One of the more exciting things in the NHL is the draft. It’s the backbone of every franchise and if you looks at teams that have done well in the draft you’ll probably see that they are consistently one of the better organizations in the league. Draft well, and you have a good chance to sustain long-term success. If you draft poorly it could set you back years.
Well in August of 2014 the NHL announced it was implementing new rules for the draft and how teams would get their slots to pick their future stars. They set it up over a two year phase in plan.
“Phase one” was for the recent 2015 draft, which was just an adjustment of the odds. The lowest 10 teams now have better odds of getting the top pick, while teams 11-14 had their odds reduced to compensate for the adjustment.
“Phase two” goes into effect in the upcoming 2016 draft. Starting with that draft there will be a lottery for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall picks. Previously the team with the worst record could get no lower than 2nd. In 2016 the team with the worst record could lose out on all three lottery slots and end up picking 4th. Odds adjust as teams are drawn based on what team wins each lottery slot.
What makes this interesting for Bruins fans was mentioned in an article written by Larry Fisher of The Hockey Writers. In his article he predicts the standings for the upcoming season. The Bruins own two first round picks for next year; their own and the Sharks pick (via Martin Jones trade).
What could this mean for the Bruins if that were to happen? Larry Fisher had both the Bruins and Sharks out of the playoffs. If that were to happen it’d validate how good of a job Bruins GM Don Sweeney did with the Martin Jones trade. Because of the new draft rules teams might start protecting their first round picks. The pick from the Sharks is not protected and the Sharks aren’t exactly expected to be world beaters this year. There is no question that pick is in play to be a lottery pick for Boston.
If the Bruins and the Sharks do not make the playoffs, in theory, the Bruins could have 2 of the first 3 picks in the 2016 draft because of the new draft rule changes. The other alternative is that both teams make the playoffs and the Bruins now have two late 1st round picks.
Maybe I am a homer, but I just cannot imagine the Bruins not being in the playoffs two years in a row, so Bruins fans need to hope for the Sharks to suck this year. And I think they will suck. If the Bruins and the Sharks do not make the playoffs the silver lining would be the Bruins could have a chance at Auston Matthews, or even Matthew Tkachuk (son of former NHL star Keith Tkachuk). We all know building through the draft is how it’s done in the salary cap era NHL.