Despite being the third worst team in the NHL this year, the Edmonton Oilers won the NHL Draft Lottery last night. This moves the Buffalo Sabres, who had the worst record in the league, down to the second pick and the second place Arizona Coyotes fall to third.
The rest of the teams numbered 4-14 did not move up or down a slot.
Buffalo had the best chance of winning the lottery at 20%, but the Oilers 11.5% won them the top pick. The likely top pick will be Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid.
“It’s going to be a dream come true and it’s a great situation to be in,” McDavid said via NHL.com. “[Edmonton has had] fan support even through a little bit of a tough slide they have gone through for a few years. The fan support they still receive is amazing, and the group of guys they have there is pretty special. If it happens to be me that is selected there, it would be a tremendous honor to step in with a group of talent like that.”
This year’s draft has two superstars, which means Buffalo will still get a potential stud with Boston University’s Jack Eichel slotted for the second pick.
“We don’t have the first pick, but we have the second pick and we have said all along there are two top-end, impact players, if not franchise players in this draft and they both play the right position (center) for rebuilding,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said on NHL.com, “so as disappointed as we are in not having the No. 1 pick, we’re extremely happy to be picking No. 2.”.
Eichel hasn’t committed to going pro next season but it has been widely speculated that he will. In his freshman year with the Terriers he led his team to a Frozen Four finals appearance and had 66 points, the most for a freshman since 1992.
Arizona, who had the second worst record in the league, are the real losers of the lottery. They will be unable to get either McDavid or Eichel. Their options include Erie’s Dylan Strome or Boston College’s Noah Hanifan.
The Oilers are no strangers to the first overall pick. In years past they have used the same selection to draft Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov.
The fourth pick will go to the Toronto Maple Leafs, right where they finished. The “loser” of the lottery are the Boston Bruins who finished 14th.