After a year in which they finished with the fewest points in the NHL, there are some happy hockey fans in Toronto for once as the Leafs won the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery, and many believe the team will draft American forward Auston Matthews with the #1 overall pick come June in Buffalo. The winning combination was 5-6-8-13.
The Winnipeg Jets will pick second and the Columbus Blue Jackets will pick third. To show how close the #1 pick was with so many teams, eight teams total had a chance at the top pick before the fourth of four balls were drawn.
FINAL BALL: 8 teams still had a shot at No. 1. EDM, CBJ, and WPG each had 2-in-11 shot. TOR, ARI, COL, BUF, MTL all had 1 ball. #TSNLottery
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 1, 2016
Leafs President Brendan Shanahan tried to desperately contain his excitement:
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 1, 2016
And only in Toronto would you celebrate winning the draft lottery with streamers at a giant sports bar, but these are the snakebitten Maple Leafs after all.
— Andi Petrillo (@AndiPetrillo) May 1, 2016
The results did not go down well in Vancouver, as the Canucks had the third highest odds to win the lottery but will pick fifth.
— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) May 1, 2016
Today’s results came with a sigh of relief in the NHL’s offices as the Oilers did not win the draft lottery, again. Edmonton had the #1 overall pick in four of the last seven Entry Drafts and won the lottery to draft future and current star Connor McDavid last season.
But at least Oilers fans took their rare loss in stride, hoping the Jets would win the lottery instead of the Maple Leafs.
— Bryan Mudryk (@BryanMudryk) May 1, 2016
The rest of the order goes as follows in order: Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Arizona, Buffalo, Montreal, Colorado, New Jersey, Ottawa, Carolina and Boston.
Once again, the NHL changed the Draft Lottery formula so that the lottery decides the top three picks in the draft a la the NBA’s Draft Lottery. The lottery previously decided only the #1 overall selection in recent years, or the team that could move up a maximum of five spots in the draft order.
The consensus top three prospects in the draft are all forwards: Matthews, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona played in Zurich last season in the Swiss league and two Finns: Jesse Puljujärvi and Patrik Laine, both Gold medal winners at the World Junior Championships back in January.