This second round we want Nashville bounced; else, we will get a bottom-four pick for Gaustad.
Nashville's not a division winner so their pick would be automatically lower than any division-winners eliminated before the conference finals. Ideally, we'd want four non-division-winners in the CF, which would mean that the Nashville pick could be as low as 19 if Nashville, Pittsburgh and the six division-winners were ALL eliminated before the conference finals.
Whichever team wins the Stanley Cup is awarded the 30th and last pick, while the runner-up is given the 29th pick. The teams eliminated in the conference finals are awarded the 28th and 27th picks, with the 28th pick going to the team with the better regular season record. Remaining division winners, then the rest of the field are ranked next, filling in the 26th through 15th picks. In both cases, better records result in later picks.
30 -- SC Champ
29 -- SC Runner up
27-28 -- CF runners-up (based on points)
The next group are division winners who did not make the CF, ranked by points (can be anywhere between 2-6 teams).
All others get ranked by points afterwards.
So, if 4 non-division winners (excluding Pittsburgh, who had more points than Nashville) make the CF and the Preds lose next round, then the Preds would get the 19th pick. If the 4 CF finalists are all division winners, the Preds would pick 23rd.
In short, each division-winner that advances to the CF increases the Preds pick by one from 19. We also want the Pens bounced before then too, as they're the only non-division-winner with more points than the Preds, else the pick increases by another one. The Preds will completely bone us if they advance to the WCF or further.
Nash eliminates Wings (done)
Phoenix over Chicago (most likely)
Blues over SJ (guarenteed)
Kings over "Nucks (still to be determined but probable)
Which I think should give us a Blues/Kings and Nash/Yotes 2nd Round (?).
We are pretty much in uncharted waters at that point but I would say the money is on the Blues and Nash (Yotes may have something to say about that however) to advance. Could be a tremendous WCF.
Based on the 1st round, Hitch's Blues look pretty darn strong and I am impressed with their play in all 3 zones. They close on the puck so quickly and take away all space and time. And transition in an instant (MacDonald looks like the Andy I remember from the Ducks run a few years back). SJ can't keep up and it seems like the Sharks are only playing at half speed.
I think Hitch's approach to playing the PK is masterful. Overload theory in action. It looks like they move their box en mass and shift it to whatever patch of ice the puck is moved to and overload that part of the zone. Almost daring (or not caring if) the PP to try and find the open man.
The coordination, speed and synchronization required to be effective doing this is amazing. (If that's what they are indeed doing. Plse let me know if you see something different or can explain this better. I'm really curious about what's they are running here.)
Contrast that to the Sharks PK which is the usual passive spread out box-diamond formation with very little interception and blocking of shots/passes happening.
I am not a huge fan of Hitchcock the coach but he sure gets results and he sure as heck is innovative. He's done more to elevate his team above their talent level than Babcock did with his.