With the NHL having hit the pause button on the 2019-20 season, the Winnipeg Jets at this moment are currently in a playoff position, holding the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. They are also just two points behind the Dallas Stars for third in the Central Division. The catch to all of this of course is that the Jets have played more games than any other team currently in the playoff race with them, having played two more games than the Stars, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild.
If the NHL were to base their standings off of points percentage – that is, how many points a team has earned relative to how many they’ve had the potential to earn – the Jets would be on the outside looking in by .001 of a percentage point.
With that in mind, if the NHL does return to finish off the season, there is a strong possibility that one of the ways they do is to go straight to a playoff format. It certainly wouldn’t seem fair to the other clubs to shut them out without having played an equal number of games, but it also wouldn’t be fair to the Jets to allow other teams in ahead of them without matching them in games played – who is to say that the Canucks and Predators don’t lose both of the games they’d have to play to make up?
It’s likely that if the NHL did want to forego the rest of the regular season, they would have an expanded playoff. Maybe a round of one game play-in contests that would pit the Jets against another on-the-bubble team to see who would make the final 16 cut. The teams that lose out would then enter the draft lottery as they would had they not qualified for the postseason in a regular 82 game schedule.
But that the Jets sit in such a precarious position has me wondering, what would be better? To see the Jets make the playoffs, or fail to make the playoffs and hope for some luck in the Draft Lottery?
For all we know, maybe it was the Jets that was the team who suggested to have a playoff for a better draft pick. Of all the non-playoff teams, the Jets you would think would be one of the favorites to win such a tournament if they found themselves in it.
I am sure most hockey fans would lean towards the playoffs to decide the NHL champions, and I’d probably lean that way myself. Granted right now it’s hard to imagine this Winnipeg Jets team making a deep run at the Stanley Cup, but it’s not impossible and recent playoff history has shown that lower seed teams can in fact do just that – a wild card team has made it to the Conference finals or better in two of the last three NHL playoffs.
But this year’s NHL Draft is pretty deep and if you’re thinking the Jets don’t have much hope for getting beyond the first round of the playoffs, then missing out on the postseason with a top 15 pick with a chance at better wouldn’t be a bad consolation gift, would it?
Tankathon.com’s NHL Lottery Simulator currently has their sim set up based on the aforementioned points percentage and based on that, the Jets would be lined up to draft 12th overall with a 8.2% chance of wining one of the top three spots.
Remember how you felt the time the Jets won one of those top three spots? Sure took the sting out of missing the playoffs that year didn’t it? I’m not saying I’m all for trying our luck yet again, but if the Jets did miss out on the playoffs, it wouldn’t be the worst thing either.
What do you think? Would you prefer to see the Jets make the NHL postseason for the third season in a row, or would you like to be done with this season and settle for the good to potentially great draft position?