On Monday, April 29 at 8 p.m. ET, the NHL will hold their annual draft lottery. Adopting the NBA's infamous system, non-playoff teams will play their odds in hopes of securing the first overall selection in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
The question is, who are the most intriguing prospects on the board?
The draft lottery is certain to create a new form of drama when it comes to the NHL's annual prospect selection event. When it comes to whom every team will have their eyes on, however, the questions will be at a minimum.
Here are how the draft lottery odds might play out.
|1.||Florida Panthers (36)||25 percent|
|2.||Colorado Avalanche (39)||18.8 percent|
|3.||Tampa Bay Lightning (40)||14.2 percent|
|4.||Nashville Predators (41)||10.7 percent|
|5.||Carolina Hurricanes (42)||8.1 percent|
|6.||Calgary Flames (42)||6.2 percent|
|7.||Edmonton Oilers (45)||4.7 percent|
|8.||Buffalo Sabres (48)||2.7 percent|
|9.||New Jersey Devils (48)||2.7 percent|
|10.||Dallas Stars (48)||2.1 percent|
|11.||Philadelphia Flyers (49)||1.5 percent|
|12.||Phoenix Coyotes (51)||1.1 percent|
|13.||Winnipeg Jets (51)||0.8 percent|
|14.||Columbus Blue Jackets (55)|
So who will be catching the eyes of these potentially lucky teams?
Seth Jones, Defenseman, USA
The top prospect in this year's draft class is 18-year-old defenseman Seth Jones of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. Jones, who has drawn the interest of Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports, has the rare combination of size and skill.
Jones stands at 6'4" and 206 pounds and was named Team USA's best player at the 2012 IIHF World Under 18 Championships.
With a dangerous slap shot, Jones has the potential to be a zone-penetrating goal scorer at the next level. The right-hander is not only lethal with the puck on his stick, but he is a skilled facilitator that makes an intelligent first pass.
With elite athleticism, Jones also has the ability to break into the open ice and make a run at the league's elite goaltenders.
For those NBA fans, you'll recognize the last name given in this instance. He is the son of former NBA veteran and two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year Ronald "Popeye" Jones.
Professional quality athleticism runs in the family.
Nathan MacKinnon, Center, Canada
The top offensive player in this year's draft class is Canadian center Nathan MacKinnon. Currently playing for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, MacKinnon has tallied 78 points in 58 regular-season games and 28 in 17 postseason games.
In other words, the production is there to prove this right-handed center is elite.
At the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, MacKinnon led the Canadian Under 18 team with 11 points in five games. This is consistent with MacKinnon's recent production in the WMJHL, as he's both a lethal goal scorer and intelligent facilitator.
Perhaps nothing defines MacKinnon's skill set quite as much as his world-class skating.
MacKinnon is quite similar to Tampa Bay Lightning frontman Steven Stamkos in the sense that he's a dynamic playmaker. While he could stand to improve on face-offs, MacKinnon is an All-Star-caliber prospect.
In terms of offensive players, MacKinnon is at the top of the list and could go as high as second overall if the draft plays out as it's shaping up to.
Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing, Canada
Much like teammate Nathan MacKinnon, left wing Jonathan Drouin plays for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. The difference between these two is not a matter of upside, but a case of picking what intrigues you more.
Do you want a perennial All-Star at left wing or one at center?
Drouin is one of the best playmakers we've seen in quite some time, as he's explosive with the puck on his stick and has an uncanny ability to make the right decision. This may seem fundamental, but it's the key to what makes Drouin elite both as a scorer and facilitator.
To put it simply, if you put the puck on Drouin's stick, incredible things will happen.
During the 2012-13 QMJHL season, Drouin has tallied 105 points in 49 games. That includes 41 goals and 64 assists, thus leading to his being named league MVP.
In the NHL, Drouin has that same potential.
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