Preds seek one last victory with higher draft pick

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 12:02am
The Preds have not had much luck in the past with the NHL draft lottery. In 1998, they slipped from second to third before a draft day deal lifted them to second where they selected David Legwand.

The fact that they missed out on the playoffs means the Nashville Predators will be included once again in the NHL’s annual Draft Drawing to determine the order of selection for the first round of the upcoming draft.

The Predators currently are scheduled to pick 11th overall but could improve to seventh, depending on the outcome. The drawing takes place 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“It would be a long, long shot for us to move up and I’m not counting on that,” general manager David Poile said. “It would be unfortunate and a very unwelcome change if we move back.”

One franchise will be chosen using a weighted system that offers the best chance of winning to the team with the fewest points during the regular season. The winner will move up a maximum of four spots, and the remaining 13 non-playoff teams then will be reset accordingly.

The New York Islanders have a 25 percent chance of winning by virtue of the fact that they had the worst record. They will pick no worse than second.

Nashville has a 1.5 percent chance to win. If it does, it will move up to the seventh pick.

The Predators will remain 11th if any one of the 10 teams ahead them win and will drop to 12th if any of three behind them (Minnesota, Buffalo or Florida) win.

Historically, the Draft Drawing has not been kind to Nashville.

The Predators fell from second to third in their first draft (1998) as a result of the lottery. Poile eventually executed a draft-day trade to get back to second and to select David Legwand. The following year Chicago jumped from eighth to fourth and moved them back one spot to sixth.

“I think it serves its purpose,” Poile said. “There had been discussion about the possibility that a team that was not going to make the playoffs could enhance its draft position by intentionally trying not to win games. I think it insures the integrity of the game.”

The drawing will be broadcast live on Versus (Comcast Ch. 72).

BACK TO THE MINORS: Forwards Ryan Jones, Cal O’Reilly and Jed Ortmeyer were reassigned to Milwaukee on Monday.

They will join the Admirals for the American Hockey League playoffs. Milwaukee, which won the AHL’s West Division, will begin the conference semifinals Thursday against Rockford.

Jones led all Predators’ rookies with 46 games played, seven goals and 10 assists. He also appeared in 25 games for Milwaukee and had 13 goals and nine assists.

O’Reilly had three goals and two assists in 11 games for the Predators and averaged more than a point per game (14 goals, 54 assists in 65 games) for Milwaukee.

Ortmeyer made two appearances for Nashville.

“We have two young guys in Jones and O’Reilly who we’d like to get more of a look at in a playoff situation,” Poile said.