With no end in sight to the NHL Labour stoppage, you might want to start looking back and remembering what happened coming out of the last lockout in terms of the NHL Entry draft.
With no results or standings with which to create a normal draft board, there was a need to establish a draft order for the 2005 draft. All teams had a chance to pick first, and the Pittsburgh Penguins cashed in perhaps the greatest lottery ticket in NHL history when they won the right to make the first selection in the draft.
The prize: Sidney Crosby. One year after they selected Evgeni Malkin second overall, they added to the bounty of young talent with perhaps the greatest player to come along in his generation.
Looking ahead and dreaming of the Senators perhaps getting the first overall pick in 2013 by winning a similar draft lottery. The first pick might not be as cut and dry as it was in 2005, but whoever lucks into the top couple of picks will be getting a surefire stud. Nathan MacKinnon has wowed scouts with his offensive upside interest Quebec League while Seth Jones has been a dominant blueliner who has been making the transition to the WHL. Add to that pair this year’s rising star (and MacKinnon’s linemate) Jonathan Drouin, Ottawa 67’s star Sean Monahan and there are a lot of North American prospects that will have scouts flocking to junior arenas.
If the Senators could land one of those 4 players to add to their systemic young talent it would obviously be a boost and although perhaps not Crosby-esque in terms of impact, could push a contending team over the edge in the coming seasons.
Imagine if the Oilers could somehow win that draft lottery? Adding Jones to the blue line along with Justin Schultz, or MacKinnon to an already stacked young forward group would almost guarantee a Cup within 5 years (as long as they could find a goalie).
This is all just a dream scenario, and hopefully it would never come to pass because a deal gets done and we get hockey soon.
But it’s still fun to imagine the “what ifs”.