Sharks finish the season in 29th place, fingers crossed for 2023 draft lottery

With the regular season over, we now know exactly what the Sharks' odds are in the draft lottery. Why the team can't receive the third overall pick this year.

Sharks finish the season in 29th place, fingers crossed for 2023 draft lottery
Photo by D koi / Unsplash

Mark your calendars Sharks fans, Monday, May 8 at 4 p.m. PT is when it all goes down.

All the finger-crossing in the world couldn't drop our beloved Sharks lower in the draft lottery. Despite the best attempts of the Columbus Blue Jackets to go on a run in the final days of the season, it could not pull off that victory in it's last game of the season.

As a result, San Jose finishes 29th, the Chicago Blackhawks finish 30th, the Blue Jackets finish 31st and the Anaheim Ducks claim that coveted 32nd spot.

Fourth from last in the league is an interesting spot to be in for the Sharks.

Looking at the 2023 NHL Draft odds from Tankathon, the good news is San Jose has a 19.3% chance of jumping up to the first or second pick in the draft. Not bad on the surface.

However, it is also impossible for San Jose to receive the third pick. As in the rules of the lottery will not allow it.

How does the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery work?

Which leads to the question, why?

There are a few rules you need to know about the draft lottery.

Teams are not allowed to win the draft lottery two times in the span of five years. That rule doesn't come into play this year simply because no teams qualify. According to, the last five first overall draft picks have fallen as follows:

  • 2022 - Montreal Canadiens - Juraj Slafkovsky
  • 2021 - Buffalo Sabres - Owen Power
  • 2020 - New York Rangers - Alexis Lafreniere
  • 2019 - New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes
  • 2018 - Buffalo Sabres - Rasmus Dahlin

The only team with the possibility of putting the twice in a five year span rule into action is the Sabres, however, Buffalo's finish at 20th puts the team out of the running by way of the 10 spots rule.

The 10 spots rule is something the NHL put into place in 2022. It says any team in the draft can only move up a maximum of 10 spots in the draft lottery.

So, for example, if the Pittsburgh Penguins "won" the draft lottery in the first draw, the team could not take the first pick in the draft. Instead, the Penguins would jump up ten spaces to fourth overall. As a result, the Anaheim Ducks would receive the first overall pick by default.

After that, all the remaining teams (i.e., minus the Ducks and Penguins) would be tossed back into the draft lottery machine, and another draw would be held, this time for the second overall spot in the draft. Again, a team can only jump up 10 spaces, so if the Calgary Flames won the second draft, the Flames would receive the fifth overall pick, and the Columbus Blue Jackets would receive the second pick by default.

There are only two drawings, so all the other teams fall into line in order of how they finished the season.

That's why it's impossible for the Sharks to get the third overall pick.

One final note. Don't expect to see bouncing ping pong balls with the Sharks' logo on them on draft day. According to NBC Sports, teams receive a random four-digit combination before the draft. Then, the balls bounce around and "four balls are drawn at 15-second intervals." The winning number gets the first pick or jumps up in the draft depending on who wins. Then the numbers are tossed back into the pot, and it starts all over again.

Can't anyone do math?

The latest process for the NHL Draft Lottery has received criticism, and for good reason. For one thing, have you looked at how the odds play out in reality?

The way the lottery is set up, the Sharks actually have better odds of picking lower in the draft than where they finished in the league!

San Jose has a 19.3% chance of picking higher than where the team finished in the league standings. However, just a 15.4% chance of picking exactly fourth and a 65.4% chance of picking lower than where it finished.

In other words, prepare yourself for disappointment Sharks fans. If you listen to the pundit, only the top three or four picks are expected to be major NHL impact players and the Sharks' best draft lottery odds are to pick lower than that.

Those darn 3-point games

And while I'm complaining, allow me to spend a moment on those stupid consolation points. They're great when you're trying to eke your way into the playoffs but when you're at the bottom end of things, they can really come back to bite you in the butt.