Published by hockeybuzz.com, 4-28-2018
Being in the NHL Draft Lottery means your team fell short and were not one of 16 teams battling for the Stanley Cup. Being the team with the best odds to win the lottery means that your team has serious talent issues among other problems.
For the third time in five seasons, the Buffalo Sabres finished last in the league and will have the best odds of winning the draft lottery, which isn't saying too much as they'll have an 18.5% chance of the pingpong balls falling in line. In 2014 and 2015 those pingpong balls were off a bit and Buffalo ended up selecting second-overall both times. Under those rules the last place team could fall no further than second in the draft if they lost the lottery.
Because of 2014-15 season that saw two teams--the Sabres and Arizona Coyotes--blatantly bottom out in the hopes of finishing last place. The NHL changed the rules for the following draft and beyond so that the top three picks are up for grabs in the lottery, meaning the last place team could drop to as low as fourth overall should other teams jump over them. That happened last year as the Colorado Avalanche, far and away the worst team in the league, fell to fourth-overall after the pingpong balls settled.
This year, Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, whom many are comparing to Erik Karlsson for the impact he could have on a team, is the jewel at the top of the draft this year. He's followed by a tandem of wingers in Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina who are well regarded as impact players for the teams that miss out on Dahlin. After that there's a group of players including winger Brady Tkachuk along with defensemen Adam Boqvist and Quintin Hughes, who make up the next tier of prospects.
With Buffalo finishing in last place the odds are about 50/50 that they will end up with a top-three pick. The Ottawa Senators, who finished next to last have about a 39% chance of landing a top-three pick. Arizona, Montreal, Detroit, Vancouver, and the Chicago Blackhawks all have a 20% chance or better to win a lottery slot.
The randomness of the lottery makes it hard for any team to get overly excited about the potential outcome as it's nearly impossible to figure out who will end up with the top three picks. Unless, of course, you're a conspiracy theorist. In honor of said randomness, we're headed over to nhllotterysimulator.com to give the wheels one last spin before tonight:
All hail the Atlantic Division, the worst in the NHL this year, as they sweep the medals.
The NHL is playing around with revealing their lottery results as picks 15-4 will be revealed at 7:30 p.m. EST. Fans who's teams are still left will need to wait until the second intermission of the San Jose' Sharks-Vegas Golden Knights game to see if they win.