Do you feel lucky Oilers fans?
For the 5th time in franchise history the Oilers have a chance to win the lottery and receive the first overall pick. The odds are different this season, and ironically the four teams whose odds decreased from previous years, Buffalo, Arizona, Edmonton and Toronto, all have a shot at the first overall pick, but all of them also have two first round selections in what is considered the deepest draft in the NHL since 2003.
The Leafs have the 4th and 25th picks.
Philadelphia owns the 7th and 26th selections
The Jets own the 17th and 27th.
Those picks could change after the lottery, and each team’s second pick could also change depending on which teams make the conference finals. For instance, if the Penguins make the Eastern conference final the Oilers 2nd pick becomes 27th to 30th. However, if Pittsburgh doesn’t make it that far and the Calgary Flames manage to win two series then the Oilers would actually get the 15th pick and Calgary would pick between 27-30.
But, the lottery is what matters the most to the 14 non-playoff teams. Here is a breakdown of the odds for tomorrow’s lottery. I’ve included the odds from the previous formula so you can see how the odds have changed.
1st pick Buffalo: 20.0% (down from 25%)
2nd pick Arizona: 13.5% (down from 18.8%)
3rd pick Edmonton: 11.5% (down from 14.2%)
4th pick Toronto: 9.5% (down from 10.7%)
5th Carolina: 8.5% (up from 8.1%)
6th New Jersey: 7.5%(up from 6.2%)
7th Philadelphia: 6.5% (up from 4.7%)
8th Columbus: 6.0% (up from 3.6%)
9th San Jose: 5.0% (up from 2.7%)
10th Colorado: 3.5% (up from 2.1%)
11th Florida: 3.0% (up from 1.5%)
12th Dallas: 2.5% (up from 1.1%)
13th Los Angeles: 2.0% (up from 0.8%)
14th Boston: 1.0% (up from 0.5%)
During the previous 19 draft lotteries, the top-four seeds have combined to win it fourteen times. The #1 seed has won it six times, #2 has won it four, #3 has won it three times and the #4 seed has won it once. That was when their odds equaled 68.7%, but this year the top four picks have a combined 54.7% chance of winning.
The #6 seed has never won, while #5 and #8 have won it twice and the #7 seed, Los Angeles Kings, won the very first draft lottery in 1995.
WHO DESERVES IT?
Buffalo lost the lottery last year, and their fans have never won the Stanley Cup. They deserve it.
The Arizona Coyotes desperately need a franchise player, and if they or the Sabres don’t win it, the Coyotes will miss out on both McDavid and Jack Eichel. Ouch.
Leafs fans haven’t celebrated a Championships since 1967. They’ve endured a lot of losing.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT MOST?
Every team could use McDavid, but I believe the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars would become instantly dangerous next season. The Blue Jackets are only in the lottery due to a ridiculous amount of injuries. They had 12 regulars out of the lineup at one point this season.
Ryan Johansen, Brandon Dubinsky and McDavid would give them an excellent trio of centres along with wingers like Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson.
Only Tampa Bay scored more goals than the Dallas Stars last year. Imagine how potent their offence would be if they added McDavid?
The LA Kings would be a Cup contender again as well, and the Boston Bruins desperately need some skilled youth amongst their forwards.
If a lower seeded team manages to win the lottery, McDavid will have a much better chance of making the playoffs next season than if the Sabres, Coyotes, Oilers, Leafs, Hurricanes or Devils win. It would also alter the McDavid vs. Eichel debate, because McDavid would instantly be surrounded by a better team than Eichel would in Buffalo.
One franchise will benefit greatly from tomorrow, and the Coyotes are the one with the most to lose, because they could miss out on McDavid or Eichel if a team below them (odds wise) wins the lottery.
One player won’t win the Stanley Cup, but adding McDavid to a franchise will definitely inject some belief that a Stanley Cup is possible in the future.
- Currently there are six teams without a first round pick: Pittsburgh, the
Islanders, Blackhawks, Predators, Blues and Rangers. A first round playoff exit will sting even more by not having a first rounder in such a deep draft.
- Bill Scott will represent the Oilers at the lottery. “I’m not a superstitious guy,” he told me. “But fortunately I know a few who are, and they have armed me with a couple good luck charms which I can’t reveal,” he smiled. The Oilers will pick either 1st, 3rd or 4th, so they will be picking a very good player regardless of what happens on Saturday at 6 p.m. MST on Hockey Night in Canada.
- My head says the Coyotes will win the lottery, but I’m going to pick the Columbus Blue Jackets. Just a hunch. I’m not a conspiracy theory type of guy, so I don’t expect the Maple Leafs to win.
- I’d love to see the Oilers win, mainly because of the ensuing photoshop contest that would occur on the Nation. It would be epic.
- Nine days until our MS Bike Tour charity poker tourney. The winner receives flight, hotel and a seat ($10,000 cost) at the WSOP main event. You can register at jasongregor.com. Good luck. The tourney is at the River Cree Resort and Casino on Sunday, April 26th. Registration starts at 1:30, tourney begins at 3 p.m.
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