How many different ways are there to put together a team? We began with an unprotected list of 470 players total: 62 goalies, 157 defensemen, and 250 forwards, and Brent Severyn (who could play defense or forward). From this, we have pared it down to a list of 14 goalies, 30 defensemen, and 53 forwards for a total of 97 players.
Goalies: Mikhail Shtalenkov (ANA), Tyler Moss (CGY), Manny Legace (CAR), Manny Fernandez (DAL), Curtis Joseph (EDM), John Vanbiesbrouck (FLA), Mike Dunham (NJ), Mike Richter (NYR), Ron Tugnutt (OTT), Sean Burke (PHI), Jamie McLennan (STL), Corey Schwab (TB), Arturs Irbe (VAN), Garth Snow (VAN)
Defensemen: Drew Bannister (ANA), Nikolai Tsulygin (ANA), Barry Richter (BOS), Bob Boughner (BUF), Rumun Ndur (BUF), Joel Bouchard (CGY), Sean Hill (CAR), Jason McBain (CAR), Marek Malik (CAR), Uwe Krupp (COL), Dmitri Mironov (DET), Terry Carkner (FLA), Jeff Norton (FLA), Doug Bodger (LA), Philippe Boucher (LA), Garry Galley (LA), Jaroslav Modry (LA), Brett Clark (MTL), Peter Popovic (MTL), J.J. Daigneault (NYI), Per Gustafsson (OTT), Paul Coffey (PHI), Murray Baron (PHX), John Slaney (PHX), Fredrik Olausson (PIT), Steve Duchesne (STL), Todd Gill (STL), Rob Zettler (TOR), Adrian Aucoin (VAN), Dana Murzyn (VAN)
Forwards: Richard Park (ANA), Craig Reichert (ANA), Bob Wren (ANA), Mike Sullivan (BOS), Paul Kruse (BUF), Scott Nichol (BUF), Dixon Ward (BUF), Jim Dowd (CGY), Aaron Gavey (CGY), Marty Murray (CGY), Kevin Dineen (CAR), Paul Ranheim (CAR), David Ling (CHI), Greg Johnson (CHI), Tom Fitzgerald (COL), Christian Matte (COL), Dave Reid (DAL), Doug Brown (DET), Mike Knuble (DET), Zdeno Ciger (EDM), Andrei Kovalenko (EDM), Johan Garpenlov (FLA), Kirk Muller (FLA), Ray Ferraro (LA), Craig Johnson (LA), Vitali Yachmenev (LA), Sebastien Bordeleau (MTL), Martin Gendron (MTL), Jonas Hoglund (MTL), Patrick Poulin (MTL), Tom Chorske (NYI), Claude Lapointe (NYI), Bill Berg (NYR), Denny Lambert (OTT), Sergei Zholtok (OTT), Craig Darby (PHI), Mike Stapleton (PHX), Andreas Johansson (PIT), Domenic Pittis (PIT), Garry Valk (PIT), Blair Atcheynum (STL), Mike Eastwood (STL), Brett Hull (STL), Niklas Andersson (SJ), Murray Craven (SJ), Vladimir Vujtek (TB), Wendel Clark (TOR), Derek King (TOR), Brandon Convery (VAN), Scott Walker (VAN), Andrew Brunette (WSH)
How big of a difference does this make? Of the original 470-player draft board, it is possible to create a staggering 362,890,896,357,641,860,773,347,328,000,000 different team combinations. That’s not even including the trade options.
If you’re keeping track at home, that’s 362 nonillion, 890 octillion, 896 septillion, 357 sextillion, 641 quintillion, 860 quadrillion, 773 trillion, 347 billion, 328 million. Give or take a few.
Now, that’s without having cut down the draft board at all, which is slightly over 1/5th of the total available players. There are 26 teams to choose from, and although a couple of teams hav emore than five players who made it onto our draft board, a couple more only had one. The total number of possible team combinations ends up much smaller, a mere 15,237,476,352,000. That’s only 15 trillion, 237 billion, 476 million, 352 thousand possible team combinations.
Just for fun, divide that 15,237,476,352,000 by 292,201,338, which will give you a number of 52,147. That 292,201,338 isn’t a random number; that’s actually the mathematical odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot. In other words, the odds of constructing the absolute best possible expansion team out of this 1998 draft is like picking the winning Powerball numbers 52,147 times.