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Is Lady Luck finally on the Blue Jackets’ side?

Columbus’ history in the NHL draft lottery is generally one of disappointment, but all it takes is one drawing to change that.

And tomorrow, the latest drawing – which could have a disproportionate impact on the future of the Blue Jackets – will take place ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft. The results will determine the order of the picks at the top of the first round, with the Blue Jackets having a chance to move up from the fourth overall pick – and the potential to move down a spot or two.

In the end, there’s a 19.0-percent chance Columbus can move up into the top two, which would allow the Blue Jackets to get another highly touted draft pick to join the squad’s rebuild.

But no matter where the Blue Jackets end up when the lottery show begins at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN, their reward for another season without playoff hockey will be a top-six draft pick.

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So what do CBJ fans need to know about the process that will determine where the Jackets pick when the draft takes place in late June? Here's a primer on what will happen tomorrow.

The Numbers

It's a bit of a complicated process, but there's some concrete math that comes out of it. After finishing fourth from the bottom of the NHL standings this season, the Blue Jackets could pick anywhere from No. 1 to No. 6 based on how the ping-pong balls bounce.

In the end, the Blue Jackets have a 9.5-percent chance at moving up to earn the No. 1 overall pick, a 9.5-percent chance of going up to No. 2 and a slight chance of moving up to third overall.

There’s a 15.4 percent chance of staying at No. 4, but the bad news is the team is mathematically more likely to drop than move up or stay still. There’s a 44.6 percent chance of going down a spot to the No. 5 pick, as well as a 20.8 percent chance of falling to sixth.

How does it work? The Blue Jackets finished with 66 points on the season, ahead of only Anaheim (59), Chicago (52) and San Jose (47). That gives the Sharks the best odds in the lottery, with the Blackhawks and Ducks following.

There are two lottery draws that will be held, with the first one for the first overall pick. While all 16 teams that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs can win that draw, teams can move up only 10 slots, so if, say, St. Louis – which was the first team out of the playoffs – wins the lottery, San Jose will stay at one, while the Blues will move up 10 spots to earn the sixth overall pick.

Meanwhile, if a team in the bottom 11 wins the lottery, they will move up to the No. 1 pick, while everyone will move down a slot. Then there will be a second draw for the No. 2 overall pick, following essentially the same format.

The odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the second lottery draw, based on which team wins the first.

If both draws are won by teams below the Blue Jackets in the order, those teams will move up and Columbus will bump down to sixth. If just one of them is, the Jackets will move to fifth. But if Columbus wins one of the two lottery draws, the Blue Jackets will move up to that spot.

The Players

Once we get closer to the draft, we’ll write a lot more about the players who could be available to the Blue Jackets, but for now, we’ll give you a short description of each of the top players in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s ranking of North American and International skaters,

North American Skaters

1. C Macklin Celebrini (6-0, 190), Boston University (NCAA): Just the fourth freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s best player – Adam Fantilli was the third last year – Celebrini is thought to be the top talent in this year’s draft. As a 17-year-old freshman, Celebrini finished third in NCAA hockey in points (32-32-64 in 38 games), was a member of Canada’s World Juniors squad, and can become just the fourth college hockey player taken first overall.

2. RHD Artyom Levshunov (6-2, 208), Michigan State (NCAA): The Belarusian defenseman immediately became one of the best players in the country as a freshman, helping resurgent Michigan State win the Big Ten title. Levshunov posted a 9-26-35 line in 38 games and was plus-27 on the season while boasting prototypical size from the blue line.

3. C Cayden Lindstrom (6-3¼, 210), Medicine Hat (WHL): A big center who plays with an edge, Lindstrom was nearly a goal-per-game player with the Tigers, notching 27 tallies in 32 games to go with 19 assists for a total of 46 points. A native of British Columbia, he missed much of this season with injuries to his hand and back.

4. LHD Zeev Buium (6-0, 183), Denver (NCAA): The Californian was one of the straws that stirred the drink for the national champion Pioneers, creating a ton of offense from the blue line. Buium finished with an 11-39-50 stat line and plus-33 rating in 42 games to lead college hockey in points from the blue line. He also was on Team USA’s gold medal-winning World Juniors squad.

5. RHD Zayne Parekh (6-0, 179), Saginaw (OHL): From the same hometown – Nobleton, Ontario – as Fantilli, Parekh finished tied for sixth in the OHL and led all league defensemen with 96 points, including 33 goals from the blue line. His 63 assists were also fifth in the league, and he finished with a plus-39 rating.

International Skaters

1. LHD Anton Silayev (6-7, 211), Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL): The big Russian defenseman has skill to match his size, playing a strong all-around game from the blue line. He played at in the top league in Europe as a 17-year-old this past season, totaling a 3-8-11 line in 63 games.

2. RW Ivan Demidov (5-11, 181), SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): A wing with skill, he could become the next version of Matvei Michkov after dominating the Russian junior league. Demidov posted two points per game this year, notching a 23-37-60 line in 30 games and adding 28 points in 17 playoff games for SKA-1946.

3. C Konsta Helenius (5-10¾, 180), Jukurit (Finland): A member of Finland’s World Juniors and World Championships team, Helenius put together a tremendously impressive season for a 17-year-old in Finland’s Liiga. Helenius had a 14-22-36 line in 52 games and added six points in six playoff games for Jukurit.

4. RHD Adam Jiricek (6-2½, 182), HC Plzen (Czechia): The brother of CBJ defenseman David Jiricek, Adam follows in his footsteps as a big, play-making blueliner. Unfortunately he also followed David’s lead in getting injured at the World Juniors, limiting him to just 19 games with Plzen on the season. At age 17, he had a single assist in those 19 games with the senior squad.

The History

The Blue Jackets have already restocked their prospect pool into one of the best in the league thanks largely to six first-round picks in the last three seasons.

So far, four of those six picks – 2021 selections Cole Sillinger and Kent Johnson, 2022 pick Jiricek and 2023 third overall pick Fantilli – have debuted in the NHL. Corson Ceulemans (2021) played his first full pro season with AHL Cleveland this season, while Denton Mateychuk (2022) has spent this year serving as captain of Moose Jaw of the WHL.

The Blue Jackets moved up in the lottery only in 2016 when the team jumped from fourth to third, then chose forward Pierre-Luc Dubois out of the QMJHL. Columbus has picked first in the draft just once, moving up from third via trade in 2002 to select Rick Nash.

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