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Guide to the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery – Hockey Writers –

The date and time of the 2024 NHL Draft lottery have been announced, with the live event taking place on May 7, 2024 at the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. This is one of the biggest events in the NHL schedule each year, especially for the 16 teams that find themselves on the outside looking in when the NHL games begin in April.

The NHL Draft Lottery positions are seen during the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

This year's draft lottery will determine who gets the right to draft Macklin Celebrini, a potential franchise-changing prospect, with the first overall pick. How does the draft lottery work, which teams have the best chances, and who will be the top pick in the draft? Let's take a closer look.

How Does the Draft Lottery Work?

The current draft lottery system encourages, and even rewards, losing in the NHL, but not as much as it used to. Before the lottery, the NHL's last-place team was guaranteed to be the first pick in the next draft, and that guarantee has been removed, reducing the motivation (only slightly) for the tug-of-war at the bottom of the NHL standings. Several rules were added in 2022 when the NHL decided that only two lottery winners would be selected meaning only two winners compared to the three winners fans were used to.

Related: 2024 NHL Draft Guide

Each of the 16 teams that missed the play-offs will have a chance to win and the teams that get the best chance of winning the top pick if they are below standings. It's also worth noting that winning the lottery doesn't guarantee one of the top two picks on this year's list as teams can only jump 10 spots, meaning only the 11 teams with the best odds have a chance to make it. at first general. If the team with the 16th best odds ends up winning the lottery, they can jump to the sixth pick, so the worst team (the San Jose Sharks) goes first overall without technically winning the lottery.

The team that secured the spot in the NHL has a 25.5% chance of winning the top spot which is excellent odds, explaining the wild race to the bottom of the standings that we see after the Trade Deadline each season. The second-place team has only a 13.5% chance, about half the odds of last place and the odds get worse from there meaning that regular season standings are very important to lottery chances.

Who Goes Top of the Draft?

So why did teams quit this season months ago and field some of the NHL's worst lineups in recent memory? Simple, the top talent in the 2024 NHL Draft has the potential to change the future of the league's worst teams, helping them usher in a new era of success.

Macklin Celebrini is the obvious crown jewel of the 2024 Draft, with the perfect two-way game of a player beyond his years. Celebrini is Canadian but took the USHL route to the NCAA rather than playing in the CHL. He dominated every level of hockey he played in, and was named the NCAA's top rookie and MVP (Hobey Baker Award) as a 17-year-old center. Celebrini's game shows no signs of weakness at this point and he has a good chance to become a contributing player in the NHL as soon as next fall.

Artyom Levshunov is another highly sought after prospect in this year's draft. He is a right-footed defender with clear attacking potential, and has improved a ton defensively in the past 18 months. Levshunov is a great athlete and plays at a really high speed which bodes well for NHL projections. His offensive ability and IQ are exciting and I believe in his defensive growth so I can easily see Levshunov becoming a big minute, top two defenseman in the NHL.

Anton Silayev was the first prospect to break out of this draft, going from an unknown prospect in the Russian minor leagues to a sensational shutdown defenseman in the KHL (Russia's top league) in a matter of weeks. Silayev's offensive game is smart, if a little safe. However, the team that drafts Silayev doesn't do that because they think he will be the type of player Cale Makar is. Silayev is 6-foot-7 and looks like a potentially elite defenseman at the pro level, so any offense above that would be icing on the cake.

This year's draft should be really interesting after the first pick, because there doesn't seem to be much consensus on who should go next. Someone I might see as a clear top-five talent might be drafted to go 14th or later by someone else. There is a lot of talent from picks 1-15 though, but no one can agree on who will go there so let's do a quick run through of some names you should be familiar with.

Cole Eiserman is a fantastic scorer who has questions about his ability to compete and defend, but he won't stop scoring. Ivan Demidov is an extremely talented winger who makes magic happen with the puck, but he can be held back by his poor skating stride. Carter Yakemchuk is a great defender, who scores a ton of goals, although his defensive play is questionable at times. Zeev Buium is a cerebral puck mover whose only minor flaw is that his game lacks some power. Berkly Catton is a well-rounded center with great offensive and puck skills, although he doesn't have the size of an NHL center.

