Mar 31, 2010, 12:55 PM EST
It’s been a year of reverse-milestones for the Edmonton Oilers, with such anti-accomplishments as becoming the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. In failing to achieve, though, at least they were so “committed to that goal” that they now are guaranteed one of the top two spots in the upcoming entry draft.
Barring some kind of NHL combine shakeup or other scouting catastrophe, that means that the team will likely get to choose one of the much-ballyhooed Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin. The Edmonton Journal explains what clinching the league’s lowest record means in terms of its draft impact.
Edmonton can’t catch Toronto or anybody else, which means they will have a 48.2-per-cent shot at getting first pick in the June entry draft.
The second-worst team has an 18.8-per-cent chance to win the lottery, so the Oilers’ odds of getting the correct bingo ball is substantial.
The Oilers can only fall to No. 2 — even if somebody else wins the lottery at the draw in New York. They will get either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, the top prospects who face off in Round 2 of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs starting on Thursday night in Windsor.
If it makes the beaten down Oilers fans out there feel better, I think that the team has some reasons for optimism.
For one thing, the team has some interesting prospects. Obviously, the Oilers will add a blue chip talent in Seguin or Hall. If you watched the World Junior Championships, Jordan Eberle had to stand out as an impressive playmaker for silver medal winner Team Canada. That’s not a bad start, right?
While Nikolai Khabibulin isn’t getting any younger, the team has been incredibly unlucky with injuries this season. Surely the team will be stronger if their best winger Ales Hemsky can rebound from an injury that ended his season. Dustin Penner also seems like he’s justifying some of the headaches that came with signing him to a controversial offer sheet. And, naturally, there’s always the dream of adding aging star Jaromir Jagr now that his KHL contract is set to expire.
Don’t get me wrong, the Oilers are still “in the woods.” Yet for a fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer about since Chris Pronger left for the Ducks, at least there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
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