Some suggest that losing the lottery means that the Blue Jackets now no longer will have OHL phenom Nail Yakupov, and that's possible. But not having the inside track on the number one prospect in this year's draft doesn't mean that the team is lost. And, honestly, I'm not crestfallen at the notion of not getting a given player.
You see, the top of the NHL draft is a crap shoot. You have imperfect people trying their best to determine which child - one who won't be allowed to drink in the U.S. for two to three years - is best suited to solve the immediate problems of a team that probably has countless immediate problems. The likelihood of a drafted rookie having a meaningful impact on their new team, even when they are drafted first overall, is slim. So I'm just not upset over that part of it.
What has me upset stems from a quote that CBJ general manager Scott Howson said before leaving for Toronto, one where he suggested that winning the lottery offered the Blue Jackets control of the draft. Now, that's something which I think would be worth having. When you have the first pick, all roads run through your town. Trades run through you. Teams have to wait to see what you do. And when you have Rick Nash already stickered for the off-season garage sale, being able to dangle the number one pick as well for six weeks makes for a tantalizing combination.
|Why? Why, hockey gods?|
What has Columbus done to offend you?
The Blue Jackets now have to be infinitely flexible, because the hockey world will be hanging on the Oilers' every utterance. Had the CBJ won the first pick, none of this crap would enter the equation.
Then there's the Edmonton part. I absolutely understand the NHL's not wanting to reward failure by giving the worst team in the league only a 48.2 percent chance at winning the first overall pick. That's less than 50-50 odds, and I agree with the philosophy behind it. But what happens when a team is so inept as to keep putting themselves into top lottery position?
This will be the third straight season where the Oilers are picking first. Why doesn't the NHL draft lottery stipulate that, in addition to keeping the top team odds at 48.2 percent, no team can win the lottery more than, say, once every five years regardless of their position? I don't have the whole idea thought through, but it just seems counter to the philosophy of the lottery concept to keep handing the Oilers the top draft pick on a silver platter...only to see them screw up yet another season.
Heck with it. I'm bitter. After all the crap I as a Blue Jackets fan went through this season, I wanted the solace in knowing that at least it put my team in the catbird seat this draft season. Now, I won't even get that.
No way but the hard way. Again. And again. And again.