The Rangers won the NHL draft lottery in each of the last two offseasons, but the odds are stacked against them this time.
The NHL will hold its 2021 draft lottery at 7 p.m. Wednesday for the 15 teams that failed to make the playoffs as well as the expansion Seattle Kraken, which will enter the league next season. The Rangers, who finished fifth in the East Division and 16th in the overall league standings with a 27-23-6 record, enter the lottery 16th and last in the drafting order. They have a 1.0% chance to win the first overall pick.
Two drawings actually will take place: one for the No. 1 overall pick, and a second to determine who will get the No. 2 pick.
Two years ago, the Rangers won the second lottery, for the second pick, which they used to select Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko. In 2020, when the NHL took 24 teams to its restart in the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles, the league held a first-phase lottery for the seven teams who did not make it to the bubbles, along with a placeholder representing the eight teams who would lose in the preliminary round of the postseason. The placeholder won the lottery for the first pick overall, necessitating a second lottery among the eight preliminary-round losers. The Rangers won that second lottery and chose Alexis Lafreniere.
The Buffalo Sabres, who finished the 2020-21 season with the NHL’s worst record overall at 15-34-7, are first in the selection order in the draft, and have the greatest odds of winning the draft lottery, 16.6%. Anaheim (17-30-9) is second in the order and has a 12.1% chance to win the first pick. Seattle has been placed third in the draft order, as were the Vegas Golden Knights when they entered the league in 2017. The Kraken have the same odds of winning the lottery — 10.3% — as the New Jersey Devils, who are fourth in the order.
The Arizona Coyotes, who are 11th in the draft order, have forfeited their first-round pick in 2021 as a result of violating the NHL Combine's testing policy in 2019-20. So if the Rangers do not move up in the lottery, they will select 15th overall in the draft, which will take place July 23-24 in a virtual setting.
Owen Power, a 6-5, 214-pound defenseman from Mississauga, Ontario, who plays for the University of Michigan, is expected to be the first overal lpick .