It’s been almost a month that our Habs have been eliminated from the playoffs and fans are finding other things to do. While some are watching the playoffs, more are watching something else as viewership in the first round have fallen by 61% in Canada in comparison to last year, due in big part to the fact that none of the seven Canadian teams made the Spring Tournament.
There are few consolations to Canadian fans (and Canadiens’ fans as well) but one of them is the hope that this season of misery can be rewarded with some change, some new blood and several moves during this upcoming off-season. Whether it’s the hope of getting a good draft pick, changes in management (not in Montreal as we know), trades and/or free agents’ signing, fans are hoping for some excitement that they missed with their team(s) out of the playoffs.
The first step for all of us is coming up this Saturday, April 30th, as the NHL is doing it’s Draft lottery. As it stands right now, the Montreal Canadiens have a five percent chance of getting the very first pick at the next NHL Draft for having finished the season with the 22nd best overall record in the league. This is not much but a few years ago, they would have automatically picked ninth at the Draft.
It is being said that the race between the top-three picks is extremely tight this year, with Austin Matthews still holding on to the number ranked prospect title as we speak. Close second is Finnish prospect Patrik Laine, and his compatriot Jesse Puljujärvi following close behind at third best rated prospect. The first player from the QMJHL is Pierre-Luc Dubois who now ranks fifth overall. The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles is a native of Ste-Agathe-des-Monts and it has been well documented that both Trevor Timmins and team GM Marc Bergevin have followed the Screaming Eagles in the playoffs.
Do the Canadiens have a chance?
If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to play with the NHL Lottery Simulator. I ran it prior to writing this piece and it took me 14 times before the Canadiens won a top-three pick, coming out with the second overall pick. I had to wait to the 26th time to once again get the second overall and finally, with my 31st time running the program, Trevor Timmins had the very first pick overall.
The good news is that I’m not the one pressing the button so don’t rely on my experience. It does, however, bring a bit of a reality on the odds of the Habs getting a top-three pick this year. Either way, we will find out soon enough as Saturday is coming fast. Happy Lottery Habs’ fans!