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Lots of Prospects, But With No NHL Season, What Kind of Draft Will We See

by Bill Placzek on Nov. 1, 2012

Teams picking in the top twenty in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft are about to get great additions…and the rest of the first round also provides great potential.

This draft keeps on blossoming with new outstanding future players more than any in recent memory. Besides the top two players who may have locked their draft slots, there are a couple who in other years, might have wrestled away those top slots from the other contenders. Moreover the top 15 plus are filled with combinations of size, grit, scoring and potential, dwarfing 2012 and the drafts before.

But the potential keeps going far into second round, and I think I can go out on a limb and say some team(s) are going to draft third rounders who will eventually out-perform many of the first round selections from their recent drafts.

Where 2011 and 2012 showed thickness of potential far into the 90's, 2012 shows girth well past that! The combination of intriguing lesser knowns and undrafted first, second, and third year eligibles might prove to make this a very special draft.

The biggest question might be when the draft takes place, will it be one whose order is determined by 2012-13 league and playoff standings, chance lottery, or some combination weighed upon by past season performances, if the entire season is scraped.

If you recall the last 2005-2006 NHL lockout occurred just prior to the draft year of the "next one" Sydney Crosby.

The teams didn't play an entire season, so a worst team couldn't be decided by schedule results.

The plan that the league came to agreement on was one in which all teams would be assigned 1 to 3 balls based on their playoff appearances and first overall draft picks from the past three years. Four teams (Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins) got three lottery balls, ten teams (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes) got two balls, and sixteen teams (Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals) got one ball.

All teams balls were combined and selected one after another until all 30 teams had their slots, none based on schedule or weight, but simply by luck of the lottery.

Balls or not, luck played highly into the odds, because after three balls Pittsburgh won the main prize, " two ball teams" occupied the 2-4 slots, with "one ball" Montreal, drafting Carey Price fifth overall, and the other "three ball" teams in need of high drafts not selecting until sixth (Columbus), twelfth (New York Rangers) and thirteenth (Buffalo) respectively.

Moreover, the selection worked its way up to 30 as usual; then instead of repeating the order as in past years, the draft "snaked" back down to the team with the first pick. In other words, the team with the first pick overall would not pick again until the 60th pick. The team with the 30th pick would also get the 31st pick, similar to many fantasy league drafts.

I am not sure if the snaking idea was done so that the lower teams could get a quicker chance at the later guys or if it was to make sure the winner and early selecting teams didn't get a second chance to draft before everyone else went twice.

Who besides Pittsburgh were winners in this draft? Did any team strike gold twice in the first two rounds?

My opinion is only four teams were able to get NHLers in those first two rounds. Vancouver's slots yielded the late Luc Bourdan and Mason Raymond, Phoenix two slots would have gotten them both Martin Hanzel and Paul Stastny had they not traded that second rounder, Dallas picks brought them Matt Niskanen in the first and James Neal in the second, and Detroit gained two serviceable players in Jakub Kindl and Justin Abdelkader.

By the way, the real winners of the 2005 Draft were Los Angeles Kings who had Anze Kopitar fall to them at 11th overall plus goaltender Jonathan Quick (72nd over all in the 3rd round) and Pittsburgh who were gifted Crosby and Kris Letang with the first pick in the third round. The Phoenix draft slots had Martin Hanzel, Paul Stastny, and Keith Yandle (108th overall) selected in them, but not all by the Coyotes. And it has to be said that this was prior to the rule changes that made way for undersized skilled defenders like Letang, which may have been the reason for his availability.

Will this sort of draft be established if we are unable to see a season of NHL hockey?

No one will even venture to guess what sort of draft will be created.

The one thing I feel very certain about is that no matter what way the draft is set up, there is a plethora of prospect talent available in this 2013 group, so much more than 2005 offered. No team will be left short-changed with this many apples in the barrel to be shot at.

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