The Islanders did not win the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, remaining in the No. 15 slot. But there was plenty of drama as the Devils moved up from fifth to first overall and the Avalanche, by far the worst team in the league this season, dropped from the top spot to fourth.
The Isles finished the regular season with 94 points, tied for the most among the 14 teams that missed the postseason. They had a three percent chance to move into the top three. With player personnel director Chris Lamoriello on hand for the draw in Toronto, the Isles were the first team called by deputy NHL commissioner Bill Daly, ending any suspense for them.
But the Flyers, Stars and Devils all bucked the odds and moved into the top three — the Flyers had a 7.2 percent chance to move up from 13th and got all the way to the No. 2 pick, while the Stars moved from the eighth slot to the No. 3 pick.
Las Vegas, the expansion team joining the league next season, was given the same odds as the Coyotes, who finished 28th in the league this season. The Golden Knights fell to the sixth overall pick.
There is no consensus No. 1 prospect this year, as there was last season when the Leafs won the lottery with the best odds and selected Auston Matthews.
Nolan Patrick, a forward who is the son of former Ranger Steve and nephew of longtime Rangers defenseman James Patrick, has been rated No. 1 among scouts all season long. Patrick had 20 goals and 26 assists in 33 games for Brandon of the Western League in an injury-limited season.
Also in the running for the top spot is Swiss-born forward Nico Hischier, who had 38 goals and 48 assists for Halifax of the Quebec League. The NHL Draft will be held June 23-24 in Chicago.