Draft lottery winners and losers, Bolts and Pens even series
If you came here looking for game recaps, I’ll get to those later on. Or you can just scroll down.
As a fan of a Canadian-based team, my interest today was more focused on the draft lottery. Chances are, yours was too. Think about it: Assuming every fan has a favorite team, more fans were likely concerned about the draft lottery than about the result of the games today. A total of 14 teams were participating in the draft lottery, while only eight teams are left in the playoffs.
(My crack theory does not take into account the number of people in playoff pools… but you get the idea. But you’re here because this is a fantasy hockey site, so you’re at least a little bit into numbers. So you probably naturally have interest in the draft lottery.)
Now if you’re really a math and probability statistics nerd, then you’ll be interested in the four-number combination scheme that is used to determine a lottery winner. This article from the National Post explains it well. Scroll down to number three for an explanation of this process. Don’t worry, I didn’t understand it at first, but it now makes sense.
Now the winners and losers of this seemingly arbitrary process, conducted using a machine that looks like a cross between a popcorn maker and your two-year old’s favorite toy.
Toronto: Yep, everything went according to plan. The Leafs had the greatest odds of winning the draft lottery, so no surprises here. Unless some other team offers a king’s ransom (keep reading for one possible team), Auston Matthews should suit up for the blue and white next season. Hockey fans will hear a lot about this Matthews kid too, especially those living in Canada who hear about the Leafs like they’re the local team. I made a prediction before the regular season ended that the Leafs end up with both Matthews and Steven Stamkos next season. Looks like I’m halfway there with that prediction.
Winnipeg: The Jets were the team that bucked the odds more than anyone else. Thought to be a team that would take another step forward in 2015-16, the Jets instead take a soft landing, earning the second overall pick with the sixth-worst record. The Jets already own one of the league’s best prospect bases (Connor Hellebuyck, Kyle Connor, Jack Roslovic, Josh Morrissey, to name a few). Patrik Laine (assuming they pick him) could help make the Jets a strong contender faster than you might think.
Columbus: It might be surprising that with all the Blue Jackets’ poor seasons during their existence, they’ve only picked first overall once. Yet that pick (Rick Nash) was acquired in a trade with Florida, who had its sights set on Jay Bouwmeester. Regardless, the Jackets moved up one spot and will be picking third overall, a pick that GM Jarmo Kekalainen would likely use on fellow Finn Jesse Puljujarvi.
Edmonton: All that draft lottery luck caught up to the Oilers, who dropped from second to fourth overall. Yet imagine how much Twitter would have exploded if the Oilers won the draft lottery again. With all those first overall picks, wouldn’t it be ironic if the player the Oilers pick at fourth overall turns out to be exactly the player that they’ve needed all these years? It might be a little early to pick a defenseman, but the Oils could draft a player with some edge (Matthew Tkachuk) or size (Pierre-Luc Dubois).
Vancouver: The Canuck fans that I follow on Twitter were distraught, owing the result to the lack of good luck that the franchise has experienced throughout its history. In spite of some very lean years, the Canucks have never picked first overall at a draft. The Canucks will draft a solid player at fifth, although they will miss out on one of the three game changers (Matthews, Laine, Puljujarvi) that they would have received under the pre-lottery system. Drafting a defenseman (Jakob Chychrun, Olli Juolevi) is a possibility, as is whatever names the Oilers pass up.
Calgary: Like the Canucks, the Flames franchise dating back to Atlanta has never drafted first overall. The Flames fell slightly from fifth to sixth overall. On a lighter note, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Oilers win the draft lottery again just for this.
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) May 1, 2016
Arizona: The Coyotes didn’t move from their seventh placing, which was the same as the teams below. But why wouldn’t the Coyotes be interested in hometown boy Auston Matthews? He’d provide this franchise with the superstar they’ve always lacked, and he could singlehandedly fill the seats the way Mario Lemieux did for the Penguins’ franchise. Would a new GM be able to convince ownership that a package including Oliver Ekman-Larsson would be worth it for this can’t-miss prospect?
