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All eyes on NHL draft lottery


The NHL’s draft lottery takes place on Saturday night in Toronto. While there is no Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews awaiting the team that wins the No. 1 overall pick, here is how some of the worst-finishing teams are approachin­g the draft:


2016-17 finish: 30th overall Odds of winning: 17.9%

Last year’s pick: Tyson Jost, 10th overall

The Avalanche have a wealth of talent, but none of it really seems to be fitting together. Another top-3 pick would help in that it would allow Colorado to flip another player (Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog) for someone the team really needs, such as a top-pairing defenceman. Most likely selection: Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL) “He’s the kind of guy that coaches love and general managers love,” said Mark Seidel, North American Central Scouting. “If you’re building a team, you get him.”


2016-17 finish: 29th overall Odds of winning: 12.1%

Last year’s pick: Olli Juolevi, 5th overall

A first overall pick is exactly what the Canucks need to speed along a rebuild that isn’t really a rebuild. After leading the team with 20 goals and 52 points, we now know how good Bo Horvat is. With Juolevi in the pipeline and the Sedins getting closer to the finish line, a top-line forward who can finish would help the Canucks.

Most likely selection: Nico Hischier, C, Brandon (WHL) “He’s got a superstar element to him,” said Seidel. “He’s got an ability to bring fans out of their seats.”

Las Vegas

2016-17 finish: Not in NHL Odds of winning: 10.3% Golden Knights have exact same odds of winning as 28th-place Coyotes, which should mean they land a pretty good building block. Finding a franchise player is important. But so is finding a player with character to handle the Vegas nightlife and help grow a sport in a nontraditi­onal market.

Most likely selection: Gabe Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL) “Skating is the issue that scares everyone a little,” said Seidel. “But as a big power forward, he has everything you want.”


2016-17 finish: 20th overall Odds of winning: 2.7%

Last year’s pick: Patrik Laine, 2nd overall

Jets sort of won the lottery by moving up from sixth to second last year and picking Laine. With a young and talented core that includes Laine, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Jacob Trouba, look for Winnipeg to pick a defenceman who can make life easier on goalie Connor Hellebuyck or to put the pick in play for a goalie who can stop the puck.

Most likely selection: Cale Makar, D, Brooks (Alberta Jr.) “He dominated in junior A,” said Seidel. “He’s smaller, but he’s got all-world talent.”


2016-17 finish: 29th overall Odds of winning: 12.1%

Last year’s pick: Alex Nylander, 8th overall Imagine where the Sabres would be today had they picked first instead of second overall in 2014 and 2015, and ended up with Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid instead of Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. Sabres could use a defenceman to get the forwards the puck.

Most likely selection: Nicolas Hague, D, Mississaug­a (OHL) “He’s got a bomb from the point,” said Seidel. “I think he has the best shot in the draft. Like an Al MacInnisty­pe of shot.”

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