When the New Jersey Devils were in the NHL gutter earlier this season under short-lived head coach John MacLean, it was assumed they would get a lottery pick. Then Jacques Lemaire was rehired on Dec. 23, the Devils decided to stop losing games, and they ended the season with the eighth-worst record in the NHL and a 3.6-percent chance of winning the lottery.
Which, of course, they did. Because it's just sooooo Lou Lamoriello to do so after the battles they've had with the NHL.
The Devils moved up to the No. 4 overall pick, with the Edmonton Oilers getting the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive season. The Colorado Avalanche will select No. 2, the Florida Panthers No. 3 and the New York Islanders No. 5. The Ottawa Senators move down to No. 6 overall.
The rest of the draft order: 7. Atlanta Thrashers, 8. Columbus Blue Jackets, 9. Phil Kessel's former team, the Boston Bruins, 10. Minnesota Wild, 11. Colorado Avalanche (a conditional pick from St. Louis), 12. Carolina Hurricanes, 13. Calgary Flames, 14. Dallas Stars.
It will be the first time the Devils will have a top 10 pick since they selected 10th in 1996 and took defenseman Lance Ward. The No. 4 pick will be the Devils' highest since they selected Scott Niedermayer third overall in 1991 with the pick they acquired from Toronto for Tom Kurvers.
Keep in mind the Devils have to forfeit a first round pick in one of the next four drafts as a result of the Ilya Kovalchuk penalty from the NHL, after an arbitrator found his 17-year, $102 million contract violated the CBA. It won't be this one.
Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the top-ranked North American skater and prospect on the TSN top 10 entering the lottery. Adam Larsson and Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog followed him on the TSN list.
Check out our junior blog Buzzing The Net for more. If you missed it earlier, check out the replay of our live draft lottery chat below.
- New Jersey Devils
- Colorado Avalanche
- Jacques Lemaire