Two parts of this, one for pessimists and one for optimists. Or, read them both!
The NHL announced plans for “Phase 2” of the draft:
The National Hockey League announced today that Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery – which will award the first overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft – will be conducted at NHL Network’s Secaucus, N.J., studio on Monday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. ET.
The event, which will be hosted by NHL Network’s Jamie Hersch and feature an interview with top-ranked North American skater Alexis Lafreniere, will be broadcast live on NBCSN and NHL Network in the U.S. as well as Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.
The eight teams that do not advance from the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers will be eligible to win Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery. All participants will have the same odds (12.5%) and will be represented in the lottery machine by one ball with their team logo.
The seven teams not selected in Phase 2, in inverse order of their points percentages at the time of the pause in the regular season, will be assigned 2020 NHL Draft positions 9 through 15.
Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery is being conducted because one of eight placeholders – ‘Team E’ – won the First Draw of Phase 1, which was held on June 26. Team E, in the No. 12 position, had a 2.5-percent chance of being selected.
The order of selection for the first 15 drafting positions in the First Round, only, of the 2020 NHL Draft currently is:
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS)
5. Ottawa Senators
* To be determined by Phase 2 of 2020 NHL Draft Lottery
If the Penguins can’t beat the Montreal Canadiens two straight times, they will be in this lottery, with the winner to get Alexis Lafreniere. It would be an all or nothing proposition for Pittsburgh, they have the highest points percentage of anyone in the play-in round. If they wouldn’t win the 1-in-8 lottery and get the first pick, they would be saddled with the worst available pick at 15. (And their 2021 first round pick would then disappear to the Minnesota Wild as a condition of their trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Pens).
And now, the optimist portion.
If the Pens can rally and get past the Habs, they will face whichever the WORST round robin team has been. Here’s how that is looking:
We know that mathematically Tampa already can’t be the No. 4 seed. Philadelphia and Washington play later this afternoon in a game that has a lot of implications for a fourth seed. The Caps and Bruins play on Sunday, in which case the loser of that game may well end up being going to “round 1” on a downward path, especially if it’s a Boston team that’s looked sluggish, slow and had some old legs on display thus far in the round robin.
At this point, of course, the Pens would be thrilled to have the opportunity to play any of these teams. They’ll have to earn that right by playing some of their best hockey before they get bounced themselves.