Devils thrilled to win NHL Draft Lottery; Sabres to pick seventh


That's because the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, the teams that finished last and next-to-last in the division this season, were the big winners in Tuesday night's NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto.

They didn't get the first overall pick (Devils) or the second overall pick (Rangers), but the ended up nine spots higher than they would have been had the lottery gone as projected. They had a 1.5 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, the 14th-best odds in the league. New Jersey won the lottery - the second time in three years the Devils will have the top pick - and are now expected to take 17-year-old center Jack Hughes.

The draft lottery presents a beacon of hope for the 15 NHL teams that didn't qualify for the playoffs, giving each of them a shot at landing the top pick (or at least a top-three selection) in this summer's NHL Draft.

Only three squads had longer odds than the Chicago Blackhawks [2.5 per cent] of moving up the draft board, yet there the Hawks were, holding the third-overall pick when the dust settled.

This time around, New Jersey's draft selection will be followed by their cornerstone rival-the New York Rangers.

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The lottery for the draft pick order was held in Toronto and broadcast on NHL Network in the States and on SportsNet in Canada. Henri Jokiharju was the 29th overall pick in 2017 and made his National Hockey League debut this season.

The scout wouldn't go as far to say that Kakko would jump into the No. 1 spot, but he did add, "I think gap has certainly narrowed". That happened in 2017, when the Devils took Nico Hischier over Nolan Patrick, who went No. 2 to the Flyers.

The Devils' lottery win continues a freaky run of luck for Hall in the draft lottery.

The Colorado Avalanche will have the 4th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. But this year's selection is thanks in part to the fact that the team had one of their best records in years, significantly reducing their odds to get a top selection.

"My biggest things are my inner drive, my competitiveness", Hughes said before the lottery. While he was in Edmonton, the Oilers picked first overall three times. "With the way the game is now, how it's speed and skill, I feel like my game translates perfectly".