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Draft Lottery provides teams last chance for a big win

by Adam Kimelman / Winnipeg Jets

For the teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's because they just didn't win enough. Those teams will have a shot at one important win when the 2013 Scotiabank NHL Draft Lottery is held on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

The lottery will determine the draft order for the 14 clubs that missed the postseason. The Florida Panthers, who finished 30th in the League standings, will have the best odds of winning the first pick -- 25.0 percent.

The rules were changed this year, allowing all 14 teams to have a chance at winning the top pick; in previous years teams only could move up four slots, meaning only the teams that finished in the bottom five in the standings had a chance at winning the lottery.

However, teams still can't move down more than one spot, so the Panthers are guaranteed a top-two selection. And with this year's draft class considered the deepest and most talented since 2003, that's already a big win for the Panthers.

"This year's draft class consists of a pool of extremely talented and skilled players," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the team's website. "With our selection, we will add a player that will add to the strong nucleus that we have already in place."

Tallon has done well with the Panthers in his first two trips to the lottery, picking defenseman Erik Gudbranson with the third pick in 2010 and forward Jonathan Huberdeau with the third pick in 2011.

The Edmonton Oilers have picked first each of the past three years, becoming the first team to do so since the Quebec Nordiques from 1989-1991, and allowing them to pick forwards Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Nail Yakupov (2012), respectively.

Whatever team wins the lottery this year will have a wealth of players at all positions to choose from.

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones earned the top spot in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American players, narrowly edging Halifax Mooseheads teammates center Nathan MacKinnon and left wing Jonathan Drouin.

"These are players you can build your team around, so what kind of player do you want to build with?" NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said. "Do you want to build from the back-end out, or do you want to build up the middle? There's no steadfast answer, so the projection is what the player will mean to the team.

"Drouin couldn't have done anything more to push the envelope against MacKinnon and Seth Jones, so that's as tight a gap as you'll ever get between first and third," added Central Scouting's David Gregory. "If you're picking No. 1, 2 or 3, you're a happy team."

Teams outside the top three also will have top-end players to choose from. If a team is looking for a high-end forward, among the options are Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, Central Scouting's top-rated European skater; Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League; Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League; Valeri Nichushkin of Chelyabinsk in Russia; and Elias Lindholm of Brynas in Sweden.

There also are a number of outstanding defensemen for teams to pick through, among them Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL); Mirco Mueller of the Everett Silvertips (WHL); Shea Theodore of the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL); Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL); and Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS in Finland.

The top goalies available are Zachary Fucale of Halifax, who was rated No. 1 on Central Scouting's ranking of North American goalies, and Juuse Saros of HPK in Finland's junior league. Saros is No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of European goalies, and on Sunday was named the best goaltender at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

After the Panthers, the teams with next-best odds of winning the lottery are the Colorado Avalanche (18.8 percent), the Tampa Bay Lightning (14.2), the Nashville Predators (10.7) and Carolina Hurricanes (8.1).

The Calgary Flames (6.2 percent) are next, followed by the Edmonton Oilers (4.7), Buffalo Sabres (3.6), the New Jersey Devils (2.7), the Dallas Stars (2.1), the Philadelphia Flyers (1.5), the Phoenix Coyotes (1.1), the Winnipeg Jets (0.8) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (0.5).

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Author: Adam Kimelman | Deputy Managing Editor

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