You probably haven’t forgotten that the Toronto Maple Leafs statistically owned the best odds of landing Connor McDavid going into the final ball of the four drawn in the NHL’s weighted lottery system back in 2015.
As The Star’s Kevin McGran detailed at the time:
For the first time, the Leafs led. They had four chances to win with the 5-14-6 combination. If 2, 7, 8 or 13 pop up, Leafs win… If you look closely at the video of the bouncing balls, No. 2 — a Leaf number — is right there on the cusp of getting drawn. But it’s there a fraction of a second too soon. By the time the button is pressed to vacuum up the final ball, No. 1 has pushed No. 2 out of the way.
A similar story appears to have played out again on Monday night as the NHL carried out its second phase of the NHL draft lottery draw for the 2020 first-overall draft selection and the rights to select consensus no. 1 prospect Alexis Lafreniere. This time, it came down to one draw with eight balls, one for each team that lost out of the playoff qualifying round, with each club owning equal 12.5% odds.
This sharp catch by @corwinmc appears to show the Leafs ball hovering below the tube before it gets bumped by a ball from below, ricochets a few times around the base of the tube, and falls out of the suction chamber.
John Tavares Leafs' lottery ball
Hitting the post on an open net pic.twitter.com/TvyTTXidW6
— Corwin McCallum (@corwinmc) August 10, 2020
The jokes no doubt write themselves here after a disappointing playoff series in which the Leafs simply couldn’t get enough pucks past Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (may as well make them before the other fan bases can… “the Leafs’ ball couldn’t handle getting bodied in the corners”).
A tough few days in Leafs Nation.