MONTREAL – For Canadiens fans, the wait is finally over. The 2016 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on Saturday night.
It’s the first time in four years that the Canadiens aren’t taking part in the NHL’s second season and people aren’t flying their car flags around town. While the 2016-17 season might still be five long months away, the first step towards a new NHL campaign will take place in Toronto as a lottery machine will help to determine the order of selection for the upcoming draft scheduled for June 24 and 25 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
By virtue of the Canadiens sitting 22nd in the general standings at the end of the regular season, they now have a five percent of chance of securing the first-overall pick. Still, for the first time in the history in the lottery, the top selection won’t be the only pick in play. The second and third picks will also be play, too. The Canadiens have a 5.4 percent and a 5.6 percent chance, respectively, of receiving either one of those picks.
With a 20 percent chance of picking first, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the best chance of hitting the jackpot after finishing last in the league in 2015-16. They aren’t assured of anything, though, because the team that has had the greatest number of balls in the lottery machine has only gone on to win the lottery six times in 21 opportunities. The last time it happened was back in 2010.
The Canadiens will be taking part in the lottery for just the eighth time since it was installed in 1995. They last participated in 2012 when they received the third-overall pick and selected Alex Galchenyuk after finishing 28th in the standings. Over the years, the Canadiens have managed to improve their draft standing on two occasions with the help of the lottery machine. In 2003, they moved up one spot to 10th and selected Andrei Kostitsyn, and in 1995 they climbed two spots, moving from 10th to eighth and choosing Terry Ryan.
|PRE-LOTTERY DRAFT POSITION ||DRAFT POSITION |
|10th ||8th – Terry Ryan |
|1998-99 ||9th ||10th – traded to islanders |
|1999-2000 ||11th ||13th – Ron Hainsey |
|2000-01 ||7th ||7th – Mike Komisarek |
|2002-03 ||11th ||10th – Andrei Kostitsyn |
|2004-05* ||- ||5th – Carey Price |
|2006-07 ||12th ||12th – Ryan McDonagh |
|2011-12 ||3rd ||3rd – Alex Galchenyuk |
|2015-16 ||9th ||? |
* The NHL instituted a lottery system involving all 30 teams back in 2005 because the previous season was cancelled due to a work stoppage.
Hugo Fontaine is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.