Don Waddell told the News and Observer on Saturday that he was a lucky guy and he hoped that his luck would rub off on the Carolina Hurricanes as he represented the team at the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto on Saturday night. Turns out, the Canes’ president was prescient.
For the first time ever, the Hurricanes were one of the three teams whose numbers came up in the lottery, and will pick second in the 2018 NHL Draft. Although they had been in the lottery for nine consecutive years, the Canes finally broke their streak of never being one of the lucky teams to move up the draft board, moving up nine spots and beating odds of under 4% to jump from the 11th spot to second.
“No doubt, when you go into the day with the 11th pick, you’re worried about going backwards,” said Waddell. “When it got to be number 11 and our name didn’t come up there, it’s like ‘wow, do you believe this would happen?’”
It did happen - and Canes fans can thank ping-pong balls numbered 1, 2, 5 and 14 for potentially altering the course of the franchise, while also making the sales job for the vacant GM position significantly easier for Waddell.
“Now you put another big asset into your team,” Waddell said. “To have that kind of asset that you didn’t have when the day started, it makes it more appealing for what we have going on right now in Raleigh.”
It will be the highest the Hurricanes have picked since selecting Eric Staal second in the 2003 draft. The Hurricanes have never selected first, and most recently picked third in 2005, when they picked Jack Johnson.
The top three picks in this year’s draft, to be held in Dallas on June 22 and 23, are expected to be Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Barrie Colts (OHL) winger Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina, a winger from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.
Waddell said that the two-hour wait to find out where the Canes would pick was excruciating. “The two hours seemed like eight hours, to be honest. It wasn’t really nerve-wracking because we knew the drawing had taken place and the results were in, but it was a long wait.”
The wait was worth it, though, and with Dahlin widely expected to go first overall to the Buffalo Sabres, the Hurricanes are in the driver’s seat to control the rest of the first round. And with meetings of the scouting staffs coming up in the next few weeks, they will have plenty to think about - but know that whatever plans had already been made are now largely worthless.
“With the option of having the number two pick, it has a lot more value, so you’re going to talk about that pick potentially coming right to your team,” Waddell said. “Or, if you decide to trade the pick, what would the value be? I think it changes 100% the thinking.”
Waddell said he spoke with owner Tom Dundon a couple of times during the night, including after the final three picks were revealed. Dundon was understandably thrilled, compounded by the fact that his team could be taking a franchise player just down the road from his Dallas home.
He was far from the only elated Hurricanes fan on Saturday night.
Below is the full order of the lottery teams in the draft, with the remainder of the first round to be determined based on playoff performance: the two conference finalists will select 28th and 29th, the Stanley Cup Final runner-up will select 30th, and the Cup champion will select 31st. The other playoff teams will pick in reverse order of the league standings. The press release from the team follows.
- Buffalo Sabres
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Montreal Canadiens
- Ottawa Senators
- Arizona Coyotes
- Detroit Red Wings
- Vancouver Canucks
- Chicago Blackhawks
- New York Rangers
- Edmonton Oilers
- New York Islanders
- New York Islanders (from Calgary Flames)
- Dallas Stars
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Florida Panthers
HURRICANES SECURE NO. 2 PICK IN DRAFT LOTTERY
Team to host draft party at Raleigh Beer Garden on June 22
The National Hockey League tonight announced that the Carolina Hurricanes have acquired the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, through the results of its annual draft lottery. The Hurricanes were originally slotted to select 11th in the draft.
Carolina has held the No. 2 overall selection three times in franchise history, selecting Sylvain Turgeon in 1983, Chris Pronger in 1993 and Eric Staal in 2003. The Hurricanes franchise has never had the No. 1 overall selection in the NHL Draft. The first round of the 2018 NHL Draft will be held on June 22 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas.
The Hurricanes will hold their 2018 NHL Draft Party at Raleigh Beer Garden, featuring television voice John Forslund and Hurricanes alumnus Shane Willis. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m., with draft coverage starting at 7 p.m. Hurricanes mascot Stormy and the Pepsi Storm Squad will also be in attendance at Raleigh Beer Garden, which features the world’s largest beer selection with more than 300 beers on tap.