(Leksand's Oliver Ekman-Larsson)

 

The draft lottery is just four days away, and the bottom ten is pretty much set. However, the rankings of players are as fluid as ever as playoffs continue around the hockey world. Plus, an interesting scenario Leafs fans might find interesting...



10. Edmonton Oilers

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 2.1%
Highest Position Possible: 6th

They'll take...
C Scott Glennie
Because... Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has made it his priority to make the team bigger up front, and that starts with drafting bigger players. However, despite being 6'1, Glennie has everything a 5'10 forward might: elite skating ability, incredible hands, and a big heart. While more a playmaker and less of a sniper than advertised, Glennie would be a great addition.


9. Ottawa Senators

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 2.7%
Highest Position Possible: 5th

They'll take... D Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Because... Bryan Murray opened his yap and bragged that his crack team of scouts had found a European defenseman that 'could be' better than Hedman. The most obvious player is Larsson, a 6'2 Lidstrom-lite who set an Allsvenskan record for +/- by a junior-aged defenseman. Erik Karlsson, Brian Lee and Larsson would be the most mobile top-three in the NHL.


8. Dallas Stars

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 3.6%
Highest Position Possible: 4th

They'll take... RW Jordan Schroeder (U. Minnesota)
Because... With Mike Modano's career winding down, the Stars will be looking for a cornerstone forward for the future. All the better if he's American. Enter Schroeder; a speedy, cerebral playmaker who can lead when the games begin to mean something, Dallas will be able to knock two birds with one stone by also getting a (positional) replacement for Jere Lehtinen.


7. Toronto Maple Leafs

Odds Place in Standings Change: > 0% (2 points ahead of Phoenix and LA; could drop as low 5th if both teams win and Toronto loses)
Draft Lottery Odds: 4.7%
Highest Position Possible: 1st

They'll take... D Jared Cowen
Because... Brian Burke likes his big men. While Burke's draft history trends towards America-born players, there's no way he'll be able to pass up a 6'5 tower of power that can pair with Luke Schenn to give the Leafs a truly unstoppable (unscoreonable?) pairing.


6. Phoenix Coyotes

Odds Place in Standings Change: > 0% (tied with LA in points; both have 1 GR. 2 points back of Toronto; would win tie-breaker based on wins if Yotes win and Leafs lose.)
Draft Lottery Odds: 6.2%
Highest Position Possible: 1st

They'll take... RW Brayden Schenn
Because... The Coyotes have a thing for bloodlines at the draft table, and they'll be looking for a heart-and-soul right wing whenever they get a good enough deadline offer for Shane Doan. Schenn is the perfect future playmaker for Kyle Turris, and adds a physical dimension that can both create room for and help protect Phoenix's franchise player.


5. Los Angeles Kings

Odds Place in Standings Change: > 0% (tied with Phoenix in points; both have 1 GR. Could pass both Phoenix and Toronto if LA wins and both Yotes and Leafs lose)
Draft Lottery Odds: 8.1%
Highest Position Possible: 1st

They'll take... LW Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
Because... The Kings are smart, and grab the most-talented player no matter what. While they already have Alex Frolov on the top line and could stand to add a #2 C, MPS is the most-talented player after Tavares and would give the Kings an ungodly combination on LW. Further, a Paajarvi-Moller duo would be absolutely deadly.


4. Atlanta Thrashers

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 10.7%
Highest Position Possible: 1st

They'll take...
C Evander Kane
Because... While the Thrashers already have a #1 C in Bryan Little, he's shown more effectiveness on the wing. A Kovalchuk-Kane-Little trio is your classic Nintendo line- a scorer, a playmaker, and a guy who hits stuff.


3. Colorado Avalanche

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 14.2%
Highest Position Possible: 1st

They'll take... C Matt Duchene
Because... They can. While the Avs would probably like Cowen more, and may orchestrate a deal in which they move down a bit in order to get him, adding Duchene would give Avs fans visions of the once-dominant center duo of Sakic-Forsberg. Duchene's speed, two-way game and leadership would like great behind Paul Stastny.


2. Tampa Bay Lightning

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 18.8%
Highest Position Possible: 1st

They'll take... D Victor Hedman


1. New York Islanders

Odds Place in Standings Change: 0%
Draft Lottery Odds: 25%
Highest Position Possible: 1st (duh)

They'll take... C John Tavares


Now, as the above shows, while Game 81 is in books for most teams, there's still a lot left to decide. It's especially interesting in the 5/6/7 bracket, as one can see below:


Toronto Loss/Phoenix Loss/LAK Win

Position
Team
Points
W
7th
LAK
79
34
6th
Toronto
79
33
5th
Phoenix
77
35


Toronto Loss/Phoenix Win/LAK Loss

Position
Team
Points
W
7th
Phoenix
79
36
6th
Toronto
79
33
5th
LAK
77
33


Toronto Loss/Phoenix Win/LAK Win


Position
Team
Points
W
7th
Phoenix
79
36
6th
LAK
79
34
5th
Toronto
79
33

Leafs fans, from Game 1, were hoping to finish low enough to grab one John Tavares. Those hopes all but evaporated with a strong middle portion of the season. However, imagine this scenario, if you please:

-Kings beat the Sharks. A long-shot at any other time of the season, but expect San Jose's big guns to get a well-deserved rest in Game 82.
-Yotes beat the Ducks. While Anaheim will likely try to win this one in order to grab 6th place and a dance with Vancouver, rather than Detroit, it's not impossible.
-Finally, the Leafs lose to the Sens, who are on a nice roll to end the year. Toronto leads the season series 3-2, but it's been close.

Despite 8.1% odds, Toronto would then still have a crack at Johnny T. Then, it's up to luck. Or is it fate?

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