Mark your calendars, everyone.
The biggest day of the year is coming up on April 28, the NHL announced on Wednesday.
That’s when the league’s annual draft lottery will be held, changing the fortunes forever for at least one lucky team.
Up for grabs this season is the consensus No. 1 overall draft pick, Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin. The soon to be 18-year-old Swede has been playing in the top professional league in his home country for two years already, and participated at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Put simply: he’s the most hyped up draft-eligible defenceman the NHL has seen in quite some time.
As in years previous, every non-playoff team will have a shot at winning the first overall pick in the NHL’s weighted lottery – with teams finishing closest to the bottom having the best odds. That’s why some fans are cheering for their team to lose down the stretch.
Only the top three picks are up for grabs, with picks 4-15 being awarded to teams based on their record.
Last year the New Jersey Devils moved up from fifth to claim the top pick. Philadelphia had the 13th-best odds, but won the second pick. The Dallas Stars moved from eighth to third.
The odds needed to be changed slightly for a second straight year, to accommodate for Vegas joining the league (ie. an extra non-playoff team has joined the lottery). Last year, Vegas was given the same odds as the No. 3 team. As the best expansion team of all-time, the Golden Knights made the playoffs this year so they won’t be in the draw.
The team with the worst record in the league (currently Buffalo) will receive just an 18.5% chance at winning the first overall pick (down from 20% two years ago). Finishing last means picking no worse than fourth overall (that’s what happened to Colorado last year), as no team can drop by more than three positions.
Four Canadian teams will be in this year’s lottery, with the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens already eliminated from the playoffs. Despite missing the playoffs, the Calgary Flames won’t be part of the lottery, as they traded their first round pick to the New York Islanders as part of the Travis Hamonic deal.
Here’s a look at how the odds shake up, if the season ended today: