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I want the Oilers to beat Chicago but…

On Friday night, the NHL held its annual draft lottery with some of the strangest rules we’ve ever seen and the results were hilariously chaotic.

One of my favourite parts about this year’s draft lottery is that the rules the NHL put down were hilariously complicated and they left the door open for a (basically) playoff team to win the first overall pick if they can’t get through the play-in round. In a normal year, there is no way that a team competing for the Stanley Cup would have any chance of walking away with the best draft eligible prospect, but that wasn’t the case in 2020 — the door was left open for chaos.

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These were the odds for the clubs not involved in the 24-team playoff tournament to win the #1 pick.

1. Red Wings – 18.5%
2. Senators – 13.5%
3. Senators – 11.5% (San Jose’s pick)
4. Kings – 9.5%
5. Ducks – 8.5%
6. Devils – 7.5%
7. Sabres – 6.5%

These were the odds for the remaining eight slots.

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%

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Basically, if you added up the odds, there was just as good of a chance for a play-in team to win the first overall pick as there was for the Detroit Red Wings. So what happened? The result that I guarantee the NHL did not want to happen. Allow Gregor to explain:

The 8-15 slots are undetermined. If any of the 8-15 teams win the #1, #2 or #3 draft slots, then the NHL will have another lottery after the qualifying round. All eight teams will have the same odds (12.5%) to see who wins the second lottery. So there is a chance the Oilers or Pittsburgh, if they lose to Chicago or Montreal respectively, could end up with a top-three pick. Edmonton and Pittsburgh won the two most coveted lotteries in recent memory, 2005 and 2015, and I can only imagine the uproar from opposing fans if either did again.

Could you imagine what the reaction would be like if the Oilers lost their play-in series against Chicago and somehow won the draft lottery? I mean, they landed Connor McDavid with an 11.5% chance of getting the first overall pick so grabbing Alex Lafreniere with a 12.5% chance should be easy, right?

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TO WIN OR NOT TO WIN

I have to admit when I realized that the Oilers had a 12.5% chance of winning the first overall pick if they can’t get past Chicago in the play-in series it triggered a series of dark, hilarious thoughts about what the reaction would be if it actually happened. Could you imagine how angry the fans of every other franchise would be if the Hockey Gords allowed for Edmonton to #MakeItFive? Don’t get me wrong, I always want the Oilers to win — the idea of Connor McDavid hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head gives me chills just to think about — but I also can’t help but think about the comedy angle of what would happen if they landed Alex Lafreniere in a year when they were going to make the playoffs.

We would have so much fun at the expense of everyone else if we got to watch Ken Holland call out Alex Lafreniere’s name (or however this year’s draft will work) and have the Oilers logo beside his name. The memes would be great, the overreactions from other fanbases would be hysterical, and the Oilers’ depth chart would get a monumental boost that no one in their right mind would have ever expected. What’s not to like? Then again, for this evil plan to work, we’d basically have to cheer against our boys after they were willing to put their health on the line to try and entertain us. So while having Lafreniere would be an absolute gift for this franchise, I also acknowledge how lucky we already are to have Connor McDavid on the team and there’s nothing more important to me than watching him have some success.

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Ah, to hell with it, just go win the Cup, boys. As much fun as it would be to watch the hockey world implode on itself, it’s time to start adding rings to the other hand.

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