That means about half of the guys could make it into the top-5 but I'll stop for now. Check out my latest Draft Rankings article here if you'd like to learn more about the top players in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Which Teams Have the Best Chances?

Let's take a quick look at the five teams with the best chances to win the draft lottery and what happened this season to get them here.

The San Jose Sharks have been in full trade mode for almost two years now, from Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Timo Meier. All of that tanking came to a head this season where we saw one of the NHL's worst teams in recent memory take the ice in San Jose. Young players like William Eklund and Fabian Zetterlund had good seasons which was a bright spot. A guaranteed top-three pick is huge, but winning the lottery could give Sharks fans something to hope for as the team prepares for another similar season next year.

The Chicago Blackhawks made tanking fashionable again last season, especially after winning the Connor Bedard lottery. Without Bedard's addition to the NHL right away this year, the Blackhawks lacked any type of offense off the bench, scoring a league-low 179 goals this season. Their defense and goaltending weren't great either, so the most notable thing was that Bedard looked very good in professional moments. Another top pick will be big on rebuilding in Chicago.

Related: 2024 NHL Mock Draft 1.0

The Anaheim Ducks added more talent to their prospect pool this year mid-season when they traded for Cutter Gauthier. The talented small forward group just got a whole lot better with the addition of NCAA finalist Hobey Baker's leading scorer this season. The Ducks have had a tough season as well, but they have started to give the keys to their guys like Olen Zellweger and Pavel Mintyukov. I think the Ducks will take whichever player they think is best since they don't have any bright spots right now, or a right fielder like Levshunov (or maybe Carter Yakemchuk) would help.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had another unfortunately underwhelming season, although they seem to be heading in the right direction with the recent additions of Adam Fantilli and David Jiricek to the NHL. Scoring has been a problem for a while in Columbus and this year it hasn't happened either, as the Blue Jackets have allowed 300 goals in just 82 games, second most in the league. Whether it's a quality center or defenseman at the top of this draft could go a long way in Columbus' future.

The story of the season for the Montreal Canadiens has been the incredible development of Juraj Slafkovsky who is already a top six player with a lot of room for growth. The Habs led the league in points lost this season (16 overtime losses/kickouts), and changing the outcome of those few OTLs could be the difference between 28th and 23rd overall. Some growth on special teams would be welcome, as Montreal's power play ranks 30th in the league and ranks 29th (special teams stats via Statmuse).

Perfect Odds for 1st Overall

  • 25.5% chance – San Jose Sharks (about 1 in 4)
  • 13.5% chance – Chicago Blackhawks (about 1 in 7)
  • 11.5% chance – Anaheim Ducks (about 1 in 9)
  • 9.5% chance – Columbus Blue Jackets (about 1 in 10)
  • 8.5% chance – Montreal Canadiens (about 1 in 12)
  • 7.5% chance – Utah NHL team (about 1 in 13)
  • 6.5% chance – Ottawa Senators (about 1 in 15)
  • 6.0% chance – Seattle Kraken (about 1 in 17)
  • 5.0% chance – Calgary Flames (1 of 20)
  • 3.5% chance – New Jersey Devils (about 1 in 29)
  • 3.0% chance – Buffalo Sabers (about 1 in 33)

This Draft Lottery Will Reshape the Future of the Organization

The Draft Lottery is always an important event for rebuilding teams, but this year's lottery will give a team the opportunity to find someone who could be one of the best players in the NHL in just a few years, which may be clear. I am very inspired by.

Macklin Celebrini Group of Canada

I am eager to see which teams will win this year's lottery as it will show the future of the league and where its top players will be. Who will get the first pick and the chance to draft Macklin Celebrini, a franchise changing two-way talent? Who will win the second election and choose between the offensive dynamism of Demidov or the defensive strength of Silayev or Levshunov? We only have to wait another week to find out!

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