A Nightmare On Bay Street

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This nightmare doesn't involve a serial killer that gets you in your dreams, but it's one that has haunted Leaf fans all season long, both awake and sleeping. As if the season itself wasn't already a nightmare, tonight the Leafs and their fans will finally know whether or not this bad situation will either remain as is, turn into the worst case scenario, or possibly provide a little relief. Tonight could have been exciting for Leaf fans, instead it has turned into unbearable pain.

The Leafs have an 18.8% chance of winning the draft lottery tonight, effectively handing over the 1st overall pick to the Boston Bruins as a result of the Phil Kessel trade before the start of the season. With that said, remaining where they are also does not look good on the Leafs, as we all know by now that both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are looking like franchise players.

But with all that said, there is still a glimmer of hope tonight that the 1st round pick they traded away to the Boston Bruins won't be a top two pick. There is a chance that the Leafs can be pushed back into the 3rd spot. With that said, Cam Fowler, the stud American defenseman, looks like he is going to be an impact player in this league. However, that pill wouldn't be as tough to swallow given the Leafs defensive situations. The Leafs have a pretty solid core of defenders now with the addition of Dion Phaneuf. There are also an abundance of defensive prospects in the Leafs system. If you asked me today if I would be okay with trading Cam Fowler for Phil Kessel, I would undoubtedly say yes.

Don't forget that the draft lottery includes every team that missed the playoffs, not just the bottom five teams. Given the rule that the winning team can only move up four spots in the draft and the lower probabilities of winning after the bottom five, there really isn't much focus put on teams not in the bottom five.

So What does that mean for the Leafs? It means that there is a chance for four teams to leapfrog them at the draft, not just three. There is a 14.2% that the Panthers will win the lottery, 10.7% chance that the Blue Jackets will win and an 8.1% chance that the Islanders will win. Those teams can win the lottery and move into the 1st overall spot, pushing the Oilers to the 2nd spot and then the Leafs' pick to the third spot. But there is also a 6.2% chance that the Lightning will win the lottery, which would move them into the 2nd spot and still push the Leafs back into the third spot.

Some of you will say, Patrick the odds of this happening are very slim. That isn't true at all. In fact the odds that a team other than the Leafs and Oilers will win the draft lottery are actually 56.2%. People mistaken the last place team as having a 48.2% chance of winning the lottery, which is not true. The last place team only has a 25% chance of winning the lottery, but given the rule that teams can only move up four spots in the draft, the last place team has a 48.2% chance of retaining the first overall pick.

As for the Leafs, there is a 39.2% chance that they will pick 3rd overall. It's not that good, but it's decent. But my advice to Leaf fans is to just be prepared for the worst.

Enjoy the lottery! if you can.

Patrick Storto