Monday, 10 September 2012
09/10/12 NHL Lockout and the 2013 Draft
There will be many different consequences if the pending NHL lockout lasts for too long, and one of those will have to be how the draft order is selected. That's probably not a good thing for the Oilers.
Back in the 2004-05 lockout, there was no season to determine the draft order. As a result, the league performed a draft lottery. Each team began with three balls in the lottery, and one was removed for every playoff appearance in the previous three years or first overall selection in the previous four. If the NHL loses the whole 2012-13 season to a lockout, the Oilers would be one of the teams stuck with a single ball.
The Oilers aren't supposed to be picking first overall again in 2013, so it's not as though moving down a few spots is the end of the world. What's more, the Oilers are going to have to stop leaning so heavily on the draft every off season. On the other hand, a situation could arise where Edmonton gets a late pick in the draft without the joy of a successful, winning season.
Hang on. It's not as though it's impossible to find a gem of a player later in the first round *cough*JordanEberle*cough* but it is less likely. First round picks will still be important for the Oilers as they attempt to build some organizational depth. There's a bit of a gap between the young players in the system who are ready for the NHL and the rest of the pack, and that gap could be bridged by a player taken in the top ten in 2013.
And let's face it: if the NHL plays the 2012-13 season, the Oilers are likely to get a pick in the 1-10 range.
So there's yet another reason to hope that we have hockey in 2012-13. At least if the Oilers play they will control their destiny both in the season and the draft, rather than a lottery that will be weighted against them - and rightfully so.