Red Wings Hold 15th-Best Odds in 2024 NHL Draft Lottery

The Hockey Writers

Now that the 2023-24 season is over, with the Detroit Red Wings narrowly missing out on a playoff berth, and the team’s locker room has been cleared out for the offseason, it’s time to look forward The offseason is upon us once more, and the first event is just weeks away. The NHL Draft Lottery. 

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Tyler Wright, Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings, 2019 NHL Draft (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Last year, I went through the past decade of draft lotteries and found that the Red Wings had the worst lottery luck over that period, dropping more spots than any other team that never won a lottery spot. That is unlikely to change this year, though it would be oddly fitting for Detroit to finally win a draft lottery while the rules dictate they still wouldn’t get the first overall pick. 

Related: 2024 NHL Mock Draft 1.0

Let’s take a look at Detroit’s lottery odds, take a refresher on the NHL’s new draft lottery rules, and the check out the value of their most likely draft slot!

Worst Lottery Odds Yet

The Red Wings have the second worst lottery odds in the league, with just a 1.1% chance of winning. That leaves a 97.9% chance of staying put at 15th overall and a 1.1% chance of the St. Louis Blues winning (16th best odds) and bumping Detroit down to 16th overall (odds via. Tankathon). You read that right, Detroit has the same odds of rising in the lottery as they do of sliding.

After having the fourth best odds in 2019, the top odds in 2020, and the sixth best in 2021 (among other top-10 lottery odds), Detroit has failed to win a draft lottery. Now that they’ve begun to dig their way out of that rut without lottery luck, their odds are extremely low of winning a lottery. 

Draft Lottery Structure

Under the NHL’s current draft lottery rules, teams can only improve their draft pick by a maximum of 10 spots in the draft order with a lottery win, meaning Detroit has no chance at a top-three pick this year. Fifth overall is on the table though, if the 1.1% chance comes through and Detroit’s ping-pong ball wins.

Another recently added wrinkle to the rules states that each team can only win the draft lottery a maximum of two times in a five-year span, meaning that teams who have won the lottery in the past two drafts only have one more win available to them before being exempt from the draft lottery. 

This is a new enough rule that it hasn’t been fully tested in the NHL yet, though a lottery win for the Montreal Canadiens (2022 winner), New Jersey Devils (2022 winner), Chicago Blackhawks (2023 winner), or Anaheim Ducks (2023 winner would put this rule into effect for the 2025 draft lottery, improving the effective odds of every other lottery team (in the case that the two-time winner is still a bottom-16 team in the NHL next season.

How Valuable is the 15th Overall Pick This Year?

Since it is highly unlikely Detroit picks anywhere but 15th overall this year, let’s take an early look at the value of that spot in this year’s first round. Overall, I’d say it’s a pretty good spot to land, with plenty of high-upside prospects to still be on the board. I see this draft as a top-13 group (with Tij Iginla recently joining), though I’ve seen at least 20 prospects ranked in the top-10 by a variety of scouts whom I trust.

After the first overall selection, this draft is going to be really interesting for at least 20 picks or so since I expect most teams’ draft lists to contain more variance than usual. As a result, I think it’s highly likely that someone Detroit ranks in their top-10 going into the draft will be available to them at 15, and coming out of a given draft with a player who you believe can be a top-10 talent is a win.

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Detroit’s amateur scouting staff has had a strong track record in the Steve Yzerman-era, especially in the first round, and I expect that will continue this year. I think players like Liam Greentree and Michael Hage would almost certainly be on the board still, with guys like Michael Brandsegg-Nygard and Beckett Sennecke at about a 50/50 chance, and guys like Cole Eiserman or Tij Iginla being longshots. 

All of the above are talented wingers/centers who would fill different holes in the organization, though one of Eiserman or Iginla falling to 15 would be a massive win for a Red Wings organization in need of high-end offense and goal scoring.

Recent Players Selected 15th

Once the draft lottery has come and gone and the draft order is set, I’ll dive into the last 10 players selected in that spot to give Red Wings fans a better idea of the level of prospect they can expect, but I think it’s worth taking a quick look at some notable players selected 15th overall right now.

The player most likely to stand out to Red Wings fans is Dylan Larkin. Detroit’s captain was selected 15th back in 2014 and has become the foundation of this team as we know it. Red Wings goaltending prospect Sebastian Cossa also comes to mind as the 15th overall pick back in the 2021 Draft. Cole Caufield went 15th back in 2019, proof that high-end goal scorers with questions about the completeness of their game can slide all the way to 15 *cough* Cole Eiserman *cough*.

There are some less successful players selected 15th like Grigori Denisenko back in 2018 or Luke Kunin in 2016, though both of them still are, or project to be, full time NHL caliber players. 15th overall is often a spot where a team can scoop up a high-risk/high-reward type player who has slid a bit on the draft board, and there are a handful of gifted offensive players who could conceivably fall to Detroit this year.

Least Exciting Draft Lottery for Red Wings Fans in Recent Memory

At the end of the day, Detroit is almost certainly going to be picking 15th and will have at least a few excellent prospects to choose from. The date for the 2024 NHL Draft lottery was just set for May 7, meaning Red Wings fans won’t have to even wait two weeks to learn where Detroit will be selecting this year.

While I think this will be another successful draft cycle for a Red Wings group that has been rebuilding for quite some time, it is also the least excited the fanbase has been for a draft lottery over that same period. In the past, the draft lottery has been circled on most fans’ calendars before the regular season was even over, but this year’s success means the draft lottery has been on the back-burner. Here’s to hoping we don’t need to think about the draft lottery at all 12 months from now.

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