March 21 2011 08:27AM
Though Boston has two games in hand their recent skid has allowed the Montreal Canadiens to close the gap on the Northeast division to a single point. As much as we hate the Habs I'm pretty sure we also hate the Bruins so cheering for one or the other based on a sweater is a chore deserved only by Senators fans. Here's the wrinkle: the Leafs hold Boston's draft pick.
Just as Bruins fans would root for Montreal to beat the Leafs to better the draft pick we gave them, Leafs fans should root for Montreal to win the Northeast. Now before you declare me Steve Lansky 2.0 follow me across the jump to see why.
One of the things a lot of hockey fans are unaware of is the draft seeding at the end of the first round. The 30th overall pick goes to the Stanley Cup winner, the 29th to the loser. Pick 28 and Pick 27 go to the losers of the Conference Finals with the better pick going to the team with the worse regular season record. This all makes sense.
What happens next is that any remaining division winners get the next picks. If no division winners make it to the Conference Finals, then all six of them would draft between 21-26, with the best regular season record drafting latest. Teams that didn't win their division and didn't make the Conference Finals draft after that.
If Boston wins the division the lowest pick they'd give us is 21, and they'd need to be the division winner with the fewest points and lose in the first or second round of the playoffs. If Boston loses the division and neither they nor Montreal make the Conference Finals they could potentially hand over a pick in the teens.
It stinks Leafs fans, I'm with you, but pray for Montreal to win the division and flame out early. It'll help.