With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic shifting the course of the National Hockey League season, the league is now getting set to continue the 2019-20 campaign with their 24-team Return To Play format.
Unlike in past years, this draft lottery format could see the league holding the lottery in two Phases, depending on how the lottery balls fall.
Phase 1 will take place on June 26 with 15 teams eligible to win the top-three picks in the draft. The seven teams that failed to make it to the qualifying play-in round will hold the best odds to win any of the top-three picks, while the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round will make up the rest of the 15-team field.
At the time of the draft lottery, it will be unclear which teams will be of the eight that will be eliminated in the qualifying round. With that, the league has designated temporary placeholders with the odds that the collective group would have had.
If any of the three picks were to be won by a team that played and lost in the qualifying round, Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery will take place before the Conference Quarterfinal rounds. This Phase of the draft lottery will only involve the teams that did not advance past the qualifying round, and all of the teams involved will have the same odds of winning the pick(s) at 12.5%.
Once the top-three picks of the 2020 NHL Draft have been determined, the rest of the draft order will determined by points percentage in reverse order.
The Sabres and Devils ended up finishing the 2019-20 season with the same points percentage at .493. However, the Devils were given the tie-breaker for a higher pick in the draft due to the Sabres having more regulation/overtime wins (28) than New Jersey (24).
Detroit finished the 2019-20 season with the worst overall record of 17-49-5, which is good for just 39 points in 71 games.
The 2020 NHL Draft was originally set to take place on Friday, June 26 in Montreal, Quebec until it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NHL Draft Lottery typically takes place in the weeks after the NHL regular season has come to an end.
Phase 1 of the draft lottery is set to take place at 8 p.m. on Friday and can be viewed live on NBCSN and the NHL Network. You can also hear live coverage of the NHL Draft Lottery on WGR starting at 7 p.m.