The Boston Bruins would do the Canadiens a nice favor by eliminating the Florida Panthers. Even without Patrice Bergeron and now David Krejci, they took a 3-1 lead in their series by winning again on Sunday.
If the Panthers lose in the first or second round of the playoffs, the Panthers’ first-round pick for Ben Chiarot will remain at No. 17.
If Florida manages to make a comeback against Boston, and then advance to the next round, that pick will drop twelve spots, to 29th place, since the four teams in the playoff semi-finals get the final picks of each round of the repechage.
The Canadiens, for example, were expected to draft 16th overall in 2021, by virtue of their overall standings. But he got the 31st and penultimate pick of the first round and the next six because of his appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Montreal chose defender Logan Mailloux at this rank.
There was a moment during the winter when Canadiens fans dreamed of seeing the Panthers’ choice give them a chance to win the lottery. At one point in the season, that pick was in the top ten.
But the CH will not spit on a choice located in 17th place, especially for a rental player like Chiarot, who was no longer in the plans of the Canadian, now in reconstruction, and whose experience in Florida was short-lived.
There is obviously always a way to find pearls at the end of the first round. But the success rate is significantly higher in the top twenty.
Let’s take four recent random drafts, between 2017 and 2014, and look at the picks between 17th and 20th, and then 28th and 31st.
Out of sixteen players drafted between the 17th and 20th, there were nine attacking trio players or top four in defense, for a success rate of 56%, against only two, Adrian Kempe and Henri Jokiharju for the choices between the 27th and 30th, for a rate of only 12.5%.
We didn’t list Anthony Beauvillier in the offensive line forward category since he hasn’t had a season of more than 40 points in his career, but he could become one if he continues his streak since his acquisition. by the Canucks (20 points in 33 games).
Eeli Tolvanen is doing well on a third line in Seattle after being off waivers over the winter (27 points, including 16 goals, in 48 games), but he’ll need to keep up the pace for a few seasons before be considered a top striker.
So there is a way to find dominant players between 17th and 20th rank. Robert Thomas is a number one center in St. Louis. He’s been producing at a rate of 80 points per season over a full year for the past two years.
Josh Norris was Ottawa’s No. 1 center at the start of the season before being injured, producing 55 points in 66 games at just 22 years old the previous year.
Joel Eriksson-Ek was slow to blossom in Minnesota, but he finally achieved the same status at age 26. He is coming off a 61-point season and has been his club’s most-used center.
Alex Tuch also developed late. He even changed teams twice. He just had 79 points, including 36 goals, in just 74 games at Buffalo.
Kyle Connor has been one of the NHL’s top scorers for a few years and Thomas Chabot has been established for several seasons as the Senators’ number one defenseman.
For a Brady Skjei (28th) in 2012, there are also Tomas Hertl (17th), Teuvo Teravainen (18th) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (19th).
If he makes a wise choice, the Canadian could get his hands on an interesting player in 17th place. The Bruins must now finish the job.
The series between the Maple Leafs and the Lightning is still young, Toronto leads only 2-1, after all, but the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly is already worth its weight in gold, regardless of the conclusion of this series.
The Blues captain, secured with Noel Acciari for a late 2023 first-round pick, and second-, third-, and fourth-round picks, had a direct impact on the Leafs’ win on Sunday, and possibly their comeback with panache after an embarrassing loss at the start of the series.
The experience and composure of O’Reilly, winner of the Conn-Smythe Trophy in the Blues’ 2019 Cup win, arguably had an impact after the first game.
On Saturday, not only did O’Reilly tie the game with a minute left in the third period by grabbing a return shot in the slot, he blocked a shot in the final moments of the period and then won clearly an important face-off in front of Brayden Point with 47 seconds left in the first period of overtime to provoke the winning goal from defender Morgan Reilly. He also got an assist on Acciari’s goal in the first half.
O’Reilly has five points in three games so far and a 61% save percentage on face-offs. His presence offers no guarantee of success, but to at least give himself a chance to make it past the first round for the first time since 2004, the Leafs had to rely on a player of this caliber.