Toronto wins lottery, Jets move up to No. 2
The annual NHL draft lottery was held on Saturday night and for the first time in six years the team that finished last in the league won the lottery. That team was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will have the chance to choose either Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine with the pick.
There will be internal debate, but Auston Matthews is Toronto’s man. The center, currently playing in the Swiss league, will be ready to jump straight into the NHL in sheltered minutes behind Nazem Kadri (at least to start).
Interest will be there from teams to move up, especially Arizona, but I do not foresee it happening. The Maple Leafs endured a tough season and waited a long time for this to happen, and to relinquish the ability to make the first overall selection would come at a high price.
In other news and notes, the Winnipeg Jets moved up from #6 to #2. They’ll likely get the chance to take Patrik Laine, the Finnish winger that has drawn comparisons to Alex Ovechkin.
I think there was a shot that someone like Buffalo or Calgary would have taken Laine first overall, but I don’t think it’ll happen now.
Most of the teams remained in the spots they were originally at.
Edmonton is picking at #4 and Jacob Chychrun or Matthew Tkachuk would be nice fits.
Montreal got the #9 pick and will have a number of options to look at. Can things shake out so that Alex Nylander falls down to them? Entirely possible.
New Jersey is at #10. Clayton Keller would be good for them.
The months leading up to the draft will be full of preparation for the fourteen teams involved in the draft lottery plus many more as they are eliminated from the playoffs. The top three players in this year’s draft makes it an exciting one. With things like the salary cap and the expansion draft in play, there’s a lot to look forward to in terms of player movement come June.