In many ways, the 2023 NHL lottery, presented on Monday, reminds us of the 2015 lottery. Connor Bedard, the eventual first overall pick, is the most coveted player since the other Connor, McDavid.

The consolation prize, Adam Fantilli, is far from bad, this one could be a first overall pick in a more ordinary draft, but there is a good margin between his potential and that of Bedard. Like Jack Eichel compared to McDavid.

There might even be a second-row surprise. The winner of the second prize could also opt for the Russian Matvei Michkov, the Swede Leo Carlsson or even the American right-handed center Will Smith.

The Sabers had the best chance of drafting Connor McDavid in 2015, followed by the Arizona Coyotes. The Oilers finished 28th overall, six points ahead of Arizona and eight ahead of Buffalo. The Oilers had an 11 percent chance of drafting first, compared to Buffalo’s 20 percent and Arizona’s 13.5 percent.

McDavid had just amassed 120 points, including 44 goals, in 47 games as a junior in Erie. He had 11 points in seven games as a 17-year-old at the World Junior Championship.

Eichel was almost ten months older. He had therefore already made the jump to the NCAA and scored 71 points, including 26 goals, in 41 games at Boston University, the current club of CH Lane Hutson hope. Eichel would have been eligible for the 2014 draft had he been born six weeks earlier.

Bedard had 143 points, including 71 goals, in 57 games in Regina of the Junior League West. He produced a mind-blowing 23 points in seven games at the World Junior Championship. At 5-foot-10, he doesn’t have McDavid’s size, 6-foot-1, or his speed, but extraordinary offensive skills.

Like Eichel, Fantilli is a late in the industry jargon. Born in October, he was a few weeks away from being drafted last year. The center from Nobleton, Ont., also joined the university ranks in his qualifying year and had 65 points, including 30 goals, in 36 games at Michigan University.

You should have seen the crestfallen look of Buffalo Sabers general manager Tim Murray when the lottery results were announced, and the triumphant smile of Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish. But Murray, like MacTavish for that matter, didn’t last two years despite everything…

The Oilers had time to fire another general manager, Peter Chiarelli, before finally taking off with McDavid. They missed the playoffs three times in the wonderkid’s first four seasons, but haven’t missed them since 2020, reached the semi-finals last year and are trying to do so again this season.

McDavid already has 850 points in 569 career games. This winter, he was the first player since Mario Lemieux in 1996 to amass at least 150 points in a season.

Eichel faces McDavid in the second round, but in a Vegas Golden Knights uniform. He was traded last year, remember, by the Sabers in return for Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, a first-round pick in 2022 (Noah Östlund) and a second-round pick in 2023.

The second overall pick is making the playoffs for the first time in eight years in the NHL. He had 66 points in 67 games this winter, for 446 points in 476 career games, but he is said to be more responsible defensively.

It was a special draft. The third choice, Dylan Strome, had obtained 115 points, but within the club of McDavid. He’s changed clubs twice since and finally seems to have found a niche in Washington, where he’s coming off a career-best season with 65 points.

Mitch Marner’s small stature scared some clubs, but then-Leafs scouting director Mark Hunter put his fist on the table and we finally listened. Fortunately.

That year, the Bruins launched a bold reset by trading Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton to end up with three first-round picks and three second-round picks. Only two, Jake DeBrusk (14th) and Brandon Carlo (37th) broke through, but they didn’t suffer too much despite everything.

Potential top players were drafted starting at No. 16, including Mathew Barzal, Thomas Chabot, Kyle Connor, Joel Eriksson-Ek, Brock Boeser, Roope Hintz, Kiril Kaprizov and Sebastian Aho.

The Dallas Stars generally draft very well, but they can make mistakes like everyone else. It’s Denis Gurianov, the same forward obtained for Egveni Dadonov by the Canadiens at the trade deadline, 12th on the list above, ahead of all these young firsts. They recovered well with Hintz in the second round…

The lottery will be presented Monday evening at 8 p.m. in Secaucus, New Jersey, with the participating general managers in attendance. Canadian GM Kent Hughes will speak to reporters after the results.

How many Canadiens fans had fun this winter with the NHL lottery simulator and won first prize with the choice of the Florida Panthers (obtained last year for Ben Chiarot), ranked among the ten worst clubs of the League at some point?

They consoled themselves late in the season with the 17th overall pick by virtue of the Panthers’ overall standings and a likely first-round loss to the mighty Boston Bruins.

But after their surprising comeback against Boston, the Panthers have just won the first two games of their second-round series in Toronto.

Two more wins and the Panthers advance to the Conference Finals, and as a result that 17th overall pick drops to 28th overall, as the four quads get the four worst draft picks. That pick will drop to 31st if Florida makes the Finals and 32nd if they win the Stanley Cup.

Some Montrealers hate the Maple Leafs so much that the Canadiens’ selection rank doesn’t matter to them…

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2- Basestealing is reborn in major league baseball, much to the delight of our columnist Alexandre Pratt!

3- Two adventurers have just made the complete crossing of Quebec, from south to north, by bike and on skis, a journey that no one had yet made concrete. A text by Marie Tison.