Leafs’ Shanahan: ‘We earned this the hard way’

The pain of another losing season was all worth it for Brendan Shanahan.

"We earned this the hard way," the Toronto Maple Leafs president told Kathryn Tappen on Sportsnet after winning the draft lottery Saturday night.

"It wasn't a whole lot of fun this year, but our coaching staff and our management staff did a lot of really good things here in Toronto, (and) this will certainly help."

Sitting through the lottery wasn't easy for Shanahan.

"I'm just a little bit rattled from this whole experience," he said. "That was a pretty tense moment for all of us. I think just to get into the final three, even (the) Columbus (Blue Jackets), Winnipeg (Jets) and us, we just felt that we were all going to get a great player."

The Leafs had the highest odds of winning the lottery at 20 percent. The Jets secured the second overall pick despite having the sixth-highest odds, while the Blue Jackets had the fourth-highest odds and moved up to third.

Shanahan said landing the first pick will aid the club's rebuild, but it will take more than one great player to turn things around.

"It's a team sport and it's not about one guy, and that's one thing that (head coach) Mike (Babcock) and (general manager) Lou (Lamoriello) really believe in, but certainly when you have an opportunity to pick first overall, it's an important moment for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"It's an important moment for our fans, our ownership group has given us the support to do this build the right way, so this is a little bit of luck here, it's a lottery, and we're just happy to be lucky today. But we didn't get here without a lot of support from our fans, from our ownership group and from our whole staff."

The 2016 NHL Entry Draft will begin June 24 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

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