It's Crosby to the max

Draft prospect Sidney Crosby, from Cole Harbour, N.S., will find out which NHL team will get the...

Draft prospect Sidney Crosby, from Cole Harbour, N.S., will find out which NHL team will get the right to draft him, when the league holds its draft lottery on Friday.(CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz)

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:39 PM ET

Now that yesterday's sickening glad-handing is over, even the most disillusioned of fans will keep an eye on today's NHL draft lottery, where the fate of Sidney Crosby will be determined by a ping-pong ball.

While any team that gets Crosby will benefit overnight, whether his new address will be good for the league or not could go a long way towards helping the NHL crawl out of the marketing hole it's in. To follow are the best and worst places Crosby could end up in terms of helping the league grow interest and revenue:

BEST DESTINATIONS

1. N.Y. RANGERS

(3 balls of 48) -- Not only would a superstar/role model in the media capital help put the league back on the sports map but GM Glen Sather has experience molding young stars.

2. PITTSBURGH

(3) -- Who better than Mario Lemieux, who has been through the pressures of saving a franchise as a top pick, to mentor -- and play with -- The Next One?

3. CHICAGO

(2) -- Crosby could help resurrect a franchise that has lost its importance in the league and the community.

4. ATLANTA

(2) -- With Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk and Crosby the Thrashers would become the league's most exciting team overnight.

5. BOSTON

(1) -- A good hockey town that would embrace Crosby like it did Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque. Joe Thornton could teach Crosby the importance of steady development.

6. LOS ANGELES

(2) -- Few western markets would give him the exposure he deserves but L.A. could open the door for him to grab national endorsement deals as Gretzky did.

7. DALLAS

(1) -- In a city with a good fan base and great building, Crosby could spearhead a youth movement.

8. DETROIT

(1) -- Yzerman, Shanahan and others could pass him the torch on an aging franchise that might otherwise have seen the last of its glory years.

9. PHILADELPHIA

(1) -- A Stanley Cup appearance on the league's most talented team helps sell the game but will fans eat him up?

10. NEW JERSEY

(1) -- Perennial contenders in a solid media market.

WORST DESTINATIONS

1. NASHVILLE

(2) -- He'd complement a talented young group but who'd notice?

2. CAROLINA

(2) -- Hockey here will always be a lost cause.

3. FLORIDA

(1) -- See Carolina.

4. COLUMBUS

(3) -- The Rick Nash/Crosby combo would be enticing but it would be lost in the Buckeye state.

5. N.Y. ISLANDERS

(1) -- Mike Milbury doesn't deserve Crosby.

6. TAMPA BAY

(1) -- It took years for fans to notice Vincent Lecavalier and a Stanley Cup run for them to care.

7. PHOENIX

(2) -- Wayne Gretzky could mentor Crosby but that franchise is buried too far in the desert suburbs.

8. TORONTO

(1) -- The Leafs already get all the media attention possible. His presence wouldn't bolster interest, only put him under one of the league's biggest microscopes.

9. MONTREAL

(1) -- See Toronto.

10. EDMONTON

(2) -- Superstars buried in Edmonton have done little to help the NHL over the years.


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