Leafs and Oilers Fans Need to Cheer on Caps and Flames

Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

When the Leafs traded Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators a week before the Trade Deadline, part of the compensation was Nashville’s first round pick.

Though adding a second first-rounder is  exciting for a rebuilding team, at the time Nashville was close to first in the NHL Standings and looked to be a good bet to at least make the Conference Finals, meaning that the odds were the pick would be very low.

The Predators stumbled after the trade deadline with both a four game losing streak after they traded with the Leafs, and a six game losing streak to end the season. Then they lost to the Blackhawks in six games in the First Round, as anyone who watched the last month of the season could easily have predicted.

The Penguins suffered a similar fate as the Predators: They traded their first-round pick to the Oilers and then tumbled down the standings, nearly missed the Playoffs and then lost in the first round.

As you may or may not know, the NHL draft selection for teams that make the Playoffs is dependent on Playoff success.  Whoever wins the Stanley Cup drafts 30th and whoever plays against that team in the Finals picks 29th.  The 28th and 27th picks are are decided by whoever plays and loses in the Conference Finals.

The remaining teams are then seeded for picks 15-26 based on Division titles and regular season points.

(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Because the Calgary Flames were the lowest seeded Playoff team, they are scheduled to have the 15th selection in the draft. However, if they beat the Ducks in round two and advance to the Conference Finals, they will draft 27th or lower, and everyone else moves up a spot.

This means that if the Flames beat the Ducks, the Oilers/Penguins pick will become the 15th selection. Based on how their off-season is going so far, you can almost be assured that this will happen!

As for the Leafs pick, it’s slightly more complicated.

Had the top four teams in the NHL standings made the Conference Finals, the Leafs/Predators pick would have been 25th overall.  First, the Predators lost to Chicago, ensuring the pick can’t go any lower than that.  Then, the Blues (fourth overall) lost, and the Canadiens (2nd) and Lightning play each other, ensuring that a team below where Nashville finished (6th) will appear in the Conference Finals and push their pick one spot higher.

That team will be the winner of the Minnesota/ Blackhawks series.

The worst the Leafs can now pick with Nashville’s first-rounder is 24th.

But, there is more good news: If either the Flames or the Capitals win their series, the Leafs pick will become 23rd overall. If both teams win, the pick will become 22nd.

It is all very complicated, but the bottom line is this:

The Oilers were going to pick 16th and can now pick 15th if Calgary wins.

The Leafs were going to pick 25th and now will pick 24th, but can move as high as 22nd, depending on how the Flames and Capitals do.