I’m entering tomorrow’s draft lottery with a very different mindset than the one I had just 12 months prior.
For one, the Senators are entering with the tenth best odds — 4.5% chance at first overall — instead of the second and third best odds last year. Secondly, there are less disastrous outcomes. I don’t see a big difference between picking 10th and 12th in this year’s class, and vaunted rivals Montréal and Toronto also don’t have their hands in the cookie jar. Finally, the draft lottery has changed in hopes of bettering the odds of the league’s bottom-feeders actually receiving a top-three pick. Add the expansion Seattle Kraken to the mix and it isn’t likely that the Senators, who finished with the ninth-worst record this year, qualify as one of the league’s “bottom-feeders” anymore like they did the previous three years.
Here are the changes to the 2021 lottery process as compared to 2020:
- There are only draws for the first and second overall pick, instead of each pick in the top three.
- The Seattle Kraken are guaranteed to come out of the lottery with a top-five pick, entering as the third seed and owning the same odds as the fourth seed — the team with the third-worst regular season record. These are the same odds that the Vegas Golden Knights held in 2017.
- With the addition of a sixteenth team, the odds for all other participating teams have been reduced proportionally from the odds utilized in last year’s Draft Lottery.
- The Arizona Coyotes’ first-round pick is forfeited due to the sanctions against the Coyotes organization. If Arizona is selected, there will be a re-draw.
The league announced these changes in March 2021 along with two other changes that begin with the 2022 draft lottery. Those changes are:
- Teams are restricted from moving up more than 10 spots if it wins one of the lottery draws — meaning only teams seeded 1-11 will get a chance at the first overall pick, and only teams seeded in the top-12 will get a chance at the second overall pick.
- Teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period. Lottery wins prior to 2022 will not be counted toward this total,
because we couldn’t do that to Edmonton Oilers or New York Rangers fans.
Personally, I’m much more a fan of Micah Blake McCurdy’s Gold Drafting scheme to increase equity, fairness, and entertainment as opposed to the league focusing on limiting eligibility for the first overall pick, but... *shrug*.
What does this mean for the Senators?
Once the dust settles, the 14 clubs not selected in the lottery will be assigned draft selections 3-16, sorted from worst to best regular season record. The worst the Senators can select is 12th overall.
On their NHL Draft Center 2021 page, the team at EliteProspects have assembled first-round rankings from a multitude of scouting sources, including FCHockey, McKeen’s, Sportsnet, TSN, NHL CSS. McKeen’s contributor and friend-of-the-blog, Will Scouch, had an insightful tweet thread on the much wider range of names being placed on these lists this year compared to last. One note? There seems to be a group of players rated in the top-nine, and then many question marks after that. Those nine include Matthew Beniers, Owen Power, William Eklund, Luke Hughes, Brandt Clarke, Dylan Guenther, Simon Edvinsson, Kent Johnson, and Jesper Wallstedt; with Beniers listed as a near-guarantee to be selected in the top-three. If you wanted to attempt to land him by giving the ol’ simulator a whirl, I recommend Tankathon’s tool.
We’ll have an open thread set-up tomorrow evening before the 7:00pm EST start. You can listen to the lottery live on TSN1200. See you there!