clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Looking at the NHL’s Draft Lottery setup

2019 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL will hold Phase One of the 2020 Draft Lottery tomorrow night at 8p ET. While the lottery has been pretty uniform and easy to understand in the past, these abnormal times have called for a unique way to handle the picking of presumed first overall pick, Alexis Lafreniere.

From Tom Gulitti/

The draft lottery will determine the first 15 picks in the 2020 NHL Draft based on 3-6 drawings over one or two phases. It will include the seven teams that did not make the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, plus eight teams that are eliminated in the qualifiers.

The First Phase of the lottery will consist of three drawings and include the seven teams whose season ended and eight placeholder positions.

The eight potential losing teams from the qualifiers will be represented in the First Phase of the draft lottery as unassigned picks.

The first drawing of the First Phase will set the team selecting No. 1 in the draft, the second drawing will set the team selecting No. 2, and the third drawing will set the team selecting No. 3.

If a team not in the bottom seven wins any of the first three drawings, a Second Phase will be conducted among the eight teams eliminated in the qualifiers. That would take place between the end of the qualifiers and the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No date has been set for play to begin.

For clarity, here are the bottom seven teams with their odds at the first pick:

Detroit Red Wings — 18.5 percent

Ottawa Senators — 13.5 percent

Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks) — 11.5 percent

Los Angeles Kings — 9.5 percent

Anaheim Ducks — 8.5 percent

New Jersey Devils — 7.5 percent

Buffalo Sabres — 6.5 percent

New Jersey received better lottery odds than Buffalo because it had a worse regulation/overtime winning percentage (.348, compared to Buffalo’s .406).

After the first drawing, the odds for the remaining teams will increase on a proportionate basis for the second drawing, and again for the third drawing, based on which team wins the second drawing.

If each of the three First Phase drawings is won by a bottom-seven team, the Second Phase will not be necessary. The remaining four teams from the bottom seven will be assigned picks No. 4-7 in inverse order of their regular-season points percentage, and picks No. 8-15 will be assigned to the teams that are eliminated from the qualifier in inverse order of their points percentage.

If a team that loses in the qualifiers wins each of the top three picks, the bottom seven teams will be assigned picks No. 4-10 in inverse order of their points percentage.

If a team that loses in the qualifiers wins one or two of the top three picks, any bottom-seven team not in the top three will be assigned their pick in inverse order of points percentage.

The number of drawings in the Second Phase would depend on how many picks in the First Phase are won by teams that lose in the qualifiers.

The odds for each losing team in the qualifiers for the first drawing of the Second Phase are 12.5 percent.

While it took me a few read-throughs to figure out the process, the league is essentially making sure the bad teams still maintain the higher probability of obtaining the higher draft picks.

What does this mean for the Penguins? Well, if the Penguins get eliminated by the Canadiens in the play-in, they would retain their 2020 first-round pick that was sent to the Minnesota Wild in the Jason Zucker trade and Pittsburgh would lose their 2021 first-round pick instead.

The odds of the Penguins moving all the way up to number one? Let’s just say they’re not great. And going all the way for another Stanley Cup is better than drafting first anyway.

So, looking at the above teams, who do you think will land the first overall pick and go on to change the landscape of their franchise? Let me know down below!