NHL Draft Lottery 2012: Whose Fail Earned Them Nail?

TORONTO - APRIL 13: Deputy Commissioner of the NHL Bill Daly announces the fourth pick to go to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the NHL Draft Lottery Drawing at the TSN Studio April 13, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images for NHL)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have the best chance of winning Tuesday night's NHL Draft Lottery, but that doesn't guarantee them the opportunity to draft Nail Yakupov at the 2012 draft in Pittsburgh.

It doesn't ring like the "Suck For Luck!" battle cry did throughout the NFL season, but the NHL has its own catchy little moniker for bad teams to enjoy.

"Fail for Nail!"

Nail Yakupov is a star forward for the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting. He scored 31 goals and totaled 69 points in just 42 games this season, and he's expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this summer's draft.

The Columbus Blue Jackets had the worst record in the league -- by far -- this season, but it's not guaranteed that whoever is their general manager on June 24 will get to select Yakupov first overall.

Before we get there, the league's non-playoff teams will have to go through the annual NHL Draft Lottery Tuesday night.

Columbus has the best chance of anyone in the lottery to get the top pick, but the odds are still less than 50/50 (48.2 percent, to be exact). The Blue Jackets can win the lottery without winning the lottery. The team's 25 percent-to-win odds are bolstered by the fact that if a team that finished outside of the bottom five wins the lottery, that team doesn't actually move into the top position. Instead, Columbus keeps its spot, and the team that "won" the lottery moves up four positions from its originally slotted spot.

For example, Minnesota had the seventh-worst record, and has a 4.7 percent chance of winning the lottery. If the Wild win the lottery, they will pick third, and Columbus will pick first. No team can move down more than one spot in the draft order from its regular season finish.

Per the NHL, here are the odds each participating teams has of winning the lottery:

Columbus Blue Jackets - 25.0
Edmonton Oilers - 18.8
Montreal Canadiens - 14.2
New York Islanders - 10.7
Toronto Maple Leafs - 8.1
Anaheim Ducks - 6.2
Minnesota Wild - 4.7
Carolina Hurricanes - 3.6
Winnipeg Jets - 2.7
Tampa Bay Lightning - 2.1
Washington Capitals (from Colorado) - 1.5
Buffalo Sabres - 1.1
Dallas Stars - 0.8
Calgary Flames - 0.5

Columbus hopes recent trends hold, as the league's worst team has gotten the first pick three years in a row. But what if Columbus' season-long fail doesn't get them Nail?

Well, NHL Central Scouting has made its determinations on this year's prospects. The bureau's final rankings were released Monday.

Edmonton, slotted second, probably wouldn't mind all that much if the Blue Jackets secured Yakupov. The second-rated player is a promising defenseman, Ryan Murray of the Western Hockey League's Everett (Wash.) Silvertips. If Edmonton wants to bolster its rather weak defense, there are other options in the top 10 should Murray not be available because the Oilers fell a spot in the final order. Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) blue-liner Morgan Rielly has a lot of promise and should be a high selection.

Centers Alex Galchenyuk (Sarnia) and Mikhail Grigorenko (Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) will also be high first-round selections, probably in the top five. Galchenyuk missed much of this season with injuries (including an ACL tear that required surgery in October), but he is still highly regarded among scouts.

There is a stigma that always seems to surround Russian players in the draft. This seems to have increased a bit since the advent of the KHL, which has presented -- in the eyes of some -- a viable alternative to playing in North America.

For Yakupov and Grigorenko, there will be plenty of questions about their intentions, but there has been no indication at this point that either player is a "flight risk." Grigorenko may have more time to deal with those questions, largely because he isn't necessarily considered a player who will be ready for the NHL come October. Yakupov is.

Tuesday presents an opportunity for five teams to inject some life into what has been a dismal winter and early spring. Columbus, Edmonton, Montreal, the Islanders and Toronto have at least a chance of getting the top pick and a shot at Yakupov (or whichever player tickles their fancy). We haven't seen anything to indicate the Isles or Leafs will be making any changes in the front office, but Montreal already has, and there is plenty of speculation about Columbus and Edmonton making moves.

Whoever is in charge will have an important decision to make in June. Tuesday is the latest step in that process.

For lots more on the 2012 NHL Draft, please visit SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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