The 2013 Scotiabank NHL Draft Lottery took place tonight at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, and the big winners were the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado came into tonight with the second-highest odds of winning the top overall pick, with an 18.8% chance of doing so.
There are several intriguing players at the top of this year’s draft crop. NHL Central Scouting recently released their final rankings, and defenseman Seth Jones remained atop a pair of forwards, second-ranked Nathan MacKinnon and third-ranked Jonathan Drouin.
Jones, the American defenseman who plays for the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League, stands an imposing 6’4” and 206 pounds. He notched 14 goals and 42 assists in 61 games from the blue line this WHL season, and had a starring role at both ends of the ice in Team USA’s Gold Medal run in Ufa, Russia at this year’s World Junior Championship.
The two forwards are more than just a consolation prize. The 6’0” MacKinnon put together a 32-43—75 campaign in 44 games for the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. Drouin, for his part, was a goal-a-game player with 49 tallies, adding 64 assists for 105 points on that same Halifax squad. Many scouts believe all three of these youngsters to be NHL-ready.
What’s most intriguing about Colorado winning tonight’s lottery, is their connection to Jones. Seth Jones is the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones. While Popeye was playing for the Denver Nuggets, his son fell deep in love with the area’s more popular sport, hockey. Popeye was supportive to the extent of learning to skate alongside his young sons, but knew that the sport was too foreign for him to properly advise Seth. Looking to his arena’s other tenants, Popeye asked for advice from none other than Hall of Famer Joe Sakic, who was more than willing to talk to the eager father and son.
The NHL Draft will be held on Sunday, June 30, also at the Prudential Center. All seven rounds will be held this year on the same day. The host New Jersey Devils, who were fined in 2010 for attempting to circumvent the salary cap to sign Ilya Kovalchuk, announced earlier today that they intended to hold on to their first round pick again this year, instead choosing to forfeit their first round for the 2014 draft. The total penalty assessed to New Jersey was $3 million, a 2011 third round pick, and the aforementioned first round pick, which the Devils had to relinquish over one of the following four drafts.
This year’s Draft Lottery was a bit different than in previous years. For the first time in NHL history, all 14 franchises that failed to qualify for the postseason held a weighted chance at attaining the top pick. With Colorado jumping to the top of the list, the Florida Panthers will pick second overall and the remaining order will be unchanged. Based on the reverse order of the final standings, the percentage chance for each team to win the Draft Lottery was as follows:
- Florida Panthers 25.0%
- Colorado Avalanche 18.8%
- Tampa Bay Lightning 14.2%
- Nashville Predators 10.7%
- Carolina Hurricanes 8.1%
- Calgary Flames 6.2%
- Edmonton Oilers 4.7%
- Buffalo Sabres 3.6%
- New Jersey Devils 2.7%
- Dallas Stars 2.1%
- Philadelphia Flyers 1.5%
- Phoenix Coyotes 1.1%
- Winnipeg Jets 0.8%
- Columbus Blue Jackets 0.5%