Look at the Lottery

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One Big Thing: Look at the Lottery

What’s Happening: The NHL Draft is scheduled to take place between July 23 and 24, 2021, and the league’s Board of Governors has voted to make some changes to the lottery. 

The Big Picture: In case you missed it, last year’s lottery was a bit of a mess. To start, it took place during the incomplete COVID-interrupted season, and it struggled to finalize anything at all. Alexis Lafrenière, the consensus No. 1 pick, went to … no one, at first. After an initial lottery, the NHL had to schedule a second draft lottery to know where the No. 1 pick would end up. So it’s no surprise that the league wanted to make some changes this year. 

Digging Deeper: So what exactly is going to happen this year? Well, to start, the number of lottery-eligible picks will shrink down from three to two. Lottery-winning teams will feel some new constraints: a 10-spot jump limit and no more than two lottery wins over the next five years. 

COVID to Blame: Last year’s chaos was, at least in part, due to the pandemic. When the NHL was forced to change its playoff format, that also meant there were technically 24 playoff teams. And that sent problems cascading through the process. 

Who Benefits: So far, the Buffalo Sabres have the most to gain from the new process. The Sabres have an NHL-low of 16 points, and they’re currently — unfortunately for them — experiencing a 14-game losing streak. The one and only silver lining of the Sabres’ rough season is that if they can maintain their terrible record, they’ll pick no later than third in the first round of the draft.  

Prospect Questions: The top pick is looking a little uncertain right now. It could be Matthew Beniers, Fabian Lysell, William Eklund, Owen Power, Simon Edvinsson, Brandt Clarke, or Luke Hughes (Long list, eh?).

Hughes | @lhughes_06

BUT BUT BUT: The U.S. National Team Development Program’s star defenseman, Luke Hughes, is out for the rest of the season. He has a lower-body injury, and won’t be able to play at the All-American Prospects Game and Under-18 World Championship in April. That’s a bit of a game-changer, since those events will be ripe for 2021 NHL Draft scouting. Hughes could be back on the ice this summer and might be able to play at the World Junior camp in July, but there’s a lot to sort out before we have a certain No. 1 pick.

Insider Updates & Analysis

  • Breaking: Referee Tim Peel was relieved of his duties after he was caught saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty Tuesday. According to ESPN, “Peel, 53, was due to retire after this season. He has been an NHL on-ice official since October 1999 and had refereed 1,334 games entering this season.”

  • Update: Ovechkin is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

  • Update: Lake Superior State ends 25-year drought with NCAA tournament bid.

  • Rumor: The Buffalo Sabres want multiple first round picks in exchange for captain Jack Eichel, who could be moved at the trade deadline.

A Question for the Peanut Gallery

Who will be the number one overall pick in this year’s NHL draft?

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