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Photo Credit: Sportsnet

What Friday’s NHL Draft Lottery means for the Vancouver Canucks

In recent years, the Vancouver Canucks have had terrible luck at the Draft Lottery. In 2017, they had the second-best odds at landing the first overall pick, but instead, they were bumped down to fifth. Thankfully, they were able to use that pick to land Elias Pettersson.

Then in 2018, the Canucks were bumped down just one spot to seventh overall where they were able to grab Quinn Hughes after teams in front of them chose to go in different directions than what was originally predicted.

In 2019, the Canucks moved down one spot to tenth and landed Russian forward Vasili Podkolzin.

It’s safe to say that the Canucks are more than happy with the players they’ve walked away from the draft with in recent years, despite having rotten lottery luck each year.

This year, however, things are a little more complicated.

NHL training camps are set to begin July 10th and the first play-in round games are rumoured to be played on July 30th — but before any of that, the Draft Lottery will take place this Friday, June 26th.

This Draft Lottery is a little bit different than ones in years past. As explained by the website tankathon.com:

“If any of the teams 8-15 (losers of playoff qualifiers) jump into the top 3, then another lottery will be done to see which of teams 8-15 get that top 3 spot (with even odds for the 8 teams). So really, the top 1 and top 3 odds are the same for teams 8-15.”

So what exactly does this mean for the Canucks, who are set to play the Minnesota Wild in their best of five play in series?

Essentially, if on Friday the top three lottery balls fall in favour of three of the seven teams not included in the return-to-play format, the Canucks will have no chance of moving up the draft board, even if they lose to Minnesota — and there won’t be a second draft lottery after the play in round has concluded.

However, if the lottery balls reveal that one or more of the teams that lose their play in series (8-15) will receive a top-three pick, there will be another draft lottery after the play-in round has concluded to determine which of the losing teams receives the top-three pick.

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The players available in this draft, especially in the top three, are going to be difference makers for whatever franchise selects them. Alexis Lafreniere is a stud who has all the tools to be an elite NHL player, and the same can be said for Quinton Byfield, who is projected to go second overall.

Lucas Raymond, Jamie Drysdale, Tim Stutzle, and Marco Rossi are all likely candidates to go third overall, and if the Canucks could land any one of these players, their prospect pool would be improved dramatically. These are the kinds of players that could take the Canucks from being a team on the cusp to being a cup contender for years to come.

We’ll have to wait and see the results of the Draft Lottery which takes place this Friday to know for certain what this could mean for the Canucks. At the time of this writing, the start time of the event is still TBD.