During Game 2, the Lightning were led by two forwards who didn’t have a great season, but for different reasons. Tyler Johnson scored two goals and added an assist, while Jonathan Drouin scored a goal and added an assist. If the playoffs are any indication, both could be great value picks heading into next season’s drafts. That of course assuming that Drouin and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman have mended fences and are willing to work together moving forward. The Stamkos domino will need to fall before Yzerman decides what to do with anyone else, let alone Drouin.
Here are the Lightning’s forward lines from Game 2:
16.23% EV BOYLE,BRIAN – CALLAHAN,RYAN – PAQUETTE,CEDRIC
15.85% EV JOHNSON,TYLER – KUCHEROV,NIKITA – PALAT,ONDREJ
12.83% EV DROUIN,JONATHAN – FILPPULA,VALTTERI – KILLORN,ALEX
3.4% EV KILLORN,ALEX – MARCHESSAULT,JONATHAN – NAMESTNIKOV,VLADISLAV
Note the low numbers where Jonathan Marchessault and Vladislav Namestnikov have been pushed down to less than ten minutes per game. The Lightning deployed the seldom-used configuration of 11 forwards and 7 defensemen, deciding not to insert another forward after Erik Condra was forced out of Game 1 after taking that heavy hit from Casey Cizikas. I know teams like to roll four lines, but I’ve always wondered why more teams don’t try this, particularly if the fourth line barely sets foot on the ice.
You could argue that the Lightning didn’t really use seven defensemen in Game 2, however. Both Matt Taormina (5:31) and Slater Koekkoek (6:47) barely played, while Nikita Nesterov (13:20) didn’t play a whole lot more. Perhaps the Lightning used one of these defensemen as a forward in this game? I didn’t watch much of this game, and I know that this is a practice that is used once in a while because of injuries.
John Tavares, who has taken his game to another level in this year’s playoffs, was held without a point in spite of 22 minutes of icetime. In spite of the donuts in Game 2, Tavares is still your playoff leader in goals (6) and points (11). For more on Tavares and important factors that could affect his fantasy value going forward, check out this week’s Frozen Pool Forensics from Cam Robinson.
I seriously hope that the Penguins/Capitals series goes seven games. I know that I probably won’t get to watch all of it, given that west coast games are easier for me to watch live. But from what I saw in the third period, the energy in this series seems to surpass what I’ve seen in the other series. Maybe because of what’s on the line. Not just because it’s Crosby vs. Ovechkin, but also because the team that wins this series could be considered the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. At least I think it is.
Although the Penguins outshot the Capitals 28-10 over the first two periods, the Capitals seemed to have more high-danger scoring chances in the third period while outshooting the Penguins 14-7.
Here’s an answer to my hypothetical thought earlier about why more teams don’t use seven defensemen in a game the way the Bolts did in Game 2. Kris Letang played over half the game (35:22), while Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole played just 15 and 14 minutes each respectively. That was even after Olli Maatta left the game early in the first period (more below). So a team with only five defensemen might roll with only four defensemen, or even just three if the coach doesn’t have faith in the fourth guy either.
Teams like to shorten their benches and ride their horses even more so in important games. I believe Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were on the ice for the entire last seven minutes of Game 7 against St. Louis. The Hawks’ inability to acquire a potential fourth defenseman at the trade deadline, like a Dan Hamhuis or a Kris Russell, ended up catching up to them in the playoffs. Defensive depth is something that just about every team will say they don’t have enough of.
Here's the hit that forced Maatta out of Game 2, delivered by Brooks Orpik:
I’d expect the league to issue a 1-2 game suspension for Orpik, even though this probably deserves more. Yet keep in mind that each playoff game is worth at least two regular-season games (I can’t remember the theory or where I heard it), which would keep the suspension low. But the way Maatta tried to get up after the hit makes me think that he’ll miss a few games.
Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter.
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