The St. Louis Blues knew they would have no part in the NHL’s Draft Lottery in 2020. Nobody could have known it would cause a stir.
The St. Louis Blues are fortunate enough to be one of the teams that had no vested interest in the ping pong ball process when the NHL did its 2020 draft lottery. They can focus on the playoffs.
What made things interesting, from a fan perspective, was the league giving an opportunity to teams that are still vying for the playoffs. Of course, in 2020, nothing is normal.
The NHL devised a system that would give the best odds at the top picks to the teams that were flat-out not in the playoffs. However, they could not give the teams that did not make the playoffs, but played in the play-in games absolutely no chance.
Thus, the system would sort of pit actual NHL teams, such as Los Angeles, Detroit, Ottawa against empty league spots. If the empty slot won a top pick, there would be a second lottery to see which of the play-in series losers got that pick.
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Most fans figured it would go smoothly. Someone like Detroit or Ottawa would get the top pick, everyone would slot in accordingly and it would all be more boring than normal.
Fate had something else in store. When the top pick was selected for the 2020 draft, there was an NHL logo on it, meaning one of the eight losing teams that are still also alive for the playoffs could still get the best player i the draft.
Detroit has the biggest gripe. They had the worst record in the league, but ended up with the fourth overall pick.
Red Wings GM, Steve Yzerman was not nearly as shocked as his fans. “I’m not really surprised,” Yzerman said, as reported by the Associated Press. “The odds were better that the first pick went to [one of] the bottom eight than it did to us.”
Los Angeles has to feel good about getting the second overall pick. They finished the season a point higher than San Jose, who surrenders their pick to Ottawa and just three points behind Anaheim, who got the sixth overall pick.
Meanwhile, the Blues get to sit back and just have a chuckle at all this kerfuffle. They know they will have a pick at the bottom of the first round, no matter what happens.
While plenty of teams build their franchise through the draft, the Blues have done it elsewhere. They have plenty of good draftees, but they have not needed a top-10 pick in a long time.
So, for the way they have run their franchise, not getting a high pick is just what the doctor ordered. You get playoff hockey regularly, you don’t have to be involved in this “controversy” – it’s really just percentages, not a fix – and draft where you’ve found some decent gems anyway.
It’s wins all around for the Blues. Meanwhile, the strange thing is thinking Chicago could get that pick, or Winnipeg.
Statistically speaking, a current or future (Arizona) member of the Blues division has the highest percentage chance to get that top pick. That would not be fun to face a still quality duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews teamed up with Alexis Lafreniere.
We will see who gets the golden ticket as far as that is concerned. I, for one, am happy the Blues were not involved. Their focus should be on a silver cup, not a golden ticket.