the Florida Panthers and the Detroit Red Wings. The Predators thought they were going to be in this position as well, and sold off a ton of assets at the deadline, but have catapulted above the Flames by a point, with three games at hand. If the Flames want to land in the lottery, they can only afford one of those teams to be below them in the standings.

This is demonstrated well in’s Point Projections:

Focusing on the West, Calgary’s projection has stayed relatively the same, while the Predators have capitalized on the tough run from the Jets, and are sitting right behind them. Calgary is projected to have 90.2 points, which places them 14th in the league. Conveniently, that’s where they currently lie in the standings as of today. Definitely not the ideal position by any means, but at least they aren’t projected to pick right at 16th overall, which is the worst possible position to end up in.

Calgary’s not in control of their lottery destiny

There was a massive matchup last night between the Sabres and Capitals, which went to overtime. Now, Buffalo is only two points behind the Flames, with a game at hand. Washington is only a point behind the Flames, playing more than one game.

Now, we all know no team will admit to tanking, and realistically teams playing for the wild cards really will try to put their best foot forward and make the postseason. However, there is still so much that can impact the final standings in the league. The Flames have been so close to entering the lottery on multiple occasions but have yet to officially be in it.

The dust might not settle until the very last day of the regular season, and with all the bubble teams theoretically still contending for the wild card spots, there’s no telling what will happen for any team involved.

All that being said, even if Calgary doesn’t win the lottery, there are still some great talents that will be around when the Flames are picking. The Win Column will have a ton of deep dives into individual players that may be fits for the Flames as we get closer to the first round of the NHL Draft on June 28.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

Back to top button