The Detroit Red Wings finally got some clarity on their 2021 NHL Draft Lottery odds after the Vancouver Canucks lost in overtime on Sunday night. With the additional point, Vancouver passed Detroit in the standings, resulting in the Red Wings officially finishing with the fifth-worst record this season.
Detroit previously held the fifth-worst record after the 2017-18 campaign. They ended up with the sixth-overall pick that year, choosing Filip Zadina.
So with the Red Wings’ position in the standings locked in, let’s take a look at the draft lottery implications as the organization moves into the offseason.
Red Wings’ Draft Lottery Odds
With the fifth-worst record, the Red Wings have the sixth-best odds of landing the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Sixth-best because the expansion Seattle Kraken enter the NHL with the third-best odds at the top pick – just like the Vegas Golden Knights did in 2017.
So with that in mind, here’s how Detroit’s odds break down with each individual pick in the first round:
As a result of the NHL’s updated draft lottery rules, the Red Wings cannot land the third-overall pick this year. The draft lottery now applies to just the first two selections – not the top three, as has been the case previously.
Having a 15.3 percent chance of receiving one of the top-two picks is not ideal for a rebuilding franchise in need of cornerstone players, but this is the hand the Red Wings were dealt. If anything, blame Detroit’s unfavorable odds on the team’s improved defensive play this season.
NHL Draft Implications
First, the NHL needs to hold the draft lottery to determine once and for all where the Red Wings will select in this year’s draft. Historically, the draft lottery’s ping-pong balls haven’t been favorable to Detroit, but there’s also the Due Theory, which suggests the Red Wings could have some luck this time around.
Even though the Red Wings are likely to pick sixth or seventh in this summer’s draft, they’re still going to receive a quality prospect. Who that is exactly remains to be seen.
NHL prospect analysts have varying perspectives when it comes to the top players in this year’s draft class. For example, The Hockey Writers’ prospect writers Peter Baracchini, Matthew Zator, and Andrew Forbes rank University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power fourth, sixth, and second, respectively, in their latest draft rankings. The variability expands when you look at other perspectives as well (i.e. Bob McKenzie, Corey Pronman, etc.).
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
If anything, this shows that picking later isn’t as bad of an outcome as with previous years. There are several prospects at the top of this year’s class and there’s no consensus on how to rank these players appropriately.
For now, we know the Red Wings have the sixth-best odds of landing the top pick in the 2021 draft. We’ll have further clarity in June, when the draft lottery takes place and Detroit’s first-round position is ultimately determined.
And though the Red Wings don’t have the best odds this year, the top of the 2021 draft class is fairly deep. There will be a few great prospects available if Detroit ends up choosing sixth or seventh – the two likeliest outcomes of the draft lottery.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.