The stakes are high. Well, maybe not so much.
The Toronto Maple Leafs face off against the Ottawa Senators in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Since neither team is playoff-bound, this game is all about pride.
Or is it?
The one thing really at stake in tonight’s game is draft position. This is how the teams within range of the Leafs, both above and below, look in the standings.
19. New Jersey Devils – 86 points – One Game Remaining
20. Nashville Predators – 84 points – Two Games Remaining
21. Ottawa Senators – 84 points – Two Game Remainings
22. Toronto Maple Leafs – 84 points – One Game Remaining
23. Winnipeg Jets – 84 points – Zero Games Remaining
24. Vancouver Canucks – 81 points – Two Games Remaining
If the Leafs were to lose tonight, that would ensure they stay 22nd in the NHL. Now, I always want the Leafs the best they can do, but when they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention, might as well get a good draft pick out of it.
Currently, the Leafs position would give them the ninth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft with a 2.70% chance in the draft lottery of winning the first overall pick. If Vancouver were to win it’s final two games, against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, then Winnipeg and Toronto would each move up one spot. The Leafs would then be drafting eighth with a 3.60% chance at the first pick.
This year’s draft might not be as good as next year’s, but having a higher pick would be good for the Leafs, especially if it’s the first pick. However, with a win tonight, those hopes could all go away.