It might still be over a week away, but it’s time weigh in on who as Leafs fans we should want to see win the draft lottery. For those who aren’t familiar with the format this year, the NHL will be drawing for the top three spots in the draft, and in addition to the seven teams that were so beyond crappy the NHL couldn’t justify having them play again this year, the eight teams that lose in the playoff play-in round will also be eligible for a spot, with the odds as follows:
1. Red Wings – 18.5%
2. Senators – 13.5%
3. Senators (via San Jose) – 11.5%
4. Kings – 9.5%
5. Ducks – 8.5%
6. Devils – 7.5%
7. Sabres – 6.5%
8. Team A – 6%
9. Team B – 5%
10. Team C – 3.5%
11. Team D – 3%
12. Team E – 2.5%
13. Team F – 2%
14. Team G – 1.5%
15. Team H – 1%
So in the grandest tradition, we’ll rank those teams by how much we as Leafs fans want to see them win the lottery.
Shocked, that we aren’t going with the Senators at the lowest spot? Don’t be. The Senators will continue to collapse into themselves like a dying star as long as Melnyk is in charge and while that may be true of the Sabres as well, there is always a worry they will do something to improve their situation. Dealing with a pissed off Jack Eichel and not getting this immediate help to calm him would be delightful, so we’re going to put the Sabres as the worst option.
Steve Yzerman is too good at his job to let him completely jump start their rebuild with the first overall. If there is one team I want to see completely lose their way out of the top three it’s the Red Wings, but the odds certainly aren’t in our favour.
It’s Ottawa. As much as there isn’t really a Battle of Ontario to speak to anymore, there is some residual smug satisfaction from watching them repeatedly flounder while their owner makes a complete jackass out of himself in absolutely every situation possible.
If the Senators have to win the lottery, let it be with the Sharks pick. It would be nice to see a non Leafs team deal with the stink of giving up a lottery pick then completely go on to tank the season. Doug Wilson will probably be the Sharks GM for life, but it would be nice to see his reputation take a hit.
As much as it would be nice to get the top pick out of the Eastern Conference completely, I just can’t bring myself to like anything about the Kings until they bring back either their 90s jersey, their purples, or much more importantly we see Drew Doughty fired into the sun. The Kings winning wouldn’t be awful, and they have the best odds of any non Atlantic division team, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them.
As Jack Hughes proved last year there is no harm in the Devils winning the lottery as they have an uncanny ability to ruin everything they touch. Maybe they’ll figure themselves out during their extended vacation, the fact that they can’t be bothered to confirm Tom Fitzgerald as a permanent GM or replacement, and that they are preemptively looking for a coach before determining who their GM will be gives me the confidence that we don’t need to worry about the Devils suddenly being good.
The Ducks much like the Devils are a harmless mess. Pretty shocking to say about a team that is recycling Brian Burke era Leafs personnel. While they’ve done a few things to get their organization on track for a thoughtful rebuild, they aren’t going to matter any time soon and have the added bonus of being in the Western Conference. An easy pick
This has the potential go fairly well (if the Leafs unfortunately lose to Columbus) or very poorly (Rangers, Habs, Panthers, Penguins, Islanders). Or maybe a Western Conference team wins it and no one is happy (especially the player if Edmonton or Winnipeg win). The mystery box keeps the excitement going and adds a chaos element to everything that follows in the immediate return of hockey. Even if it’s not the top pick overall, having any option of teams being able to jump up into the top three by losing will have fanbases turning on each other at a time when we’re supposed to be celebrating the return of hockey. Nothing would be more NHL than this outcome, and we should want it with all our hearts. Give me three mystery boxes for the draft lottery, all day, every day. The vacation teams still get their picks in the top ten, so what should they care?