Do You Feel Lucky? NHL Draft Lottery Preview


Ping pong balls will be a flying tonight, and although it won’t be televised live, before your head hits the pillow this evening you will know the draft order for the upcoming NHL draft.

Obviously, this is a big deal. The futures of franchises are shaped in the draft lottery.

The Quebec Nordiques had the pleasure of selecting first-overall in the 1991 draft. The Nords used the pick on Eric Lindros, who then became a part of the famous Peter Forsberg trade.

The current Avalanche employ Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon, both first-overall selections. Stars such as Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog were also top-3 picks in the draft. The cream is at the top, and this season is no different.

Connor McDavid is the ultimate prize in this year’s entry draft. His talents are generational, and his point production in juniors put him in the same stratosphere as Sidney Crosby. As good as MacKinnon was as a prospect, McDavid is above and beyond.

The Colorado Avalanche have a chance — not a good one — but a chance.

The Avs’ odds of striking the lucky beard of a leprechaun tonight, and coming away with first-overall sit at 3.5%. This means if the draft lottery were held 33 times, we’d expect the Avs to win it once. So, not a fools hope, but not something we should expect.

The Avs’ odds of striking the lucky beard of a leprechaun tonight, and coming away with first-overall sit at 3.5%. McDavid would be ours!

The teams with the best odds at winning the McDavid lottery are the Buffalo Sabres (20% chance) and the Arizona Coyotes (13.5% chance). I would be happy if either of these teams won the lottery. In fact, after the Avalanche, they are my preferred destinations for McDavid.

The Sabres are out east, and are a very weak team. McDavid will certainly help them rebound, but it will take some time before the Sabres emerge as a threat. Being out east means this affects the Avalanche less. I also feel for the fans of Buffalo. I’m okay with them getting something nice.

A Sabres win also ensures that the Coyotes can take that other guy who’s going to be really good, Jack Eichel. If a team other than the Sabres or Yotes win the lottery, Arizona misses out on McDavid and Eichel, which would be a major bummer for them.

Arizona actually isn’t some hockey-free zone where Gary Bettman is forcing a team to exist. That is the perception I think a lot of people get. In reality, Arizona State has a big hockey program, as does the University of Arizona. Youth hockey is also very prevalent in the area. I think NHL hockey belongs in Arizona, and Connor McDavid would do a lot to get fans excited and supporting the team.

Then, there is a muddled middle pack all with decent odds at the lottery. A full list can be found here. This is also a draft lottery simulator, which can be a lot of fun if you have some time to kill (and don’t draw the Kings first try).

I really don’t want Toronto (9.5% odds) or Edmonton (11.5% odds) to win. This might just be my own personal bias. Toronto’s thing is their fans. They always complain about how they never get anything nice, and that’s the life of a Leaf’s fan. With that attitude, I just don’t feel compelled to see them get something nice.

The Oilers have had a bevy of first-overall picks in the past decade, none of which have really excelled. The Oilers seem to have a bit of organizational dysfunction that needs to be sorted for them to succeed. I think McDavid would be good for them, but they’ve already had their cracks at number one. Give someone else a try, and see what they do with it.

In the YOU BETTER NOT WIN OR I’M LIGHTING MY HAIR ON FIRE category are the Los Angeles Kings (2% chance) and Boston Bruins (1% chance). These are two powerhouse organizations, with a lot of recent success. They both had slightly down years as the competition rose around them.

It would be an absolute disaster if either won the lottery. Ugh, I can’t even type any more, it’s making me too upset thinking about it.

So, there ya have it. The Avs have a 3.5% chance at winning this thing, so keep your fingers crossed.

Next: 5 Reasons for Optimism: Colorado Avalanche

More from Mile High Sticking