A Toronto Maple Leafs Fan Guide to the NHL Draft Lottery

WINNIPEG, MB - OCTOBER 24: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs keeps an eye on the play during third period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on October 24, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Jets 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
WINNIPEG, MB - OCTOBER 24: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs keeps an eye on the play during third period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on October 24, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Jets 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Faces Off Against Detroit Red Wings Luke Glendening
TORONTO, ON- DECEMBER 23 – Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) faces-off against Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening (41) as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. December 23, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

3. Florida (2% chance at first overall)

It would be a rough couple of days for the rest of the Atlantic Division if the Florida Panthers manage to add to the addition of Joel Quenneville with the first overall pick.

With a young core of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Aaron Ekblad, and the progressing Henrik Borgstrom, the Panthers are already on the track towards future success. Adding Jack Hughes would only amplify their potential threat towards the top of the Atlantic Division. Question marks still lie in goal, which is why they rank behind both Montreal and Buffalo in the “worst case scenarios” for the Leafs at the lottery.

2. Montreal (1% chance at first overall)

Do I really need to elaborate on this one? Any scenario where the Habs are able to add a top talent is less than ideal for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Montreal’s future is already bright with the likes of Ryan Poehling, Nick Suzuki, and Josh Brook in the pipeline. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, and Victor Mete make up a strong young contingent in the NHL, plus Carey Price can give any team the ability to win.

The Canadiens are already set up to be successful in a couple of years but lack a game-breaking skater. Jack Hughes would bring that element and immediately enhance Montreal’s shot at jumping into the playoffs once again.

1. Buffalo (8.5% chance at first overall)

Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, AND Jack Hughes? Unfortunately for Leafs fans, the Sabres catastrophic second half means there’s a legitimate chance Hughes joins Eichel and Dahlin on the same team next season.

Long term, Buffalo is set. They have a top tier centre in Eichel, a future Norris contender in Dahlin, and a solid core of prospects including Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen in goal and Alex Nylander, Tage Thompson, and Casey Mittelstadt up front.

Next. Top 5 Leafs Specific Playoff Predictions. dark

Even without another top-ten pick, the Sabres were set to contend with the top of the Atlantic in short order. Add in another high selection, plus the potential of adding Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, or Bowen Byram through the lottery, and Buffalo could be a serious challenger far sooner than the Toronto Maple Leafs would hope to see.