The NHL Draft lottery is set for Monday May 8th (8pm on Sportsnet) and this is one of those years when there’s a player available that’s not only head and shoulders better than everyone else, but has a chance to be a star in the league straight away. Every hockey fan has heard the name of Connor Bedard by now. Heck, they’re writing folk songs about the kid already.
The Regina Pats’ centre pretty much did whatever he wanted in the Western Hockey League this season, scoring 71 goals and 72 assists in 57 games. At the World Juniors with Canada, facing his finest peers, he had 23 points in 7 games, winning a gold medal and the tournament MVP.
16 teams will participate in the Bedard lottery but only the bottom 11 teams in the league standings have a chance at landing him with the first overall pick. The Senators missed the playoffs for a 6th straight season but finished 12th last in the league, just outside of the Bedard sweepstakes.
But there’s still hope, even though it resembles the current state of the Leafs’ hopes in round two of the playoffs. Editor’s note: Listen, this is a Sens fan guide to the lottery. Gratuitous shots at the Leafs aren’t offside here.
There’s an 85.7% chance the Senators will come out of the lottery in the same spot they finished. 12th last overall, 12th overall selection. There’s an 8.9% chance they’ll drop and pick 13th. If either of those things occur tonight, then the Sens’ first-round pick will officially go to Arizona as part of the Jakob Chychrun deal.
But as part of the Chychrun trade, the Senators wrote one little condition into the agreement that keeps Monday’s lottery from being worthless to Sens fans.
If Senators win the lottery, they get to keep their pick and Arizona would get their first rounder next year instead. The Sens have about a 5.3% chance of winning and, if they do, they’d move up as many as ten spots and choose as high as 2nd overall.
If that happens, the Sens would almost certainly select University of Michigan centre Adam Fantilli. He was the third freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker Award this year. Fantilli was the top scorer in the NCAA and probably a better prospect than a lot of number ones we’ve seen in NHL drafts of the past.
If the Sens hand their first-round pick over to Arizona, then all the Sens’ draft previews will get uninteresting in a hurry because Ottawa’s 2023 draft cupboard will be completely bare. For the first time in their history, the Sens won’t have a first, second, or third-round pick. Their first pick would be in round 4, probably about 109th overall.
It’s hard to imagine that GM Pierre Dorion won’t try and do something to make a splash. With the sale of the franchise about to go down, Dorion probably won’t want to be the guy sitting quietly at his draft table, out of the spotlight for four rounds. It doesn’t exactly showcase your creativity as an NHL executive.
But that’s for another day. All eyes for now are on the draft lottery, and if you’re looking for a Monday night miracle for the Sens, it’s not really that far fetched. In four of the last six NHL Draft Lotteries, a team from outside the top ten has won and landed a top-three pick.