Last night’s NHL Draft Lottery did little for most of the seven teams that did not qualify for the postseason. A to-be-determined playoff team won the No. 1 pick, the Los Angeles Kings were the lone true beneficiary among the seven, moving up to No. 2, and the Ottawa Senators hold the No. 3 pick. This may seem like a win for Ottawa, but the team actually held the second and third picks prior to the lottery, giving them the best odds to win the first overall pick and a chance at having two top-three picks. Instead, they ended up with No. 3 and No. 5. The Senators will be just the fifth team in NHL history to hold two top-five picks, but it is still seen as a poor result by many fans. However, for those wondering if the team would react to their lottery results by moving one of their two picks, that is not in the plans. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch relays from Sens GM Pierre Dorion that he may listen to offers for the selections but is “99.9% sure” that he will keep the picks. Ottawa may not be able to land prize prospect Alexis Lafreniere, nor can they select both Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle, the two forwards competing to go No. 2, but they are guaranteed one of those two and will still land another elite player in a deep draft class.
- The Buffalo Sabres had the least lottery odds of the seven non-playoff teams and ended up sliding from No. 7 to No. 8 with a playoff team winning the first overall pick. In a deep draft class, the Sabres will still get a great player with the eighth pick and The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski details their potential options. The one that sticks out most is OHL star center Marco Rossi, who has an interesting tie to the team. While Buffalo recently moved on from a large number of their hockey operations staff and their minor league coaches, among others, head coach Ralph Kreuger is still at the helm and will likely have a say in draft decisions given that the hockey operations staff will largely be made up of new names by the time draft day occurs. If Kreuger does get to weigh in, Rossi could be his preferred target if available. Kreuger coached the Swiss national team for more than a decade until 2010, but Lysowski notes that he still maintains contact with the programs from which Rossi came. Additionally, Kreuger coached Rossi’s father, Michael Rossi, in Austria in the early 90’s. The slick, play-making forward may not make it to Buffalo at No. 8, but if he does he would very likely be the pick.
- The New Jersey Devils landed pick No. 7 last night, but also own the first-round picks of the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks. Conditions limit either of those picks from belonging to New Jersey if they were to become No. 1 overall, so they will both be later on in the first round. As a result, they could become expendable if the right deal was on the table. Interim GM Tom Fitzgerald stated on a conference call following the lottery that he would consider trading one of the picks if the opportunity arose. New Jersey is already considered a wild card in this draft given their depth in talented forwards and a draft class defined by depth in this area, so the team might be targeting top defenseman Jamie Drysdale or top goalie Yaroslav Askarov at No. 7 and then one first-round forward might be enough if they can improve the NHL roster by moving the other pick.
- What happens to the Phase 2 Draft Lottery if the league does not resume play? TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that it would be the same as if all of the lower seeds in the knockout round were to lose. The even-odds (12.5% apiece) lottery would still place among the teams that finished 8-15 in inverse points percentage this season: Montreal, Chicago, Arizona, Minnesota, Winnipeg, New York Rangers, Florida, and Columbus.