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2013 NHL Draft

Cats Sit Atop The Draft

The Florida Panthers will pick first in the 2014 NHL Draft after winning the lottery Tuesday.

Tuesday, 04.15.2014 / 8:26 PM / 2013 NHL Draft
By NHL .com
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Cats Sit Atop The Draft
The Florida Panthers will pick first in the 2014 NHL Draft after winning the lottery Tuesday.

It's been 20 years since the Florida Panthers headed to the NHL Draft with the No. 1 selection, but they will do so this summer in Philadelphia.

The Panthers will pick first in the 2014 NHL Draft after winning the lottery Tuesday. As the 29th-place team in the final 2013-14 NHL standings, the Panthers entered with an 18.8 percent chance (second best) of getting the No. 1 pick.

The Buffalo Sabres had the best chance to win the lottery (25 percent) based on their 30th-place finish but will pick second.

The draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center, with the Philadelphia Flyers as host. It will be the first time the Panthers have the No. 1 pick since 1994, when they selected defenseman Ed Jovanovski. Florida won the lottery in 2002 and 2003 but each year it traded the pick prior to the draft.

"It means a lot to us, we're very excited," Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola told TSN. "We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high."

The Panthers could use the first pick on defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who had 23 goals and 30 assists in 58 games for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League this season, his third with the team.

"It's kind of hard to say what's going to happen come draft day, but nonetheless I'm pretty excited," Ekblad told TSN. "It's going to be a pretty fun week down there in Philadelphia."

Many scouts believe Ekblad is ready to play in the NHL next season. Five of the top six picks from last year's draft played in the NHL in 2013-14.

"The goal is always to play in the NHL, ever since you were a little kid," Ekblad said. "I'm going to keep working as hard as I possibly can over the summer so I can hopefully achieve that goal."

Center Sam Reinhart is an option for Florida; he had 105 points (36 goals, 69 assists) in 60 games for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.

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Florida finished with the fewest points in 2012-13, but the Colorado Avalanche won the lottery and selected right wing Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 pick. The Panthers took center Aleksander Barkov at No. 2.

The Sabres haven't had the No. 1 pick since 1987, when they selected center Pierre Turgeon.

"I'm not disappointed," Sabres general manager Tim Murray told The Buffalo News. "We had a 25 percent chance driving up here. ... It's kind of what I was expecting.

"We probably have a better chance of getting the guy that we have [at No.] 1 than we had a chance today of getting the first pick."

There's a chance Buffalo could have two of the top five picks. The New York Islanders, who hold the fifth pick, have the option to keep their selection or transfer it to the Sabres as part of the in-season trade involving forward Thomas Vanek. Should the Islanders hold on to the pick, Buffalo will get New York's first-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"Staying at five, there's a better possibility of us getting their pick versus if they had moved to one," Murray said.

The weighted odds of winning the lottery were determined by the regular-season point totals for teams that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After Florida, the remaining 12 teams that were eligible to win the lottery are slotted in reverse order of their point totals.

Here are the top 13 picks:

1. Florida Panthers

2. Buffalo Sabres

3. Edmonton Oilers

4. Calgary Flames

5. New York Islanders

6. Vancouver Canucks

7. Carolina Hurricanes

8. Toronto Maple Leafs

9. Winnipeg Jets

10. Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa Senators)

11. Nashville Predators

12. Phoenix Coyotes

13. Washington Capitals

The New Jersey Devils did not make the playoffs but were not be eligible to win the lottery due to punishments relating to salary-cap circumvention. The Devils will select 30th in the first round.

The first-round drafting positions of the 16 playoff teams (picks 14-29) will be determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which get underway Wednesday.

The drawing was conducted at the NHL office in Toronto.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 64 22 16 -9 38
J. Huberdeau 61 9 28 3 37
A. Ekblad 64 11 23 7 34
J. Jokinen 63 6 28 -1 34
B. Boyes 62 11 21 8 32
J. Jagr 60 12 19 -10 31
J. Hayes 55 17 12 -4 29
B. Campbell 64 3 20 2 23
A. Barkov 53 10 12 -5 22
V. Trocheck 34 5 11 8 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .921 2.37
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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