Stars could score big in 2013 NHL Draft

Bruce Bennett

A lost season would put Dallas right in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in a draft with two franchise-caliber players in it, one of whom is from the DFW Metroplex.

As the month of November goes by the wayside, the NHL still sits at zero games played for the 2012-2013 season. CBA negotiations are still going on but the things are still looking as bleak as ever. In the past week, a big-market owner has been accused of bullying representatives from other teams and a federal mediator was hired and then fired within an hour due to his twitter account.

With the likelihood of another lost season very high, the 2013 Draft could be the only NHL related event fans could see this season. And as bad as a full lockout would be, it could also provide an incredible boost to the Stars organization through its effect on the draft.

The lost 2004 season led to a full-on 30-team lottery for the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft. Each team was given a lottery ball based on their playoff appearances and number one picks (or lack thereof) in the previous three seasons.

Four teams were given three balls: the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets. None of the four made the playoffs in the previous three seasons. Pittsburgh and Columbus actually had number one picks during the three year time span (the Penguins had the 1st and then 2nd overall pick respectively in the previous two drafts) but the playoff appearances took precedence.

If 2013 follows the same process, Dallas would be one of the teams with three lottery balls.

The allocation of the lottery balls would go something like this:

Three lottery balls (three seasons of no playoffs): Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets

Two lottery balls (one year with playoffs): Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning

One lottery ball (at least two years with playoffs): Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals

I assume Edmonton will only get one ball since they've had the number one overall pick for three straight years now.

There would be a total of 51 balls in this lottery (three more than 2005) and the Stars would have about a 6% chance (5.88% to be exact) of getting the number one pick. Each middle tier team would have about a 4% chance while the best teams would have about a 2% chance.

Granted that doesn't sound like great odds, but that's a result of a really crappy lottery system that is itself a result of a horrible situation with the lockout. Remember that the Penguins won the lottery last time with a 6.2% winning chance. No matter what happens with the lottery though, the Stars would be guaranteed a top-nine pick.

More importantly, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013 is as big as it was in 2005 when Sidney Crosby was the top prize. This year is all about two guys: Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones.

MacKinnon might be the best center prospect since Crosby and would easily a top-three player on this team.

Jones, meanwhile, is a guy that would be absolutely perfect for the Stars organization. What better player to market to the fanbase and metroplex than a highly touted skill defenseman that just happens to be a local kid? How much better is it that the local kid also happens to be the son of former Maverick Popeye Jones? And the leadership qualities are all there as he was the captain of U-18 National team.

The possibility of a short 48 game season is still there, but that window is closing quickly. The good news is that if the lockout stays and the draft process is the same as last time, the Stars might actually find themselves with a gift come draft time.

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