The National Hockey will hold its annual Draft Lottery tonight in Toronto. The lottery determines the draft order for the 14 clubs that missed the postseason prior to the NHL Entry Draft. The lottery will air live on NBC Sports Network and nashvillepredators.com at 7 p.m. CT.
The Florida Panthers, who finished 30th this season, will have the best odds of winning the first pick -- 25.0 percent. The rules were changed this year, allowing all 14 non-playoff teams to have a chance at winning the top pick; in previous years teams only could move up four positions, meaning only the teams that finished in the bottom five in the standings had a chance at winning the lottery. The Predators, who finished 26th in the League, have 10.7 percent chance of winning the first overall pick.
In addition to the 10.7 percent chance of getting the top pick, Nashville has a 58 percent chance of remaining in the fourth slot and a 31.3 percent chance of slipping to the fifth overall pick. In the 17 previous draft lotteries, the team in the fourth slot has moved into the first pick only once. It remained in the fourth position 11 times and moved down one pick five times.
No matter where the Predators end up following tonight lottery, this year’s draft marks just the second time the team has held a Top Five pick in its history. The previous occurrence was the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, where the Predators held the third overall pick, but traded up one position to select David Legwand with the second overall pick.
In addition to the Top Five pick, this year’s draft also marks the first time in two years that the Predators retained their first round selection. Nashville’s first round pick in 2011 was traded to Ottawa in exchange for forward Mike Fisher. Last year’s first rounder was dealt to Buffalo for forward Paul Gaustad at the 2012 trade deadline.
Here is a list of the Predators all-time first round selections:
More than half of the League’s Top 20 scorers this season were top five draft picks in their respective classes.
Some notable fourth overall picks include: Evander Kane (WPG), Alex Pietrangelo (STL), Nicklas Backstrom (WAS), Andrew Ladd (CAR), Roberto Luongo (NYI), Paul Kariya (ANA), Steve Yzerman (DET), Ron Francis (HFD) and Mike Gartner (WSH).
Notable fifth overall selections include: Phil Kessel (BOS), Carey Price (MTL), Blake Wheeler (PHX), Thomas Vanek (BUF), Jaromir Jagr (PIT), Scott Stevens (WSH) and Rick Vaive (VAN).
This year’s draft will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Sunday, June 30. Stay tuned to nashvillepredators.com for more prospect and draft information, and details on the official Nashville Predators Draft Party.
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