It's been called a disgrace, an embarrassment and chaos, but the one thing it hasn't been called is genius. The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery took place and a team to be determined later won the first overall pick. I fail to see how this is bad for the NHL. A league that could use as much of the spotlight as it can get will now be the talk of the sports world for the foreseeable future. With 16 teams now having a shot at the number one pick the storylines are endless. What if Edmonton gets the number one pick again to pair with McDavid? Could the Penguins get the top pick giving Crosby and Malkin another franchise player to pass to? What if Chicago gets the top pick for another run with Kane and Toews? We will just have to wait and see.
2020 NHL Draft Lottery
Entering the night the Ottawa Senators actually had the best odds of getting the top overall pick. With both the second and third-best odds combined they had a 25% chance at the top overall pick. The Detroit Red Wings are the worst team in the league had an 18.5% chance at the top pick. However, neither would get even a pick in the top two. Detroit would fall to fourth overall while Ottawa picks third and fifth. The top spot goes to Team TBD, and the second pick going to the LA Kings. After the top five, sixth goes to the Ducks. The seventh overall pick goes to New Jersey and the eighth pick went to Buffalo. Picks nine through fifteen will be the other losing play-in round teams who don't get the top overall pick.
In The Running
So the number one overall pick will be awarded to the play-in round losing team who wins the second draft lottery. So for the East that's Toronto, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Montreal, the New York Rangers, Carolina, Florida, and the New York Islanders. Out of the West, it's Chicago, Arizona, Minnesota, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Nashville, and Edmonton. The four losing teams from each conference will be entered into the second lottery. Each team will have a 12.5% chance at winning the number one pick. The other eight playoff teams Boston, Tampa, Washington, Philadelphia, St Louis, Dallas, Vegas, and Colorado are already in the second round so they will not be entered into the lottery.
With an event as important as this, there are bound to be some pretty interesting bits of information. For example, the winning placeholder Team E had a 2.5% chance of getting the top pick. If we do some math however, you would find the odds of any placeholder winning the top pick was 24.5%. That's the total percentage of the 8th to the 15th spots combined. In other words, a placeholder team had a better shot at the top pick than the Red Wings, who only had an 18.5% chance as the worst team. The Ottawa Senators only had a .5% better chance at the top pick and that's with the second and third best odds combined.
The next interesting piece of news has to do with if the play-in round can't be finished. In the event, the play-in round has to be canceled, teams eight to fifteen in points percentage will enter the lottery for the top pick. So the teams that wouldn't have made a regular 16 team playoffs now each have a 12.5% chance at the top pick. It's an interesting solution to a problem we hopefully won't have to face. This tweet from Elliotte Friedman explains the scenario.
Click here for some of Sportsnet’s coverage of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery and some reactions as well.
With so many teams now having a shot at the first overall pick will teams lose their play-in matchup on purpose? While I don't think any professional athlete loses purposefully, for teams that don't have a realistic shot at the cup it could happen. If Montreal loses its first two games against the Penguins will they really go all out to try and come back? A chance at the top pick might be too much to pass up.
Another question I have is why did the placeholder teams have such a good chance at winning the top pick? While each individual placeholder had a small chance, it ended up combining for the second-best odds. Shouldn't all the placeholder teams have been lumped together in the eighth spot, which only has a 6% chance at the top pick? While I can't speak for the league that seems like a better option. In what has been an unprecedented season the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery was no different. With the hub cities still in the air, an upcoming CBA vote and safety protocols to finalize keep checking back for all the latest. Once again stay safe go Bruins and here's to a Western team winning the second lottery.
Featured image courtesy of NHL.com