NHL Draft 2013: Teams with Most to Gain from Lottery Picks

Michael DulkaContributor IApril 30, 2013

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 29:  Seth Jones #3 of Team McClanahan skates against Team Housley at the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at the First Niagara Center on September 29, 2012 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL draft lottery offers teams a chance to improve their roster with an influx of new talent. With the right selections, some teams will fill their holes and take the next step toward being more competitive in the next few years. 

This season's draft lottery had more at stake with Seth Jones as the prize for the victor. The young defenseman is widely considered the best available player in the draft and should be selected with the first overall pick. 

Here is a look at teams that have the most to gain from their lottery selections.


Colorado Avalanche 

By winning the draft lottery, the Avalanche will have the chance to select Seth Jones with the first overall pick. The consensus top-ranked prospect spent part of his childhood in Denver when his father played for the Denver Nuggets. The 18-year-old defenseman currently plays for the Portland Winterhawks and has led his team to the WHL Finals. 

The Avalanche need to improve as they look to get back to the playoffs after three disappointing years. This season, the Avalanche gave up 152 goals, which ranked as the fourth-most allowed. They finished with the second-worst goal differential at minus-36. 

The Avalanche need to improve their defense if they want to get back to being a perennial playoff contender. With the top pick, they'll have the chance to do that. 


Tampa Bay Lightning 

The Lightning have a big need at defense, but with their chance at Jones being squashed in the draft lottery, they will likely add an offense player in the draft. With Jones likely going first overall to the Avalanche, that leaves teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin as the most likely options for the Lightning. 

Adding Drouin on the left wing next to Steven Stamkos would give the Lightning a lethal combination. While they still need to improve their defense, making sure they keep the goals coming is also important for the team. The chance to grab Drouin is worth having to look at other options in order to solidify their defense. 


Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers finished the year with the 22nd-ranked defense, giving up 141 goals. While their defense struggled, the Flyers were above average on offense. They ended the year ranked in a tie for ninth overall in goals scored with 133. Those numbers show that with a better defense, the Flyers could be back in the playoff picture next season. 

With a bunch of offensive talent at the top of the draft class, the Flyers should be able to get good value on a defensive player with the eleventh pick. Jones will definitely be gone and Rasmus Ristolainen is likely to be off the board as well. That should leave Shea Theodore or Darnell Nurse as options for the Flyers.