The odds were stacked against the Ducks in the NHL’s draft lottery Tuesday, but they were definitely in the Kings’ favor going into the annual draft-order selection process for the teams that failed to advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
David McNab, the Ducks’ assistant general manager, was positioned in the eighth spot among the 15 club officials seated in various degrees of discomfort and nervousness for the live TV broadcast from Toronto. Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ team president, was in the second spot.
When the selections were announced, the Ducks dropped from eighth to ninth in the order, a relatively insignificant slip, but the Kings fell from second to fifth, a devastating blow after they endured a season in which they won only 31 of 82 games.
The New Jersey Devils jumped from third to first; the New York Rangers went from sixth to second; and the Chicago Blackhawks vaulted into third from 12th. The Colorado Avalanche, who held the last-place Ottawa Senators’ pick, fell from first to fourth.
Vancouver will host the draft June 21-22, where the Devils are expected to select Jack Hughes, an American forward who is the top prospect, or maybe Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko, ranked No. 2. New Jersey also picked first in 2017, moving up four spots to select Swiss center Nico Hischier.
The Ducks have never picked first in the draft, and have had only two No. 2 selections in their history. They picked Oleg Tverdovsky second cheap nhl jerseys china
in 1994 and Bobby Ryan second in 2005, one spot behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Kings haven’t had a No. 1 selection since taking a guy by the name of Rick Pagnutti in 1967, setting the stage for many years of lackluster drafting. Pagnutti, a defenseman, played for 10 seasons in the minor leagues, but never one shift for the Kings or another NHL team.
In recent seasons, the Ducks and Kings have been victims of their own success. The Ducks advanced to the playoffs in six consecutive seasons and all but three since making their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2003. The Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and ’14.
Neither team came close to the playoffs this season, with each in full rebuilding mode. Each team fired its coach during the season. The Ducks let Randy Carlyle go after things spiraled out of control and the Kings canned John Stevens.