Well, it was long shot that the Boston Bruins could move from 14 to the top-3, but in the spirit of (Lloyd) Christmas, the Black and Gold faithful were hoping the lottery balls would come up with a spoked-B. The NHL went gaga with its lottery show, but it didn’t do much to generate a lot of excitement when the top-three teams were finally drawn.
Boston fans holding out hope for a draft miracle found there was no such luck, and the Toronto Maple Leafs were rewarded with their ineptitude, as they come away with the top choice. They’re all but sure to grab franchise center-in-waiting Auston Matthews.
The Winnipeg Jets continued to have some breaks go their way- a year ago they were an upstart playoff team only to crash to earth this season. They’re going to add another fabulous Finn to the ‘Peg in the form of Patrik Laine. Yes, it’s a different franchise (Teemu Selanne’s records reside with the Arizona Coyotes) but the thought of a Nikolaj Ehlers-Mark Scheifele-Laine line has to be getting the Jets giddy.
Once again the Blue Jackets are picking high and given GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s background, Columbus won’t hesitate to bring Jesse Puljujarvi to the Buckeye State.
Of course- the Edmonton Oilers didn’t win the lottery this time. They’re only picking fourth. They can take their choice of a d-man or stick with BPA and add either Matt Tkachuk or Pierre-Luc Dubois to their growing stable of high-end forwards.
Vancouver rounds out the top-five.
We’re less than 60 days out…bring on Buffalo and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft! (Did I really just say bring on Buffalo?)
Ineptitude of the Leafs mgmt? The current regime? Do you mean that you don’t think this was their hope at the beginning of the year?
I don’t think any team sets out to earn the top pick/post a losing season under any circumstance…that’s the province of fans who don’t go through the grueling season and take on the demands that the players, coaches and everyone in an organization does. Having said that, teams *do* recognize that they aren’t competitive and can shift focus to rebuilding and putting themselves in a better position to get higher draft position. But I’ll never be so cynical as to think that a team begins a season circling April 30 on their calendar and operating to try and end up with the top pick. The NHL should do more to ensure teams don’t purposefully tank the season, but we live under the system the NHL has, not the one we wish they did.