Tonight’s NHL Draft lottery didn’t have much of a surprise element to it. The Colorado Avalanche, who finished 29th overall in the league this season, won the lottery and leapfrogged Florida to claim the first overall pick. Nashville stayed in the fourth position, which will be the second top-five draft pick in franchise history.
Here is how the lottery portion of the draft order will look like:
The NHL Draft will take place on June 30th at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
It is the expectation that Colorado will select defenseman Seth Jones first overall; it would be an upset if that didn’t happen. That would leave three highly-regarded forwards on the board: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, all of whom have been ranked in different positions by different outlets. The consensus is there is a slight drop-off after those four prospects, and Nashville will be in position to draft one of them if they so choose.
If you don’t know much about these prospects, here are some scouting reports from ESPN.com draft expert Grant Sonier on the three forwards:
Every NHL team needs a big center who can play in one of the top two spots, and this kid is poised to do just that. For the past two seasons, Barkov has played against adults in Finland’s SM-Liiga. The only blemish on his résumé is that he does not yet possess top-end skating; if that develops, he could end up being the best player in this draft over time.
Drouin possesses elite offensive hockey sense and the ability to make plays both off the rush and from tight checking situations … Overall, he has elite individual puck skills and is the most creative player in the draft. The NHL team that selects this winger will get a player who will find chemistry with his linemates and create magic on offense.
MacKinnon gets a raw deal from many based on his play in the World Junior Championships, where Canada used him in a limited role. The bottom line is that he is a special player with outstanding skills who is suited for the NHL. Specifically, his speed is dangerous – especially his quickness – which is critical in winning short races in today’s game … He carries himself like a veteran. Plus, as a high-character individual, he has qualities that teams look for when building a roster around a franchise player.