By virtue of the Tampa Bay Lightning winning Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, the first round pick that the Lightning sent to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2015 NHL Draft can be no higher than No. 23 overall.
We broke down all the scenarios in a post Wednesday afternoon. The best-case scenario for the Flyers now is that as many non-division winners qualify for the NHL's Conference Finals as possible, aside from the Lightning of course, because we want them out as soon as possible.
So, here's your rooting guide for Round 2:
- Montreal over Tampa Bay. Obviously. We don't want the Lightning in the Conference Finals because then the pick drops to at least 27, potentially 28, 29 or 30, no matter what other teams do.
- Calgary over Anaheim. Should the Flames advance to the Conference Finals, their pick will be bumped from 15th to 27-30, meaning the Lightning pick (and a bunch of other picks) are bumped up one spot. It also means that Anaheim will be guaranteed behind the Lightning pick.
- Washington over New York. Not that this is a hard one anyway, but it's the same deal as the Calgary-Anaheim series. The Capitals pick would be bumped into the last four, and the Rangers would be guaranteed to pick behind the Lightning pick.
- Root for whoever you want in Chicago vs. Minnesota. Neither team won the Central this year, so the winner of this series has no bearing on the Lightning pick. The loser of this series is going to select ahead of the Lightning pick no matter what, and the winner will pick in the last four.
If all this happens, the Flyers will pick 23rd in the draft.