David Poile insists it won’t be the worst thing if Monday’s NHL draft lottery causes the Nashville Predators to drop a spot in the order.
Even if that happens, the franchise is guaranteed to have its highest pick since 1998, the first time it drafted.
Still, Nashville currently holds the fourth overall pick and conventional wisdom in relation to this year’s draft is that there are four players who offer the most promise. After that, there is a notable drop in the caliber of the prospects.
The lottery, which takes place at 8 p.m. (CDT) and airs live on NBC Sports Network, can result in one of three scenarios for the Predators: they keep the fourth pick; they move up to first overall; or they drop to fifth.
“It won’t be catastrophic, no,” Poile said of a drop. “But it will not be perfect.”
The draft lottery is a weighted system to determine which of the NHL’s 14 non-playoff teams get the first overall pick. The team with the worst regular-season record, the Florida Panthers, has a 25 percent chance to win and the odds decrease from there.
After the winner, regular season finish determines the order of the remaining 13 teams.
Nashville’s chance to get the first pick is 10.7 percent.
The most likely scenario is that it will retain the fourth selection, which will be the case if one of the teams currently in the top three spots wins the lottery. Those teams — Florida, Colorado and Tampa Bay — have a combined 58 percent chance of victory.
The cumulative chance that one of the 10 teams currently behind the Predators wins and jumps to the top is 31.3 percent.
Nashville originally had the second overall pick in 1998 but fell to third when Tampa Bay won the lottery and jumped from third to first. That year, forwards Vincent Lecavalier and David Legwand were considered the top two prospects, and Poile ultimately executed a draft day trade with San Jose to get back to No. 2 and select Legwand.
The highest the Predators picked since then has been sixth (Brian Finley, 1999 and Scott Hartnell, 2000) and seventh (Ryan Suter, 2003 and Colin Wilson, 2008).
This year’s top prospects are defenseman Seth Jones (Portland, WHL), Alexander Barkov (Tappara, Finland), Jonathan Drouin (Halifax, QMJHL) and Nathan MacKinnon (Halifax, QMJHL).
The draft will take place June 30 at New Jersey, Because of the lockout that delayed the start of the 2012-13 season, all seven rounds will take place that day.
The complete list of odds for the 2013 NHL draft lottery:
• Florida Panthers 25.0 percent
• Colorado Avalanche 18.8 percent
• Tampa Bay Lightning 14.2 percent
• Nashville Predators 10.7 percent
• Carolina Hurricanes 8.1 percent
• Calgary Flames 6.2 percent
• Edmonton Oilers 4.7 percent
• Buffalo Sabres 3.6 percent
• New Jersey Devils 2.7 percent
• Dallas Stars 2.1 percent
• Philadelphia Flyers 1.5 percent
• Phoenix Coyotes 1.1 percent
• Winnipeg Jets 0.8 percent
• Columbus Blue Jackets 0.5 percent