The 2013-14 NHL regular season is finally over. While many teams have already turned their attention to the playoffs, the rest of the league is forced to focus on the draft lottery and where each team will pick in the first round.
The 2014 draft lottery will air Tuesday, April 15 on the NHL Network at 8:30 p.m. ET.
With the 14 worst teams eligible for the draft lottery, the league will determine the draft order using a weighted selection process. Simply put, teams with the worst overall record will receive a better chance to earn a top selection.
Here are the odds for the entire draft lottery and the nuances of the selection process that TSN.ca is willing to explain.
|5||New York Islanders *||8.1|
|8||Toronto Maple Leafs||3.6|
|12||New Jersey Devils***||1.1|
Percent Odds - represents the chance the team has of winning the draft lottery.
* - The New York Islanders must surrender either their 2014 or 2015 first-round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the trade that sent Thomas Vanek to New York. The Islanders decide which pick to surrender prior to the 2014 NHL draft.
** - The Senators' first-round pick is property of the Anaheim Ducks, who acquired it in a trade for Bobby Ryan to Ottawa.
*** - The New Jersey Devils will receive the 30th overall pick regardless of their final standing as penalty for cap circumvention in signing Ilya Kovalchuk.
In the event two teams finish tied on points, regulation and overtime wins (ROW) will be used as the first tiebreaking procedure. Should two teams remain tied after ROW, points obtained in head-to-head games will be used as a secondary tiebreaking procedure.
2014’s Top Defenseman: Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie (OHL)
There are plenty of talented players in the 2014 draft class, but there is no better defenseman coming out this year than Barrie defender Aaron Ekblad.
Will Aaron Ekblad translate his skills to the NHL?
During his final season with Barrie, Ekblad managed 53 points in 58 games (23 goals and 30 assists) and added 91 penalty minutes as he also took on the role as his team’s physical leader.
While there will be many teams that kick the tires on a talented defender like Ekblad, TSN’s Craig Button told David Staples of the Edmonton Journal about the young star’s potential fit with the Oilers:
I think the Oilers are going to be thrilled to end up with a defenceman that is pillar-type defenceman. You talk about a one-two punch on the blueline, him and Darnell Nurse, I think it helps Justin Schultz potentially. But Aaron Ekblad is a 25 minute-plus a game player and he can play every situation in the game and play them well.
As the official Twitter account of the NHL public relations department shared, Ekblad has been highly touted since he was a young man, and he has earned his way to the top:
DYK? No. 2 ranked N.A. skater Aaron Ekblad was granted exceptional player status in 2011 & played in OHL at age 15. http://t.co/OXtqoaoqJq— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 8, 2014
Not only does Ekblad have the raw size needed to be an elite player in the NHL—he measures 6’4” and 216 pounds, with room to grow on his frame—but he also has the ability to play at even strength, on the power play and on the penalty kill.
Edmonton has a strong core of young forwards with elite offensive ability, but the franchise lacks the top pairing defender that can eat up minutes and contribute in every facet of the game.
With the ability to captain the power play and be a steadying force in the locker room, the Oilers must draft Ekblad as the long-term centerpiece of the defensive puzzle.
Predicted Landing Spot: Edmonton Oilers at No. 3 overall
*All stats and information via NHL.com.