NHL Teams in the Nolan Patrick Sweepstakes

via Last Word on Hockey, By Chris Lizza

There are a few hockey organizations where one of the biggest nights of the 2016-17 season will be the NHL draft lottery. Currently, the number one prize of the 2017 NHL Draft is two-way center Nolan Patrick. Patrick has been called the “complete NHL package”. What better way to rebuild or start one’s franchise than with a number one center. So which NHL teams are the prime contenders in the Nolan Patrick sweepstakes?

NHL Teams in the Nolan Patrick Sweepstakes

Las Vegas

After the Las Vegas franchise adds a team name the next big date on the calendar for the organization will be the night of the NHL lottery. Las Vegas is the only organization where it knowns for sure they will be a contender for the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Las Vegas is set at the number three odds for the 2017 draft lottery. Best case scenario is general manager George McPhee will be selecting first overall in the June entry draft. Worst case scenario is Las Vegas will select sixth overall. Las Vegas has an 11.5% chance to land the top pick in the 2017 draft.

What better way for a franchise to begin than with a franchise center?

Vancouver

The Vancouver Canucks are amongst the favorites to finish the 2016-17 season with the fewest amount of points. In addition, the Canucks are a lineup laden with thirty-plus-year-old veterans. The Sedin twins and Ryan Miller highlight this list.

This season for the Canucks will be about the development of Bo Horvat, Erik Gudbranson, Jacob Markstrom, Jake Virtanen and some of Vancouver’s young blue liners.

Newly signed Loui Eriksson will add scoring and a veteran presence. Odds are a number of veteran players will be traded this season starting with Alexandre Burrows.

The Canucks are just starting their rebuild.

Columbus

There is a lot of issues regarding the Columbus Blue Jackets. Where does one begin? It starts in goal where Sergei Bobrovsky whose career has been riddled with injuries and inconsistency.

Then it moves to the blue line where Columbus is hoping Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, and Ryan Murray can be impact blue liners for years to come. This could be a bright spot for the Blue Jackets big picture. However, young defenseman take time to develop and in all likelihood that will be on display this season.

While trading for Seth Jones helped Columbus much-maligned blue line; it cost them dearly at the center position. Ryan Johansen is now gone and the Blue Jackets are looking for answers at the center position. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kakalainen is hoping 2016 third overall draft pick, Pierre-Luc Dubois is in Columbus sooner rather than later.

Finally, Columbus has to deal with what may be the toughest division in hockey in the Metropolitan.

Winnipeg

While the Winnipeg Jets are an organization loaded with young talent, they do have a number of concerns. How will the Jacob Trouba saga end for the Jets? When does Winnipeg turn over the goalie reigns to top prospect Connor Hellebuyck this season? How do the Jets compete in the brutal Central division this year and moving forward?

There is no question the Winnipeg core will be built around Patrick Laine, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor while being led by Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler.

While the future talent is over-flowing in Winnipeg, many things need to come together for this franchise to return to post-season play.

Toronto

The future seems very bright and exciting for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The upcoming season for the Leafs will be about the development of Morgan Reilly, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and possibly Mitch Marner.

No doubt head coach Mike Babcock will get the most out of the Maple Leafs roster. Having said that this is still a team at least a year away from returning to the playoffs.

Frederik Andersen will not have the same defensive team in front of him in Toronto as he did with the Anaheim Ducks. While the Leafs are loaded with talented young forwards a lot of work still needs to be done on the blue line.

The 2016-17 season should be a fun season for the Leafs fans but not one that has playoff hockey.

These are the top contenders for the 2017 number one overall draft pick, which in all likelihood will be Nolan Patrick.

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