NHL Draft Lottery to be held April 9

The 2018-19 NHL regular season will come to a close in less than a month, and over the next few weeks the playoff hopes of many teams will fizzle out and their eyes will turn to the draft lottery in hopes of winning the chance to select either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.

For the last four years, the draft lottery has taken place during the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL announced on Wednesday that it is going back to the old way and holding it the night before the opening round begins — April 9th.

The draft lottery will feature the 15 teams that did not make the playoffs. This year, if they find a way to get into the postseason, could also see the Colorado Avalanche take part as they hold the Ottawa Senators’ first-round pick this season.

Per the NHL, here’s how it will work:

The 2019 NHL Draft Lottery will consist of three drawings: the 1st Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery Draw will determine the club selecting third overall.

The odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the 2nd Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the 1st Lottery Draw, and again for the 3rd Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the 2nd Lottery Draw.

The 12 clubs not selected in the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery will be assigned 2019 NHL Draft selections 4 through 15, in inverse order of regular-season points.

From Thursday’s latest Playoff Push update, here’s how the race for Hughes/Kakko looks:

Senators – 18.5 percent*
Red Wings – 13.5 percent
Kings – 11.5 percent
Devils – 9.5 percent
Ducks – 8.5 percent
Canucks – 7.5 percent
Rangers – 6.5 percent
Oilers – 6 percent
Sabres – 5 percent
Blackhawks – 3.5 percent
Avalanche – 3 percent
Panthers – 2.5 percent
Wild – 2 percent
Flyers – 1.5 percent
Canadiens – 1 percent
(*OTT’s 2019 first-round pick owned by COL)

The Avalanche are currently three points behind the Wild for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference, so they could very well have two chances at one of the top picks this season if they miss. That should go over well in Ottawa.

The 2019 NHL Draft will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The first round will be held Friday, June 21. Rounds 2-7 will take place Saturday, June 22.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Sabres, Senators own top odds in 2018 NHL Draft Lottery

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Now that the 2017-18 NHL regular season has officially come to an end and we know the 16 teams who will vie for the Stanley Cup, we also know the 15 teams who will be hoping ping pong balls fall in their favor in order to win the No. 1 selection in June’s entry draft.

The Buffalo Sabres locked up the top odds earlier this week, and here’s how the rest of the teams look heading into the April 28 (NBC, CBC, TVAS) lottery.

Buffalo Sabres: 18.5%
Ottawa Senators*: 13.5%
Arizona Coyotes: 11.5%
Montreal Canadiens: 9.5%
Detroit Red Wings: 8.5%
Vancouver Canucks: 7.5%
Chicago Blackhawks: 6.5%
New York Rangers: 6.0%
Edmonton Oilers: 5.0%
New York Islanders: 3.5%
Carolina Hurricanes: 3.0%
New York Islanders (from CGY): 2.5%
Dallas Stars: 2.0%
St. Louis Blues**: 1.5%
Florida Panthers: 1.0%

• The Senators, via the Matt Duchene trade, have the option to keep their pick and send the Colorado Avalanche their 2019 first-rounder.

• As per the terms of the Brayden Schenn trade, if the Blues’ pick ends up being in the top 10, they have the choice to keep it and send the Philadelphia Flyers their 2019 first-rounder. If not, Philadelphia will get St. Louis’ first-round choice this year.

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Schedule, Bracket, Streams and More

Via the NHL, the 2018 Draft Lottery will consist of three drawings: the first Lottery Draw will determine the team selecting first overall, the second Lottery Draw will determine the team selecting second overall and the third Lottery Draw will determine the team selecting third overall.

The odds for the remaining clubs will increase on a proportionate basis for the second Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the first Lottery Draw, and again for the third Lottery Draw, based on which club wins the second Lottery Draw.

The 12 teams not selected in the 2018 Draft Lottery will be assigned 2018 NHL Draft selections 4 through 15, in inverse order of regular-season points.

Rasmus Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina, Oliver Wahlstrom, Quinn Hughes and Brady Tkachuk are among the top prizes in this year’s entry draft. This is the third time in five years that the Sabres have owned the top odds. Will the third time finally be the charm?

More: NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 1 schedule, TV info

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Tank defense: NHL changes up Draft Lottery format

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If your favorite team is hoping to tank next season to land Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Draft, just know their chances of landing the top pick just got worse.

The NHL announced changes to the NHL Draft Lottery that will see the odds of landing the top pick change slightly in 2015 and the lottery process change even more in 2016.

The league says the odds will be adjusted to “more appropriately reflect the current state of competitive balance in the League.” That means if your team has the worst record next season, their chances of landing the No. 1 pick in the lottery go from 25 percent to 20. That in itself is a 20 percent drop in chances to earn the top pick.

As for how the percentages change for all picks, here’s a handy chart via NHL.com:

source:

As you can see, finishing with one of the three worst records no longer pays off as well in the lottery. Meanwhile, the other 11 non-playoff teams all see their chances of landing the No. 1 pick get a boost.

The team most obviously affected by these changes are the Buffalo Sabres. They’re expected to be one of, if not the, worst teams in the league and may stand the best chance of landing McDavid. Now if they wind up with the worst record, their chances of winning the lottery have gotten worse.

Then again, if the Sabres want to look on the bright side of things, if the New York Islanders and/or St. Louis Blues miss the playoffs, their chances of stealing the top pick have improved slightly since they own both of their first-round picks.

Keep those odds in mind because when it’s time for the 2016 Draft Lottery, there will be a drawing for each of the top three picks, not just the first overall selection. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s how the NBA handles their draft lottery.

That means if you have the worst record in the league then, you’re not guaranteed either the first or second overall pick and that team could pick as low as fourth overall.

If teams are going to tank to land McDavid or Jack Eichel, they might find out doing so may not work out the way they intended while burning a season trying not to win too much.

Watch Blue Jackets fans have their dreams crushed during draft lottery party

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Take in this video from a Columbus Blue Jackets draft lottery party which was meant to be a celebration of reaping the benefits of being the worst team in the league and a preemptive welcoming party for likely top pick Nail Yakupov.

Of course, those dreams were all dashed when NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced the Edmonton Oilers as the winners of the lottery and the first pick overall. The aftermath, as you might expect, was filled with sadness and frustration in Columbus including cries of “Fixed!” and “I hate the Oilers.”

We might as well call Columbus “Mudville” at this rate as there’s no joy there and the (not-so) mighty Scott Howson has struck out on landing the top pick in the draft.

It’s like you can feel each of those fans getting kicked right in the groin after the announcement. Sports are a jerk sometimes.

Fall from grace complete: Minnesota mathematically eliminated from playoff contention

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This season will end the way each of the three previous to it have for the Minnesota Wild: Out of the playoffs.

The Wild’s loss to Washington yesterday mathematically eliminated the Wild from playoff contention and according to Michael Russo of The Star Tribune, things could possibly get worse for the team standings-wise.

That seems like an eternity ago, as does that Dec. 13 game at Winnipeg when the Wild was still first in the league. Now? It is 25th – but one point up on 29th, which would give the Wild the second-best possibility of winning the April 10 draft lottery and the right to pick No. 1 in the June draft. 

The Wild’s fall from grace is one of the more incredible feats we’ve seen this season and it’s impressive for all the wrong reasons.

Hockey Wilderness pointed out after yesterday’s game that Minnesota will be the first team to miss the playoffs after being in first place in December. The Wild were in first place as late as December 17 but since then they’ve gone a paltry 11-26-5. Minnesota won’t be alone in their fall-from-grace shame, however, as the Maple Leafs are on the brink of elimination themselves. Misery does love company after all.