Here's what we know about the 2015 NHL draft order so far: the first 14 picks were determined in the draft lottery two weeks ago, with the Edmonton Oilers
winning ineptly stumbling into the right to select Connor McDavid.
The other 13 non-playoff teams fell into this order:
- Edmonton Oilers
- Buffalo Sabres
- Arizona Coyotes
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Carolina Hurricanes
- New Jersey Devils
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- San Jose Sharks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Florida Panthers
- Dallas Stars
- Los Angeles Kings
- Boston Bruins
The rest of the draft order gets a little complicated, though -- including the first round pick that was traded to the Flyers from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline. Elliotte Friedman at Sportsnet shed some light on it Wednesday:
Whoever wins the Stanley Cup picks 30th. The other finalist picks 29th. The two teams that lost in the conference finals pick 27th and 28th. Exact order is determined by who had fewer points in the regular season, with that club getting the 27th slot.
Now, here comes the more-complicated part: draft choices 15-26. Teams eliminated in the first two rounds who did not win a division title come next, followed by those who did win a division, but lost before the Eastern and Western Finals. Again, fewest points equals a better selection.
The Lightning did not win their division this year, but they did have the most points of any non-division winner in the NHL this year. So to get the most out of this pick, we need a few things to happen:
- Tampa Bay must lose before the Conference Finals -- preferably in Game 7 to Detroit.
- Teams that won their division cannot qualify for the Conference Finals, or, the flip side of looking at it is that we're rooting for teams that did not win their divisions. We want non-division winners in the Conference Finals.
Aside from the Lightning, there are five non-division winners left: Calgary, Washington, Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota. Chicago and Minnesota play each other in Round 2, so we're guaranteed to get at least one non-division winner in the Conference Finals. We want the other teams to go deep as well, so we're rooting for Calgary over Anaheim, Washington over the Rangers, and ... yes, Detroit over Tampa Bay in Game 7. Kills two birds with one stone there. If Detroit were to win, we'd want them to beat Montreal in Round 2 as well.
If all of that happens, we'll end up with a final four that consists of zero division winners, meaning those four division winners would all pick between 23 and 26. The final four teams, of course, would pick between 27 and 30.
This is the best case scenario for the Flyers in terms of this Lightning pick dropping, because it would mean the four conference finalists and the four division winners all pick after the Lightning, locking that Flyers first round pick at No. 22. Here's what the order would look like under this scenario:
* * *
1-14. lottery teams
15. Pittsburgh → Edmonton
18-20. Some combination of Minnesota, NY Islanders, Vancouver and Chicago ... depending on who wins the MIN-CHI second round series.
21. Nashville → Toronto
22. Tampa Bay → Philadelphia
23. St. Louis → Winnipeg
26. NY Rangers
27-30. Washington, Detroit, Calgary, Chicago/Minnesota ... depending on the outcome of the Conference Finals and Cup Final.
* * *
- The Flyers hold Tampa Bay's first round pick.
- The pick can fall anywhere between 22nd overall and 30th, aside from 26.
- If the Lightning make the Conference Finals, the pick is guaranteed to be 27, 28, 29 or 30. If the Lightning make the Cup Final, it will be 29 or 30.
- If the Lightning miss the Conference Finals, the pick will be bumped for every division winner that does make the Conference Finals. Four division winners cannot make the Conference Finals because St. Louis is already out, which is why the 26th pick is not an option. If 3 division winners make it, the pick is 25. If 2 make it, the pick is 24. If one makes it, the pick is 23. If zero make it, the pick is 22.
- If the Lightning win Game 7 against Detroit tonight, the best-case scenario is no longer the 22nd pick, since either Tampa Bay or Montreal (a division winner) would be guaranteed to qualify for the Conference Finals. In this case, the best-case for this pick becomes 23rd overall.
- Just root for the underdog in every series.