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Islanders draft lottery chaos: Few bad ways to end the 2019-20 season

Alexis Lafreniere #11 of the Rimouski Oceanic (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)
Alexis Lafreniere #11 of the Rimouski Oceanic (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images) /
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There are few bad ways for the 2019-20 season to end for the New York Islanders.

Friday night was a good night for the 16 teams in the play-in rounds like the New York Islanders. At the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, the first overall pick was pulled by place holder rather than one of the favorite like the Detroit Red Wings (who fell to fourth).

That means the eight loser teams from the play-in rounds will all receive an equal 12.5 percent chance at pulling the right to draft Alexis Lefrenière first overall at a second draft lottery on a date yet to be determined.

It means there are few bad ways for the New York Islanders to end their season.

Cup or ALF (or maybe neither)

First, good options.

Win the Stanley Cup

By the time the 19-20 season restarts, the Islanders will be back to 100 percent health. Guys like Casey Cizikas, Adam Pelech, Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, and Matt Martin will all be game ready. The last time the Isles were healthy they were steamrolling the NHL with a 17-game point streak.

I’m not saying they will win the Stanley Cup because these guys are back, but with a healthy squad, the Isles are in a good place to make a run for the Cup.

Draft First Overall

The Islanders could lose to the Florida Panthers in the play-in round. If so, the Isles and the other seven play-in round losers, get a 12.5 percent chance to win the first-overall pick in 2020.

I can’t understate how massively transformative drafting Alexis Lafrenière would be for the New York Islanders. He may not be a generational talent like Connor McDavid, but Lafrenière is an elite-level player with elite-level skills. He may not be the next McDavid but he’s not far off.

Make the Playoffs

The Isles could beat the Florida Panthers in the play-in round and make it to the playoffs for back-to-back years (and transfer their 2020 first-round pick to Ottawa in the process).

After the departure of John Tavares, the Isles weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the playoffs let alone make back-to-back appearances. Making it past the play-in round and into the playoffs is an achievement for this franchise even if that means they lose in the first round of the postseason.

Some might say that’s not good enough considering the other options (like winning a Cup or drafting ALF). I chose to look at it another way. Just making the playoffs is a good way to end the year but I get the other side of the argument.

No Cup and No ALF

The only bad way to end the season (in my opinion) is if the Islanders don’t make the playoffs and they don’t win the right to pick Alexis Lafrenière. A 12.5 percent chance is no guarantee to get ALF.

For that to happen the Isles would have to lose the play-in rounds and fail to win the first-overall pick. That means they don’t make the playoffs and that first-round pick in 2020 would go to the Ottawa Senators as part of the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade.

While that’s not a disastrous way to end the season it’s certainly disappointing considering the other possibilities.

See, there are few truly bad ways to end the season for the Islanders.

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