Can Linden redefine 'Canucks luck' at NHL Draft Lottery this time?

Apr 27 2017, 10:01 pm

Canucks luck. 

If you’ve been a fan of the team for any length of time, you’re well aware of that term. It’s not a positive one.

In the 47-year history of the franchise, the Canucks have been stricken with misfortune a few times.

They haven’t been a lucky franchise.

During their best-ever season in 2011, they drew the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. The next year, their second most successful in franchise history, their best player was injured and they played the eventual Cup winners.

Canucks luck. 

Canucks luck began before they ever played a single game in the league. Entering with their expansion cousins from Buffalo, they lost a spin of the wheel to determine first pick in the 1970 NHL Draft.

Gilbert Perreault was picked first. He’s currently 33rd in all-time league scoring and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Second pick went to Vancouver, who picked Dale Tallon. Tallon was… Well, he was not Perreault.

Since then, the Canucks have accumulated the second-fewest points of all teams that have remained in existence since 1970. The only team they rank ahead of is Toronto, who are likely going to pass Vancouver in the not too distant future.

Rank Team GP W L T OTL PTS
1 Montreal 3656 1930 1208 384 134 4378
2 Boston 3656 1934 1213 358 151 4377
3 Philadelphia 3656 1866 1243 401 146 4279
4 New York 3656 1748 1439 350 119 3965
5 Chicago 3656 1702 1414 404 136 3944
6 Buffalo 3656 1702 1415 409 130 3943
7 Detroit 3656 1706 1435 370 145 3927
8 St. Louis 3656 1670 1463 390 133 3863
9 Minnesota/Dallas 3656 1633 1491 407 125 3798
10 Pittsburgh 3656 1662 1523 347 124 3795
11 Los Angeles 3656 1559 1568 394 135 3647
12 Vancouver 3656 1524 1614 391 127 3566
13 Toronto 3656 1536 1632 345 143 3560

The Canucks of course dropped out of the top-three picks at last year’s draft lottery, moving down two spots to fifth. In any other year, they would have picked at least fourth.

Remember the look on Trevor Linden’s face?

Canucks Luck.

The year previous, with the same odds as Vancouver, Edmonton got Connor McDavid.

The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, which will determine the order of selection for the first 15 picks in the first round, will be held Saturday in Toronto. The results of the lottery will be announced after 5 pm PT, with the live television show beginning at 4:30 on Sportsnet prior to the Penguins-Capitals game.

The NHL Draft Lottery is in fact three lotteries rolled into one, a format that began last year. The first ping pong ball draw will determine first overall, while the next two decide second and third pick. The remainder of the picks for non-playoff teams (#4-15) will be decided based on reverse order of the NHL standings.

Appropriately enough, a game of chance is the first big event for the Vegas Golden Knights expansion franchise. They’ll get the same odds for the top pick as Arizona, who finished third-last.

The Canucks, meanwhile, have the second-best odds to win the first overall pick (12.1%). It’s the best chance they’ve ever had in a draft lottery.

But don’t hold your breath. Why?

Canucks luck. 

Linden will once again represent the Canucks in Toronto, but he won’t be bringing a lucky charm like he did last year. Maybe he’ll say a prayer in advance instead?

With a 35.2% chance at a top-three pick, odds are that Vancouver will be moving down in the draft order again. Fifth is as low as the Canucks can drop though, meaning they’ll get a pretty good pick either way.

But in this year, the big prize is in the 1-2 position.

Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are the odds-on favourites to be picked at the top of the draft, in what TSN’s Bob McKenzie is calling the closest race since Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin in 2010.

TSN Rank Name Position Team Height Weight GP G A PTS
1 Nolan Patrick Centre Brandon (WHL) 6-3 198 lbs 33 20 26 46
2 Nico Hischer Centre Halifax (QMJHL) 6-1 176 lbs 57 38 48 86
3 Gabe Vilardi Centre Windsor (OHL) 6-3 201 lbs 49 29 32 61
4 Miro Heiskanen Defence HIFK (SM Liiga) 6-0 170 lbs 37 5 5 10
5 Casey Mittelstadt Centre Eden Prairie (USHS) 6-0 194 lbs 30 23 29 72
6 Owen Tippett Right Wing Mississauga (OHL) 6-2 202 lbs 59 44 31 75

While neither player has the potential of McDavid or Auston Matthews, they do have first line centre potential. And with the Sedins getting up in age and about to enter the final year of their contract, a top centre would be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Odds of winning #1 pick

  1. Colorado Avalanche 18.0%
  2. Vancouver Canucks 12.1%
  3. Vegas Golden Knights* 10.3%
  4. Arizona Coyotes 10.3%
  5. New Jersey Devils 8.5%
  6. Buffalo Sabres 7.6%
  7. Detroit Red Wings 6.7%
  8. Dallas Stars 5.8%
  9. Florida Panthers 5.4%
  10. Los Angeles Kings 4.5%
  11. Carolina Hurricanes 3.2%
  12. Winnipeg Jets 2.7%
  13. Philadelphia Flyers 2.2%
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%
  15. New York Islanders 0.9%
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