Jonathan Huberdeau

Draft lottery odds are set, Panthers have best shot at top pick


For the first time in league history, the NHL Draft Lottery will give all non-playoff teams a shot at the No. 1 pick and everyone’s fate lies in how the ping pong balls decide to bounce. Everyone from the league’s worst team (Florida) to the last team out of the playoffs (Columbus) will have a chance to climb into the driver’s seat.

How do the odds of landing the No. 1 pick shake out for each team? Here’s the rundown:

Florida Panthers – 25.0%
Colorado Avalanche – 18.8%
Tampa Bay Lightning – 14.2%
Nashville Predators – 10.7%
Carolina Hurricanes – 8.1%
Calgary Flames – 6.2%
Edmonton Oilers – 4.7%
Buffalo Sabres – 3.6%
New Jersey Devils – 2.7%
Dallas Stars – 2.1%
Philadelphia Flyers – 1.5%
Phoenix Coyotes – 1.1%
Winnipeg Jets – 0.8%
Columbus Blue Jackets – 0.5%

Teams with poor odds have won the lottery in the past only to be prevented from grabbing the top pick thanks to the old rules. Think back to 2011 when the New Jersey Devils vaulted from 8th to 4th where they grabbed defenseman Adam Larsson.

Should someone other than Florida win the lottery, they’ll move to the top and everyone else will slide back by a pick. Advanced congrats to the Panthers on being No. 1 or No. 2.

This year’s top choice is likely to be defenseman Seth Jones but others like forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, and Aleksander Barkov present excellent options for those teams to improve their future.

You can watch the lottery live on NBCSN tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET.

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane

On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.