Detroit — The NHL draft lottery hasn’t been kind to the Red Wings.
But there’s another chance Monday to change years of disappointment — although the odds again are against it happening.
This year’s draft lottery takes place at the NHL Networks studio in Secaucus, New Jersey (8 p.m./ESPN).
The Wings have two first-round picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, which is June 28 in Nashville. Rounds 2-7 are June 29.
The second of those two Wings’ first-round picks is the New York Islanders’ pick, which the Wings acquired from Vancouver at the March trade deadline, dealing Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks (who owned the Islanders’ selection). The Islanders’ pick is currently pegged for No. 18, but will move up to No. 17 if the Florida Panthers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The draft pick Wings’ fans will be focused on Monday is Detroit’s own.
The Wings’ 35-37-10 record placed them 24th overall in the standings, giving them the ninth-best odds, and a 5% chance of winning the lottery and securing the No. 1 overall pick.
The 16 non-playoff teams will participate in Monday’s lottery. There are two draws, thereby making it increasingly difficult for teams with small odds of winning the lottery.
Teams can only move up 10 places in the draft — so, only the 11 worst teams have a shot at the top pick.
The Wings can only pick first, second (5.2%), third (0.2%), ninth (64.4%), 10th (23.5%), and 11th (1.7%), according to tankathon.com
Anaheim has the best odds of securing the top pick (18.5%), while Columbus (13.5%) and Chicago (11.5%) round out the top three.
Whoever wins the first pick overall is likely to get a franchise-altering player in center Connor Bedard.
Projected to be the top player in this class for several years, Bedard had 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games for Regina in the Western Hockey League, and is already being compared to some of the NHL’s best players.
“Connor Bedard is one of those unique, elite talents who belongs in the same category as other generational talents before him such as Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby,” said Dan Marr, vice-president of NHL Central Scouting. “He has been in the spotlight for the past three years and during that time he has risen to impact and impress on every occasion while often being the youngest member of the team. He is an exceptional young man on and off the ice and has constantly shown all season long that he is the No. 1 prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft.”
But there are several other elite prospects, led by Michigan center Adam Fantilli.
The reigning Hobey Baker Award (best player) winner, Fantilli led the NCAA with 30 goals and 65 points and projects as the likely No. 2 pick behind Bedard. Swedish center Leo Carlsson and Russian right wing Matvei Michkov are the top two international prospects and likely will be top-five selections.
The Wings have had no luck in the lottery over the years, including since general manager Steve Yzerman took over in 2019. The biggest drop was actually three years ago, when the Wings had the worst record in the NHL but wound up falling to fourth overall in the draft order.
But the Wings appear to have done well with the no-luck circumstances under Yzerman, regardless of where they’re picking in the first-round.
They drafted defenseman Moritz Seider sixth in 2019 (won Calder Trophy as rookie of the year), forward Lucas Raymond with that fourth overall pick in 2020, and Simon Edvinsson (sixth) and Sebastian Cossa (15th) in 2021.
The Wings stayed at eighth last year and drafted forward Marco Kasper.
In all, the Wings have 10 draft picks in this June’s draft, including three in the second round (their own, Vancouver’s from the Hronek trade, and St. Louis’ from the Nick Leddy trade).
At his season-ending Zoom call with media, Yzerman said the Wings must continue to draft players who potentially can reach the NHL and contribute.
There’s a chance the Wings could package some draft picks and trade for an established player, but that’s a rarity.
Drafting and developing players appears to be the Wings’ preferred route for now.
“We need these picks to either try and trade for a star player, which just doesn’t happen that often, or we have to continue to draft and regardless of where we’re picking, find a player who is an impact guy,” Yzerman said. “Not every first rounder, not every second rounder, but you got to find some guys.
“We have to find players.”
The NHL will hold its scouting combine for the top draft-eligible North American and international prospects June 4-10 in Buffalo.
NHL draft lottery
▶ When: 8 p.m. Monday
▶ TV: ESPN
▶ At stake for Red Wings: With the ninth-worst record in the NHL, the Red Wings’ own pick has a 5% chance of being No. 1 overall. They have a second first-round pick acquired in March’s Filip Hronek trade at No. 17 or 18, depending on how the Florida Panthers fare in the postseason, that won’t be affected by the lottery results.