With their 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils earlier this evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs have secured the 30th overall position in the standings and the best odds at winning the 1st overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Without a doubt, the top pick this year would be ZSC Lions’ Auston Matthews.
Matthews made the unique decision to forego both U.S. college and Canadian junior hockey and jump straight to the pros… in Switzerland… this year. He scored 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games this year for the Lions, finishing 10th in NLA scoring. That said, let’s also remember that Matthews missed chunk of his season due to the World Juniors, and his 1.28 points-per-game average ranked second amongst full-time players.
Now, this is all very exciting that the Leafs have the best odds of landing Matthews, who is by all means an excellent, excellent prospect. That said, the Leafs’ odds are still pretty long.
To recap, this year the Draft Lottery includes all 14 non-playoff teams, and the first three draft selections will be decided by the lottery – not just first overall. The Leafs have a 20% chance of winning the lottery and the first overall pick, with the remaining 80% split up amongst the other 13 non-playoff teams.
Sure, Toronto might have the best odds – but they still only have a 1-in-5 chance of winning.
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. Finishing 30th overall is still extremely important in that the furthest the Leafs can now fall down the draft order is 4th overall, guaranteeing them one of Matthews, Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrick Laine and Jakob Chychrun – the top four prospects in this draft class according to most of us here at TLN. If you go by Jon’s latest consensus rankings though, you’d have to swap out Chychrun for Matthew Tkachuk. Either way, a guaranteed 4th overall pick is the best Toronto could ask for with this year’s lottery layout, so they’ll take it.
For the full draft lottery odds, Jon also created a full chart for all of your numbers-related needs. He’s such a nice and smart boy, that Jonny.