The 2023 NHL Draft occurs in late June, but teams owning a top 16 pick in the draft have Monday circled on their calendars. Monday is the day of the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery.
The NHL Draft Lottery will determine the order of the first 16 picks of the draft. This year, the draft promises a deep class with talent up and down the board. Picking in the top 16 could turn the tide of a franchise this year.
Hockey fans across the world will have an eye on the lottery to see who ends up with the first overall pick. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to the lottery. This guide will explain how you can watch, the odds heading into the lottery, and who the top prospects are this year.
NHL Draft Lottery: How to watch
The NHL Draft Lottery was originally scheduled for 7 PM Eastern time on Monday. However, the NHL announced a change last week, moving the start time back to 8 PM Eastern time.
The lottery will be held at the NHL Network Studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. American fans can view the lottery on ESPN while Canadian fans can watch in English on Sportsnet. Canadian fans who wish to view the broadcast in French can watch it on TVA Sports.
Heading into the NHL Draft Lottery, the Anaheim Ducks own the highest odds of winning the first overall pick with 18.5%. As a result of finishing as the NHL’s worst team record-wise, they cannot fall outside of the top three.
Here are the complete odds for the NHL Draft Lottery, as confirmed by the NHL:
Anaheim Ducks – 18.5%
Columbus Blue Jackets – 13.5%
Chicago Blackhawks – 11.5%
San Jose Sharks – 9.5%
Montreal Canadiens – 8.5%
Arizona Coyotes – 7.5%
Philadelphia Flyers – 6.5%
Washington Capitals – 6%
Detroit Red Wings – 5%
St. Louis Blues – 3.5%
Vancouver Canucks – 3%
Arizona Coyotes (via Ottawa Senators) – 2.5%
Buffalo Sabres – 2%
Pittsburgh Penguins – 1.5%
Nashville Predators – 0.5%
Calgary Flames – 0.5%
For those wondering, the Senators pick is owned by the Coyotes as a result of the Jakob Chychrun trade back in March. If the pick is outside of the top five, Arizona receives it. If it lands inside the top five, the Senators will retain the selection.
The lottery will consist of two draws. The first draw determines the winner of the first overall pick, while the second draw determines who holds the second overall pick. Last season, the Montreal Canadiens retained the first pick while the New Jersey Devils won the second overall pick.
Teams who do not win either of the two draws will be assigned the remaining picks among the first 16 selections by inverse order of regular season points. Recent rule changes also limited how far a team can jump in the lottery.
Back in 2021, the NHL introduced a rule stating that a team can jump no more than 10 picks in the NHL Draft Lottery. As a result, teams outside of the top 11 cannot win the first overall pick. If one of those teams wins the lottery, the Anaheim Ducks will be assigned the first overall selection.
Top NHL Draft prospects
This is a deep draft, so there are any number of players you can mention here as top prospects in this class. However, we’re going to look at three players here who are widely considered to be the most talented in the class.
The first prospect is obvious to any hockey fan. Regina Pats star Connor Bedard is widely considered a once-in-a-generation talent. He is coming off a 71-goal season in the Western Hockey League. Furthermore, he put up a historic performance at the IIHF World Juniors back in late December.
Bedard is a franchise-altering talent who has potential we haven’t seen in a very long time. He is likely to play in the NHL right away and could change the course of his new team from day one.
For the team who picks second overall, the “consolation prize” isn’t so bad. Michigan forward Adam Fantilli is an elite prospect in this draft. In any other year, Fantilli would be the odds-on favorite to go first overall.
The Michigan product completed one of the best first-year draft-eligible seasons by a college player ever. To cap that off, he won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college as a freshman. There is a good chance he plays in the NHL next season, as well.
Finally, we come to Russian phenom Matvei Michkov. Michkov, from a pure talent standpoint, is as good as Bedard. He has performed at the highest level in his native Russia, breaking records set by current Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov.
Michkov is legitimately one of the best first-year draft-eligible players in recent history. He is certainly the best Russian prospect since Washington Capitals star and future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin.
However, there is one major caveat that could see him slip a little bit in the draft. Michkov is under contract with Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League through 2026. He likely won’t come to North America before then as a result.
Despite that, the talent Michkov possesses is undeniable. The Russian phenom has the potential to be one of the elite players in the NHL. Any team selecting him, Bedard, or Fantilli should land a bonafide superstar to build around.
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