Add up the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery odds, and you’ll find there is a great chance No. 1 prospect Auston Matthews will need to file some immigration papers.
Fans of all seven Canadian clubs will be crossing their fingers on April 30, with a 68.5 per cent shot that the logo of a Canadian team will be emblazoned on a gold card.
Matthews is the all-but-certain 2016 first-overall pick and the Scottsdale, Ariz., native is expected to be followed by Finnish super wingers Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi in the draft order.
For the first spring ever, the draft’s first three spots are all up for grabs. The non-playoff team with the lowest point total could drop as far as fourth, instead of second under the 2015 rules. Odds of capturing the second- and third-overall picks increases on a proportional basis, depending which team won the previous draw.
With the NHL’s regular season complete and the first all-U.S. Stanley Cup tournament since 1970 on deck, we take a brief look at the lottery odds of each Canadian team. The lottery will be held April 30.
Toronto promised pain and delivered with an abysmal 82 games and the best-looking shot at securing its first big, top-line centre since Mats Sundin departed.
Chance at No. 1: 20%
Chance at No. 2: 17.5%
Chance at No. 3: 15%
Worst possible draft position: 4th
The Oilers dropped four of the their final five games and are well-positioned for a shot to steal their fifth first-overall pick in seven seasons. Even better are the Oilers’ odds at winning a triggerman to flank their franchise face (and 2016-17 captain?) Connor McDavid.
Chance at No. 1: 13.5%
Chance at No. 2: 13%
Chance at No. 3: 12.5%
Worst possible draft position: 5th
Vancouver found out the hard way that rebuilding on the fly is not so easy, but the Canucks now have a 42 per cent chance of securing an elite young forward.
Chance at No. 1: 11.5%
Chance at No. 2: 11.4%
Chance at No. 3: 11.3%
Worst possible draft position: 6th
Calgary saved face by winning three of its final four contests and still have better than a 26 per cent chance of leapfrogging into the top three.
Chance at No. 1: 8.5%
Chance at No. 2: 8.8%
Chance at No. 3: 9%
Worst possible draft position: 8th
Winnipeg’s end-of-season pride spoiled the Los Angeles Kings’ bid for the Pacific Division crown and worsened its lottery odds. Of all the irrelevant teams skating out the string, the Jets were the best, winning four straight. Good news if you believe karma is more powerful than math.
Chance at No. 1: 7.5%
Chance at No. 2: 7.8%
Chance at No. 3: 8.2%
Worst possible draft position: 9th
Montreal dropped from first to 22nd overall, which gives GM Marc Bergevin a five per cent chance to draft a player who could give Alex Galchenyuk a run for the No. 1 pivot spot.
Chance at No. 1: 5%
Chance at No. 2: 5.4%
Chance at No. 3: 5.8%
Worst possible draft position: 12th
The Senators have the longest lottery odds of any Canadian club and are the only team north of the border with a chance to fall all the way to 14th overall — the worst possible draft position of a non-playoff team.
Chance at No. 1: 2.5%
Chance at No. 2: 2.7%
Chance at No. 3: 3%
Worst possible draft position: 14th
For fun, we ran Sabres fan Rob Zaenglein’s addictive NHL Draft Lottery Simulator one more time this morning.
And, yes, a Canadian club came up No. 1.