NHL Draft Lottery to be held on June 26

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By WGR 550 SportsRadio

As first reported by TVA Sports NHL insider Renaud Lavoie, the National Hockey League is set to hold the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on Friday, June 26.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the official announcement on Tuesday of the draft lottery, along with the formal announcement of the 24-team Return To Play format as the 2019-20 season resumes later this summer. 

As usual, the NHL will hold the lottery for the top-three picks in the 2020 NHL Draft. However, this year's draft lottery could come in two Phases, depending on how the lottery ball 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 pre-qualifying round will hold the best odds to win any of the top-three picks, while the eight teams eliminated in the pre-qualifying round will make up the rest of the 15-team field.

At the time of the draft lottery on June 26, 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.

Here is how the draft order looks with the teams that will miss out on the 24-team format, and the unknown teams that will play in the qualifying round, along with their draft lottery odds:

  1. Detroit Red Wings - 18.5%
  2. Ottawa Senators - 13.5%
  3. Ottawa Senators (from the San Jose Sharks) - 11.5%
  4. Los Angeles Kings - 9.5%
  5. Anaheim Ducks - 8.5%
  6. New Jersey Devils - 7.5%
  7. Buffalo Sabres - 6.5%
  8. Team A - 6.0%
  9. Team B - 5.0%
  10. Team C - 3.5%
  11. Team D - 3.0%
  12. Team E - 2.5%
  13. Team F - 2.0%
  14. Team G - 1.5%
  15. Team H - 1.0%

If a top-three pick is won by any of the seven teams that missed out on the Return To Play format, that team, or the team that holds on to the rights of that first round pick will get that selected position. If all three teams that are selected are part of that group of teams that missed out on the Return To Play format, there will be no need for a Phase 2 part of the draft.

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 Quarterfinals round. 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 Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey 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).

The Detroit Red Wings 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.

There had been previous reports that the NHL was attempting to hold a virtual 2020 NHL Draft on June 5, before the restart of the 2019-20 season. However, that proposal was met with some pushback from general managers across the league and it fell through.