Unfortunately, or Fortunately, depending on your point of view, we as Ranger fans are forced to shift our focus to the off-season, and the first order of business for those of use whose summer has arrived is the NHL Draft Lottery, which takes place tonight. We will have an open thread going tonight for the lottery, I'm sure many of us will be tuned in.
Here is the official release from the NHL:
The NHL will host the 2010 LG NHL Draft Lottery at 8 p.m. on April 13 to set the order of selection for June's Entry Draft. The program will be televised on Versus and TSN, and streamed live on NHL.com.
The Edmonton Oilers, who finished with the fewest points in the League this season, have the best chance of winning the No. 1 pick. Since teams can move up a maximum of five spots, the only teams with a chance at gaining the top choice are the Oilers, Boston Bruins (who have Toronto's pick), Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders.
The Oilers go into Tuesday's drawing with a 25 percent chance of winning the Lottery. And if a team outside the bottom five in the standings wins the Lottery, the Oilers will get the top choice, improving their odds to 48.2 percent.
The team with the fewest points in the League has won the Draft Lottery the last two years. League rules also dictate that no team can move backward more than one spot, so the Oilers will have at least the first or second pick.
Whoever wins the first choice will get to choose between NHL Central Scouting's two top-rated North American skaters, Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin and Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall.
After Edmonton, the team with the next-best chance of winning the Lottery is the Bruins, who gained the Maple Leafs' pick in the Phil Kessel trade, at 18.8 percent. The Panthers have a 14.2-percent chance, the Blue Jackets a 10.7-percent chance and the Islanders an 8.1-percent chance.