The Bruins own the rights to the Maple Leafs' first-round draft pick in the 2010 draft, so throughout the rest of the regular season, NESN.com will keep an eye on where the Leafs rank and what that means for the pick.
The Maple Leafs, holding steady with the second-worst record in the NHL, won in overtime on Thursday night. However, the team in front of them in the standings — the Islanders — also won, keeping the gap in points at four. Toronto currently has 66 points — 11 more than the last-place Edmonton Oilers — with eight games remaining. The Islanders (70 points) and Hurricanes (71 points) also have eight games remaining.
As it stands now, the Bruins have an 18.8 percent chance of landing the top pick in this year's draft. The reason is that the NHL utilizes a draft lottery that works in a unique way to that of the NBA.
The draft involves the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs, and there is only one team that wins the lottery. The teams are ranked according to where they finished at the end of the season, and the team that wins the draft moves up four spots (unless that team is in the top four, obviously, in which case the team would move up however many spots necessary to get the No. 1 pick).
The maximum number of spots backward a team can move is one. So, as it stands now, the Maple Leafs' pick that belongs to the Bruins can only be the first, second or third overall pick.
The lottery is also not random. It is weighted to give the teams with worse records a better chance of earning that No. 1 pick. The percentages — which come courtesy of The Hockey News — are listed below, along with which team currently holds that spot:
1. 30th place, Edmonton Oilers: 48.2 percent chance of keeping the first overall pick.
2. 29th place, Toronto Maple Leafs: 18.8 percent chance of getting first overall pick.
3. 28th place, New York Islanders: 14.2 percent chance of getting the first overall pick.
4. 27th place, Carolina Hurricanes: 10.7 percent chance of gettinging the first overall pick.
5. 26th place, Florida Panthers: 8.1 percent chance of getting the first overall pick.
It should be noted that in 2009, the Islanders had a 48.2 percent chance of keeping the first overall pick before they won the lottery and drafted John Tavares. As a result, no other team's position changed.
The Bruins have one last chance to prevent the Maple Leafs from picking up additional points when the two teams face off in Toronto on Saturday, April 3, at 7 p.m. The Leafs have picked up five out of a possible 10 points against the Bruins this year.