The New Jersey Devils are one of the worst teams in the NHL this season, but a recent winning streak has them falling further away from a top NHL Draft pick.
The New Jersey Devils came from a Western Conference road trip on a high. They went 3-1-1 while putting up major wins against the Vegas Golden Knights (essentially making things close to impossible to bounce back from), Arizona Coyotes, and Dallas Stars. The wins aren’t major because of what they mean for the Devils, but they are major for what they mean for the standings.
The Devils went into the road trip a point behind (or ahead depending on how you’re looking at this) the Philadelphia Flyers. They were fourth from the bottom, and the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Kraken were in striking distance. Now, just two weeks later, the Devils find themselves in fifth place, and a win Thursday night would tie them with the Chicago Blackhawks for sixth place.
The Devils have six games left at the time of this writing. They will likely have five games left once you read this. They have games against the Sabres, Red Wings, and Senators on the schedule. They are all in the bottom ten of the league, and they are fighting for NHL Draft positioning with the Devils.
The way the NHL Draft Lottery odds work this season makes it much harder to move up. In fact, it makes it more likely teams are going to move down.
So, right now the Devils are fifth from the bottom. That means they have a 9.1% chance to win the number-one overall pick and an 8.1% chance to win the number-two overall pick. That means a chance to draft Shane Wright, Logan Cooley, or Simon Nemec. However, their next possible pick is fifth overall, where they currently sit in the standings. They only have a 24.5% chance to get the fifth pick. They actually have the best chance to get the sixth pick, sitting at 45.3%.
If the Devils just fall one spot in the standings, which would take a three-point swing with the Seattle Kraken, the numbers all move up a spot. So their most likely pick becomes the fifth pick, they have around a 15% chance to get the fourth. And they have a slightly better chance to get the first-overall pick.
Moving down two slots actually puts them in a position to only get a top-five pick, which is likely where the team wants to be when it comes to long-term strategy. To do that, they need to usurp the terrible Philadelphia Flyers. The Devils have four points on their rivals, but moving past them would be best to win the rivalry in the long run.
Want your voice heard? Join the Pucks And Pitchforks team!
We’ve been against tanking pretty vocally in the past. It’s been a topic of conversation for years. This is what happens when the team is bad this often. However, this year it seems to make sense. This draft has a lot of talent, and moving up might give the Devils opportunity. The season is a mess, half the team is injured, the goalies are still out, and everything has gone wrong. Getting a top draft pick one more time would really help the team in the long run, and losing might be the right move so the front office can make the necessary decisions in the offseason.