Vancouver Canucks: Don’t hold your breath for lottery pick in 2019


Like it or not, the Vancouver Canucks are going to be much better than a handful of the NHL’s bottom feeders in 2019. Thus, fans shouldn’t hold out hope about winning the Jack Hughes sweepstakes.

There was once a time where Vancouver Canucks fans cheered for nothing more than the Stanley Cup championship, but now many of them simply cheer for the group to tank, in hopes that they’ll win the NHL draft lottery.

After years of misery and misfortunes, Canucks fans couldn’t help but think they’d win the lottery  in 2016, with the chance to draft Patrik Laine or Auston Matthews. It didn’t happen. In 2017, they (luckily), fell down to fifth and nabbed Elias Pettersson, who stands to be the best player of his draft class.

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Though it would have been great for the franchise to win the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes, it’s hard to complain about what Quinn Hughes will bring to the table. He’s going to be the linchpin of the blue line for years to come.

Now, the hope for many Canuck fans next season is that this team falls to the bottom of the standings, so that they can secure a high draft pick and better odds of winning the Jack Hughes sweepstakes.

Yes, it would be huge for the Canucks to wind up with Jack, a year after they selected Quinn.  Sure, Jack would change the dynamic of this team. But the chances of him becoming a Canuck are not good. At all.

It’s not just because of the draft lottery itself. Remember, even the last-place team has only an 18.5 percent chance of winning the rights to pick first overall.

But for the Canucks, it’s the fact that they won’t be in territory next season to be a bottom-five team. They’re simply going to be better with Pettersson and a full season of Brock Boeser. They’re going to be faster and more talented all-around.

Meanwhile, other bottom feeders will either simply not improve at all, or simply get worse. This could include the Arizona Coyotes (this rebuild is taking forever, sounds familiar), Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.

Of that group, you have to think the struggling and rebuilding Red Wings will finish lower than the Canucks. It doesn’t help that captain Henrik Zetterberg could miss all of 2018-19 with a nagging back injury.

The Habs and Senators are surely going to lose a lot of games. Both are virtually in rebuilding mode, and Ottawa will be trading captain Erik Karlsson any day now. It’s just a matter of time. They simply won’t be anywhere close to Vancouver’s level in 2018-19.

This isn’t to suggest that the Canucks will make the postseason. Rather, they simply have more depth, skill and all-around talent than these other lower-tier teams mentioned above. The Canucks won’t be a bottom-three team next season, and probably not a bottom-five.

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They’re likely going to finish somewhere between 19th and 26th next season. Those don’t give them very high lottery odds. This team just has too much young talent in place to be as bad a they were in 2015-16 and 2016-17, so don’t become part of #TeamTank. Cheer for your team to win hockey games.