I write this poll in protest of the Toronto Maple Leafs current eight-game losing streak.
With last night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings, coupled with the Columbus Blue Jackets win last night as well, the Leafs are now two points behind both Eastern Conference wild card teams. That doesn’t seem like an insurmountable climb, given that it takes just one win to tie them, but with only six games left in the season, it will still be hard to do.
Another problem with the loss last night, is that it allowed the Red Wings to clinch the season series with them. Now, if the Wings and Leafs were tied for the final wild card spot at the end of the season, the Wings would get the final it because the first tie-breaker is the season series between the two two teams.
With all that said, I’m pretty much saying the Leafs are now dead in the water and will not make the playoffs.
However, I guess every cloud has a silver lining. The Leafs have now fallen out of the playoffs which means the will be entered into the NHL Draft Lottery if they stay there.
The Leafs are currently in 19th place in the NHL, which would give them a 1.1% chance of winning the Lottery and and getting the first overall pick. Now, I could see the Leafs fall all the way to 23rd place if the teams below them win a few games and the Leafs continue to lose, which would not be surprising. 23rd place would give the Leafs a slightly higher chance of winning at 3.6%. It’s not impossible to win from that spot as the New Jersey Devils won the Lottery from that spot to move up from eighth to fourth.
With last years changes to the Draft Lottery, the Leafs wouldn’t be moving up to the fourth spot, they would get the first overall pick. So let’s look at the players that are being considered for that spot.
There’s Sam Reinhart, the center that the Leafs may have been waiting for. There’s Aaron Ekblad, a defenseman who could definitely help with the Leafs defensive woes. There’s also Sam Bennett and Leon Draisaitl, both players that could go No. 1 depending on who has the pick.
So, if/when the Leafs miss the playoffs and somehow win the Draft Lottery, who should they pick? Or could they trade the pick for more ready prospects?