LA Kings: Forget the lottery and go for the playoffs

(Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /
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LA Kings Draft Quinton Byfield
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Here’s why both of those theories are wrong.

Let’s start with the idea the LA Kings need to be in the lottery for this draft. Sure, they could use a highly touted defense prospect. Who couldn’t? While enticing, even the most highly touted prospects are not a guarantee for a team’s success.

Connor McDavid is the perfect example of this. Leading up to the 2015 draft, teams that had minimal playoff chances went into “tank mode” in the hopes of landing the chance to draft McDavid. Edmonton won the lottery even though Buffalo was the worst team in the league – the Sabres were able to draft Jack Eichel with the number two pick.

Since the Oilers were able to draft the most highly coveted prospect since Eric Lindros, they should be perennial cup contenders, right? They’re not. In the time McDavid has been in Edmonton, the Oilers have made it as far as the second round just once and have missed the playoffs three times.

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This isn’t to say that someday the Oilers won’t turn it around, and certainly, every team in the league would want to have Connor McDavid on their team – but so far, the tank has not translated into playoff success.

Fun fact: The last number one overall pick to win the Stanley Cup? Steven Stamkos was the number one overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008. The number two pick from that year has won a couple as well.

Of course, some excellent defensemen are playing in the NHL today that were lottery picks. Names like Victor Hedman, Alex Pietrangelo, and Cale Makar, among others, come to mind. A sure-fire number one defenseman does not have to come from the lottery, however, as the top two vote-getters for the 2020 Norris Trophy Roman Josi and John Carlson were drafted 38th and 27th overall in 2008.