The 2015-16 season came to an end for the Montreal Canadiens last night. The final result was a convincing win, and a sweep of the four-game series over the Tampa Bay Lightning. After starting the season 9-0-0, that wasn't the way they were expecting to finish off their year.
Alex Galchenyuk scored two goals to reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career, being one of the best goal-scorers down the stretch in the entire league.
Galchenyuk was added to the organization after the Canadiens' last disappointing season in 2011-12; the last year they were eliminated from playoff contention before three consecutive post-season appearances. He was selected third overall in the NHL Entry Draft, and has emerged as the team's top-line centre in the fourth year of his professional career.
The poor results this season have Montreal in position for a high draft selection once again, and they have a chance to add another major contributor to their team for the future.
The Habs finished the season with a 38-38-6 record, placing them 22nd in the league standings. With the draft ordered slated to go in reverse order of the standings, that means Montreal is slated to draft ninth in each round of the 2016 draft it still holds its own pick for.
For the first round, lotteries will decide the first three picks, and each of the 14 teams that will not participate in the playoffs are eligible. Odds of winning go in descending order from the worst season record to the best, giving the teams that were in the most desperate need of an injection of talent the best shot at the cream of the 2016 crop.
For each lottery, balls numbering from 1 to 14 will be placed in a machine, and four will be selected. Teams will be randomly assigned a varying number of the 1000 available combinations, depending on their final standing and corresponding odds.
|Final Standing||Team||First Lottery Odds||Assigned Combinations|
The team that wins the first lottery will be removed from contention for the remaining two, with odds and combinations redone (the actual method of that reshuffling is not known at this time).
Montreal has a chance to win each lottery, so they could draft first overall if they win the initial lottery, or second or third with a win in one of the other two. If the lotteries are all won by teams that finished with worse records (i.e. better draft lottery odds), the Canadiens will hang onto their ninth-overall slot for round one. It's possible that a team with a better record (worse odds) will win any lottery, which would move them up in the order and shift everyone else down, so Montreal could end up anywhere from one to three picks lower after all is said and done.
There's also the possibility that the Canadiens could trade their pick for another team's, acquiring their odds for the lottery, though that would be more likely to occur after the lotteries had taken place and the positioning had been solidified.
In any event, there is still some life left in this 2015-16 campaign for Habs fans, and on April 30, the team will clutch its 50 lottery tickets in hopes of landing another top-quality asset.