We’re still six weeks out from the NHL Draft in Florida (June 26-27), but apparently it’s never to soon to start making book on the league’s annual talent grab.
Wait ... people are betting on the draft now?
Apparently so, and in large enough quantities that the folks at Bovada.com have published some of the most popular lines. Sounds crazy to us, but as long as they’re having a little fun with it (though they neglected to include an over/under on how long or loudly Gary Bettman will be booed), we may as well too.
Just remember not to bet any real money on what we say.
• How many players from the Ontario Hockey League will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 6.5
Take the under. There are four OHLers certain to go in the top 10: Connor McDavid (C, Erie), Dylan Strome (C, Erie), Lawson Crouse (LW, Kingston), and Mitch Marner (C, London). Pavel Zacha (C, Sarnia) and Travis Konecny (F, Ottawa) are likely to go in the first round, but one or both could slip. Beyond them, there’s nobody who looks like anything close to a sure thing.
• How many players from the Western Hockey League will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 7.5
Take the under. I like Ivan Provorov (D, Brandon), Mathew Barzal (C, Seattle), Nick Merkley (RW, Kelowna), Jansen Harkins (C, Prince George), Brandon Carlo (D, Tri-City), Jake DeBrusk (LW, Swift Current) and Paul Bittner (LW, Portland) to make it seven likely first rounders for the Dub. I don't think Ryan Pilon (D, Brandon) will slip in and bust the under.
• How many players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 7
Take the over. This should be a huge year for the Q, with as many as nine players in position to be selected the first round. RW Timo Meier (RW, Halifax) could go top 10. Central Scouting also had these eight in its final top 35: Jakub Zboril (D, Saint John, #12), Thomas Chabot (D, Saint John, #16), Evgeny Svechnikov (LW, Cape Breton, #17), Filip Chlapik (C, Charlottetown, #18), Daniel Sprong (RW, QMJHL, #20), Jeremy Roy (D, Sherbrooke, #21), Dennis Yan (LW, Shawinigan, #30), and Anthony Beauvillier (LW, Shawinigan, #33).
• How many players from the Canadian Hockey League will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 20.5
Lay off this one. My gut says 20, but it's too close to call.
• How many players from the the NCAA, USHL or the US National Team Development Program will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 5.5
Take the over. Jack Eichel (C, Boston Univ.), Noah Hanifin (D, Boston College) and Zach Werenski (D, Michigan) are top 10 picks. Kyle Connor (LW, USHL Youngstown) is top 20. After that, there's a good chance that Colin White (C, USA U-18) and Erik Foley (LW, USHL Cedar Rapids) will slip in. Thomas Novak (C, USHL Waterloo) and Brock Boeser (RW, USHL Waterloo) could work their way into the mix as well.
• How many players outside of the CHL, NCAA, USHL or USNTDP will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 3.5
Take the under: Outside of Mikko Rantanen (RW, TPS Finland), a possible top 10 selection, there are no other sure things.
• How many forwards will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 20
Lay off. This one’s too close to call.
• How many defensemen will be drafted in Round 1?
Over / under: 10
Lay off. See above.
• How many goaltenders will be drafted in Round 1?
Over: .5 / +300 (3/1)
Under: .5 / -500 (1/5)
Take the under. Do it.
• How many trades will there be on the first day of the draft?
Over / under: 5.5
Take the over. Six in 2014, 17 in 2013, and five in 2012. Clearly there are some wild fluctuations here, but I think this could be a very active draft day based on the lack of consensus beyond the top two picks (McDavid, Eichel) and the need for several teams to move salary.
• Number of NHL team representatives who will thank the host city (team or fans) at the podium.
Over / under: 13.5
Lay off. Seriously If you’re betting on this, you might want to seek professional counseling.
• Number of NHL team representatives who congratulate the Stanley Cup champion at the podium.
Over / under: 4.5
• What percentage of players drafted be Canadian?
Over / under: 47.2 percent*
*If 100 or more Canadian players are drafted, Over will be graded the winner. If less than 100, Under will be graded the winner.
Take the over.