Before we get to see the 16 best teams in the National Hockey League fight it out for the Stanley Cup, we get to see which of the not so great teams will pick first in the 2010 NHL draft in June.
Only the five worst teams get a shot at choosing first. These teams, in order, are:
The Edmonton Oilers (48.2 percent chance of selecting first)(25 percent of winning outright)
The Boston Bruins (via the Toronto Maple Leafs) (18.8 percent chance of selecting first)
The Florida Panthers (14.2 percent chance of selecting first)
The Columbus Blue Jackets (10.7 percent chance of selecting first)
The New York Islanders (8.1 percent chance of selecting first)
The past two years, the team with the worst record has retained the first overall pick (New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning). But since 2000, the worst team has only won the lottery three times, and lost it six times (there was no worst team in 2005 due to the lockout).
Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers is ranked first by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, but he is basically dead even with the Windsor Spitfire's Taylor Hall.
Last year's draft was a fairly tough choice. Tavares, Hedman, and even Duchene had a chance of going first overall. But a few years back it seemed like Tavares was the consensus No. 1 and that there would be no second thoughts on drafting Tavares first.
A few years ago, everyone was talking about Hall, but now Seguin has busted onto the scene and whoever picks first overall will have a tough choice.
Tyler or Taylor really is the issue here. These guys will go one and two in the draft, and who ever picks second might just be in the best position. They don't have the choice that could make or break their franchise.
It very well might come down to needs. Hall is insanely fast, and some say has a better release than Tyler, while Seguin is the better two-way player. Seguin is also a Centre and Hall a winger.
Cam Fowler looked to be in the mix, but the Scouting Bureau has dropped him to fourth for North American Skaters, behind Brett Connolly who has a lot of talent, but due to injuries we weren't able to see much of him this season.
If a team really does need a defenseman, they might take a gamble on Fowler, but the safe bet is take the best player available, which in this case is Taylor or Tyler.
We just don't know who is the best. I'm sure if we gave the 30 NHL teams a chance to pick first overall, the amount of teams picking Seguin and the amount of teams picking Hall would be very close.
If Edmonton ends up choosing first overall—watch out for those Bruins next year. Hall on the wing with Savard or Seguin centering the second or third line would be great for the franchise, especially when they have the studly 23-year-old Rask between the pipes, and young players like Bergeron, Krejci, Lucic, Wheeler, and more.
Plus, if the Leafs do this horrible next year, they have that first rounder also.
You can see who will get the honor of choosing first tomorrow at 8 PM EST on TSN, and see who that team chooses live at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft on June 25, also on TSN at 7 PM EST.