Tampa Bay Lightning

Odds to win No. 1 overall pick (As of April 18):

Vancouver Canucks (10.00)


For the third year in a row, all the Vancouver Canucks and their fans have to look forward to in the spring is the NHL Draft Lottery.

It's a long, long way from the Stanley Cup playoffs. A long, long, long way from the days of the 2011 playoff run. But John Tortorella already informed us of that - like, four years ago.

But for the franchises that suffered through a regular season packed with losses and disappointment, the lottery comes packed with its own, umm, excitement and angst, as different fan bases hope for the chance to move up the draft order and overcome the odds to get that first overall selection. With it comes the hope of a much brighter future and a potential star player that can, in theory, step right into the NHL in the fall.

This year, the reward for winning the lottery on April 28 in Toronto is defenceman Rasmus Dahlin from Sweden.

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The rebuilding Canucks sure could use a stud franchise defenceman.

But they will have to miraculously overcome the odds to win the lottery and the opportunity to draft Dahlin. The Canucks went 6-2-2 at the end of the regular season, and ended up finishing with the sixth worst record in the NHL's overall standings - bad news for the so many vocal fans that have joined Team Tank.

The Canucks' chances of getting that top pick dropped down to 7.5 per cent. The Buffalo Sabres, who lost four in a row to end the season and finished with the worst record in the NHL, have the best chance to win the lottery at 18.5 per cent.

Recently released odds at PlayNow.com for the Canucks to win the top pick sit at 10.00, as of Wednesday, while the Sabres are the favourites at 4.50, ahead of Ottawa at 6.00.

Those pledging allegiance to Team Tank may have been temporarily muted because while the late-season wins hurt Vancouver's draft odds, they did occur at a time when Daniel and Henrik Sedin were playing out their final games in the NHL with retirement on the horizon. Selected second and third overall by Vancouver in 1999, the twin brothers provided a storybook ending to their careers, with Daniel scoring the overtime winning goal against Arizona in the second-to-last game of the regular season.

From the time the Sedin twins announced their retirement to their final game only a few days later, The Tank took a backseat as two franchise greats completed their careers in style.

But the focus is now squarely on the future of this franchise. And based on the play of their prospects in the AHL, juniors, and Europe, there appears to be some potential there. Per reports, the Canucks still have a 23.3 per cent chance of picking in the top three following the lottery. They also have a 38.9 per cent chance of getting the seventh overall selection.

Oh, it would be an amusing five minutes following Canucks Nation on Twitter if the latter scenario came to fruition.

NFL Draft No. 1 Overall Odds (As of April 18):

Sam Darnold (1.44)

Josh Allen (2.90)

Saquon Barkley (7.00)

Boston Bruins

While we're on the topic of drafts, let's take a look at what's happening in the NFL.

The NFL Draft goes on April 26, less than a week from now, and the odds on who will go first overall continue to fluctuate. Such has been the case for two months.

The Cleveland Browns hold the first overall pick - as well as the fourth overall selection, too - and have a serious need to select a franchise quarterback.

Sam Darnold, the USC Trojans quarterback, has been the favourite to be selected first overall for several weeks. That changed temporarily in March, when the Browns acquired Tyrod Taylor from Buffalo, but as of Wednesday, the odds for Darnold to be selected first sat at 1.44.

For the most part, Darnold's price history has remained relatively steady over the last two months. The same cannot be said for Josh Allen, the quarterback from Wyoming.

Allen's odds of going No. 1 have varied substantially since the middle of February, as you can see below:

Feb. 10: 4.00
March 11: 11.00
March 14: 6.00
March 21: 16.00
March 22: 8.00
March 22: 16.00
March 22: 13.00
April 2: 9.50
April 5: 4.00
April 18: 2.90

The change in odds this month comes with speculation from around the NFL and recent mock drafts now indicating that Allen could go No. 1 overall to the Browns, which would make Darnold available for the New York Giants.

Saquon Barkley, the sensational running back from Penn State, was once the favourite to go No. 1 but Cleveland’s signing of Carlos Hyde during free agency quickly cooled that.

One recent mock draft had Barkley falling all the way to No. 7 overall, the pick held by Tampa Bay. His odds of going No. 1 overall went from 1.22 on March 13 to 7.00 by Wednesday.

With hopes for a brighter future, the draft can provide great joy to fans of certain teams – and disappointment for others.

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