Thursday, May 02, 2013

Blues and Penguins 1st Round Picks - Best, Worst-Case Scenarios

The Calgary Flames have three first round picks in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The Flames own pick is 6th overall. The other two picks received from the St. Louis Blues (Jay Bouwmeester deal) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (Jarome Iginla deal) hinge on playoff results so won't be known for a while yet.

While it's impossible to know today where those picks will be exactly, I've compiled the best-case scenario, worst-case scenario and what I think is the most likely scenario for those other two picks.

Myth  - The draft order for 15th through 30th is based on the regular season standings.

This is not true, or, perhaps better worded -- it is not that simple. While final standings may weigh into it, there are three other variables to be considered first: (a) If you exit the playoffs in round one or two. (b) If you won your division during the regular season. (c) If you make it to the Conference final and if you win that, if you do or don't also win the Stanley Cup.

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St. Louis Draft Pick (from Jay Bouwmeester trade)

Best Case - 19th

By winning 11 of 14 to close the season (this run came after Jay Bouwmeester joined them), the Blues climbed all the way to sixth overall. To think, just making the playoffs was a question mark at one point. Here is the perfect storm of playoff outcomes Flames fans will be hoping for in order for this pick to end up inside the top 20.
  • St. Louis (4th seed in West, plays 5th seed L.A.) must lose in the first or second round -- it doesn't matter which of the two rounds.
  • Western final must consist of two non-division winning teams that finished below the Blues in the overall standings. Options are #5 Los Angeles, #6 San Jose, #7 Detroit, #8 Minnesota.
  • Eastern final must consist of two non-division winning teams that finished below the Blues in the overall standings. Options are #5 Toronto, #6 NY Rangers, #7 Ottawa, #8 NY Islanders.
In this scenario, the Stanley Cup winner gets 30th pick, the other finalist gets 29th. The two teams knocked out in the conference final get 27th and 28th. Next comes the division winners so Pit, Mtl, Wsh, Chi, Van, Ana would get picks from 21st thru 26th. Of the eight remaining teams, Boston had more points than the Blues so would get 20th. That leaves St. Louis at 19th.

Worst Case - 30th

If the Blues win the Stanley Cup, they pick last in the first round, it's that simple. Losing in the Stanley Cup final leaves the pick at 29th. If St. Louis stays hot and makes it to the Western Conference final, the pick would be no better than 27th and would be either that or 28th depending on the record of the team knocked out in the Eastern final.

Most Likely Case - 22nd

Here is what I think is most likely to occur:
  • St. Louis gets knocked out of the playoffs in the second round.
  • Western final will consist of two of the top three teams (I predict Anaheim and Chicago).
  • As there's always an upset somewhere, I predict it happens in the East and that the Eastern final will consist of Pittsburgh and an underdog from the bottom four teams.
In this scenario, the four conference finalists are assigned draft picks 27 to 30. Then comes the other three division winners, who are assigned picks 24 to 26. That leaves Boston, who will still finish higher than St. Louis and pick 23rd. The Blues then come next and would be assigned the 22nd pick.
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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
  • First overall finisher Chicago also loses out in the first or second round of playoffs
As mentioned, picks 27 to 30 are reserved for the four conference finalists. The division winners have their draft picks assigned next and since Chicago was the only team with a better record than Pittsburgh, the best a Flames fan can hope for is that the Blackhawks don't make the semi-finals so end up with 26th pick. That would drop the Pittsburgh pick down to 25th.

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 of the worst scenarios 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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