At 8:00 p.m. tonight, millions of Canadians will gather around their televisions and pray to the hockey Gods for a 17-year-old American.
Broadcast in simultaneously in primetime on Hockey Night in Canada on Sportsnet and CBC, the NHL will host it's annual 2016 lottery in Toronto.
There will be 1,001 potential lottery balls combinations, one of which is a re-draw combination. The Leafs, after finishing last in the NHL standings, will hold 200 of those combinations. The NHL Draft Lottery has been held for 21 years, and the Leafs have never won it.
The lottery is performed in secret and each of the 14 NHL teams send representative who are sequestered until its completion. The balls are all numbered from '1' to '14' (not indicative of the team's place, but in order to build different combinations).
The Leafs had the highest chance of winning with one ball remaining last year, but ultimately lost out to the Edmonton Oilers and drafted Mitch Marner fourth overall. Their chances of winning have risen from 9.5 percent to 20 percent this year.
The Leafs have a 20 percent chance of drafting first overall, a 17 percent chance of drafting second, a 15 percent chance of selecting third overall, and a 48 percent chance of losing all three lotteries and falling to the fourth overall pick.
NHL Central Scouting has ranked hundreds of players in North America and Europe. In Europe, its top-ranked players are Auston Matthews (Zurich), Patrik Laine (Tappara) and Jesse Puljujarvi (Karpat). In North America, its top-ranked prospects are Pierre-Luc Dubois (Cape Breton), Matthew Tkachuk (London) and Alex Nylander (Mississauga).
Other 2016 NHL Draft Rankings
PPP's 2016 NHL Draft Profiles
Auston Matthews. Recently there have been articles speculating that maybe one of Jesse Puljujarvi or Patrik Laine might be selected at #1, but after watching this highlight reel or this highlight reel, and reading up on scouting reports, it's hard to imagine that Matthews won't be holding up a single finger in the draft photos. - Achariya
We aren't actually drafting these guys ourselves; our failings don't really matter. But even as armchair experts, trying to find distinctions with a genuine difference between these two might be as useful as arguing over which flavour of ice cream is best. - Katya KnappeMatthew Tkachuk
Rest assured, London Knights winger Matthew Tkachuk is one of the premier forward talents in the 2016 NHL Draft. Tkachuk has stood alone as an exceptionally gifted forward in the 2016 class for years and some talented line mates and bolstered secondary assists totals in London this season don't change that. - Scott Wheeler
A highly talented puck-carrying defensemen, Chychrun excels as an exceptional straightaway skater (forwards and backwards) who can create off the rush as a passer or as the primary option for entering the zone. - Scott Wheeler
At the next level, he has one of the more translatable NHL games in the class and projects to be a real scoring threat with versatility at two different forward positions and a strong-two way dimension. - Scott Wheeler
What's most impressive about Keller's season this year is that he led the team in scoring by 22 points, outscoring his next closest teammate (Kieffer Bellows) by what would have been a 33-point margin over an 82-game season (141 to 108). - Scott Wheeler
He is without a doubt one of the most gifted players in the 2016 class and has solidified his place in the tier of prospects outside the top-three. - Scott Wheeler
I'll be live at the lottery tonight, so you can follow @scottcwheeler on Twitter for updates if you won't be near a television or don't have cable!
What do you think the outcome of the lottery will be for the Leafs?
|The first overall pick||349|
|The second overall pick||181|
|The third overall pick||93|
|The fourth overall pick||287|
|No matter what tears will flow||155|