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First Overall Draft Pick, Positive Tests & Return To Play

July 6, 2020, 12:39 PM ET [3 Comments]
Thomas Townsend
Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As you are all aware the draft lottery took place with the Red Wings having absolutely horrible luck and moving out of the top 3. What was determined:

1. Placeholder team
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Ottawa Senators
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Buffalo Sabres

What does this mean? Again, if you have been following along with the NHL, the 'placeholder team' is going to be one of the teams that loses in the play-in round. I guess the NHL is considering that these teams aren't actually playoff teams if they lose in that round. It ultimately means that Columbus still has the opportunity to get the first overall pick.

This has outraged some and excited others. If your team gets swept out of the play-in round(or just loses in 5 games) they still have the opportunity for the #1 overall pick. Seems positive for those that may only get 3 additional games. It's completely unfair to Detroit and others that would much rather be playing in the playoffs. I understand the outrage. On the other hand it has the sports world talking about the NHL. I don't believe this was rigged, but certainly has made things interesting. Chances are the first pick will have impact in the NHL earlier than others in the draft, but could also not be the best of this class. In the event that the #1 pick turns out to be McDavid, Sid or Ovi, the NHL might have some explaining to do.

This may change the way the lottery system is viewed (obviously). Should the NHL go to a simple reverse order, like the NFL. I realize that the lottery is geared to prevent tanking. But in a year when DET was truly the worst team, don't they 'deserve' the #1 pick? That first pick isn't a lock, so there is no guarantee of instant improvement.

One answer is that the lottery percentages could be changed. Giving an almost 'lock' for a team like the Wings in a season like this would be desirable. They certainly shouldn't drop back to #4 in any scenario. There are many opinions on this, but if you are a Detroit fan, you feel the inequity in the current lottery.

Stevie Y has handled the situation with a huge amount of restraint and grace. He could have gone crazy, and that would have been understandable. He obviously isn't happy about this outcome but understands the rules and tempered his response with the quality of a very composed GM who controls emotional outbursts. It will not be long before he has DET back in the playoffs.

As testing has increased among players the positive cases have thus increased as well. It should go without saying that those players should be removed from their team until they are deemed to be healthy. But, what does healthy mean? And who determines it? Team doctors? League officials? I'm completely okay if Austin Matthews is deemed ineligible for the series with Columbus, I joke.

What about players who have spoken out against playing with the threat of COVID-19 still looming, such as Carey Price? Should they be forced to play? I even saw a story that 75% of players don't want to play under these circumstances. If I find that story again I will edit this post and include the link. While the league continues to move forward with plans, such as selecting hub cities and introducing the next faze of players returning, it seems that the players may not be on board yet.

Could this still fall through? I believe it could, but it is still a wait-and-see situation although the league wants you to believe return to play is imminent.

Last question. If return-to-play doesn't happen, what does the league do with the draft lottery?...

Stay healthy, Good Luck and GO JACKETS!
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