It's one of the best times of the year...playoff hockey!
Last night kicked off the 2018-2019 post-season and it did not disappoint. There was some great games, one of which was a huge upset: Columbus beating Tampa 4-3 after being down 3-0.
But before the chaos of playoffs started, there was the NHL Lottery Draft. If you weren't/aren't familiar with the platform, below is the official explanation from NHL.com on how it worked:
"Each of the 15 teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs (or the teams that have acquired the first-round pick of a non-playoff team) will participate. The odds of each team winning is allocated based on inverse order of the final season standings.
Three separate drawings will be held. The first determines the No. 1 selection. The odds for the remaining teams will be adjusted proportionally for the second drawing, which will determine the No. 2 pick, and again for the third drawing, which will determine the No. 3 pick.
The remaining teams will then receive picks 4-15 based on inverse order of the standings. Any of the 15 teams can win the lottery, but no team can move back more than three spots."
Now you know, so here's the results:
1. New Jersey Devils
2. New York Rangers
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa)
5. Los Angeles Kings
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Anaheim Ducks
10. Vancouver Canucks
11. Philadelphia Flyers
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Florida Panthers
14. Arizona Coyotes
15. Montreal Canadiens
The Panthers landed (lucky) #13. It's a shame they didn't come in higher, but the beauty about the draft is there's great players to grab at any spot and in any round. For example, I always think of one of my favorite modern-day players, Jamie Benn - he was drafted in the fifth round (129th overall) and he's an absolute beast/great player for Dallas. He wears the "C" for a reason.
So...Florida has a very realistic chance to grab a solid guy with their pick.
I think we all know their focus should be on a legit blueliner. In fact, NHL.com experts (Kimelman, Morreale and Lepage) share their insight in a little mock draft
that lays out who they think could fall to the Panthers; of course, it all depends on how the draft goes, but it's good to see that even NHL brass has them looking at two defensmen:
"Kimelman -- Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE): The left-shot defenseman is an elite skater who has shown he can more than hold his own against older, more developed competition in the Swedish Hockey League. He projects to be a top-four defensemen, maybe as soon as 2020-21. For a Panthers team stocked with young forwards, a top-end puck-moving defenseman like Broberg is the perfect fit.
Morreale -- Spencer Knight, G, USA U-18 (NTDP): The Panthers need solid goalie prospects in their system and the 17-year-old is considered one the best in years. A Boston College recruit, Knight (6'3", 192 lb) rarely is out of position, has great instincts, is efficient in his movements and consistently square to the shooter.
Lepage -- Cameron York, D, USA U-18 (NTDP): With all the attention given to the NTDP U-18 forwards, the defensemen tend to get overlooked. But there are good prospects at the position and the 18-year-old (5-11, 175), a left-handed shot, has been the quarterback of a dominant team and has good offensive potential at the pro level. He's committed to the University of Michigan next season."
It seems Broberg is the more NHL-ready guy. There's some really encouraging things about his size, speed and positioning. I really liked reading that most experts have him projected to be a top four guy on the backend.
Here's some links to other reports about him:
The Hockey Writers
My NHL Draft
The vibe I get regarding Cameron York when reading through different reports is that he's more of a player "in progress." He's a prototypical new-age defenseman that brings an offensive-minded approach, rather than a real strong shutdown game (ehhh...). It sounds like he's improving his game quite a bit with each next step he takes.
So which guy?
If he's still there at #13, I 'd love for the cats to grab Brobeg at this point. Again, we'll have to see where the pieces fall, but he seems like he could be a nice addition/upgrade to the blue line. He seems like he would be a Q guy, too, which could help his odds.
Speaking of which...I'll be back with a little blog looking at the current roster and breaking down who I think are "Q guys" and who might not be. Just a little something for fun...