The Colorado Avalanche have won the NHL Draft Lottery, the first in league history where all 14 participants had a shot at the No. 1 overall pick.
As such, the Avs now hold the right to select first at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to be held on June 30 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey.
Colorado came into the lottery with the second-best odds of winning, at 18.8 percent.
With the win, the Avs now have their choice of prospects in what’s been described as a top-heavy draft class.
The consensus No. 1, according to the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, is Seth Jones, the WHL Portland defenseman that starred with Team USA at the 2013 World Junior tournament.
Jones is familiar with the Denver area (his father, ex-NBAer Popeye Jones, spent one season playing for the Nuggets) and played with both the Littleton Hawks and Colorado Thunderbirds as a youth.
The 18-year-old also grew up a big Avalanche fan.
“When they won the Cup in 2001, that was real exciting and definitely got me more into it,” Jones told the Denver Post. “I went to a ton of Avs games.
“Just getting to watch such great players like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg and Patrick Roy and all the others in person like I did was great and a huge influence on me.”
Of course, it isn’t a guarantee that Colorado will select Jones. Right behind him in the draft rankings is Nathan MacKinnon, the Quebec League scoring sensation from Halifax.
Sitting third in the rankings is MacKinnon’s teammate, Jonathan Drouin, who scored a whopping 105 points in 49 QMJHL games this season.
Here is the full order of picks:
14th — Columbus (stayed same)
13th — Winnipeg (stayed same)
12th — Phoenix (stayed same)
11th — Philadelphia (stayed same)
10th — Dallas (stayed same)
9th — New Jersey (stayed same)
8th — Buffalo (stayed same)
7th — Edmonton (stayed same)
6th — Calgary Flames (stayed same)
5th — Carolina (stayed same)
4th — Nashville (stayed same)
3rd — Tampa Bay (stayed same)
2nd — Florida Panthers (move down one spot)
1st — Colorado (moved up one spot)
Of note, this marks the fourth time the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise has chosen first overall, but the first since the move to Colorado.
Quebec selected Mats Sundin (1989), Owen Nolan (1990) and Eric Lindros (1991) with the No. 1 pick before moving to Denver in 1995.
For more on this story visit: Mike Halford, NBC Sports Pro Hockey Talk Colorado Wins NHL Draft Lottery, Will Pick First by Michelle Speaker