Every year, on the eve of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the National Hockey League pauses the chase for the Stanley Cup to officially start the offseason for the 14 teams who failed to make the postseason by conducting the NHL Draft Lottery.
The NHL Draft Lottery (8 p.m. EST, TSN (Canada), NBCSN; re-air at 8:30 p.m. EST, NHL Network) determines who steps up to the podium to pick first at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, to be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, which recently served as host for the NCAA Frozen Four, a coming-out party for Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere as he led the Union Dutchmen to their first national championship.
As is always the case, the draft lottery will be weighted heavily toward the teams with the worst regular-season records this season. However, a change to the draft lottery last year means all 14 teams eliminated from the postseason have a shot at the top pick instead of only the bottom five teams, with any team falling a maximum of one position if they don’t get the pick.
The New Jersey Devils are in the draft lottery, but only to maintain the ideal draft weighting system. They will pick 30th as part of the restructured penalty for the salary cap circumvention on Ilya Kovalchuk‘s contract.
If the Devils win the draft lottery, the draw would be re-done until a team other than the Devils gets the top pick.
Anybody born between Dec. 31, 1994 and Sept. 15, 1996 is eligible for the draft, along with non-North American players over the age of 20.
With that in mind, here is the current draft order, with regular-season records and lottery odds included in parentheses, and their most recent selection with the top pick, or with the highest pick if they’ve never gone first. (Note: Some of the teams who haven’t gotten first have picked in their highest spot on multiple occasions, so we went with the most recent one.)
- Buffalo Sabres (21-51-10; 25 per cent) Last time picking first: 1987 (Pierre Turgeon)
- Florida Panthers* (29-45-8; 18.8 per cent) Last time picking first: 1994 (Ed Jovanovski)
- Edmonton Oilers (29-44-9; 14.2 per cent) Last time picking first: 2012 (Nail Yakupov)
- Calgary Flames (35-40-7; 10.7 per cent) Last time picking first: Never (Highest pick: Sean Monahan – sixth, 2013)
- New York Islanders (34-37-11; 8.1 per cent) Last time picking first: 2009 (John Tavares)
- Vancouver Canucks (36-35-11; 6.2 per cent) Last time picking first: Never (Highest pick: Daniel Sedin – second, 1999)
- Carolina Hurricanes (36-35-11; 4.7 per cent) Last time picking first: Never (Highest pick: Eric Staal – second, 2003)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (38-36-8; 3.6 per cent) Last time picking first: 1985 (Wendel Clark)
- Winnipeg Jets (37-35-10; 2.7 per cent) Last time picking first: 2001, as Atlanta Thrashers (Ilya Kovalchuk)
- Anaheim Ducks** (54-20-8; 2.1 per cent) Last time picking first: Never (Highest pick: Bobby Ryan – second, 2005)
- New Jersey Devils*** (35-29-18; 1.5 per cent) Last time picking first: Never (Highest pick: Brendan Shanahan – second, 1987)
- Nashville Predators (38-32-12; 1.1 per cent) Last time picking first: Never (Highest pick: David Legwand – second, 1998)
- Phoenix Coyotes (37-30-15; 0.8 per cent) Last time picking first: 1981, as Winnipeg Jets (Dale Hawerchuk)
- Washington Capitals (38-30-14; 0.5 per cent) Last time picking first: 2004 (Alex Ovechkin)
* – The Panthers were awarded the top pick in 2002 and 2003, but they traded it both years. In 2002, they traded the pick to Columbus, who picked Rick Nash (Florida took Jay Bouwmeester third); in 2003, they traded it to Pittsburgh, who took Marc-Andre Fleury (Florida selected Nathan Horton third overall.)
** – The Ottawa Senators were originally slotted 10th, but they traded their first-round pick to Anaheim as part of the package used to acquire Bobby Ryan last summer.
*** – The Devils are given the odds equivalent to the 11th slot, but as mentioned earlier, they will pick 30th to fulfill a penalty for the Kovalchuk contract salary cap circumvention.