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Red Wings hope to improve draft position in lottery

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Dennis Cholowski celebrates with the Detroit Red Wings after being selected 20th overall during round one of last year's NHL Draft.

Detroit – Members of the Red Wings’ organization usually gave minimal interest to the draft lottery.

Given their draft pick was way down the line in round one, it didn’t matter how the lottery went.

That’s not the case this year.

Not getting into the playoffs – ending a streak of 25 consecutive seasons – the Red Wings are in Saturday’s lottery and hoping to move upward in draft position.

The Red Wings currently have a 6.7 percent of securing the No. 1 pick for the Entry Draft, which will be held June 23-24 in Chicago.

There will be three drawings backstage determining the top three picks, while the show is televised live.

The following 12 picks are determined by the 2016-17 regular season standings (expansion Las Vegas will select no lower than sixth).

Kris Draper is representing the Red Wings on stage for the lottery (7:30 p.m./CBC). Shawn Horcoff, director of player development, will be backstage where the ping pong balls are pulled to determine the draft order.

Wings' Blashill: Coaching Team USA an honor

Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, will reveal the draft order in reverse order starting at 8 p.m.

Horcoff and the other teams’ representative backstage cannot communicate with team representatives on stage.

If the Red Wings – who are currently slotted for seventh based on standings – aren’t fortunate enough to get one of the first three picks, they’ll pick anywhere from No. 7-10 depending on which teams get drawn into the top three.

This will be the Red Wings’ first top-10 draft pick since 1991.

Colorado, who had the NHL’s worst record this season, currently has an 18 percent of landing the No. 1 pick.

Vancouver (12.1 percent), Vegas (10.3 percent), Arizona (10.3 percent), New Jersey (8.5 percent) and Buffalo (7.6 percent) – all with worse records than the Red Wings – have better odds than the Red Wings of securing the top pick.

Most draft analysts have two forwards – Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier – capable of stepping into the NHL next season, although neither is considered a player who can transform a franchise.

The Red Wings are expected to lean toward selecting a defenseman or center.

Salajko returns

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed goaltending coach Jeff Salajko will return next season. Salajko had been the only coach on the staff whose contract had expired.

Salajko replaced longtime goaltending coach Jim Bedard last summer.

NHL Draft Lottery Show

When: Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on CBC with results announced shortly after 8 p.m.

Where: CBC Toronto

What: The NHL draft lottery determines the order of selection for the first 15 picks in the first round.