Similar to the way the year 2020 is going, we are left in suspense with the number one pick in this years upcoming draft. Many believed the top pick would go to a team like the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, or even the New Jersey Devils. However, the lottery had other plans.
Typically the NHL Draft Lottery is an exciting time for NHL fans and organizations looking towards a better future. It’s a time where unsuccessful teams can get a shot at the worlds most sought after prospects, this years main target Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL).
In a surprising turn of events a team not in the bottom seven won the Draft Lottery. The only issue is, we still don’t know who that team will be. In fact, with the NHL’s proposed playoff plan the eight teams playing in the “play-in” round are still eligible for the number one pick. This means if teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, and Chicago Blackhawks lose they will have a 1 out of 8 chance of winning the first overall pick. Imagine Lafreniere alongside stars like Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, or even Connor McDavid, wow.
Hockey fans and analysts everywhere are referring to the Draft Lottery system as a joke, and saying the league is fixed. However, I think this is great for the league for many reasons. One reason is it builds to the suspense of an already unsure playoff plan. Fans will not only be tuning in to see their favorite teams battle it out for a chance to play for the cup, but will tune in to see who goes home in the play-in round.
Another reason I find this year’s Draft Lottery interesting is because of the chance an already successful organization can end up with the number one pick. Sure, you like seeing the underdog get the first overall pick, but just because a team like the Red Wings won’t have the first pick doesn’t mean that they can’t draft an elite prospect with the fourth overall pick. There’s always a chance that a team can trade up to get the first overall pick too, which means a current star player could move to an already successful organization.
This years NHL Draft Lottery left us with a lot of unanswered questions, and until the puck drops and a champ is crowned we may never get the answers we are looking for. Just enjoy the ride, and tune into the action! (when it returns of course).