The NHL announced the position of the top 14 teams for the draft that will take place at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida in June. This was the first time that the top players for the upcoming draft were present or involved in the press conference after the top team was announced.
The Lottery revealed that the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs will pick as follows:
- Edmonton Oilers
- Buffalo Sabres
- Arizona Coyotes
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Carolina Hurricanes
- New Jersey Devils
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- San Jose Sharks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Florida Panthers
- Dallas Stars
- Los Angeles Kings
- Boston Bruins
If the draft were to happen based on the recently released final draft rankings from Central Scouting, the top four players—who were either at the Lottery in person or available by phone during the press conference—would be
- Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid
- Buffalo Sabres – Jack Eichel
- Arizona Coyotes – Noah Hanifin
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Dylan Strome
McDavid, Hanifin and Strome were available on site at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, while Eichel phoned in from Europe where he has joined the USA Men’s National Team to compete in the IIHF World Championship, which will take place May 1-17 in the Czech Republic.
For Edmonton Oilers General Manager, Craig MacTavish, he shared how excited he was to see that the Oilers had won the top spot in the Draft Lottery. This moved his team from the third position and pushed the Sabres and the Coyotes down by one spot.
Of course, once the lottery lineup was revealed, assumptions began to fly and the on-site media did their best to get the present Oilers management to commit to whom they would choose with that first pick. Even MacTavish, who called in for the media availability after the lottery, refused to make any indication on whether his team would be taking McDavid, as everyone expects.
Perhaps the most obvious thing that was learned during the Lottery and the question and answer period after is that everyone involved, from the four players to the management of the Oilers, used a lot of words to say little. Every player said that anything could happen between now and the actual Draft day. MacTavish’s biggest pronouncement was that absolutely nothing could be offered by another team that he would consider valuable enough to trade away that number one pick. Of course, in hockey, it is often just after a general manager says he has no intention of trading a player that an announcement is made that the player has been traded. So such precedence needs to be kept in mind.
In the end all that tonight’s lottery has revealed is the expected order of the first 14 picks in round one of the NHL Draft, which will be televised and will take place on Friday, June 26, with rounds two through seven taking place on Saturday, June 27.