With two weeks to go in the season, the New Jersey Devils played the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game that seemed meaningless to Devils fans. Although the Leafs were fighting for a playoff spot, the Devils had long since been eliminated from the playoffs. The game started off as expected with the Leafs outshooting the Devils 27-12 in taking a 3-1 lead after two.
Then the Devils played their best period of the season, possibly the best period any team played all season. The Devils scored three unanswered goals and held the Leafs without a shot for the entire period.
Fast forward two weeks, and the Toronto Maple Leafs would miss the final playoff spot in the East by 1 point. The team that outfought them is the Montreal Canadiens, the same team that has upset the #1 and 2 seeds in the East.
So what does this have to do with the Devils? Only this....the Devils hold Montreal's first round pick in the draft. Had Toronto made the playoffs, that pick would have been the 11th overall. Now? That pick will be no earlier than 27th.
So, by virtue of one great period in the 75th game of a season filled with nothing but misery, the Devils have dropped back 16 spots (at least) in the draft.
To make matters worse, the man carrying the Canadiens is none other than former Devils legend Martin Brodeur. The Devils wanted to bring Brodeur back to the swamp this offseason, but refused to give him four years. Oops.