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Canucks unlucky again at NHL Draft Lottery

Vancouver falls out of top three for second year in a row, will pick fifth

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- For the second consecutive year, the Vancouver Canucks did not have luck on their side at the NHL Draft Lottery. 

With the second-best odds of winning No. 1 pick, the Canucks fell three spots and will have the No. 5 pick at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago.

Last year, the Canucks had the third-best odds of winning the No. 1 pick but dropped two spots and chose defenseman Olli Juolevi at No. 5.

"You know what, it's a lottery, so I guess when you go to the grocery store and buy a lottery ticket and don't win, you don't get that upset," Canucks president Trevor Linden said. "So I won't get too upset about this."

 

[RELATED: Devils win No. 1 pick in NHL Draft Lottery]

 

Center Nolan Patrick of Brandon in the Western Hockey League and center Nico Hischier of Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are projected to be the top two selections in the 2017 draft, but neither has garnered the same level of expectation as the top two picks from the past two years. In 2015, Connor McDavid went No. 1 to the Edmonton Oilers, followed by Jack Eichel at No. 2 to the Buffalo Sabres. In 2016, Auston Matthews went No. 1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, followed by Patrik Laine at No. 2 to the Winnipeg Jets.

"I don't know if it makes it any easier (falling out of the top two), but it's one of those things you have no control over," Linden said. "The last two years have been pretty special; think of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, and Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine last year, we may not see that in back-to-back years like that, we may never see that again."

Linden said he feels good about the players the Canucks will have to choose from and reinforced that patience is important when building through the draft.

"I think there's some great options. I think there're some guys I know that our scouts are really excited about," Linden said. "They may not show up in Year One or maybe not even in Year Two, but you need to step back and take a picture of the five-year picture. That's how we look at it, but we're going to get a good player and we're excited about that."

Video: Recap of the 2017 NHL draft lottery results

Vancouver, which has made the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in the past four seasons, hired Travis Green to replace Willie Desjardins as coach on April 26. The Canucks hold six picks in this year's draft, which will be held June 23-24: Nos. 5, 33, 64, 95, 115 and 188.

"Everyone's talking about how weak [this draft] is, but I think there are some great players available in Rounds 2, 3, 4 and 5, and you challenge your guys to find them," Linden said. "Everyone talks about the top two players, but there may be a player drafted in the top 10 that turns out to be the best player in this draft. 

"It's really hard to say, and you don't really know in the draft game until three, four, five years down the road until guys are fully formed and fully developed."

With the New Jersey Devils winning the No. 1 pick, and the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars jumping to Nos. 2 and 3, other teams fell out of the top four along with the Canucks.

The Colorado Avalanche, who had the best odds to win the No. 1 pick, are at No. 4, followed by Vancouver, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights at No. 6, and the Arizona Coyotes at No. 7.

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