Who’ll have best odds at ’13 NHL Draft Lottery?

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The NHL will hold a draft lottery on Monday in which, for the first time ever, all 14 participants will have a chance at winning the first overall selection.

This marks a dramatic shift in the drafting process.

In previous years, the NHL lottery only allowed teams to move up a maximum of four spots and down a maximum of one.

Under the new structure, the NHL has trended towards the lottery process favored by the NBA, which has yielded some crazy results.

(Exmaple: In 1993, Orlando won the No. 1 pick despite finishing the ’91-92 season with a .500 record, holding just a 1.52 percent chance of winning the lottery.)

Here are the likelihoods (in percentages) of each team getting the first pick at Monday’s lottery:

30th place — 25.0%
29th — 18.8%
28th — 14.2%
27th — 10.7%
26th — 8.1%
25th — 6.2%
24th — 4.7%
23rd — 3.6%
22nd — 2.7%
21st — 2.1%
20th — 1.5%
19th — 1.1%
18th — 0.8%
17th — 0.5%

As for the teams “vying” for the best odds?

At the time of writing, Florida sits dead last in the NHL with 34 points.

The only way the Panthers could move out of 30th is by winning their final two games of the year (against Toronto, Tampa Bay) and have 29th-place Colorado, currently with 37 points, fail to earn any from its final two games (against Phoenix, Minnesota).

Should both teams finish with 38 points, Colorado would “win” the tiebreaker by way of more regulation and overtime victories — so, the likelihood is that Florida will finish in 30th and Colorado 29th.

Where things get interesting is with the teams sitting 28-24th.

Standings currently look like this:

source:

The real wildcard here will be Calgary who, in addition to its own pick, also hold St. Louis’ and Pittsburgh’s first-rounders in 2013.

The Flames aren’t exactly tanking for better odds for No. 1 — they’re 6-4 in their last 10 — but could still drop all the way to 28th by season’s end, and hold 14.2 percent odds to win Monday’s lottery.

Another team to watch will be Edmonton.

The Oilers have plummeted in the standings thanks to a 1-9 mark over their last 10, and are in the mix to pick first overall for the fourth year in a row.

If that happens, Edmonton will become the first team in NHL history to pick No. 1 for four straight years. Previously, the only other team to do it three times in a row was Quebec, from 1989-91 (Mats Sundin, Owen Nolan and Eric Lindros).

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Report: Wings, Hawks, Preds in mix to sign ‘strong two-way center’ Ejdsell

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Keep an eye on Swedish forward Victor Ejdsell in the coming days.

Ejdsell, 21, caught the eye of several NHL clubs following a standout year with Bofors of the Swedish first division — including Detroit (where he visited earlier this week, per MLive.) Reports suggest that Chicago and Nashville are also interested in securing Ejdsell’s services.

It’s easy to see why.

He racked up 25 goals and 57 points in 60 games this year, and he’s got terrific size. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, the physical presence is there to potentially make the shift to the NHL next season.

“He’s evolved into a strong two-way center,” Detroit assistant GM Ryan Martin told MLive. “His move from wings to center helped his defensive game. He’s got good hands and offensive ability.”

Vlasic joins Canada for Worlds, extending marathon campaign

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Marc-Edouard Vlasic is putting in work this year.

On Friday, Hockey Canada announced that Vlasic — along with Mitch Marner, Brayden Schenn and Chad Johnson — has been added to the 22-player roster for the upcoming World Hockey Championship in France and Germany.

Vlasic’s season started early as a member of Canada’s World Cup of Hockey squad. He appeared in all six games, which included his tournament high TOI (24:04) in final against Team Europe.

From there, the 30-year-old rejoined the Sharks and appeared in 75 contests, averaging 21:14 per evening. He was part of a remarkably durable San Jose defense that saw Brent Burns play all 82 games, while Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun appeared in 81.

In the playoffs, Vlasic was once again a busy guy. He finished second only to Burns in time on ice (23:16 per) and was often tasked with trying to shut down the Connor McDavid line. The Sharks would eventually bow out to the Oilers in six games.

And Vlasic might have even more to do this summer.

During his end-of-year media availability, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said getting Vlasic signed to an extension prior to September’s training camp was a big priority.

Vlasic’s current deal — a five-year, $21.25 million pact — expires next summer, and carries an average cap hit of $4.25M. Wilson didn’t mince words in describing how good he thinks Vlasic is.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” he said. “Marc-Edouard is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

Stepan: ‘I’ve stunk since the playoffs started’

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Derek Stepan knows he’s not playing very well, and he knows he’ll have to be better if the New York Rangers are going to make it past the Ottawa Senators.

With just one goal (an empty-netter) and one assist in seven playoff games, Stepan’s offensive production has fallen off a cliff after a respectable 55-point regular season, which included 38 assists.

“I’ve stunk since the playoffs started,” Stepan said, per NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “I’ve been not very good with the puck.”

An all-situations center, Stepan is more than just an offensive type. But he’s produced in previous playoff runs, and the Rangers need him to produce now — especially against a tight-checking Sens team that boasts a 2.00 goals-against average in these playoffs.

Stepan has 45 points (18G, 27A) in 92 career playoff games.

To be fair, he’s not the only Ranger who needs to get going offensively. One of the Blueshirts’ big strengths during the regular season was their balanced scoring, with all four lines contributing — and that’s not happening right now.

No Bieksa for Anaheim tonight, but Vatanen could return

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The Ducks will be without their most veteran skater on Friday as they look to even up their series with Edmonton.

Kevin Bieksa, who exited Game 1 with a lower-body injury following a collision with fellow d-man Shea Theodore, has been ruled out for tonight’s Game 2. It marks the first tilt the 35-year-old will miss this postseason.

Bieksa was enjoying a pretty good playoff prior to getting hurt. He racked up four assists in five games, while averaging just under 17 minutes per night. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle is holding out hope Bieksa could return later in the series.

While this is a loss for the Ducks, it goes a long way in illustrating how much defensive depth they have.

While Carlyle wouldn’t confirm, all signs point to Sami Vatanen drawing in for Bieksa. Vatanen has been out since Game 1 of the Calgary series with an upper-body injury, but has resumed practicing and sounds like he’s ready to go.

“It’s always nice when a player is closer to coming back and you can potentially put them back in the lineup,” Carlyle said of Vatanen.

Anaheim dressed a blueline of Bieksa, Theodore, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Montour in Wednesday’s 5-3 defeat. If Vatanen can’t draw in for Bieksa, the club still has Korbinian Holzer in reserve.