So you’re a a fantastic hockey player and it’s your draft year. Congratulations. There’s a pretty good chance you’re going to end up rich, and you’ll also probably track down a little notoriety and perhaps an interested member of the opposite sex. You’re also going to be playing on a hockey team that was very, very bad last season.
That’s okay because you’ll probably make the team, but it’s safe to say that you’ll get over that in a hurry, and the realization that you’re on a garbage team unwilling to spend any money and give you good linemates and this city sucks and AAAAAHHHHH.
You’ll be spoiled quick.
So what’s the best-case scenario? Well, essentially, the best case scenario is that some good team is willing to trade a talented player that another team wants bad enough to trade their first round pick, then that team fails even with their new, talented player, then the good team gets a top pick, then TYLER SEGUIN GOES NUMBER TWO OVERALL TO THE BOSTON BRUINS AND WINS THE CUP THE NEXT YEAR.
That’s…that’s pretty much as good as it gets.
More likely, you’ll end up as Rick Nash in Columbus or Ilya Kovalchuk in Atlanta or John Tavares in New York (things are better right now folks, I know, calm down), languishing in last while earning some personal acclaim.
So if you’re looking at the remaining 15-20% of the NHL schedule, which this season happens to be about eight games, what are you rooting for? Seth Jones, Nate MacKinnon, even Jonathan Drouin…what’s your best case scenario, gents?
I can’t speak for them, and frankly, they wouldn’t speak for themselves anyway (in case they end up somewhere they trashed), so let’s get to it…here’s what I’m rooting for if I’m them.
If you’re not in dire need of attentions or wins – which is to say, you’re okay with just living a good life, which is also to say, you’re probably not the most sought after prospect in the world (GOTTA HAVE THAT PASSION) – you could do worse than being drafted by Florida.
If they end up with the first overall pick and take you, you can make a bunch of money, live somewhere with great winter weather, make the team, and be an NHLer. It sort of feels like a place you go and disappear (can you imagine if Huberdeau or Gudbranson were on a Canadian team?), but…so? That would’ve suited me just fine. There’s some decent young players there, and I give more credit to Tallon than most, so you could do worse.
Also, shout-out to Edmonton. They’re not realistically in the mix for the top pick, but if I’m a young kid and I see what they’re building, to hell with the winter weather, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Especially if I were Seth Jones and knew I’d get to play a ton, with the offense already blossoming in front. But let’s get more realistic.
#3 Tampa Bay
Tampa’s only four points up on the illustrious spot of dead last, so it’s not impossible to think they could get the top pick. For me, there’s a lot to like about Tampa: you get to play with Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. You get to live in a place with great winter weather. You’ve got good sweaters, when compared to the other team in Florida. Steve Yzerman is at the helm, and you know he’s someone who’s competitive and takes pride in what he does, so the team won’t just happily plug along while losing.
Tampa? I’m in.
I kind of like this option a lot for a young stud. There are some long-term, high quality pieces in place with Eric and Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner and others, Carolina isn’t some miserable winter place to live, the team has obviously flipped the switch to trying to win (even though they’ve failed at it), and the lineup doesn’t seem impossible to crack. I just feel like I can see this team being really competitive in the East for awhile.
Lose, lose, lose, lose, lose. That’s what I’m hoping for down the stretch. Talk about not being willing to languish in last, this team is constantly in “go for it” mode. They’ve underachieved badly this year, so you just know with the addition of yourself, the excellent player that you are, and whatever other moves they make this summer, you could immediately be a contender for home ice in the East.
Philadelphia is a cool-ass city, and its fans are as passionate as anywhere. As much as I sang the praises of the non-limelight places, man it’d be fun to see Philly tank, and get thrown into the fire Seguin-style (okay, that’s hyperbole, but still) come next NHL season.
Down the stretch I become a fan of…
At a glance, playing for the Avalanche would be swell. Denver is an cool city, one of my favourites in North America. Good winter weather – not the beach type obviously, but sunny, snowy, and not miserably cold. They have some legitimate young talent. The team has a history of success. But then…
Dun dun DUHHHHHHH
They’re a mess. It’s a top-down problem there, from the owners and trickling down, and it doesn’t feel like they’re going to win for awhile. That young core looks a lot less appealing if Ryan O’Reilly suddenly gets shipped out, which I’d wager he does. It feels like Stastny is going to be moving. I’m not entirely serious when I make jersey barbs, but those things are atrocious. It’s just a toxic environment there. It could be worse, but given the chance, I’m passing on the Avs.
# 1 Calgary
It’s sad, because we’ve seen that Calgary can be a great hockey city, and in fact, it is a great city when it’s not The Coldest Place on Earth, but come on…you don’t want to get stuck in that smouldering post-apocalyptic wasteland of an organization. Sorry, sorry, that’s harsh, but there’s not a whole lot to believe in right now. They traded away the players you may have wanted to play with. The future is bleak, save for YOU, who people will be leaning on. That damn “C”-crest (hey, Ryan C-crest) on the red jersey is…black? It’s not a great place in the winter. You’ve seen Jay Feaster’s moves so far, and don’t have hope that the situation is going to improve.
I am buying a jersey and a foam finger for the Flames down the stretch.