The draft lottery process has been strange, but at least it favours the New York Islanders.
The Islanders gave up their first-round pick this year in the trade for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, however, it is top-three protected. So if the Islanders were to lose against the Florida Panthers in the qualifying round, they would have a 12.5 per cent chance of getting Alexis Lafreniere.
Personally, I think the Islanders’ chances against the Panthers are quite high and there’s a good probability that we won’t even need to worry about holding out hope for the first-overall pick. But it is at least nice to know that if the Islanders don’t make it out of the qualifying round, there could be a reward. Alexis Lafreniere is pretty much exactly what the Islanders need to move into contender status and he’d be a game-changer for the franchise.
That said, it is just a 12.5 per cent chance. Worst-case scenario is obviously the Islanders getting knocked out by the Panthers, not winning the lottery and then having to forfeit a top-15 pick to the Senators.
It’s certainly nice to look back and see that Lou Lamoriello put the top-three protection on the pick in the first place. At the time, we were pretty confident that the Islanders would be a playoff team, so it seemed like a fairly minor bonus. However, with the uncertainty of how players will perform when they return after months off, anything can happen in the playoffs this year and it would have been a massive loss for New York to win the first-overall pick, then have to send it over to Ottawa.
Like I said though, hopefully it doesn’t come to hoping for a lottery pick. The Islanders have a strong team and are certainly the favourite against the Panthers. At the end of the day, a deep playoff run would be better than a 12.5 per cent chance at the top pick in the draft and hopefully, that’s how things go for the Islanders.
***NOTE: We've launched a HockeyBuzz Islanders Twitter account! For anyone interested, you can follow @HB_Islanders for updates on articles, Islanders news, etc. We're starting right from scratch, so any followers would be appreciated!***
Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):