Hi, my name is Ken…and I’m addicted to the draft lottery simulator

Connor McDavid (Photo by Ken Andersen/Getty Images)

Spoiler alert: The Buffalo Sabres will win tonight’s NHL draft lottery with the numbers 11, 5, 6 and 7. Your trusty correspondent knows this because he went to this really cool website that simulates the NHL draft lottery and it told him so.

Then he did it 99 more times because, like a certain potato chip, you can’t do it only once. The website, http://nhllotterysimulator.com/#/official, took on a new life on Friday when the NHL made public the lottery number combinations for each of the 14 teams in the event. Suddenly, fans everywhere could, with the click of a keyboard, determine where Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will end up next season. Read more

Draft lottery odds: the most likely outcome for your team

Connor McDavid (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

It’s amazing how things will change by Saturday night. Connor McDavid will know which NHL team he will belong to. The McDavid parents will know in which city their son’s adult life will begin to unfold and flourish. Vendors will go crazy preparing McDavid jerseys, signs and apparel.

(And make no mistake, McDavid will be the first overall selection in the June 26-27 NHL draft in Sunrise, Florida. There will be zero drama with that pick.)

The NHL’s draft lottery will be televised Saturday night at 8 pm. The proceedings will begin about 7:30, but the drawing of lottery balls will take place about a half hour later. McDavid’s most likely destination is a city other than Buffalo, but Buffalo has the best odds of all the 14 non-playoff teams. Here’s how it works.

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What happened to the modern-era teams that missed the playoffs after winning the Cup?

Jared Clinton
Rod Brind'Amour (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In 1994-95, the New Jersey Devils took their Eastern Conference final appearance from the year prior to the next step. They defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games and then went on to capture the Stanley Cup with a sweep of the Detroit Red Wings.

The next year, however, the Red Wings came within two wins of returning to the Stanley Cup final while the Devils became the first club since the NHL expanded to a 16-team playoff format to miss the post-season the year after being crowned champions.

In 2006-07, the Carolina Hurricanes became the second team in the 16-club playoff era to fail to reach the post-season the year after championship glory. And, after Tuesday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings, winners of two of the past three Stanley Cups, are on the brink of becoming the third team to go from top of the heap to outside the sweet 16. For the Kings’ sake, though, they hope their fate is more in line with the Devils than the Hurricanes. Read more

Trophies for a losing season? Not in New Jersey – and that’s how it should be

Ryan Kennedy
Travis Zajac (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils got booed off the ice Tuesday night in their home finale.

A big reason for that was they were playing the New York Rangers, whose fans have no problem crossing the river for a good ol’ rivalry game. But if some Devils supporters had gotten in on the action, you couldn’t blame them, since New Jersey’s season has been an abject failure.

So perhaps it is not a coincidence that GM/coach Lou Lamoriello told local reporters that the Devils would not be handing out their traditional team awards this season. And you know what? I’m on board with that.

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Rumor Roundup: Hamilton signing key for Bruins, Devils looking for offense

Lyle Richardson
Dougie Hamilton (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

This off-season will provide an interesting test for Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports Chiarelli already has over $57.5 million tied up in 15 players for 2015-16. Should the salary cap increase to $71 million, it will leave less than $14 million to re-sign or replace key players.

Topping the list is defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who is coming off his entry-level contract. Based on his breakout performance this season (42 points in 72 games prior to a recent upper-body injury), the 21-year-old Hamilton will be due a substantial pay raise. Read more

Patrik Elias dances Dustin Tokarski for beautiful shootout goal

Jared Clinton
Patrik Elias (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

In Patrik Elias‘ first season in the NHL, the introduction of the shootout to the league was a decade from becoming reality. That doesn’t mean, however, that the 38-year-old couldn’t come up with a few tricks to put up his sleeve.

Saturday night’s game, which pitted Elias’ New Jersey Devils against the Montreal Canadiens, went to extra time and, subsequently, a shootout, which was ended by Elias in the third round on an amazing deke. As the third shooter for the Devils, and with the game on his stick, Elias serpentined over the blueline, put on three quick dekes, moved the puck from backhand to forehand and tucked it into the yawning cage: Read more

Prospect Hot List: Zach Senyshyn running with the big dogs

Zach Senyshyn (photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The Frozen Four tournament may be the most deadly in hockey. It’s not long, but that’s the danger: it’s one-and-done, so even titan teams can get grounded in the first round, as top seed MSU-Mankato found out against RIT. But in the end, we have two teams from the two best conferences in the semifinal: Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota from the NCHC and Hockey East’s Providence College and Boston University. Major junior playoffs are in full swing now too, so let’s look at the kids making noise in the prospect world right now.

Zach Senyshyn, RW – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

They’re going for it all in the Soo this year and with the team adding players such as Justin Bailey, Anthony DeAngelo and Nick Ritchie before the trade deadline, it’s almost easier to name the Hounds who haven’t been drafted by NHL franchises at this point. Senyshyn is one, but that’s because he’s not eligible until this summer. In the meantime, he’s been happy to soak up lessons from his elder peers.

