There is an outside chance that the Carolina Hurricanes win the Draft Lottery
While the draft lottery might not be the focus of the upcoming return to hockey for many Carolina Hurricanes fans, there is actually an outside chance the Canes draft in the top three.
Now, I know what you are thinking; “what are you talking about Omar, and why did I click on this article to read more of your nonsense”. And when it comes to the NHL draft, a team that has earned the first wildcard shouldn’t be talking about the draft lottery, they should be talking about a cinderella run for the cup.
But this was before the NHL decided to throw reason to the wind and invite an extra eight teams into the playoffs to try and milk the original six franchise fanbases. But, I digress. So how can the Carolina Hurricanes qualify to get a chance in the draft lottery?
Simple really, they don’t make the playoffs.
“Now I know you are crazy Omar.”
Hold on, let me explain. See, the NHL and the NHLPA do not consider the first round of play-in best of five as the actual first round of the playoffs. In fact, according to the plan, the first round of the playoffs doesn’t happen until eight teams are told to pack their bags and go home and we are left with a traditional sixteen teams.
Which leaves room for interpretation of the playoff race and more importantly the draft lottery:
The eight joining them will be the losers of the eight different play-in series happening. Did we really think that the league was going to toss in three extra Original Six teams into the playoffs without giving them a safety net to fall back on if they can’t usurp a playoff spot from a rightful team?
Also, sidenote to Rangers fans, you were two points behind the Carolina Hurricanes in the standings, however, the Canes had two games in hand and an all-star defender coming back from injury. You were not going to catch up, you still had some of the toughest matchups left on your schedule. The Rangers needed this 24 team plan to make the playoffs, so take a seat.
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Back to what I was saying. This safety net of being included into the draft lottery makes sense from a certain angle. If the league isn’t considering the play-in series an actual playoff series, then losing that series is losing your playoff ticket. So, by all rights, you should be included in the draft lottery as if you failed to book your ticket at the end of 82 games, right?
It is sort of a lame consolation prize for having your playoff spot basically stolen; here you go, you can have their lousy chances at getting a top prospect instead of a legitimate chance at winning the Stanley Cup. But to be fair, if you can’t beat a team that wasn’t supposed to make the playoffs, there is something to be said about your own qualification to the playoffs.
So basically, if the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Rangers they will be entered into the draft lottery. This also means that if Toronto loses to Columbus, that draft pick will also be higher than expected. But remember that it will still be top 10 protected, which can complicate the trade with the Rangers to get Brady Skjei.
We should learn more about all of this today when the NHL reveals their plans for the 24 team playoff format and we learn a little more about how the league plans on dealing with the draft.
Question for CC Readers: Is it fair that losers of the play-in rounds get entered into the draft lottery?