Detroit — For many hockey fans in Detroit, this season was supposed to be about the Red Wings losing as much as possible to secure the best odds for drafting Jack Hughes.
The season was going just fine, in those fans’ minds, all the way through the trade deadline.
Then the Wings started winning. And as the Wings amassed more points in the standings, their chances of getting the No. 1 pick diminished.
“The most important thing is that we play to the finish line,” general manager Ken Holland said in the final week of the season.
The Wings won six of their final eight games and eight of their final 11.
“It’s been a good thing,” Holland said. “I like that we’re winning off the backs of the young players, which provides hope for the future of this franchise. That’s the most important thing.
“And whether you have the fourth lottery odds or the fifth lottery odds, we’re talking about one or two percent (difference) going into the draft.”
And now, after so much anticipation and discussion about it, the draft lottery takes place Tuesday in Toronto.
The last-place finisher, Ottawa, has the best chance to win the lottery at 18.5 percent. That pick, incidentally, was traded to Colorado last season, so it would be the Avalanche selecting first in the draft if the Senators win the lottery.
Los Angeles, which finished 30th, is next at 13.5 percent of winning the lottery, while New Jersey is third at 11.5 percent.
The Red Wings are fourth at 9.5 percent and they have a 28.8 percent chance of moving into the top three. The worst the Wings can finish in the lottery is seventh.
“Let’s hope Tuesday night we get lucky in the lottery,” Holland said. “And if not, we’re going to get a good player, no matter where we pick in the draft.
“Certainly if you get up there to No. 1 or No. 2 you’re getting a really, really good player. But in order to get one or two, even if you have the worst record in the league, you only get an 18.5 percent chance at the first pick.”
There are 15 teams in the lottery, based on points earned in the regular season. Here are their chances of winning the No. 1 pick and of getting into the top three. (*Colorado owns the rights to Ottawa’s first-round pick):
*Ottawa: 64 points (18.5 percent at No. 1, 49.4 percent at top three)
Los Angeles: 71 points, (13.5 percent, 38.8 percent)
New Jersey: 72 points (11.5 percent, 33.9 percent)
Detroit: 74 points, (9.5 percent, 28.8 percent)
Buffalo: 76 points, (8.5 percent, 26.1 percent)
N.Y. Rangers: 78 points, (7.5 percent, 23.3 percent)
Edmonton: 79 points, (6.5 percent, 20.4 percent)
Anaheim: 80 points, (6 percent, 19 percent)
Vancouver: 81 points (5 percent, 16 percent)
Philadelphia: 82 points, (3.5 percent, 11.4 percent)
Minnesota: 83 points, (3 percent, 9.8 percent)
Chicago: 84 points, (2.5 percent, 8.2 percent)
Florida: 86 points (2 percent, 6.6 percent)
Arizona: 86 points, (1.5 percent, 5 percent)
Montreal: 96 points (1 percent, 3.3 percent)
NHL Draft lottery
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Format: The lottery will determine the top three teams in the draft. No team can fall more than three spots. The Red Wings are currently fourth in the draft order, so the worst they can do is seventh.
NHL Draft: June 21-22 in Vancouver