In case anyone missed it, the Canes did not convert their roughly 6 percent chance to win 1 of the top 3 picks in the 2016 NHL draft. Instead, the Canes will draft in the #13 slot that they finished in per the end of season standings. The Canes also have the #21 overall pick which is the Los Angeles’ Kings pick that they received in last year’s Andrej Sekera trade.
There are a couple possible impacts from the NHL draft lottery from a Carolina Hurricanes perspective:
The Oilers fell to #4 in the lottery. This has the potential to impact the Hurricanes in 2 ways. First, since the Oilers will not get 1 of the 3 players from the first tier (Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi), it is expected that they will consider shopping their #4 pick. The Oilers need help both now and in the future on the blue line. The 2016 NHL draft rankings have the top blue liners ranked between 8 and 15. While it is possible that the Oilers just use the #4 pick to take their highest-rated defenseman. But it could also make sense to trade down 4- or more slots, still get a top-ranked defenseman and collect a few extra assets to boot. Most likely is that the Oilers would trade down only to #8 to #10 but just maybe if the Oilers scouts prefer a slightly lower-rated defenseman just maybe the Canes could move up to #4 and get a near NHL-ready forward.
The other potential impact on the trade front could be the availability of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He is thought to be on the trading block anyway because the Oilers are 2 deep at center with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. If the Oilers keep the #4 pick and add yet another forward as would be expected at that slot, it makes it even more likely that Nugent-Hopkins would be available for blue line help for now and/or later.
Canes #13 pick
I think the Canes #13 slot could be an interesting one. If things go as planned, there are 2 fairly defined tiers of 3 forwards each (Matthews, Puljujarvi, Laine and Tkachuk, Dubois, Nylander). After that, the table flips to defenseman. 5 of the next roughly 10 picks are expected to be the top defensemen to go off the board. What is interesting about that group is that there does not seem to be a consensus about the order for these players. So with a couple forwards mixed in, it is possible that the player some teams have rated as the #1 or #2 defenseman overall falls to the #13 to #16 range. IF that happens and IF Ron Francis is not enamored with the forwards available at #13, it could be possible for Francis to trade the #13 pick to a team that wants a defenseman still on the board and that he can parlay that into a nice bonus for trading down only a 5-10 slots and hopefully still getting who he wants at forward either with the pick obtained in the trade or the #21 pick.
Slight bad luck with the lottery results
Other than winning the lottery and jumping into the top 3 obviously, I think the best possible results for the Canes would have been the usual Edmonton Oilers win followed a couple more Western Canadian teams landing #2 and #3. Better to keep the top end talent out of the Eastern Conference. Instead, the Toronto Maple Leafs won the first pick and the Columbus Blue Jackets crept up to third. Metropolitan Division foe Columbus actually worries me. As bad as they were last season and as stupid as I think they were to punt on Ryan Johansen, I am not sure that team is as far away from playoff contention as the 2015-16 season would indicate. And they likely just added a good young scoring forward to their lineup as a result of Saturday’s lottery drawing.