Hope springs eternal Monday night for the NHL clubs on the outside of the playoff picture.
The NHL will hold its draft lottery just after 8 p.m. ET, and in an unusual season shortened by the lockout, everyone who didn't qualify for the post-season will have a shot at the No. 1 pick when the draft is held on June 30 in Newark, N.J. That's a change from recent seasons, in which teams could only move up a certain number of spots.
Florida general manager Dale Tallon has the best chance, percentage-wise, to be sitting in the catbird seat after the Panthers plummeted to last place overall from last year's playoff showing.
The teams in the lottery can hope for a brighter future and also look at the matchups in this year's playoffs as a reason for optimism. Of the seven worst teams from 2011-12, five have made the post-season this time around: Anaheim, Minnesota, Montreal, the New York Islanders and Toronto.
Here are the percentage chances each of the clubs has of winning the lottery and a snapshot of their history with top picks.
Florida: 25 per cent
The Panthers have a fascinating history near the top of the draft board despite being just two decades old. The last No. 1 pick Florida made was Ed Jovanovski in 1994.
Florida originally held the top spot in 2002 and the following year. They traded the picks to Columbus and Pittsburgh, respectively, who took Rick Nash and Marc-Andre Fleury. The Panthers in those trades received veteran Mikael Samuelsson and used their picks on Jay Bouwmeester and Nathan Horton.
Colorado: 18.8 per cent
Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene were recent top-3 picks. The Quebec Nordiques, who later moved to Colorado, drafted Eric Lindros first overall in 1991 and then tried to trade him to two different teams, leading to his career start in Philadelphia. The previous two years, the Nordiques selected and kept their first overall picks, Mats Sundin and Owen Nolan.
Tampa Bay: 14.2 per cent
The Lightning have hit home runs with their two No. 1 picks: Vincent Lecavalier in 1998 and Steven Stamkos in 2008. Victor Hedman went No. 2 in 2009.
Nashville: 10.7 per cent
The Preds have never owned the top pick. David Legwand was taken second overall after Lecavalier, and other recent top-10 picks include Ryan Suter, Scottie Upshall and Scott Hartnell. Shea Weber, incidentally, was a second-round pick.
Carolina: 8.1 per cent
Neither Carolina nor the Hartford Whalers have ever picked first. Eric Staal became the franchise's second ever No. 2 pick in 2003, following Chris Pronger from the Hartford days. Other recent top 10 picks: Jeff Skinner, Jack Johnson and Andrew Ladd.
Calgary: 6.2 per cent
After the Atlanta Flames used No. 2 picks in their first years of existence on Jacques Richard and Tom Lysiak, the franchise hasn't picked nearly that high ever since. In Calgary, there's been a host of sixth overall selections: Cory Stillman, Rico Fata and Daniel Tkaczhuk.
Edmonton: 4.7 per cent
The Oilers have never … who are we kidding? The Oilers have owned the No. 1 pick the last three years. Recalling the NFL's Detroit Lions repeatedly selecting wide receivers in recent years, Edmonton has taken all forwards: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
Buffalo: 3.6 per cent
Their most recent top pick was Pierre Turgeon in 1988. Famously, they won the flip against Vancouver in 1970 at the teams' inception and took Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault. The Canucks went next, picking Dale Tallon.
New Jersey: 2.7 per cent
The Devils actually won the lottery in 2011, but could only move up to claim the fourth pick, used on Adam Larsson. Kirk Muller (second in 1984) and Scott Niedermayer (third in 1991) stand out as big picks. Back when the franchise was in Colorado, Rob Ramage was taken first overall in 1979, a draft in which Ray Bourque was the fourth defenceman taken, at eighth overall.
Dallas: 2.1 per cent
The only top-5 pick since the club relocated to Dallas was Richard Jackman in 1996. Americans Mike Modano and Brian Lawton were taken first overall in the 1980s when the franchise was in Minnesota, and Bobby Smith was numero uno in 1978.
Philadelphia: 1.5 per cent
Despite being a contender more often than not, the Flyers have selected in the top 10 three times since the turn of the century, picking forwards Joni Pitkanen, James van Riemsdyk and Sean Couturier. The Flyers made Mel Bridgman the No. 1 pick in 1975.
Phoenix: 1.1 per cent
Another interesting team. Kyle Turris and Blake Wheeler were top-5 picks of recent vintage who found their way out of the franchise's grasp before too long. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, at No. 6, is staying put, following the example of former No. 7 pick Shane Doan. When the franchise was in Winnipeg, Dale Hawerchuk was taken first in 1981.
Winnipeg: 0.8 per cent
The Atlanta Thrashers took heat for taking Patrick Stefan at No. 1 in 1998, but other than the package deal of the Sedin twins, it turned out to be slim pickings in the top 10 as far as future elite NHLers are concerned. Atlanta definitely made good on Ilya Kovalchuk at No. 1 in 2001. Current Jets Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane went top 5. And, as mentioned, the previous version of the Jets featured future Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk.
Columbus: 0.5 per cent
Rick Nash rambled for about a decade after the Jackets traded up to get him in 2002. Much is expected of defenceman Ryan Murray (No. 2 in 2012) but he missed what would have been his first NHL season due to a shoulder injury.