The NHL Draft Lottery was held Saturday night and the New Jersey Devils, who finished 27th overall with 70 points, won the first overall pick for the first time in franchise history, despite only having an 8.5% chance. The Devils, who have missed the playoffs each season since losing to the Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, will likely be choosing between CHL centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier in a draft that has been said to be lacking any true “generational” talents.
Plagued by injuries this season, Patrick, 18, finished with 20 goals and 26 assists in 33 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, following up a 102-point campaign last season. If the Devils to decide on Patrick, he will become the first Manitoba-born player to be taken at number 1.
Swiss-born Hischier excelled in his first season in North America, playing in the QMJHL for the Halifax Mooseheads. He finished the season with 38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games for the club. Whether is goes first to New Jersey or falls further, Hischier seems to be poised to the highest selected Swiss player ever, a distinction currently held by Nino Niederreiter, who was taken 5th in 2010 by the New York Islanders.
Neither player has been able to runaway as the definite choice at first overall, but their battle is looking to be a “photo finish” according to recently fired ESPN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie.
The Flyers and Stars, picking second and third respectively, also were awarded with a significant rise in the lottery, as both had less than a 7% chance of picking at those positions. Colorado, who finished 30th and had the best overall odds of winning the lottery, fell to fourth overall, while Vancouver, who finished 29th fell to fifth. The Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s 31st franchise who will join the league this fall, was awarded the 6th overall selection, despite being given the same odds as the Arizona Coyotes at third.
The complete order of the first 15 selections is as follows, with the remaining 16 picks to be determined at the conclusion of the playoffs.
- New Jersey Devils
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Dallas Stars
- Colorado Avalanche
- Vancouver Canucks
- Vegas Golden Knights
- Arizona Coyotes
- Buffalo Sabres
- Detroit Red Wings
- Florida Panthers
- Los Angeles Kings
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Winnipeg Jets
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- New York Islanders
The 2017 NHL Entry Draft will begin on June 23 at the United Center in Chicago, two days after the Vegas Golden Knights announce their selections in the Expansion Draft at the NHL Awards on June 21 at their new home, T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
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