Every Vancouver Canucks fan will be glued to their TV on Saturday, but they won’t be watching a hockey game.
Instead they’ll be watching this year’s NHL Draft Lottery, when the first, second, and third selections will be determined in the 2016 NHL Draft.
As it stands now, the Canucks are slated to pick third in this year’s draft and have a 11.5% chance of securing the first overall pick, but could also fall down to sixth place.
Right now, most draft pundits predict that Auston Matthews will be the first player selected in the draft, an 18-year-old centre from Arizona who decided to play pro hockey in Switzerland rather than play junior or college hockey in North America.
Under former Vancouver Canucks head coach Marc Crawford, Matthews had 46 points in 36 games, good enough for tenth in the league and second on his team.
If the Canucks miss out on Matthews, the consolation prize comes in their choice between a pair of Finnish sensations.
Patrik Laine has become known for scoring last-second, highlight reel goals.
If Laine doesn’t have what general manager Jim Benning wants, he could look towards Jesse Puljujarvi, who is seen as more of a two-way forward. Playing in the same league as Laine, Puljujarvi had 28 points in 50 games.
However, if the balls fall against the Canucks, chances are the Canucks will look towards a defenseman to address a current lack of organizational depth; only Jordan Subban and the recently signed Troy Stetcher represent the most promising in the pipeline.
That would leave Jakob Chychrun and Olli Juolevi as the first options, both of whom played in the Ontario Hockey League this past season.
Chychrun played with the Sarnia Sting and had 49 points in 62 games, while Juolevi scored 42 points in 57 games for the London Knights.
Even though the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs this year, the chance to draft one of these five players would soften what was an excruciating season for fans.
With files from Ben Dooley