The Devils had an 8.5 percent chance at winning the lottery, compared to Colorado’s 18-percent chance. The last time the Devils franchise picked first overall was in 1979, when the Colorado Rockies selected defenseman Rob Ramage first.
New Jersey wasn’t the only team to make a big leap in the lottery. The Philadelphia Flyers, who had the third-worst odds at 2.2 percent, jumped all the way to the No. 2 pick in the draft. The Dallas Stars, who only had the eighth-best odds, earned the No. 3 pick.
Here were the odds heading into the draft lottery:
The Stars, Flyers and Devils all moved up the draft board significantly. The way the lottery works: There were three drawings. The 1st Lottery Draw determined the club selecting first overall, the 2nd Lottery Draw determined the club selecting second overall and the 3rd Lottery Draw determined the club selecting third overall.
The expansion Vegas Golden Knights were given the exact same lottery odds as the team that finished the 2016-17 regular season in 28th place. Their general manager, George McPhee, was stranded in Washington, D.C. due to travel complications – home of the Capitals, the team that fired him after 17 years in 2014.
Here’s the rest of the draft lottery:
New Jersey Devils
Vegas Golden Knights
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders
The top two prospects in pre-draft rankings are Brandon Wheat King center Nolan Patrick or Halifax Moosehead center Nico Hischier, poised to be the highest-drafted Swiss player in NHL history. Neither is considered franchise-redefining player in the tradition of Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews.
Condolences to the Colorado Avalanche, who had one of the worst points-percentage seasons in the last 15 years in the NHL and don’t earn a top three pick. But hey, bright side: Taking a defenseman at No. 4 makes more sense than taking him at No. 1, and that’s where the Avalanche need help.
But congrats, sorta, to the New Jersey Devils for securing the first overall pick in a draft that doesn’t seem to have a megastar prospect for a foundational defenseman worthy of the No. 1 spot.
It’s actually the second time the Devils have won the draft lottery – the first time netted them defenseman Adam Larsson in 2011. He was traded last year for winger Taylor Hall, who must be excited for the news he’s getting a center and also lamenting his status as a bad luck good luck charm:
— Aarif Deen (@EHdeen) April 30, 2017
Sad, but true. But Hall gets it:
Officially adding "NHL lottery ball specialist" to my hockey resume.
— Taylor Hall (@hallsy09) April 30, 2017
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