Nashville's success benefits Tampa Bay Lightning

Last night, the first team found its way through the 2012 NHL Quarterfinals: The Nashville Predators advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals with their victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

The idea the Wings are out of the playoffs seems strange. But even stranger is to know how much the Tampa Bay Lightning have just benefitted from Detroit's ouster.

As the first team bounced from the playoffs, that gives the Red Wings the #15 pick a higher draft selection in the 2012 NHL draft.... A draft pick that they had already traded to the Bolts (along with defenseman Sebastien Piche) back in February when they acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey in a three-team trade.

[Note by John Fontana, 04/21/12 12:50 PM EDT ] The NHL uses a much more precise method to determine NHL draft order for playoff teams than I had originally figured. The NHL Hockey Operations Guidelines makes a point that the Detroit draft selection may be lower in the first round than 15th overall. The pick position remains to be determined.

In essence, the Lightning traded Steve Downie for Piche and a mid-first round draft pick. That's more of a return than General Manager Steve Yzerman could have expected when he made the deal: A late-first round pick seemed likely, given Detroit's annual playoff prowess. A mid-first round pick? The potential value of that in talent (by way of selection or trading the pick) is immense.

Thank you, Nashville, for upsetting the norm of a deep Red Wings playoff run.

The 2012 NHL draft begins on June 22nd in Pittsburgh. The Lightning currently have five draft selections (and potentially a sixth) in the first two rounds of the seven-round draft.