After a better 2012-13 season where the Isles made the playoffs, they sank right back down the standings in 2013-14 with a 34-37-11 record (79 points).
Four other teams had a worse season than they did. Calgary (77pts), Edmonton (67pts), Florida (66pts), and Buffalo (52 pts).
In 2014, all 14 non-playoff teams could win the first overall pick and not just move up a maximum of four spots. Well, 13 teams really. Because of their Ilya Kovalchuk shenanigans, the New Jersey Devils couldn’t win the draft. If they did, there would be a re-draft.
The odds of winning were still the same, so as the fifth-worst team in the league the Isles chances of picking first was at 8.1 percent.
With the second-best odds, the Florida Panthers moved up a spot and drafted Aaron Ekblad. The Isles drafted a ton of defensemen between 2012 and 2013 (nine to be exact). Had they won they likely would have selected a forward.
Sam Bennett was the top-ranked North American forward with Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl being the next two.
As we know, the Isles picked fifth and took Michael Dal Colle. Just about every single forward drafted in the 2014 first round has had a better go in the NHL than Dal Colle has.
The only forwards who have fewer NHL games from that 2014 first-round are Connor Bleackley (0 games), Nikita Scherback (37 games), John Quenneville (42 games), and fellow Isles pick Josh Ho-Sang (53 games).
Modern draft lottery:
Winner – 1st, 12th, 6th
The Isles move back again here, this time picking seventh. That would net them Haydn Fleury (selected seventh by the Carolina Hurricanes). You could make the argument they take William Nylander (8th overall) or maybe even Nikolaj Ehlers (9th overall) but in keeping with the other hypothetical drafts, Fleury is the Isles pick.
He’s a fine player with 132 NHL games and certainly better than Michael Dal Colle, but getting Nylander or Ehlers would be incredible.