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Re-Examining the NHL Draft Lottery on a Team-by-Team Basis

Photo by Dave Reginek

Re-Examining the NHL Draft Lottery on a Team-by-Team Basis

The NHL Draft Lottery took place this past Friday. The true winner of the lottery? Chaos.

This year, an NHL postseason qualifying round loser is going to pick first overall, and it is completely possible that Alexis Lafreniere goes to a Stanley Cup contender in his first season.

I was sitting around a fire when the news broke, and the conversations ran wild.

“Could you imagine if he went to Pittsburgh to play with Sid?”

“What if Washington gets to add him to their stacked offensive lineup?”

“Can you imagine Lafreniere wearing a Jets jersey next year?”

Lots to process, and lots of fun to debate. But how should the fans of each team feel? Let’s begin this series by taking a look at the eight lottery teams and see if you agree.

#8 Buffalo Sabres (30-31-8) – You just missed out on the extended playoffs and you also aren’t that close to a first overall pick. Hey, at least the draft is deep. Unfortunately, you should feel like this is about par for the course.

#7 New Jersey Devils (28-29-12) – Since you no longer have Taylor Hall, you should have known that you weren’t getting the first overall pick. Picking seventh should get you a good hockey player. Maybe the experts were one year off, and next year will be your year. You should feel hopeful for 2021.

#6 Anaheim Ducks (29-33-9) – You have some good pieces on your roster and should add another one with the sixth overall pick. It may take some time, but the winning should come sooner rather than later. You should feel content.

#5 Ottawa Senators (25-34-12) – You got rid of your franchise defenseman which turned out to be a great move. You now have two top five picks. You should feel great about that! Although, I’m sure you were wishing for two picks a little higher.

#4 Detroit Red Wings (17-49-5) – Yikes. You really needed that first pick after a terrible season. And if not the first pick, you at least deserved the second overall pick. Heck, you would have even settled for third overall. But fourth? You should feel anywhere between upset, surprised, disappointed, and dumbfounded.

#3 Ottawa Senators (25-34-12) – See the previous Senators post. Hey, you’re looking better than the Red Wings.

#2 Los Angeles Kings (29-35-6) – You snuck into the second overall spot and you are all but guaranteed an NHL star to add to your roster. You should feel optimistic and excited.

#1 NHL Play-In Team – How great is this? If you win the play-in round your team has a chance to win the Stanley Cup. If not, your team has a chance to pick first overall. I’ve never seen this much of a win/win situation. You should feel like you just picked the winning lottery numbers because hey, isn’t that what you just did?

Stay tuned for more to come!

Craig Neufeld is a passionate hockey writer and fan and has dedicated much of his life to playing and working within the sports world. From rural Manitoba, when Craig is not working, he enjoys playing hockey and curling in winter, as well as being on the golf course or baseball diamond in summer.

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