Welcome to Draft Lottery Day, hopeful Habs fans! This season wasn’t fun for the team in red, white and blue, but the annual draft lottery can make up for some of the emotional damage that all Habs fans had to endure through it. The chances may be small, but the hope is high.
The most disappointing season in the last few years can almost be forgotten if the team just so happens to score a high pick. The odds may be against the Canadiens, but what kind of shockwave would it send through the league if the team could somehow luck out and get a top-3 pick in the coming draft? Well, it could surely put the Canadiens back on the map as a better team than what was showcased in 2015-16.
What are the Chances?
Well, five percent, to be exact. The Habs finished 22nd overall in the league, which gives them a five percent chance at scoring the first overall pick in the coming entry draft via the draft lottery. With such a slim chance, there may not be enough four leaf clovers around the world to help the team’s chances. But what if …? What if the Habs were able to draft in the top-3 this year? The team that many say are mainly lacking on the offensive side of the game has a shot (though a slim one) at drafting a player who could conceivably be NHL ready in the next year or two. The prospect of that possibility is huge for the organization, especially since they need something this offseason to put them back on track.
The top-3 picks in this year’s draft are almost already predetermined, though there can always be some surprises. If there aren’t any shocks, the first overall pick will be American forward, Auston Matthews. The second and third picks will likely be either of the two available Finnish forwards, Jesse Puljujarvi or Patrik Laine. The important thing to note about these three players is that they all fit the needs of the Canadiens. All three players have size, and have the scoring touch that the Habs so desperately need.
But what if the Habs aren’t able to luck out at the draft lottery?
Well, they might still be in luck. Eleven of the prospects expected to go in the top-15 of this year’s draft are forwards (according to Bob McKenzie’s end of season draft ranking). While Marc Bergevin and the Habs would love to be able to pick in the top-3, they may have to settle for a later pick. Though this isn’t ideal, the pool of big, talented forwards makes it so that it isn’t the worst thing to be out of luck on lottery day.
So as the lottery looms, Habs fans are salivating at the idea of potentially bringing in a franchise scorer to help complement Alex Galchenyuk & Co. Either way, with such a valuable pick in this year’s draft (which ever it will end up being), the Habs will get better going into next season, their prospect pool will get some depth, and their future club will get that extra firepower that they’ve been looking for over the last few years. Maybe one bad season can bring forth a few (if not more) good ones.
If you want to check out the NHL draft lottery, it takes place at 7 P.M tonight. You can also tune into either CBC, TVA Sports or NBC at 8 P.M. (4 P.M. PDT) today to be a part of the post lottery discussion. You never know what can happen at the lottery, as Habs fans hope for the biggest surprise in recent years.
If you just can’t wait till the lottery, try out the NHL lottery simulator.
I’m a Montreal Canadiens columnist and lifelong Habs fan. Follow me on Twitter (@gregkatz19) for all kinds of hockey talk, and to be up to date on my newest articles. I previously wrote for Too Many Men on the Site, a part of Fansided NHL.