The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery and the chance to select Auston Matthews with the first overall pick.
The American centre is the consensus top prospect in the draft. Marc Crawford, Matthews’ coach this past season with the Zurich Lions, describes the 18-year-old as “everything you want in a No. 1 NHL centre.”
The number-drawing process of the lottery was supervised by accounting firm Ernst & Young and the draft order was revealed at the Hockey Central studio inside CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto. The Maple Leafs had the best odds (a 20 per cent chance) at winning the top pick.
Here are the complete results of the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery:
12. Ottawa Senators
14. Boston Bruins
Matthews tore up the Swiss-A league with 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games.
“He’s a lot like Jack Eichel,” Flames president Brian Burke said during his Facebook Live chat with Sportsnet earlier in the day. “Not similar in style of play, but in the impact he’s going to have. I think he’s going to play right away and be a good player. I don’t think he deserves the ‘generational’ tag like [Connor] McDavid or Sidney Crosby, but I love this kid.”
Finnish winger Patrik Laine is expected to be the second-overall pick. Laine led Tappara Tampere to a Liiga championship earlier this week. He registered a playoff-high 10 goals in 18 playoff games and earned Jari Kurri Trophy, which is the Finnish equivalent of the Conn Smythe.