Sharks land best lottery odds with historically bad season

The San Jose Sharks had a historically bad season in 2023-24.

Their 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday made the Sharks (19-54-9) the first team in the salary-cap era (since 2005-06) to fail to get to 20 wins during an 82-game season.

San Jose had a -150 goal differential after scoring the second fewest goals in the league and giving up 31 more than the 31st-place Columbus Blue Jackets.

The rebuilding Sharks got this way because they dealt away stars (Timo Meier last season, Erik Karlsson in the offseason and Tomas Hertl at this year’s deadline) and captain Logan Couture was limited to six games by injury.

But the poor showing might help the Sharks do something they haven’t before: draft first overall. They will have the best draft lottery odds to land the No. 1 pick in June’s NHL draft and can draft no worse than third.

What are the NHL’s draft lottery odds?

Odds in parentheses. Teams can move up only 10 spots, so only the bottom 11 teams have a chance to land the top pick. The Sharks would also land the first pick if a team in the 12-16 range wins the lottery.

San Jose Sharks (18.5% outright, 25.5% overall)
Chicago Blackhawks (13.5%)
Anaheim Ducks (11.5%)
Columbus Blue Jackets (9.5%)
Montreal Canadiens (8.5%)
Arizona Coyotes (7.5%). Note: Team will play in Utah next season
Ottawa Senators (6.5%)
Calgary Flames (6.0%)
Seattle Kraken (5.0%)
New Jersey Devils (3.5%)
Buffalo Sabres (3.0%)
Philadelphia Flyers (2.5%)
Minnesota Wild (2.0%)
Pittsburgh Penguins (1.5%) – The Sharks acquired this pick, but it’s top 10 protected
Detroit Red Wings (0.5%)
St. Louis Blues (0.5%)

Who is the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL draft?

NHL Central Scouting lists Boston University center Macklin Celebrini as its top North American prospect. He had 32 goals and 64 points in 38 games to lead the Terriers to the Frozen Four, where they lost to eventual champion Denver in the semifinals. Celebrini won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top men’s player. He was also the top scorer for Canada at the world junior championships.

Who are the other top prospects in the 2024 NHL draft?

North American prospects: Michigan State defenseman Artyom Levshunov, Medicine Hat center Cayden Lindstrom, Denver defenseman Zeev Buium, Saginaw defenseman Zayne Parekh.

International prospects: Russian 6-7 defenseman Anton Silayev , Russian winger Ivan Demidov, Finnish center Konsta Helenius.

How does the draft lottery work?

There are two drawings, first for a chance at the top pick and then for a chance at the second pick. The last-place team can draft no lower than third overall. Beginning with the 2022 lottery, a team cannot win more than twice in a five-year period. There are 14 ping-pong balls in the machine and each team is assigned a series of four numbers. The lower a team is in the standings, the more series of numbers it gets. 

This post appeared first on USA TODAY