The NHL Season Ending Early Benefits the Devils

It is unknown when the next time the Prudential Center will see occupants. (Photo by: New Jersey Devils)

Introduction

We here at Devils Army Blog hope this article catches everyone safe and more importantly, healthy! Given these recent unique circumstances, the sports world has been turned upside down. Almost every sport in the world has been suspended, postponed, or canceled. This article is here to explain although not having the NHL to watch may be tough, a cancellation of the remainder of the season would benefit the New Jersey Devils — from a draft perspective — greatly.

The Current Circumstance

Recent rumors are making it seem exceedingly likely the remainder of the 2019-20 NHL season is not going to continue. Especially given the fact two Ottawa Senators’ players have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the past week. If the season is ultimately canceled, this makes you wonder how they would handle the order for the upcoming draft and conditions on certain draft selections. 

To speculate, the most reasonable and realistic way the NHL handles this situation is by determining the draft order, and subsequent conditions surrounding picks by the current league standings. Specifically, based on point percentage, as each team has different games played. This, of course, if it gets to the point where the NHL cancels the rest of the season.

If the Season Ended Today…

The Devils can own up to three first-round selections in this upcoming draft. Given how deep this draft is supposed to be, the more the merrier. If the NHL cancels the remainder of the season and then implements the process in determining the draft order I mentioned above, the Devils would be thrilled. 

They own their first-round pick and have each of the Canucks and Coyotes first-round picks (each subject to conditions). The condition on the Coyotes pick is simple: if the Coyotes win the lottery (select anywhere between picks one through three) the Devils would receive the Coyotes’ 2021 selection instead. The condition on the Canucks pick is also relatively simple. If they do not make the playoffs, the Devils receive their 2021 first-round pick instead of this year’s. 

The current landscape of the standings is as perfect as it gets for the Devils. The Canucks sit at 17th in the league, which qualifies them in a “playoff position,” so the Devils would receive that pick. The Coyotes currently sit at 10th, and as long as they do not win the lottery the Devils would receive this pick as well. Lastly, the Devils themselves sit at sixth.

The above snapshot is courtesy of tankathon.com. It shows what the current draft order would be if the season were to end right now.

If the NHL ended the season and awarded the draft order while abiding by picks’ conditions based on the current standings (point percentage), the Devils would own the sixth, 10th (if Coyotes do not win the lottery), and 17th selections in the upcoming draft.

Conclusion

Given what is happening in the world, although many may not like it, it seems exceedingly likely we are going to see cancellations of already suspended seasons. This, of course, would be no different for the NHL. Although this would mean no more hockey, it would benefit Jersey’s team – from a draft perspective – immensely. And this crop of high-quality talent in the first round of the 2020 Entry Draft would help a team that is in need of more special, young talent.

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