The Canadiens had the best odds to win the lottery at 18.5 per cent after posting an NHL-worst 22-49-11 record this season.
They are now poised to be first team to speak at the draft, which will be held on July 7-8 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
The New Jersey Devils moved up in the lottery and earned the second pick. The Arizona Coyotes hold the third-overall pick.
For a second straight year, the team with the highest odds won the lottery. The Buffalo Sabres selected defenceman Owen Power with the top pick in 2021.
The Habs have not had a first overall selection since drafting Doug Wickenheiser at the 1980 draft, which was held at the Montreal Forum.
Four other players were selected first overall by the Canadiens in club history: Guy Lafleur in 1971, Rejean Houle in 1969, Michel Plasse in 1968 and Garry Monahan at the very first draft in 1963.
Every first-overall pick in Canadiens history happened during drafts held in Montreal.
The Seattle Kraken, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago), Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks round out the top 10 of the draft order.
The Blackhawks sent the sixth pick to the Blue Jackets as part of the trade that sent defenceman Seth Jones to Chicago.
The Vegas Golden Knights will send their 16th-overall pick to the Sabres as part of the Jack Eichel trade.
The consensus top player ahead of the draft is centreman Shane Wright from the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs. Wright recorded 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games in the 2021-22 season.
The Burlington, Ont., native was preparing for Game 3 of the Frontenacs’ OHL playoff series against the North Bay Battalion while finding out the results of the lottery.
Among the other top prospects are centremen Logan Cooley of the United States Development Program and Matthew Savoie of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice as well as left-winger Juraj Slafkovsky — a bronze medallist with Slovakia at the 2022 Olympics — of Finnish club TPS.