NHL Draft Lottery 2021: Date, Odds and Latest Regular-Season Standings
Even though the Stanley Cup Playoffs have already started, the 2020-21 NHL regular season isn't complete. The Vancouver Canucks' COVID-19 outbreak earlier in the year caused a bunch of postponements, so they still have three games to play against the Calgary Flames.
Although those matchups won't have any impact on the 16-team field (which has already been set with the postseason underway), it could affect the Canucks' and/or Flames' odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick during the 2021 NHL draft lottery, which will take place in June but doesn't yet have an official date. The draft is set to occur July 23-24.
As for the other 13 teams that missed out on the playoffs, their focus has already turned to the offseason, which includes draft preparations. That's also the case for the Seattle Kraken, who will join the NHL as an expansion franchise for the 2021-22 season.
Here's a look at the current odds for the 16 lottery teams to land the No. 1 overall pick.
Current NHL Lottery Standings
1. Buffalo Sabres (18.5 percent)
2. Anaheim Ducks (13.5)
3. Seattle Kraken (11.5)
4. New Jersey Devils (9.5)
5. Columbus Blue Jackets (8.5)
6. Detroit Red Wings (7.5)
7. San Jose Sharks (6.5)
8. Los Angeles Kings (6.0)
9. Vancouver Canucks (4.5)
10. Ottawa Senators (3.5)
11. Calgary Flames (3.0)
12. Arizona Coyotes (2.5)*
13. Chicago Blackhawks (2.0)
14. Philadelphia Flyers (1.5)
15. Dallas Stars (1.0)
16. New York Rangers (0.5)
*Arizona must forfeit its first-round pick for violating the NHL's combine testing policy
Odds per Tankathon
Sabres Look to Keep Adding Top Young Talent
The Sabres will have the best odds of any NHL team to land the No. 1 overall pick after going a league-worst 15-34-7 during this season. The last time it had the top selection was in 2018, when it took defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the pick.
Although the Sabres haven't had the No. 1 pick the past two years, they've still been picking near the top of the order. They took center Dylan Cozens with the No. 7 selection in 2019, then added forward Jack Quinn with the No. 8 pick last year. This year, they're guaranteed a top-three pick, and it will be the ninth straight year they've owned a pick in the top eight.
Despite all those high draft selections, Buffalo has missed the playoffs 10 years in a row, having not reached the postseason since 2011. But it will have the opportunity to keep adding top draft prospects as it looks to turn things around and get back to the playoffs.
There's a solid chance that the first player selected in this year's draft will be Michigan defenseman Owen Power. If the Sabres own the top pick, that could be who they add to their roster. Power has a ton of potential, so he would be a great addition to Buffalo's young core.
Ducks Will Have Opportunity to Add a Top Draft Prospect
After making the playoffs every year from 2013-18, the Ducks have now missed the postseason three straight seasons after going 17-30-9 this year. That means Anaheim will have the second-best odds to land the No. 1 overall pick and will be guaranteed of having a top-four selection.
It will be the third year in a row that the Ducks will be drafting in the top nine. In 2019, they added center Trevor Zegras with the No. 2 pick. Then, they selected defenseman Jamie Drysdale with the No. 6 selection in 2020.
There are a lot of strong defensemen in this year's draft class, so maybe Anaheim could take one with its top pick for the second year in a row. Or if it would rather add an offensive player, then Michigan center Matthew Beniers could be an option. It will all depend on where in the top four the Ducks will be drafting.
However, Anaheim's offense struggled this season, as it ranked 31st in the league with 2.21 goals per game. So if the Ducks are going to get back to being a playoff contender, they're going to need to generate more offense, which could impact their draft strategy.
Where Will Kraken Pick in Their First NHL Draft?
Earlier this week, the Kraken made their first signing in franchise history, as they inked a deal with free-agent center Luke Henman. The 21-year-old currently plays in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and he signed a three-year entry-level deal with Seattle.
Later this summer, the Kraken will participate in the NHL draft for the first time. They'll have the third-best odds of landing the No. 1 pick, and they're guaranteed to have a top-five selection.
However, before Seattle takes part in the NHL draft, it will have a chance to add a bunch of players to its roster via the expansion draft, which will be taking place July 21. Until that happens, it's hard to know who the Kraken could be potentially targeting in the NHL draft and which top prospect they'll add to their roster.
At this point, though, it could be wise for Seattle to take the top available player, regardless of position. It will be looking to build a team that can have sustained success, and in order for that to happen, it will need to draft well and make the right moves to construct a winning roster.