Today is one of the most important events on the hockey calendar, with the NHL Draft Lottery set to take place later tonight. The Lottery is set for 8PM ET and will be available for fans to watch on ESPN, Sportsnet, and TVA Sports. The Anaheim Ducks hold the best odds to select first, with a 25.5% chance of landing the top spot. As you may recall, the Montreal Canadiens won the lottery last year after finishing the season with the best odds. Will it happen two years in a row?
As for the Montreal Canadiens, they hold the fifth-best odds in the draft lottery, with an 8.5% chance to select first overall and an 8.6% chance to choose second. As you may recall, the Draft Lottery only refers to the top two drawings, with only the bottom 11 teams eligible to move up to 1st and the bottom 12 eligible to move up to second. So this also means the Canadiens could drop one or two spots if a team behind them were to win the lottery. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen. There’s a 44% chance of the Habs falling to 6th and a 14.2% chance of falling to 7th.
As mentioned, this draft class is well stocked with talent behindConnor Bedard, the likely first-overall pick. So it isn’t the end of the world if the Canadiens don’t win the lottery, but boy, would it be nice to land a talent like Bedard, or even Adam Fantilli at second overall. Still, guys like Will Smith, Matvei Michkov, and Zach Benson could be available in the 5-7 range and be fantastic additions to the Canadiens’ prospect pool.
At one point, it looked like the Canadiens could have had two picks in the Lottery with the Florida Panthers’ first-rounder. The Panthers appeared to be treading water for a while before going on a run to propel them into the postseason, where they have continued to win. Now that pick is in danger of falling to 29th. Still, the Canadiens are in good shape heading into the lottery, with a solid chance to secure at least a top-five pick.
Habs fans watching basically need to root for one thing. As the cards are flipped, everything needs to stay the same until the fifth overall pick. If this happens, it means regardless of how the rest of the lottery plays out, the Canadiens have, at worst, remained exactly where they were before the Draft Lottery. Of course, the hope is that once the fifth pick is revealed, it no longer belongs to the Canadiens, meaning that one of the top two picks now belongs to them. It’s a little confusing, but here’s a simple thing to remember. Until we get to the fifth pick, root for absolutely no chaos, and then once we get to the fifth pick, root for as much chaos as possible.
It’s not the end of the world if the Canadiens end up picking 6th or 7th, but I’ve talked extensively about the Canadiens needing superstar-level talent on the roster. Winning this year’s draft lottery would be exactly what the Canadiens need to change that. The NHL Draft Lottery has the potential to completely transform a franchise. Let’s hope the Canadiens are this year’s benefactors.
Want your voice heard? Join the A Winning Habit team!