The Montreal Canadiens have been on a big slide down the NHL standings, but their 2023 NHL Draft Lottery odds are now going up, in more ways than one.
As of today, the Chicago Blackhawks are trending for the highest odds of winning the NHL Draft Lottery with 18.5% odds, followed closely by the Anaheim Ducks (13.5%) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (11.5%).
The Canadiens hovered around 23rd(3.5%) and 24th(3%) place for about three weeks in December before their rivals caught up to them in the standings. They now currently sit in 27th place, and have seen their Draft Lottery odds increase to 7.5%.
Despite their hot start, Montreal now finds themselves only two points ahead of Arizona (28th) and San Jose (29th) in the standings; meaning they could fall to 29th place by the end of the week. This means that the Canadiens could find themselves with 8.5% or 9.5% NHL Draft Lottery odds should one, or both, of the above teams pass them in the standings.
But that’s not the only reason Montreal’s 2023 Draft Lottery situation looks so promising.
Perhaps the most surprising turn of events in the NHL this season is that the Florida Panthers are currently a bottom 10 team in the NHL. What makes the situation worse for Florida is that the Canadiens own their 2023 1st-round pick, meaning that the Panthers’ potential woes are Montreal’s gain
Owning their own and the Florida Panthers’ 1st-round picks, the Canadiens are in a good position to select two strong prospects in late June, but it also gives them two kicks at the can in the NHL Draft Lottery.
Currently, Florida sits in 23rd place, meaning their 1st-round pick would have a 5% chance of winning the lottery, which is nothing to sneeze at.
However, owning both 1st-round picks means that the Canadiens can combine the odds from both picks. This means that Montreal’s (7.5%) and Florida’s (5%) 1st-round picks give the Canadiens a cumulative 12.5% odds of winning the Draft Lottery, which is better than the Columbus Blue Jackets (currently 30th overall) at 11.5%.
If one or both of Montreal and Florida were to continue sliding down the standings, which is very possible given Arizona and San Jose being right on their tail, the Canadiens could have the 2nd best overall odds (edging out the Anaheim Ducks) for the NHL Draft Lottery by week’s end,
Should the Panthers continue on their path, or do any worse, they would be offering the Montreal Canadiens even higher odds in the NHL Draft Lottery and the Habs in getting their hands on some of the top players in this draft.
And, as Montreal Hockey Now recently pointed out, if the Panthers miss the playoffs, the Canadiens could win both lotteries, according to a technicality in the NHL Draft Lottery rules.
If you’re Montreal, you got to like those odds.
MUST READ: MHN 2023 NHL Draft Rankings