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Montreal Canadiens winner NHL draft lottery, will pick first

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For fans whose hockey team did not reach the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, Tuesday night provided a glimmer of hope in the form of the NHL draft lottery.

It was the first lottery with a couple of rule changes approved by Commissioner Gary Bettman in March 2021. Among them: A team can move up a maximum of 10 places by winning the lottery, which means the club with the 12th best odds can ‘t get going with the No. 1 choice. Neither team may win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period.

Here’s what else you need to know about how the evening went and what it could mean for the future of the league.

The Canadiens participated in Tuesday’s lottery with the best odds of landing the top overall pick (18.5 percent). It was a tough year for Montreal; The Habs plummeted from a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2021 to the worst 55 points in the league. Securing the top spot for the first time since 1980 should help the franchise restart a climb to the top. Montreal will host the draft on July 7 and 8.

New Jersey, with an 8.5 percent chance of the top pick, moved ahead of four franchises with better odds of getting No. 2 pick. This is the third time since 2017 that the Devils own one of the top two picks.

Arizona, which has never won a draft lottery despite frequent appearances in the mix, had the second-best odds at 13.5 percent, but fell to the third pick. This is a crucial draft for the Coyotes, who have 10 picks – including three in the first round.

After his inaugural season, Kraken dropped a spot from the third-best odds to the fourth pick. It was a disappointing debut year as Kraken went 27-49-6.

The Flyers suffered from luck with the Devils, their division enemy, and dropped from the fourth-best odds to the fifth pick. This is just the third time since 2007 that the Flyers have a top-five pick.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (from the Chicago Blackhawks)

12. Columbus blue jackets

16. Buffalo Sabers (from the Vegas Golden Knights)

Consensus among experts is that this draft does not include a franchise-changing outlook, such as Connor McDavid (2015) or Auston Matthews (2016). But there is still plenty of talent to pick up at the top. Here are three names to keep in mind:

The 18-year-old center is the favorite to be taken with the first choice. He made 32 goals and 62 assists in 63 games this season for Kingston from the Ontario Hockey League.

A member of the U.S. national team development program, Cooley is another talented center. He is known for his speed and scoring ability and scored 27 goals and 48 assists in 51 games this season.

Kemell, 18, is a dangerous winger from Finland. Despite sitting out much of last season with an injury, he scored 15 goals in 39 games for JYP in the Finnish league.

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