MONTREAL – After several weeks of waiting, the Canadiens will officially maintain hold of the ninth overall selection at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
In a new twist, for the first time since the draft lottery system was introduced in 1995, each of this year’s top three picks were determined by means of the lottery.
With their odds at winning a lottery spot sitting below six percent, the Habs were fortunate to maintain hold of the ninth overall pick on Saturday night in Toronto at the much anticipated event that fans had been looking forward to since the end of the regular season. Due to their 22nd place finish, the Canadiens entered the night with a 51.8% chance of retaining the ninth selection in the first round.
The big winners on Saturday night included the Toronto Maple Leafs, who won the coveted first-overall selection in addition to the Winnipeg Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets who will draft second and third respectfully.
Entering the night as heavy favorites, the Maple Leafs held a 20% chance at coming away with the top pick, but as was often the case in recent years a last place finish does not necessarily guarantee you will win the lottery. In fact, since the inception of the lottery system only six teams which had previously ended the year in last place actually walked away with the highly coveted top spot in the draft.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, will be drafting within the Top 10 for the fifth time since the inception of the draft lottery system 21 years ago, and for the first time since 2012.
According to the most recent prospect rankings issued by Central Scouting, the top prospects coming out of Europe and North America respectively are forwards Auston Matthews and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Make sure you tune in to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, which is set for June 24 and 25 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.