2021 NHL draft lottery explainer for Sharks fans


The playoffs are underway, but while teams are competing for the Stanley Cup, those that didn’t get into the postseason have the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery as the next big event on the docket. 

The 15 teams, plus the expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, will have an opportunity to receive the No. 1 or No. 2 draft pick in the upcoming NHL draft. While there is no clear No. 1 pick like Alexis Lafrenière last year, plenty of teams will want to be the recipient of that top pick. 

The San Jose Sharks are one of the teams with a chance to get that No. 1 pick. But how good are their odds? Let’s take a look at what to expect at the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery. 

When is the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery?

The 2021 NHL Lottery Draft is on June 2 at 4 p.m. PT. This will determine the order of all the teams not competing in the playoffs. The NHL Draft will be on July 23-24.


How does the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery work?

The rules are different this season, as the NHL announced in March. This comes after the 2020 NHL Lottery Draft saw the worst team, the Detroit Red Wings, who had the highest odds at the first overall pick, slip all the way to fourth after the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings. 

For this year, the 15 teams that missed the playoffs, plus the Seattle Kraken, all have a chance at the No. 1 and No. 2 overall pick. But those are the only two picks that can be given to anyone. After those two picks are assigned, the rest of the lottery picks will go in reverse order of regular season points. 

Another change is that a franchise cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year span. This will apply to both the No. 1 and No. 2 picks. 

Who has the best chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft?

The odds for each team have been set based on their final records and where they finished in the league standings, with the Buffalo Sabres having the highest chance at the No. 1 pick -- 16.6% -- and continues to decrease all the way to the New York Rangers at 1.0%. 

The Kraken were automatically given the same odds as the third-worst team, the New Jersey Devils, for the No. 1 pick. They will fill out the rest of their squad at the expansion draft on June 21 to prepare for their inaugural season in 2021-22. 

The Arizona Coyotes do not own a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, as the team was forced to give up its pick after the NHL discovered the club had violated the league’s combine testing policy. If they land either the No. 1 or No. 2  pick, there will be a redraw. 


Here are the odds for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft:

1. Buffalo Sabres: 16.6 percent

2. Anaheim Ducks: 12.1 percent

3. Seattle Kraken: 10.3 percent

4. New Jersey Devils: 10.3 percent

5. Columbus Blue Jackets: 8.5 percent

6. Detroit Red Wings: 7.6 percent

7. San Jose Sharks: 6.7 percent

8. Los Angeles Kings: 5.8 percent

9. Vancouver Canucks: 5.4 percent

10. Ottawa Senators: 4.5 percent

11. Arizona Coyotes: 3.1 percent 

12. Chicago Blackhawks: 2.7 percent

13. Calgary Flames: 2.2 percent

14. Philadelphia Flyers: 1.8 percent

15. Dallas Stars: 1.4 percent

16. New York Rangers: 1.0 percent