2016 NHL Draft
Mock Draft: Post-Lottery
Draft order looks set, but will it stay that way?
Steve Kournianos | 04/30/2016 | New York |
NEW YORK (The Draft Analyst) — With their season no longer in doubt and another playoff-less spring on the horizon, the Toronto Maple Leafs in March looked far from a team looking to permanently occupy the NHL’s basement for the right to draft first overall.
And while some may have silently wished against the consistent 60-minute efforts they saw the youthful Leafs produce as the season’s end neared, the hard-luck losing was generally viewed with optimism by a suffering fanbase accustomed to failure and disappointment.
On Saturday night, they finally had something to cheer about.
For the first time in team history, the Maples Leafs won the NHL’s draft lottery and will have the privilege of selecting the first player in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, which will be held in Buffalo beginning on June 24th.
The Maple Leafs came into the draft lottery with the best opportunity to get the No. 1 pick, having a 20 percent chance over the other 13 teams that failed to qualify for the postseason. The process, which was televised nationally across Canada and the United States, produced a bit of intrigue as the Edmonton Oilers — winners of four of the last six draft lotteries — were bumped by the Winnipeg Jets from the second pick down to fourth, while the Columbus Blue Jackets dropped the Vancouver Canucks from third to fifth.
Center Auston Matthews, a American from Arizona who starred in Switzerland this past season, is the consensus top pick and fills an obvious need in Toronto, but Leafs GM Brendan Shanahan would not reveal his intentions:
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and put the cart before the horse,” Shanahan said after the drawing. “We knew we were going to get a good player, one through four, Having the ability to pick first, we’re going to pick the player we think is the best. I think we’ll discuss it more once we have an idea who that player is. There’s no real need to discuss it now, but our scouts are real pleased with the results.”
This is the first time the Leafs will have the top pick in the draft since 1985, when the draft order was determined by the final standings rather than a weighted lottery system. That year, they drafted rugged winger Wendel Clark after it was revealed that top-rated prospect Craig Simpson did not want to play for Toronto. Clark became a popular player and went on to score 260 goals for the Leafs before retiring in 2000.
*Boston owns San Jose’s 2016 1st round pick from the Martin Jones trade.
*Toronto owns Pittsburgh’s 2016 first round pick from a condition in the Phil Kessel trade.
*Carolina owns Los Angeles’s’ 2016 1st round pick from the Andrej Sekera trade.
*Arizona owns the New York Rangers’ 2016 1st round pick from the Keith Yandle trade.
*Winnipeg owns Chicago’s 2016 1st round pick from the Andrew Ladd trade.
*Calgary would own Dallas’s 2016 1st round pick if Stars’ defenseman Kris Russell plays in half of their games and they reach the Conference Finals (Condition not yet met).