Let the Connor Bedard sweepstakes begin!
Actually, the race to the bottom of the NHL standings began a while ago with Bedard set to become one team’s lottery ticket.
A generational talent of this caliber can quickly change an NHL team's offseason focus from bouncing ping pong balls to raising the Stanley Cup. Bedard enters the draft as arguably the most-hyped hockey prospect since Connor McDavid in 2015.
That means the stakes are high this year with a consensus No. 1 pick and other coveted prospects waiting to be selected at the top of the draft.
Here's everything you need to know about the NHL draft lottery this Monday:
When is the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery?
The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery will be on Monday, May 8 at 8 p.m. ET.
How does the NHL draft lottery work?
The NHL team that finishes the regular season with the fewest points has the best odds.
That team will hold a 18.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the lottery. The odds for the team with the second-worst record drops to 13.5 percent, and the chances gradually drop for all 16 teams that do not qualify for the postseason.
However, as part of the NHL's changes to the lottery system implemented in 2022, only the bottom 11 teams are eligible for the No. 1 pick. Teams can jump a maximum of 10 spots in the draft lottery. Thus, if the team with the 16th worst record in the league won the lottery, it would jump only to the No. 6 spot.
Teams are randomly assigned four-digit combinations that are computer generated. Numbered balls are placed into the lottery machine and four balls are drawn at 15-second intervals. The team with the winning combination is awarded the pick.
The numbered balls are returned to the machine and the process is repeated for the next pick. The number of drawings was reduced from three to two beginning in 2022 to ensure that the team finishing last in the standings picks no later than No. 3.
The remainder of the draft order is set by the inverse order of the standings.
Teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year span, dating back to 2022. So, if the 2022 lottery winner Montreal Canadiens again wins the No. 1 pick this year, they will be ineligible for the top pick for the next three draft lotteries.
Which team has the best odds in the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery?
The Anaheim Ducks secured the best lottery odds thanks to a 13-game winless streak to end the season.
Columbus, after dropping it's regular-season finale 5-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, finished tied for the second-fewest points in the league at 59 with Chicago. The Blue Jackets held the tiebreaker of fewest regulation wins over the Blackhawks (15 wins to 18) to get the second-best odds in the lottery.
The San Jose Sharks finished with the fourth-best odds.
Here are the odds for each of the 11 teams eligible for the No. 1 pick:
1. Anaheim Ducks, 23-47-12 (58 points) - 18.5%
2. Columbus Blue Jackets, 25-48-9 (59) - 13.5%
3. Chicago Blackhawks, 26-49-7 (59) - 11.5%
4. San Jose Sharks, 22-44-16 (60) - 9.5%
5. Montreal Canadiens, 31-45-6 (68) - 8.5%
6. Arizona Coyotes, 28-40-14 (70) - 7.5%
7. Philadelphia Flyers, 31-38-13 (75) - 6.5%
8. Washington Capitals, 35-37-10 (80) - 6.0%
9. Detroit Red Wings, 35-37-10 (80) 5.0%
10. St. Louis Blues, 37-38-7 (81) - 3.5%
11. Vancouver Canucks, 38-37-7 (83) - 3.0%
Who are the top prospects in the 2023 NHL Draft?
Connor Bedard - The 17-year-old Regina Pats forward led the WHL in regular-season scoring with 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games. At the 2023 World Juniors, Bedard set the record for most career points by a Canadian (36) and most career goals by a Canadian (17).
Adam Fantilli - The freshman forward at Michigan was named the recipient of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in American college hockey. Fantilli led the NCAA in points (65) and goals (30) and was fifth in assists (35) in 36 games.
Matvei Michkov - Once an early contender to threaten Connor Bedard for first overall, the Russian star scored 70 goals at the Russian U-16 level and, in his age-16 season at the U-20 level, set a record for most goals by a 16-year-old at the MHL level with 38 goals and 56 points. After splitting time between the MHL and KHL this season, Michkov scored 13 postseason goals, including the championship-winner.
Leo Carlsson - The 18-year-old center tallied 10 goals and 15 assists in 44 regular-season games with Örebro HK of the Swedish Hockey League. A strong playmaker and puck carrier, Carlsson helped Sweden win gold at the 2022 World Under-18 Championship.
When is the 2023 NHL Draft?
Find out where all of the aforementioned prospects will end up during the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday, June 28. It will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.