At the start of the season – most would have guessed that this final Saturday Night matchup between the Habs and Leafs would have more meaning to the playoff picture.
Yes, the outcome could effect whether the Habs or Oilers pick second overall in the draft – but ultimately this is not what the schedule makers envisioned when they chose to end the season with this classic match. With a win the Habs will “lock-up” the third worst record in hockey. If they lose and the Oilers win – the Oilers would finish in 28th spot by virtue of more wins.
This is hardly what people want to be cheering for at the end of the season, and ultimately it really doesn’t matter much to Habs fans what happens. The difference between 2nd and 3rd in the draft lottery is less than a 5% percent chance at getting the 1st overall draft pick – likely Nail Yakupov. Furthermore, Montreal fans would probably be happy with 3 or 4 of the top offensive players in the draft – after Yakupov the case could be made for any of Grigorenko, Galchenyuk, and Forsberg – for and against. Grigorenko probably fits team needs best, but rumors of his work ethic waning during the season raise red flags . Galchenyuk was hurt for most of the season following ACL surgery, and then injured his shoulder taking a faceoff. His offensive capacity is not in dispute – but he still represents a large gamble for a team that picks him without having seen him do any of what Yakupov and Grigorenko have shown this season in the CHL. Filip Forsberg has had a good season playing with men in the Swedish league – but 17 points in 43 games is not what you would term elite for a high draft pick as a winger.
So how will you cheer tonight? My mind is made up – I’m fine with drafting 3rd. Beat the Leafs.
Go Habs Go!!!!