It was a dark day in the NHL on Friday as five teams were eliminated from playoff contention and, barring a miraculous last-minute comeback by the Toronto Maple Leafs, it could have been six-for-six. While the focus on these pivotal games yesterday was on those teams advancing and those team going home, there were also numerous draft picks impacted:
- In addition to yesterday’s winners, it was also a big day for the New Jersey Devils. In a year in which the draft class is lauded for its depth, particularly in impact forwards, the Devils are now the proud owners of three first-round picks. New Jersey acquired Arizona’s first-rounder in the Taylor Hall trade and Vancouver’s first-rounder from Tampa Bay in the Blake Coleman However, both picks were lottery protected. Now that the Coyotes and Canucks have advanced, they will not take part in Monday’s second draft lottery to determine the No. 1 pick and as a result their picks have officially been sent to the Devils.
- The Ottawa Senators will also have three picks in the first round of the 2020 Draft. Already owners of their own pick and San Jose’s, the Senators officially acquired the New York Islanders’ pick yesterday. The Isles had sent a lottery-protected first-rounder to Ottawa in the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade, but with New York moving one they will not be in the running for a lottery pick. There is also a conditional 2020 second-round pick involved in that deal which will transfer to the Senators if the Islanders win the Stanley Cup. That dream for now remains alive for New York.
- The clock is ticking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first-round pick that the team sent to the Minnesota Wild in the Jason Zucker trade contained a condition that the Penguins could keep the pick if it landed in the top 15. Now that the team has been surprisingly knocked out of the postseason, their first-rounder will fall in that range. They now have seven days to decided whether or not to retain the pick and send their 2021 first-round pick instead or to simply trade their 2020 selection. Obviously, the team will wait for the results of Monday night’s lottery, but regardless it seems likely that the Penguins will keep the pick and bet on themselves to make the playoffs next season.
- One first-round pick that still remains undecided is the pick that will transfer to the New York Rangers as part of the Brady Skjei When the Carolina Hurricanes acquired Skjei, they promised the Rangers the later of their two first-rounders, their own and the Toronto Maple Leafs’, acquired alongside Patrick Marleau. However, the Toronto pick has conditions of its own; if the Leafs pick lands in the top 10, they will retain the selection and transfer their 2021 first-rounder instead. The only way for this to occur would be for Toronto to both lose Game Five against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday and then win the No. 1 overall pick in Monday’s draft lottery. If the Maple Leafs lose both the game and the lottery, their pick will be No. 13 and by default will be earlier than Carolina’s, meaning the Hurricanes’ own pick will go to the Rangers. Should Toronto win on Sunday, it will remain to be seen how far each team goes in the playoffs and which pick will head to New York.