Due to there being no hockey I've been spending my time learning more about the game and while reading about the 2004 Draft I was confused as to why the Washington Capitals had to earn the right to go first by winning the draft lottery. I haven't been an ice hockey fan for very long but I've always been under the impression (from playing ice hockey computer games) that the team who has the worst record in the regular season gets to pick first (unless of course they have traded their pick beforehand). Can anyone please explain to me what the draft lottery for the NHL is all about. If anyone can find a web page explaining this then I would be very grateful. The only info I've found is related to the NBA, but I'm assuming they run things a little differently. Whereas the only info I've found regarding the NHL is: Why doesn't the team that came bottom in the regular season get to pick first? Why is a draft lottery necessary? Has it always been like this?