2017 NHL Draft lottery expected to be April 29

The Hockey Night panel takes a look at the biggest stories around the NHL including the large number of potential coaching changes that we could see over the summer.

As the NHL’s regular season comes to a close, some teams are looking forward to the opening of the playoffs, while others have an eye on off-season improvement.

And the first step down that road is the NHL Draft.

On Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman reported that he expects the 2017 NHL Draft lottery to be held on Saturday, April 29. Among Canadian teams, the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks will be involved, with Winnipeg currently sitting with the 11th-best odds (considering the Vegas Golden Knights will be added in to the mix with the third-best odds), while Vancouver currently has the second-best odds with two games to play.

The top prospect available this year is still Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings, whose season was limited to 33 games because of an injury at the start of the year. He scored 20 goals and 46 goals for Brandon. Patrick also missed the first round of the playoffs with a lower-body injury as Brandon fell in four games to Medicine Hat.

While Patrick has been the top-rated prospect for more than a year, Swiss forward Nico Hischier has made a charge since having a terrific showing at the World Junior Championship. Hischier scored 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games for the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads this season and added seven points in six playoff games before his team was eliminated by Rouyn-Noranda in Round 1.

The 2017 NHL Draft will be held June 23-24.