Going For No. 1
Yes, Maple Leaf fans, there is something to watch for on the final weekend of another non-playoff season.
They've still got a shot at John Tavares. After all the winning when they weren't supposed to be winning, Tavares is still on the radar.
That's because while the Leafs sit 24th in the NHL standings today, by Sunday morning they could be in 26th spot.
If that happens, their chances of winning the draft lottery next Tuesday increase to 8.1 per cent from 4.7 per cent.
More important, since no team can move up more than four slots, being 26th would theoretically allow the Leafs to move up to the No. 1 pick, while finishing 24th would only allow them to get to the third spot.
Better, but not Tavares.
So what needs to happen for the Leafs to end up in 26th?
First, they need Los Angeles to beat San Jose on Saturday afternoon. Then, they need to lose to Ottawa at home a few hours later. Finally, they would need Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes to finish off the season with a victory over the Anaheim Ducks. That's the trickiest part of the combination, as the Ducks will be playing for their playoff lives.
But if all three things happen, the Leafs, Kings and Coyotes would all finish with 79 points.
And both L.A. and Phoenix would finish ahead of the Leafs because they would have more wins.
Twice in the 13 times the NHL draft lottery has been held, the 26th place team has won, moving up to No. 1. It happened for the Islanders in 2000, and they drafted goalie Rick DiPietro.
It happened for Chicago in 2008, which is how the Hawks came to draft Patrick Kane.
Admittedly, this is all a longshot for Brian Burke's Leafs, who would undoubtedly love to finish off the season with a victory in front of the home fans.
But the possibility of still winning the big draft prize should titilate many a member of Leaf nation.