How many different ways are there to put together a team? We began with an unprotected list of 553 players total: 56 goalies, 174 defensemen, and 323 forwards. From this, we have pared it down to a list of 11 goalies, 30 defensemen, and 48 forwards for a total of 89 players.
Goalies: Rob Tallas (BOS), Dwayne Roloson (BUF), Tyler Moss (CGY), Trevor Kidd (CAR), Manny Fernandez (DAL), Norm Maracle (DET), Wade Flaherty (NYI), Ron Tugnutt (OTT), Mikhail Shtalenkov (PHX), Mike Vernon (SJ), Corey Schwab (TB)
Defensemen: Jamie Pushor (ANA), Dan Trebil (ANA), Pascal Trepanier (ANA), Darryl Shannon (BUF), Dave Karpa (CAR), Curtis Leschyshyn (CAR), Dave Manson (CHI), Petr Buzek (DAL), Gord Murphy (FLA), Daniel Tjarnqvist (FLA), Philippe Boucher (LA), Garry Galley (LA), Brett Clark (MTL), Scott Lachance (MTL), Kevin Dean (NJ), Sergei Vyshedkevich (NJ), David Harlock (NYI), Chris Tamer (NYR), Steve Duchesne (PHI), Luke Richardson (PHI), Maxim Galanov (PIT), Marc Bergevin (STL), Chris McAlpine (STL), Bill Houlder (SJ), Jassen Cullimore (TB), David Wilkie (TB), Yannick Tremblay (TOR), Murray Baron (VAN), Nolan Baumgartner (WSH), Mark Tinordi (WSH)
Forwards: Ted Drury (ANA), Peter Ferraro (BOS), Domenic Pittis (BUF), Geoff Sanderson (BUF), Andrew Cassels (CGY), Jan Hlavac (CGY), Marty Murray (CGY), David Ling (CHI), Serge Aubin (COL), Tomi Kallio (COL), Christian Matte (COL), Aaron Gavey (DAL), Doug Brown (DET), Wendel Clark (DET), Igor Larionov (DET), Kelly Buchberger (EDM), Jim Dowd (EDM), Pat Falloon (EDM), Rem Murray (EDM), Johan Garpenlov (FLA), Alex Hicks (FLA), Ray Ferraro (LA), Matt Johnson (LA), Vladimir Tsyplakov (LA), Sergei Zholtok (MTL), Sergei Brylin (NJ), Sergei Nemchinov (NJ), Vadim Sharifijanov (NJ), Steve Webb (NYI), Christian Dube (NYR), Phil Crowe (OTT), Nelson Emerson (OTT), Andreas Johansson (OTT), Marc Bureau (PHI), Jody Hull (PHI), Richard Park (PHI), Mike Stapleton (PHX), Rob Brown (PIT), Tyler Wright (PIT), Blair Atcheynum (STL), Michel Picard (STL), Terry Yake (STL), Jan Caloun (SJ), Alexandre Daigle (TB), Stephane Richer (TB), Tie Domi (TOR), Derek King (TOR), Trent Klatt (VAN)
How big of a difference does this make? Of the original 553-player draft board, it is possible to create a staggering 16,448,918,502,604,299,999,498,731,520,000,000 different team combinations. That’s not even including the trade options, and I think that accidentally excludes Mikael Hakansson from the list, who I don’t think compiled into the expansion board calculation properly.
If you’re keeping track at home, that’s 16 decillion, 448 nonillion, 918 octillion, 502 septillion, 604 sextillion, 299 quintillion, 999 quadrillion, 498 trillion, 731 billion, 520 million. Give or take a few.
How large of a number is this? Imagine each combination is one dollar. Assuming a static world population of 7 billion, you could give every person on earth one dollar per minute and it would take a touch under 4,470,786,720,646,961,296 years to give it away. That’s 4 quintillion, 470 quadrillion, 786 trillion, 720 billion, 646 million, 961 thousand, 296 years.
Now, that’s without having cut down the draft board at all, which is less than 1/6th of the total available players. There are 26 teams to choose from, and no team has more than five players who made it onto our draft board at all. So the total number of possible team combinations is much smaller, a mere 21,499,084,800,000. That’s only 21 trillion, 499 billion, 84 million, 800 thousand possible team combinations.
Just for fun, divide that 21,499,084,800,000 by 292,201,338, which will give you a number of 73,576. 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 1999 draft is like picking the winning Powerball numbers 73,576 times.