Monday, March 7, 2011

All Things Avs blog: Dater finds a way to make people still care about Anderson

Here we have Dater's blog entry about the Avs' position in the upcoming draft. He opens with an "I'm not going to (blank), but..." statement, saying that he won't go into the reasons why he thinks the Anderson trade was a bad one. Naturally, he then immediately spends the remainder of the paragraph rehashing the reasons why he thinks the Anderson trade was a bad one. Enough already.

He moves away from this, though, to discuss what effect Anderson's turnaround in Ottawa might have on the Avalanche. Dater's theory is that if Anderson plays well enough, he could pull the Sens out of last place, making room for the Avs to swoop in and take the #1 pick.

This blog entry is telling for two reasons. One, it shows us that Dater is toeing the line of obsession with the Anderson trade, and Two, it suggests that Dater does not understand how the NHL draft works.

It's a lottery. Every team that doesn't make the playoffs gets thrown in the lottery, weighted by where they finished... the 30th-ranked team has a 25% chance of winning the lottery, the 17th ranked team has a 0.5% chance of winning. The single winning team moves up a maximum of four places from their finishing spot, and every other team falls in line based on where they finished. This means that the bottom five teams all have a chance at the #1 pick, and the team which finishes 30th will draft either first or second no matter what.

However, Dater writes sentences like this one:

That leaves Ottawa maybe only standing in the way of that No. 1 pick, and Anderson’s red-hot goaltending since the trade (though he lost his last start) could make the difference in dropping Colorado to No. 30.

which sure sounds like he's under the impression that the 30th place team automatically gets the #1 pick. Well, they don't. Because only the next four teams can leapfrog over the 30th ranked team for the first pick, the 30th place team has a slightly less than 50% chance of that first pick despite only having a 25% chance of winning the lottery. And because there's only a single winner which could move up spots, the last-place team is guaranteed the 2nd pick at worst, at just over 50% odds. So it's basically a coin flip for that last-place team, with the odds slightly in favor of the 2nd pick over the 1st.

There are two possibilities here: either Dater does not understand the draft but writes about it anyway, or he DOES understand the draft but just doesn't care enough to be accurate when he writes. Either one is unforgivable for a journalist. Take the time to know the facts and to present them accurately, AD.


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