While the NFL draft dominates most sports talk around these parts this weekend, the NHL will be holding its annual draft lottery on Saturday in Toronto, at which the league will determine which of the 15 clubs that missed the playoffs this spring will get the No. 1 pick and right to select Swedish superstar defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.
The Rangers, who finished last in the Metropolitan Division, enter the lottery with a six percent chance of earning the No. 1 pick.
The Islanders, with their own first-round pick, plus one acquired from the Calgary Flames in last summer’s trade for defenseman Travis Hamonic, have two opportunities to win the big prize. They have a 3.5 percent chance with their own pick, and a 2.5 percent chance with the Flames’ pick.
The Buffalo Sabres, who had the worst record in the league in 2017-18, have an 18.5 percent chance.
The lottery also determines the second and third selections overall. The drawing for the first pick will go first, and then the drawing for the No. 2 pick and then the No. 3 pick. After that, the draft order will be determined by reverse order of the records of the remaining 12 non-lottery winners.
Should the Rangers not move into the top three, and should no team behind them in the draft order leap ahead of them, the Blueshirts would pick eighth.
If the Islanders don’t win with either of their two picks, and no team with a better record jumps in front of them, they would select 10th and 12th.
Besides Dahlin, who plays for Frolunda in the SHL in Sweden, other big names available include right wing Filip Zadina of Halifax of the QMJHL, right wing Andrei Svechnikov, of Barrie of the OHL, and left wing Brady Tkachuk of Boston University.