The Nashville Predators finished the regular season in 27th place. That means they would be “Team Four” in the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday night, giving them a 10.7% chance of winning the lottery and a 58% to retain the fourth pick. Considering the cream of this draft class crop is four players deep, picking in the top four was the goal.
But, if a team above them in the final standings won the lottery, the Predators would fall to number five. And while they would still get a great prospect at that position, it would be yet another disappointment in an agonizing 2013 campaign.
In short, they did not want to pick fifth.
Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, Halifax Mooseheads winger Jonathan Drouin, Halifax center Nathan MacKinnon and Finnish center Aleksander Barkov are considered the top prizes on June 30 in Newark, New Jersey. TSN’s Bob McKenzie has stated that, in his polling of NHL scouts, there’s a level of separation after those four.
Now obviously there are still talente...