NHL News & Notes: NHL Draft Lottery, Voynov & More

Antti Niemi, Column, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, News, NHL Draft Lottery, Slava Voynov, Top Story

In today’s News & Notes, the NHL Draft Lottery took place Tuesday, Slava Voynov has been suspended for the entirety of the 2019-20 season and Antti Niemi won’t be returning to the Montreal Canadiens according to Marc Bergevin.

NHL Draft Lottery Results

The New Jersey Devils have won the NHL’s Draft Lottery for the second time in three seasons. The Devils would win the Lottery in 2017 when they would move all the way up to No. 1 overall from fifth-overall to select Nico Hischier. In two seasons since, the Devils have made the playoffs in shocking fashion and missed the postseason in a dreadful season.

Nico Hischier #13, New Jersey Devils
Nico Hischier #13, New Jersey Devils, October 20, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Still, that may all prove to be worth it now.

The Devils were originally scheduled to pick third overall and came into the Lottery with an 11.5% chance of winning the No. 1 overall selection. Combining those odds with Taylor Hall’s Draft Lottery luck and it’s no surprise that the Devils have once again come away as big winners.

Related: Jack Hughes – 2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

The top prospect in the 2019 NHL Draft is Jack Hughes and it would be a major surprise if the Devils went with anybody else when the Draft rolls around.

Not a bad week for Ray Shero who also just signed a long-term contract extension a day earlier.

The Devils weren’t the only team to move up, however, as the New York Rangers would also move up to No. 2 with the sixth-best odds (23.3% chance of moving into the top-three) and the Chicago Blackhawks would move up to third overall from the 12th-best odds (8.2% chance of getting into the top-three).

Slava Voynov Suspended

The NHL dropped the ball in a major way Tuesday when they announced that Voynov would be suspended for the 2019-20 season.

Originally, Voynov was suspended indefinitely in 2014 for domestic violence directed at his wife after he was arrested from what was described as a bloody scene. The league has now changed that indefinite suspension to effectively end after the 2019-20 season in what proves that the NHL doesn’t have a firm grasp on “zero tolerance” the way they may claim to.

Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings
The Slava Voynov situation has weighed on the female fan base (Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE)

“I have determined that Player Slava Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence directed at his wife,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “Today’s ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL’s strongly-held policy that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct, particularly as directed at a spouse, domestic partner or family member.

While Voynov hasn’t played in the NHL since 2014, he hasn’t missed out on much as he’s played in the KHL since 2015-16 with St. Petersburg SKA and has even participated in the Olympics with Russia, winning the gold medal.

Niemi Done With Canadiens

The Niemi-era in Montreal is officially over as Bergevin announced that the veteran netminder would not be returning to the team next season to backup Carey Price. In two years with the Canadiens, Niemi would play in 36 games, starting 34 o them and compiling a 15-11-6 record with a 3.10 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.

Evgenii Dadonov, Antti Niemi, Victor Mete
Florida Panthers Evgenii Dadonov is stopped on a wraparound by Montreal Canadiens Antti Niemi as Victor Mete looks on. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

This isn’t very surprising considering the Canadiens have Charlie Lindgren, Michael McNiven and Cayden Primeau both signed and vying for playing time next season.

While Primeau and McNiven should get the majority of the time in Laval with the Rocket in the AHL, Lindgren is the top option to open the season as Price’s new backup. He’s taken on the role in the past and has had varying levels of success. As of July 1 he’ll have two years remaining on a three-year contract he signed one year ago and should figure into the short-term plans for the team at the very least.

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