The NHL lottery had a somewhat different format this year. The National Hockey League executives have decided to change the process a little, in order to make this whole event more interesting. The picks 15 to 4 were unveiled before the second game of the series between the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks, which began at 8:00 p.m ET. The three teams that made it through had to wait until the second intermission of the game to know where they will select.
As a little reminder, here is who will pick 15th - 4th at the 2018 NHL draft:
15. Florida Panthers
14. Philadelphia Flyers
13. Dallas Stars
12. New York Islanders (Acquired from the Calgary Flames as part of the Travis Hamonic deal)
11. New York Islanders
10. Edmonton Oilers
9. New York Rangers
8. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Vancouver Canucks
6. Detroit Red Wings
5. Arizona Coyotes
4. Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators and the Arizona Coyotes are considered by many people to be the biggest losers of this lottery. Ottawa were ranked 30th at the end of the 2017-18 season (which means they had the second best odds to pick first), while the Coyotes ended up being 29th, and had the third best odds. It is fair to believe there will still be extremely talented players still available for them, but it is still extremely disappointing for the fans.
Now, you will notice that the Carolina Hurricanes, who had the 11th best odds (they only had a 3% chance to land the first overall pick!), are no where to be found. That is because they are defying the odds, and were competing against the Buffalo Sabres and the Montreal Canadiens for the huge opportunity to pick first on June 22, in Dallas.
Here is the lucky winner of the 2018 NHL lottery, preceded by picks #2 and #3:
3. Montreal Canadiens
2. Carolina Hurricanes
1. Buffalo Sabres
According to Mike Sundheim, who is in charge of the public relations for the Hurricanes, the team has never had the opportunity to have the first overall pick:
"The Canes have picked second at the NHL Draft three times in franchise history (Sylvain Turgeon, Chris Pronger, Eric Staal). They've never had the No. 1 pick.
The last time the Montreal Canadiens had the first overall pick was in 1980. They selected Doug Wickenheiser, who ended up playing 556 career NHL games. They drafted Alex Galchenyuk 3rd overall in 2012.
On the other hand, the Sabres drafted Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart second overall, in 2015 and 2014 respectively. They only had the first overall pick twice in franchise history: in 1987, when they selected Pierre Turgeon, and in 1970, when they chose Gilbert Perreault.
WHO IS GOING TO BE SELECTED IN THE TOP 3?
Rasmus Dahlin is presumed to be the next first overall pick. The 18-year-old defenseman, who is said to be a "generational talent", amassed 20 points in 41 games in the Swedish Hockey League. Keep in mind that during the season, he was 17 years old and played with and against players much, much older than him. His stats are pretty impressive.
Filip Zadina and Andrei Svechknikov, who are both 18-year-old wingers, are ranked 2nd and 3rd by various experts. Here is what Sportsnet's Sam Cosentino had to say about them:
Andrei Svechnikov, RW, 6-foot-2, 188 pounds (Barrie, OHL): OHL Rookie of the Year is quite an honour considering he played in just 44 regular season games, or roughly two-thirds of the season. He can impact the game in several areas. He has size and is incredibly dedicated to the craft." He recorded 40 goals and 32 assists for 72 points in just 44 games.
Filip Zadina, RW, 6-foot, 195 pounds (Halifax, QMJHL): His innate ability to score goals is translatable in that he knows where to go to get into scoring position. Zadina has pro bloodlines and answered every task asked of him all season in a variety of events." He recorded 44 goals and 38 assists for 82 points in 57 games with the Mooseheads.
Are you happy with the outcome of the draft? Do you think Buffalo finally deserved a superstar defenseman?
"Happy for Sabres fans. That's a game-changer right there."
"Who says Buffalo never wins? Franchise-changing moment right there."
"The Buffalo Sabres have the first overall pick in 2018. The last time they selected first overall was in 1987 when they drafted Pierre Turgeon"