Monday, May 9, 2022

Chaos, comedy and conspiracies in the draft lottery power rankings

The draft lottery goes tomorrow night, meaning all you fans of the bad teams will have something to pay attention to for an hour before going back to hate-watching the playoffs. It’s a bit of a weird year, with some new rules kicking in and a consensus top pick in Shane Wright who’s considered blue chip but maybe not quite a generational can’t-miss. (That’s next year.)

You can find the real odds for each team here, but we’re not all that worried about those. Instead, we want to have some fun with what could happen, before reality shows up and makes a few of you very happy and the rest of you very angry.

The “Maximum Chaos” Ranking

The largest and most dedicated fan base in the league is Team Chaos and it’s not all that close. Here’s what we’re rooting for.

Not ranked: Detroit Red Wings A high pick would be just what Steve Yzerman’s 25-year rebuild plan needed.

5. Chicago Blackhawks – Aside from launching roughly a million conspiracy theories – more on that in a bit – the Hawks are the only team in this year’s lottery that could make a genuinely good case that winning a top pick would be a bad thing. Plus getting Shane Wright would probably convince Jonathan Toews and friends that they were Cup contenders again.

4. Montreal Canadiens – The Habs are always chaotic, and finishing off the only 32nd-place finish in the history of the NHL with their first number one pick in 42 years would be very on-brand.

3. New Jersey Devils – They’ve already won the lottery for the first overall pick twice in the last few years, and that was part of the inspiration for last year’s announcement that the league would finally implement a limit on how many times the same team could win. But here’s the catch: The rule didn’t kick in until this year’s lottery, which means not only does it not prevent the Devils from winning Tuesday night, it wouldn’t even stop them from winning again in 2023. Yes, the team that helped us get a “You can’t win too often” rule could still land Shane Wright and Conon Bedard. I feel like a lot of fans don’t realize that, so consider this step one in a two-part process.

2. Columbus Blue Jackets – Sitting with the 12th best odds, the Blue Jackets are the first team that can’t move up all the way to number one, because teams can now only move up ten spots. Here’s my question: What happens if we draw them first, which would give them the second pick? Is the next drawing now for the first pick? Third? Can the second team bump the Blue Jackets down to third? Has anyone actually thought any of this through? You’d think they must have, but this is the NHL, so…

1. Vegas Golden Knights – The Knights are going to show up on a few of these lists, and for good reason. They can’t move up all the way thanks to the new rules, but could still jump ten spots, and if they do then they keep the pick they traded to the Sabres for Jack Eichel. If you haven’t noticed, other fan bases seem to have developed a sincere hatred for Vegas, and rejoiced in watching them miss the playoffs. A lottery win here would make everybody furious, and fury is its own type of chaos.

The “Who Needs it Most?” Rankings

Everyone needs a lottery win that would hand-deliver a stud prospect, but some teams need it more than others.

Not ranked: Anaheim DucksYou have Trevor Zegras, don’t get greedy.

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