NHL Draft Lottery primer: Coyotes have slim odds to land No. 1 pick
May 7, 2023, 7:17 AM
(Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)
In February, as the Arizona Coyotes rode a points streak, general manager Bill Armstrong laughed off his best player, forward Clayton Keller, admitting that his boss probably wasn’t too happy with the team’s run of success.
“There was a joke between him and I coming off the ice … and he was laughing,” Armstrong told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “I think what he probably meant underneath that was: ‘We’re not going according to plan right now. We’re having a little bit of fun.’
Admitted by Armstrong or not, there was reason to worry about success that landed the rebuilding — and relatively surprising — Coyotes with the sixth-fewest points in the NHL rather than the fewest.
Arizona went 28-40-14 this season to finish with 70 points.
A single ping-pong ball could have a ripple effect on Monday at 5 p.m., when the NHL Draft Lottery orders the selections.
High-scoring forward Connor Bedard is the top prize as the consensus No. 1 overall prospect, but University of Michigan star Adam Fantilli would be quite a return for whichever team gets the No. 2 pick. The tantalizing talent of Bedard and Fantilli was an undercurrent throughout a season when the bottom of the standings was almost as interesting as what was going on at the top.
Matvei Michkov and Leo Carlsson also are expected to go in the top five.
Arizona has a 7.5% shot of landing the No. 1 draft pick and a 7.7% shot at No. 2.
The Coyotes are most likely to select seventh (41.4%) or sixth (34.1%) but can’t fall further than eighth (9.1%).
Land one of those top spots in the May 8 lottery, and a rebuilding team could decide to accelerate its timeline through free agency. The franchise that takes a chance on Michkov, who has a more uncertain future because of his contract with his Russian team, could position itself for another top pick in 2024.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
2023 NHL Draft Lottery Odds