Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Does 18.8% Sound? UPDATE: Lecavalier Done for the Season

With the season winding down and the final standings coming into focus, it's becoming increasingly apparent to me that the Islanders will not be finishing in the basement. With the league as a whole on an upswing with roughly 20 teams vying for a combination of playoff spots, home-ice advantage and the President's Trophy, this season can easily be ranked as one of, it not the best since the work stoppage. The Islanders, however, are in a bitter battle of their own as the curtain closes on the 2008-2009 campaign.

Since Christmas, Islanders fans have been itching at a shot for either John Tavares or Victor Hedman. It was almost a foregone conclusion that the Islanders would be a lock to finish dead last in this 30 team league. Not so fast. Enter the Colorado Avalanche. If you want to talk about a sad story in this league, you can't find many that would best the pitfalls the Avalanche have endured this year other than the Islanders, of course.

Even with NHL "stars" Ryan Smyth, Milan Hejduk, Paul Stasny, John-Michael Liles and Adam Foote, the Avalanche have managed a paltry 64 points overall. As the Islanders have, the Avalanche also have been racked with injuries (The Islanders have a clear lead in Total Man Games Lost with well over 500 this season). The goaltending duo of Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft have played so poorly this year that they both rank in the bottom five of most goaltending stats. The head coach, Tony Granato, has been on the hot seat for most of the season and probably will see his tenure end as quickly as the final buzzer. Suffice it to say, it's been an absolute mess.

With their loss last night to Phoenix, 3-0, it has become clear to this blogger that the "lead" the Islanders had to secure the last overall spot is in serious danger (the Isles have 59 points). The boys have been playing well the second half of the season and I wouldn't be totally surprised if they ended up in 29th when all is said and done. What does this mean when April 14th rolls around and the Draft Lottery is conducted? Well, a few things. Let's review.

I've been saying this all year; if the Islanders were unlucky enough to secure 30th place they would likely get bumped down to 2nd overall in the Draft anyway. It's been a trend ever since the Draft Lottery was instituted in 1995 where only 4 teams have retained the 1st overall pick.

See the tables below courtesy of

Results of Previous Draft Drawings

Year SelectedEffect On Draft OrderPlayer Selected
Los AngelesMoved from 7th to 3rdD Aki Berg
1996OttawaRetained 1st selectionD Chris Phillips
1997BostonRetained 1st selectionC Joe Thornton
1998Tampa BayMoved from 3rd to 1st via tradesC Vincent Lecavalier
1999ChicagoMoved from 8th to 4thRW Pavel Brendl*
2000NY IslandersMoved from 5th to 1stG Rick DiPietro
2001AtlantaMoved from 3rd to 1stLW Ilya Kovalchuk
2002FloridaMoved from 3rd to 1stLW Rick Nash**
2003FloridaMoved from 4th to 1stG Marc-Andre Fleury***
2004WashingtonMoved from 3rd to 1stLW Alex Ovechkin
2005PittsburghN/AC Sidney Crosby
2006St. LouisRetained 1st selectionD Erik Johnson
2007ChicagoMoved from 5th to 1stRW Patrick Kane
2008Tampa BayRetained 1st selectionC Steven Stamkos****

* NY Rangers obtained Chicago's pick in a trade (via Vancouver and Tampa Bay). The Rangers selected RW Pavel Brendl fourth overall.

** Columbus obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Blue Jackets selected LW Rick Nash first overall.

*** Pittsburgh obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Penguins selected G Marc-Andre Fleury first overall.

****At the time the table was created the 2008 NHL Entry Draft had not yet occurred.

Now this doesn't mean that I believe if the Islanders finish 29th or 30th, that they won't get lucky and move up or retain the pick but it's certainly not a proven commodity. No team that has finished 2nd to last in the league has EVER selected 1st overall in that draft year. I would be completely surprised if that trend didn't continue this year. And obviously, even though the team that finishes last has a 48.2% chance of retaining the 1st overall, the roughly 21.7% of the time it has happened certainly is not living up to the law of probabilities.

Frankly, Islanders fans need to come to grips with the distinct possibility that the Isles won't even pick in the top 2 in this Draft. You might want to start buying those Matt Duchene jersey's early to get a discount...instead of jumping the gun and getting that Tavares jersey (thanks to Puck Daddy for catching that one).

UPDATE: As per Jon Jordan, former Charter Member of the NYI Blog Box and currently's resident Lightning Blogger, Vinny Lecavalier is having wrist surgery tomorrow, April 3, that will effectively end the star center's season. The Lightning who stand only a point ahead of the Avs with 65, have now effectively joined the "race" to the bottom. This should be an interesting last 2 weeks of the regular season.

(Photos courtesy of The Hockey News (Tavares) and (Duchene), (Hedman) and Puck Daddy (Tavares Jersey Foul))

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Dominik said...

You think? I mean, I agree: The Lightning are in carnage and I'm fully prepared for the "worst" to happen.

At the same time, weird stuff happens this time of year, and I see the Avs pulling out a few more surprise points, while the Isles let us down in some "where did THAT stinker come from?" kind of way.

Five points at the bottom of the standings is big enough for me to at least think about calling my bookie.

Dominik said...

Duh, wow, I meant "Avalanche" -- not Lightning -- are in carnage. Although Tampa Bay is, of course, a tremendous slouch itself. :)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. Great job!!

Doug said...

Thank you very much.

Hey Dom, having a bad day yesterday? LOL :)