Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
REMINDER: 2014 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS BRACKET
* Click here for a printable bracket.
* Click here for the dates, starting times and national television coverage for the first round.
* Visit the NHL’s Media site for statistical previews of the first round.
2014 NHL DRAFT LOTTERY
The 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 13 picks of the 2014 NHL Draft, will take place tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The League, in cooperation with TSN, will announce the results of the Draft Lottery live during a 30-minute program produced and televised by TSN in Canada. The special presentation also will air in the U.S. on NBCSN and will re-air on NHL Network U.S. at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Thirteen of the 14 clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs – or the clubs that have acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams – will have a chance at winning the right to the first overall selection. The Devils will not be eligible to win the Draft Lottery and will select 30th overall in the first round.
The odds of winning the Draft Lottery are determined by the teams’ regular-season point totals. The lottery-winning team will draft first overall, with the remaining 12 teams that are eligible to win the lottery slotted in reverse order of their regular-season point totals. The first-round drafting positions of the 16 playoff-qualifying clubs (picks 14-29) will be determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To ensure that the odds of all 13 clubs eligible to win the Draft Lottery are enhanced equally to reflect the Devils’ situation, the Draft Lottery this year is being modified as follows: the Devils will still be included in the Draft Lottery drawing on the same basis and with the same odds that would have normally been assigned to the club based on and consistent with its regular-season finish. However, in the event the Devils win the Draft Lottery, an immediate re‑draw will be conducted to select a different recipient of the first overall selection in the first round. The same process will be conducted as many times as necessary to ensure that the first overall selection is awarded to a team other than New Jersey. The Devils will be entitled to the 30th selection overall in the 2014 NHL Draft (the last pick in the first round). The Devils are not permitted to trade or transfer their right to the 30th overall selection.
Based on team finish, the percentage chance of being selected in the Draft Lottery is:
Buffalo Sabres – 25.0%
Florida Panthers – 18.8%
Edmonton Oilers – 14.2%
Calgary Flames – 10.7%
New York Islanders – 8.1%
Vancouver Canucks – 6.2%
Carolina Hurricanes – 4.7%
Toronto Maple Leafs – 3.6%
Winnipeg Jets – 2.7%
Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa) – 2.1%
New Jersey Devils – 1.5%
Nashville Predators – 1.1%
Phoenix Coyotes – 0.8%
Washington Capitals – 0.5%
2013-14: ‘A SEASON LIKE NO OTHER’
Following are some highlights of the 2013-14 regular season, which concluded Sunday:
A total of 21,758,902 fans filled NHL venues to 96% of capacity in 2013-14. The total figure includes the 376,837 who packed the six Winter Classic, Heritage Classic and Stadium Series games. Had those six games instead been played before a sellout crowd at the designated home team’s arena, the attendance figure (21,492,671) still would have exceeded the previous single-season high of 21,475,223 set in 2008-09.
Over a two-month stretch from Jan. 1 through March 2, hundreds of thousands of fans experienced the excitement of NHL regular-season games at iconic stadium venues throughout North America. The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day attracted an NHL-record crowd of 105,491 to Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, while attendance for the six combined Winter Classic, Heritage Classic and Stadium Series games hit 376,837, an average of 62,806 per game.
These big events bookended an exciting Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey tournament which showcased the NHL’s finest players on the world stage. Each of the 12 men’s ice hockey teams featured at least one NHL player and every NHL club had at least two representatives. Sixty-three of the League’s 147 players who went to Sochi came home with a medal.
Tough to Get in . . .
Intense competitive balance, a hallmark of recent NHL seasons, again was a notable feature of the 2013-14 campaign. Twenty-five clubs returned from the Olympic break within four points of a playoff berth; there was a four-way tie for the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots with two weeks left in the season; seven of the eight playoff matchups were finalized over the final weekend of the regular season; and the League’s top seven finishers enter the playoffs separated by only 10 points.
. . . and Tough to Stay in
The turnover rate among playoff teams again exceeded 30% as five teams – the Avalanche, Blue Jackets, Flyers, Lightning and Stars – qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason in 2012-13. There has been a playoff turnover of at least five clubs in seven of the past nine seasons.
The Avalanche jumped from 29th in the NHL standings in 2012-13 to third overall in 2013-14, becoming the first club since the League expanded to 21 teams in 1979 to go from the bottom three to top three in a single season. The Avalanche matched a franchise record with 52 wins, while goaltender Semyon Varlamov set a club mark with 41 victories, surpassing coach Patrick Roy’s previous single-season high of 40 set in 2000-01 – the same season the Avalanche won 52 games en route to the team’s second Stanley Cup.
The Red Wings qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 23rd consecutive season, extending the longest active streak in North American professional sports. The Red Wings have not missed the postseason since 1989-90.
Golden in the Golden State
The three California-based clubs reached the 100-point mark, finished 1-2-3 in the Pacific Division and concluded the season in the top 10 in League standings. The Ducks finished with the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history and were second overall with 116 points; the Sharks finished fifth overall with 111 points; and the Kings were 10th overall with 100 points. On Jan. 25, the Kings and Ducks made history by contesting the first NHL outdoor game in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River in front of a sold-out crowd of 54,099 at Dodger Stadium.
LATEST “NHL LIFE” SHOWCASES PROSPECT EKBLAD
The latest episode of “NHL Life” features prospect Aaron Ekblad, a defenseman with the OHL’s Barrie Colts who was recently named the No. 2 North American skater eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft. In the episode, Ekblad, a native of Windsor, Ont., shows the determination and hard work it takes to be considered one of the League’s top prospects.
Click here to watch.
NHL PARTNERS ACTIVATE AROUND PLAYOFFS
For hockey fans, Wednesday not only marks the start of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but also the rollout of exciting new products, experiences and content from the NHL and its broadcast, marketing, consumer products and retail partners.
The highlight is the introduction of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Can-Am, which gives fans the opportunity to test their skills as hockey prognosticators and match wits with professional hockey pundits at NHL.com. Click hereto make your picks and enter for a chance to win various prizes, including an NHL team-branded Can-Am Spyder.
Oreo cookies and Tim Hortons also are activating around the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
* Mondelez Canada, the company behind the Oreo cookie brand, is bringing limited-edition Stanley Cup Oreos to store shelves throughout Canada.
* Tim Hortons is offering Stanley Cup Playoffs-themed donuts and digital menu boards in each of its more than 3,400 locations across Canada.
BECAUSE IT’S THE CUP
NHL rinks continue to ready themselves for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Source: NHL Media