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What are the Wild's current chances in the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery?

The Wild have struggled this season, but it could lead to a rare high pick in the draft.
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The Minnesota Wild enter Saturday night's game with the Arizona Coyotes six points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But their rough season could lead to some luck that could land a high pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

The Wild enter Saturday's game with the sixth-worst record in the NHL. If the season ended today, Minnesota would have a 7.5 percent chance to win the No. 1 pick in this summer's draft and their highest pick since selecting Benoit Pouliot with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft.

This year's draft doesn't have Connor Bedard on the line but it could lead to a similar story. The Chicago Blackhawks entered last year's lottery with an 11.5 percent chance to land the generational talent and jumped the Anaheim Ducks (25.5%) and Columbus Blue Jackets (13.5%) for the right to draft the 17-year-old in last year's draft.

But this year's top prospect could help the Wild fill a massive need, with Boston University center Macklin Celebrini currently projected to be the No. 1 overall pick.

Celebrini is second among U.S. college players with 1.86 points per game and has 11 goals and 16 assists in 16 games for the Terriers this season. The 17-year-old also played for Team Canada, collecting four goals and four assists in five games at the 2024 World Junior Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden earlier this month.

Celebrini's performance has caught the eyes of many draft scouts and helped him rank first overall in the NHL Central Scouting midseason rankings that were released on Friday.

"Macklin plays at a level all his own and it's truly impressive to see how he thrives in every environment he competes in," NHL Central Scouting Vice President Dan Marr told The Athletic.

While Celebrini is also No. 1 in The Athletic's draft rankings, the Wild could still land a solid player if it lands in the top five picks.

Michigan State defenseman Artyom Levshunov is second in the Central Scouting rankings after recording 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) with the Spartans this season and is currently the third-youngest player in college hockey.

At 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, Levshunov's size stands out on the ice but so does his speed which has scouts and teammates drooling over his potential.

"He's a guy who eats, sleeps, breathes it," Michigan State head of athletic performance Will Morlock told The Athletic. "Every single thing he can do to maximize his potential, he's doing. And it's not just for show. He's incredibly strong, he's incredibly explosive, he's durable, he's mobile."

The pool doesn't stop there as Medicine Hat center Cayden Lindstrom, University of Denver Defenseman Zeev Buium and Tri-City left winger Trevor Connelly round out the top five of the latest central rankings.

Even Cole Eiserman, who is a former Gophers commit, is ranked eighth on the NHL's Central Scouting list after breaking the U.S. National Team Development Program's under-17 scoring record with 53 points (30 G, 21 A) in 30 games last season.

With Finnish forward Konsta Helenius also lurking as the class's No. 1 international prospect, there's plenty of talent for the Wild to choose from if they get a high draft pick.

This would be a rarity as the Wild have picked in the top five twice in franchise history. While the Pouliot pick missed in 2005, the Wild selected a gem when they took Marian Gaborik with the third overall pick in 2000.

The Wild have picked in the top 10 of the draft nine times in franchise history but have made one top 10 selection (Marco Rossi, 9th overall in 2020) since selecting Matt Dumba with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Of course, the Wild would like to avoid picking in the top 10 if they could make a playoff push and Filip Gustavsson and Kirill Kaprizov are on the verge of returning after missing the past two weeks due to injuries. 

But after posting a 1-6-1 record in their past eight games, the Wild are running out of time for a playoff push, which could turn everyone's attention to the draft.