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Toronto Maple Leafs win NHL Draft Lottery – SportsUntapped.com
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Added May 2nd, 2016 by Ian

Toronto Maple Leafs win NHL Draft Lottery
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will have the first overall selection in the NHL Draft this summer for the first time since taking Wendel Clark back in 1985. The Leafs won the draft lottery on April 30th after finishing in 30th and last place in the league in the 2015/16 season. The Leafs entered the lottery with the best overall chance of winning it at 20 per cent. The Edmonton Oilers, who have picked first overall four times in the past six years, had the second-best odds of 13.5 per cent and dropped two spots to fourth. The Maple Leafs could sure use the help of a first-overall pick as they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since the 1966/67 campaign and have been one of the dregs of the league for the past few decades. The Leafs now have 12 selections in this year’s draft.

A lottery was held for the top three picks and the Winnipeg Jets will select second in the June draft in Buffalo, New York while the Columbus Blue Jackets will select third . The Jets jumped up four spots from sixth to second in the lottery. It’s expected that the Leafs will choose American forward Auston Matthews of Arizona with the first pick. The 18-year-old Matthews played in the Swiss League with Zurich last season scoring 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points in 36 contests. However, two Finnish players are also ranked in the top three. These are Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujärvi , who were both members of Finland’s gold medal-winning team at this year’s World Junior Championships.

The NHL introduced a lottery system for the top three picks this year as a way to stop weaker teams from purposely finishing as low as possible in the standings. However, the bottom team in the 30-club league still had the best chance at landing the number one selection. Last year’s 30th-place team was guaranteed a top-two pick, but this year’s last-place squad was only guaranteed a top-four selection. The Leafs odds of picking fourth were actually higher than they were of picking first at 47.5 per cent compared to 20 per cent. Toronto had just one of the last 11 lottery balls remaining for the first pick, which was the lowest of the remaining teams, but still managed to win it.

As for Auston Matthews, it’s not clear how happy he is that the Leafs have the option of drafting him and he told the media, he had mixed emotions. He added, “It’s nice to have a little bit of clarity, but nothing’s set in stone.” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan wouldn’t tip his hat as to who the Leafs will draft, but said he definitely feels good for the team’s long-suffering fans. Shanahan remarked, “They needed some good news. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, this was some good news for them. They deserved it. I hope they’re out in the streets of Toronto feeling a little bit better.”

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