The race for Rasmus Dahlin, the presumptive No. 1 pick in June's entry draft, will reach the finish line April 28, with the Sabres, Senators and Coyotes the best odds to win the No. 1 overall pick and the opportunity select the generational Swedish defenseman as a salve for their pitiful seasons.
The "All in for Dahlin" movement didn't gain as many supporters as its tanking predecessors. And recent history suggests most anyone with a lottery pick — from the Canucks and Canadiens to the Red Wings or (gasp) Blackhawks — could swoop in and disrupt the order.
MOCK DRAFT 1.0: Unraveling the mystery beyond Rasmus Dahlin at No. 1
Remember: The NHL's cruel, anti-tank odds allocation means nothing is guaranteed, rendering the great tankathons of 2014 and 2015 a dying art. The biggest "loser," aka whichever team finishes dead last, has only an 18.5 percent at picking first overall — or an 81.5 percent chance of losing the lottery — and a 50/50 shot at falling out of the top three all together. That club can drop no lower than No. 4, but the talent disparity drops off shortly thereafter.
In 2017, the Devils (8.517 percent), Flyers (2.204 percent) and Stars (5.812 percent) stunningly bumped the Avalanche, Canucks, Golden Knights and Coyotes (tied) from the top three, winning the rights to Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick. In 2016, the Jets nabbed Patrik Laine with the No. 2 pick despite holding the fifth-best odds.
This year, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to a slight increase in lottery percentages for bottom teams to win the No. 1 overall pick. Note that the odds for a top-three pick are via Micah Blake McCurdy, whose model at Hockeyviz.com shows the probability for every lottery slot. The NHL does not disclose official expanded odds.
2018 DRAFT RANKINGS: Dahlin, Svechnikov create 1A-1B situation atop class
When is the 2018 NHL Draft lottery?
The NHL Draft lottery drawing will take place Saturday, April 28 in Toronto, with representatives from all 14 lottery teams in attendance (the Islanders hold two picks). Fans can watch on NBC Sports Network (time TBD). Then it's off the the scouting combine May 27-June 2, hosted in Buffalo, N.Y., for a fourth straight year.
The 2018 NHL Draft begins June 22 in Dallas. Rounds 2-7 will be held June 23.
Odds to win the 2018 NHL Draft lottery
New York Islanders (via Flames) 84 points 2.5% 8.2%
Points vs. No. 1 overall % vs. top three %
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New York Islanders (via Flames)
Philadelphia Flyers (via Blues)