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Best, Worst Draft Lottery Scenarios for Sharks

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Credit: Keith Hershmiller Photography

The Draft lottery is almost here!

At 5 PM PT on Monday, we’ll find out where the San Jose Sharks pick, No. 1 through 6.

The San Jose Sharks, according to Tankathon, have a 9.5 percent chance at winning the first-overall pick, 9.5 at No. 2, 0.3 at No. 3, 15.4 at fourth-overall, 44.6 at No. 5, and 20.8 at No. 6.

The Sharks, by the way, had a very thorough breakdown about all the Draft lottery rules on their website. Just for example:

First overall: San Jose will be awarded the first overall selection by winning the first lottery draw (9.5-percent odds).

Second overall: San Jose will be awarded the second overall selection if they win the second lottery draw and if any eligible team other than the 12th-place team wins the first lottery draw.

Third overall: San Jose will be awarded the third overall selection if the team with the 12th-best lottery odds (Ottawa) wins the first lottery draw, and San Jose wins the second lottery draw. It’s important to note that a lottery winner can only move up a maximum of 10 spots. Thus, if a team with the 12th through 16th best odds wins the first lottery draw, they would move up the maximum ten positions (2nd to 6th respectively), and that would lock in the team currently with the best odds (Anaheim) at the first overall draft position. This means Anaheim would choose first overall and Ottawa second overall. If the Sharks won the second lottery draw, they would move to third overall…

Anyway, just for fun, I was curious about best and worst-case scenarios for each selection, No. 1 through 6. Meaning, for example, who’s the best first-overall pick in NHL history? The worst? And so on.

This covers 54 years, since 1969, the first modern NHL Draft.

From a Mario Lemieux to a Nail Yakupov, there’s a wide range of outcomes for the San Jose Sharks.

No. 1

Most Games: Joe Thornton (1,714)
Least Games (retired): Gord Kluzak (299)
1,000-plus Games: 21 players
Most Goals: Alex Ovechkin (822)
Most Points: Mario Lemieux (1,723)
Hall of Famers: 8 (Gilbert Perreault, Guy Lafleur, Denis Potvin, Dale Hawerchuk, Lemieux, Mike Modano, Mats Sundin, Eric Lindros)
Likely Hall of Famers: 7 (Thornton, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, Connor McDavid)

By likely Hall of Famer, I’m saying if this player retired today, would he be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

Predictably, for best-case scenario here, there are a lot of great choices. But I’m going to go with Lemieux, the only player on this list who might threaten for greatest all-time against the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe.

Worst case? Kluzak was headed toward a solid NHL career before knee injuries derailed him. So I’m going to say Nail Yakupov, a supposed goalscorer who never topped 17 in a season over a six-year stint in the league.

No. 2

Most Games: Patrick Marleau (1,779)
Least Games (retired): Dave Chyzowski (126)
1,000-plus Games: 17
Most Goals: Marcel Dionne (731)
Most Points: Dionne (1,771)
Hall of Famers: 4 (Dionne, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Pronger, Daniel Sedin)
Likely Hall of Famers: 4 (Marleau, Evgeni Malkin, Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman)

I’m picking Pronger over Dionne for best-case scenario. Both were the very best players on playoff teams, but I like the elite defenseman who led three different teams to the Stanley Cup Final.

Chyzowski had a booming shot, but the winger couldn’t do much with it at the NHL level, scoring just 15 goals over parts of six seasons.

No. 3

Most Games: Glen Wesley (1,457)
Least Games (retired): Neil Brady (89)
1,000-plus Games: 16
Most Goals: Denis Savard (473)
Most Points: Savard (1,338)
Hall of Famers: 4 (Savard, Pat LaFontaine, Scott Niedermayer, Henrik Sedin)
Likely Hall of Famers: 1 (Jonathan Toews)

I’m choosing four-time Stanley Cup winner Niedermayer as my best-case scenario. Toews and Leon Draisaitl are interesting arguments in this space too.

Meanwhile, Brady was a skilled centerman who “lacked speed”, notching just 31 points in 89 games. This is from 1989 to 1994, of course a high-scoring era.

No. 4

Most Games: Ron Francis (1,731)
Least Games (retired): Alexander Volchkov (3)
1,000-plus Games: 11
Most Goals: Mike Gartner (708)
Most Points: Francis (1,798)
Hall of Famers: 9 (Steve Shutt, Lanny McDonald, Clark Gillies, Gartner, Larry Murphy, Francis, Steve Yzerman, Paul Kariya, Roberto Luongo)
Likely Hall of Famers: 0?

Over his 22-year career, Steve Yzerman was everything to the Detroit Red Wings: Dominant offensive force. Selke Trophy winner. Three-time Stanley Cup winner. So while it’s a deep list of Hall of Famers, I’m tabbing Stevie Y.

Not surprisingly, the arguable worst No. 4 pick ever came from the arguable worst first round ever. Volchkov, from the 1996 Draft, couldn’t even cut it in first-division Russian hockey, playing most of his career in Belarus.

No. 5

Most Games: Jaromir Jagr (1,733)
Least Games (retired): Ray Martyniuk (0)
1,000-plus Games: 10
Most Goals: Jagr (766)
Most Points: Jagr (1,921)
Hall of Famers: 1 (Scott Stevens)
Likely Hall of Famers: 1 (Jagr)

Sure, Jagr has longevity, but at his peak, he was absolutely the most dominant offensive force in the sport. From 1994 to 2001, he was a Hart Trophy finalist five times. While he won only one MVP, he led the NHL in scoring five times in that period of time.

Martyniuk had a nine-year pro career, but the goaltender never played an NHL game.

No. 6

Most Games: Phil Housley (1,495)
Least Games (retired): Bob Currier (0)
1,000-plus Games: 11
Most Goals: Vincent Damphousse (432)
Most Points: Paul Coffey (1,531)
Hall of Famers: 4 (Doug Wilson, Coffey, Housley, Peter Forsberg)
Likely Hall of Famers: 0?

Coffey was the most dominant offensive defenseman in NHL history this side of Orr.

There’s not a lot out there on 1969 Draft pick Currier, but there’s this telling quote from legendary Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider, on GM Bud Poile going against his entire scouting staff to select Currier: “No one could believe we took Currier.”

That’s usually not a good sign!

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