Losing the Draft Lottery sucks.
The Arizona Coyotes will select third in the 2015 NHL Draft, thanks to the Edmonton Oilers' improbable victory. They pushed Arizona out of the 2nd overall spot, and out of the running to draft either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
There's no sugar coating it: it hurts. And the fact that Arizona was pushed out of the top two by a division foe and a team mired in terrible play for years makes it even harder to bear.
But relocation is now inevitable? Pump the brakes a bit.
If there's one thing the Coyotes' recent playoff runs have taught, it's that winning draws crowds. There were very few bona fide stars on the teams in 2010, 2011, and 2012. How many Radim Vrbata or Ray Whitney jerseys would you encounter walking around the Valley? Or even Shane Doan for that matter? And yet Gila River Arena was full for every playoff game.
The real benefit of having Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel was not just to have a superstar. It was also to put a player on the roster that could instantly succeed and be above and beyond the skill level of the guys around him. That makes the team better, which gets them into the hunt for the playoffs and the Stanley Cup. That's what draws fans in.
Not having Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel slows down the process of getting back to the postseason, true. But Arizona's talent pool remains very good, and it will only get better with whomever the Coyotes select this June.
It's a question that's been asked before of this ownership group, and one that will likely be asked again many times: do you believe IceArizona is committed to building the Coyotes in the Valley? If you do, the result of this Draft Lottery really shouldn't change much. If you don't, the same feeling should apply.
The Arizona Coyotes lost the Draft Lottery. But Arizona fans have not lost their franchise yet.
- There has to be at least one GM who's pushed for a change to the Draft Lottery that would preclude last year's winner from winning it again, right? I can't imagine executives around the league are happy that four of the last six first overall picks have ended up in Edmonton.
- While training camp could change my mind, I don't think any of the possible third overall picks are NHL ready yet. Noah Hanifin has some refinements to make to his physical game, Dylan Strome has some skating issues to work on, and Mitch Marner is severely undersized. They could - and probably should - take another year to develop.
- How good could next year's projected first overall pick be? This good.
- Of course, with three picks determined by lottery next year, tanking for Auston Matthews is virtually out of the question. Still, the Coyotes may be in the right neighborhood to get lucky with the pride of Scottsdale, Arizona on the drafting block...
- The other downside to Edmonton winning the first overall pick is that it places Connor McDavid in the same division as the Coyotes. Some very good Jets teams in the 80s got bounced by the Oilers in the first round under similar circumstances.
- There was an article on Sportsnet on Saturday that asserted the Coyotes were receiving $25 million in revenue sharing from the NHL. That's a lot.
- Here's the money question (pun slightly intended): is that number incorporated into the overall profit/loss report that was released earlier this year?
- If it isn't, then the ownership group is on much better financial footing than initially believed. If it is, then the original hole the Coyotes were in could be anywhere from $41-50 million in losses per year.
- The former scenario would basically work like this: because revenue sharing money comes from the NHL and not anything the Coyotes do (ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise, etc.) then it doesn't count as team revenue, and is there for not included in the final figure.
- I don't know what's more incredible in the latter scenario: that the Coyotes could lose so much money every year or that the ownership group could be so bullish on profitability in spite of that.
- We aren't likely to ever get a truly straight answer when it comes to the team's finances. Still, the ownership group is (at least publicly) convinced that their losses will be less substantial in Year 2 versus Year 1. I guess we shall see.