“It’s a great learning process every day,” he said. “Working with guys like Jared McCann and Darnell Nurse in practice is a special experience.”

This is actually Senyshyn’s first full year with the Hounds. The skilled, swift skater played most of last year with the Jr. A Smiths Falls Bears near Ottawa. He had his eye on playing NCAA, with Penn State, Princeton and nearby Clarkson all on his radar. But the siren sound of the Hounds drew him to the OHL and he signed with the squad in December, playing a handful of games before returning to the Bears to work on his defense and round out his game. There was a Hounds-Bears link, too.

“The assistant coach in Smiths Falls was Walt Dubas,” Senyshyn said. “He’s Kyle Dubas’ uncle. It’s pretty cool the way things worked out.”

Kyle Dubas of course, was the Hounds’ GM last year and now works for the Toronto Maple Leafs. But it’s a member of the Colorado Avalanche that Senyshyn counts as a role model.

“I’d say Matt Duchene,” Senyshyn revealed. “He plays the game at such a high pace and uses his creativity to create offense.”

With three points in his first two playoff games, Senyshyn’s not doing too bad in that category himself. Draft eligible in 2015.

Michael Mersch, LW – Manchester Monarchs (AHL)

The former University of Wisconsin Badger tied a franchise record by notching five points in a win over Hershey on Friday, but he didn’t stop there. The sturdy Mersch, who doesn’t mind heading to the front of the net, also collected points in his next two games. Drafted 110th overall by Los Angeles in 2011.

Nicolas Roy, C – Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

When you’re 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, it pays to use your frame and that’s what Roy has been doing in the Sags’ first-round series against Moncton. Despite being the underdogs, Chicoutimi has the showdown tied 1-1 in part due to Roy’s four points. Defensively responsible, it’s good to see his offense busting out. Draft eligible in 2015.

Mike Robinson, G – Lawrence Academy Spartans (Mass. HS)

A big goaltender who comes in at 6-foot-4, Robinson had to stop a lot of pucks for the Spartans this season and even though it didn’t result in team success, he did catch the eyes of scouts. Along with his size, the University of New Hampshire commit has great technique and quickness. Draft eligible in 2015.

Travis Konecny, RW – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

The 67’s got Konecny back from injury right in time for the post-season and he has rewarded them with his presence. The highly skilled heart-and-soul captain has come out guns a’ blazing with seven points in the first three games in what has been a high-scoring affair versus Niagara. Draft eligible in 2015.

Joel Ek Eriksson, C – Farjestad (Swe.)

A 200-foot player with size and a good shot, Ek Eriksson couldn’t get Farjestad past the quarterfinal in Sweden’s under-20 playoffs, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The big pivot had five goals and 10 points in six games for Farjestad, who dropped their second post-season series to Djurgarden. Draft eligible in 2015.

John Quenneville, C – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

The Wheaties have aces all through their lineup, but early on in Brandon’s playoff series against Edmonton, Quenneville has been a driver with five points in three games. The sturdy pivot has a great shot, skates hard and really competes. Drafted 30th overall by New Jersey in 2014.

Jake Walman, D – Providence College Friars (Hockey East)

The Friars had the benefit of playing their regional games in Providence, but they still had to beat two very good NCHC teams and Walman was key against Denver in the final. The offensively talented blueliner notched three assists in the 4-1 win over the Pioneers. Drafted 82nd overall by St. Louis in 2014.

Nick Boka, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)

A noted gym rat, Boka has pretty good size ay 6-foot-1, 197 pounds and generally plays a physical, defense-first game. But the University of Michigan commit can also wheel when he wants to and has a nice offensive upside, even if it’s not his go-to skill. Draft eligible in 2015.

Vaclav Karabacek, RW – Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)

Baie-Comeau has taken care of business at home, winning both games in their opener against Saint John, with Karabacek doing a lot of damage. The gifted Czech, who plays at a high pace and has some dazzling skill, has four assists already in the series to lead the Drakkar. Drafted 49th overall by Buffalo in 2014.

Which save was better: Gibson’s Hasek impression or Holtby’s miraculous reach?

Jared Clinton
John Gibson (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s not often two goaltenders are forced to make incredible paddle saves, but Anaheim’s John Gibson and Washington’s Braden Holtby both made stick saves Sunday that will find their way onto end of year countdowns.

Holtby’s save, which came earlier in the day during a matinee between the Capitals and New York Rangers, was made off the stick of Rangers rookie Jimmy Hayes.

With Washington up by one on their division rivals midway through the first period, and with New York on the power play, Hayes received a beautiful cross-ice feed and had just about the entire net to shoot at. After quickly settling the puck, Hayes fired and Holtby, extending as much as humanly possible, robbed a sure goal with the shaft of his stick: Read more