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Islanders: Finding fair solution for draft lottery if 2019-20 is cancelled

NEW YORK - JULY 22: The National Hockey League draft balls are checked prior to the lottery at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers on July 22, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI)
NEW YORK - JULY 22: The National Hockey League draft balls are checked prior to the lottery at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers on July 22, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI) /
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New York Islanders could lose their chance at Alexis Lafreniere if 2019-20 is canceled.

With Team E winning the first overall pick at the first 2020 draft lottery, teams in the play-in round, like the New York Islanders, find themselves with a great consolation prize for missing on the playoffs: a chance at Alexis Lafreniere.

Just in case you missed it; with a 2.5 percent chance at the first overall pick, a placeholder team (Team E) won the first-overall pick in 2020. With the new lottery structure, a second draft lottery will take place where all play-in round losers will get an even 12.5 percent chance to win the first-overall pick.

But if the 19-20 season just can’t go on, that chance may go away for the New York Islanders.

Just on the Outside

On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted that if the 19-20 season is canceled only the bottom, eight teams, in the play-in round (based on points percentage) would have a chance at the first-overall pick in 2020.

That list would exclude the New York Islanders who the second wild-card team in the Eastern Conference base on points-percentage. That means the following teams make the cut:

  • Montreal Canadiens: 0.500
  • Chicago Blackhawks: 0.514
  • Arizona Coyotes: 0.529
  • Minnesota Wild: 0.558
  • Winnipeg Jets: 0.563
  • New York Rangers: 0.564
  • Florida Panthers: 0.565
  • Columbus Blue Jackets: 0.579

Yes, the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Nashville Predators are in the play-in rounds and have a lower points percentage than the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Florida Panthers (Nashville is tied with Florida). But all three are in a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Vancouver is the third-ranked team in the Pacific Division, Nashville is the first Western Conference wild-card and Calgary is the second Western Conference wild-card based on points percentage.

With a 0.588 point percentage, the Isles are the second wild-card team in the Eastern Conference and thus wouldn’t get a chance at Alexis Lafreniere, assuming the NHL cancels that season of course. Something the NHL doesn’t plan on doing.

But if that happens I agree with this suggestion that the four wild-card teams in both Conferences should still get a shot at the pick.

After all, if the point of the draft is to allow lower-ranked teams to pick the best players first it doesn’t seem fair that the Columbus Blue Jackets would get a chance at Alexis Lafreniere while the Calgary Flames who hold a lower points-percentage wouldn’t have a chance.

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Now, to be fair, I’m using Calgary’s predicament to the benefit of the Islanders. But if the NHL is looking for a fair or equitable solution, the bottom eight (excluding the seven already eliminated) and the four wild-card teams make sense. If that happens to benefit the Isles then so be it, right?

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