Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Best, Worst, and Most Likely Scenario for Calgary's Three First Round Draft Picks

Make no mistake, last night's 4-3 Flames loss to Nashville was huge, keeping Calgary's dream alive of having a top five draft pick for the first time. However, did the Flames win one too many games over the last couple weeks? It looks that way but we'll know for sure by Saturday.

There is still much to be decided over the season's final few days and playoff results will factor into the two acquired picks as well, but to give you a sense of where Calgary's three first round picks will be for the June 30 draft in New Jersey, here's a quick look at the best case scenario, the worst case scenario, and most likely scenario.

Calgary's Own Draft Pick

Best Case - 1st

This requires winning the draft lottery and their best odds of doing that are if they finish 28th (already mathematically eliminated from finishing any lower). That third draft slot comes with a 14.2% chance that their ball is the one that pops out of the lottery machine when this made-for-TV event occurs on Monday, Apr. 29.

A lot of unlikely things need to happen for the Flames to sink to 28th -- think Washington Generals beating the Harlem Globetrotters, but as Tuesday night proved with five upsets, you just never know. Calgary's 'perfect storm' scenario would be:
  • Calgary loses its final two games in St. Louis and Chicago
  • Tampa Bay picks up a minimum five points in its final three games -- vs Tor, at Bos, vs Fla
  • Edmonton (vs Chi, at Min, vs Van), Carolina (vs NYR, at Pit) and Nashville (at Det, at Clb) all win one of their remaining games
In this scenario, Flames would still pick 3rd, even if they lose the draft lottery, assuming Florida or Colorado are the team that wins and the odds of that would be 43.8%.

Worst Case - 12th

For this absolute disastrous finish to occur, here are all the things that would need to happen:
  • Calgary wins its final two games
  • Phoenix (vs SJ, vs Col, at Ana), New Jersey (vs Pit, at NYR) and Buffalo (vs NYI) all lose their remaining games in regulation
  • Philadelphia (vs NYI, at Ott) fails to pick up more than one point in its remaining games
  • Edmonton (vs Chi, at Min, vs Van) loses one of its final three games
In this scenario, Calgary finishes in 20th place, which is the 11th draft slot. But then, to compound the misery, the 2.4% chance that a team finishing 17th to 19th wins the draft lottery actually happens and Calgary's pick falls yet another spot.

Most Likely Case - 6th

The way I see it, what's most likely to happen is:
  • Calgary loses its final two games
  • Only one of Edmonton, Carolina and Nashville will win one of its remaining games
This would leave Calgary 25th overall and the 76.8% chance of one of the top five teams winning the lottery happens so the Flames pick remains at 6th -- and sadly for the organization, they'll still be waiting for that elusive top five pick.

St. Louis Draft Pick (from Jay Bouwmeester trade)

Best Case - 17th

For this to happen, here's how the season has to play out. It probably won't but what the heck:
  • St. Louis (vs Cal, vs Chi) loses its final two games
  • Toronto (at TB, at Fla, vs Mtl) picks up one point in its remaining games
  • Washington (vs Ott, vs Bos) wins both of its final two games
  • NY Islanders (at Phi, at Buf) pick up three points in their remaining games
  • Minnesota (vs Edm, at Col) wins both of its remaining games
  • NY Rangers (at Car, vs NJ) win both of its remaining games
This would drop St. Louis from 9th overall, where they are today, to 14th place at season's end. Then, in the playoffs, St. Louis would have to lose in either the first or second round, and the 15th and 16th place teams would both need to make it to the Conference Finals in the playoffs.

Worst Case - 30th

If the Blues win the Stanley Cup, they pick last in the first round, it's that simple. If the Blues lose in the Western Conference final, that pick is 27th or 28th.

Most Likely Case - 20th

What is most likely to happen:
  • St. Louis splits its final two games
  • Toronto picks up three points in its final three games
This leaves St. Louis 10th overall in the final standings. In the playoffs, I'm going to assume the Blues get knocked out of the playoffs in the second round (or first) and that one Cinderella team seeded below them goes on a run and makes it through to the Conference final at minimum. In this scenario, that Blues pick gets one better and ends up 20th.

Pittsburgh Draft Pick (from Jarome Iginla trade)

Best Case - 25th

For this scenario to shake down, here's what needs to occur:
  • Pittsburgh loses out in the first or second round of the playoffs
  • Chicago finishes 1st overall but then also loses out in the first or second round of playoffs
Picks 27 to 30 are always reserved for the four conference finalists. The Pittsburgh pick cannot get any higher than 25th -- even with an abrupt first round exit as the Penguins are apt to do sometimes, because division winners have their draft pick assigned next, after the four conference finalists. Thus the importance of other division winners with higher overall finish than Pittsburgh (e.g. Chicago) also not making it beyond the first two rounds. In this scenario, Chicago would pick 26th.

Worst Case - 30th

Same as above. If the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, they pick last in the first round. Flames fans definitely do not want to see a St. Louis-Pittsburgh Stanley Cup as that is the combined worst scenario, leaving those two acquired draft picks as 29th and 30th.

Most Likely Case - 29th

Pittsburgh makes it to the Stanley Cup final but sorry Iggy, they get knocked off by the West representative -- probably Chicago. But, the opponent doesn't matter as the bottom line is the draft pick ends up in the runner-up spot of second-last.

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