Before the draft lottery tonight, the last place Detroit Red Wings had the best single odds to win the first overall draft pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Overall, the odds fell like this:
- Detroit Red Wings 18.5%
- Ottawa Senators 13.5%
- Ottawa Senators (via SJS) 11.5%
- Los Angeles Kings 9.5%
- Anaheim Ducks 8.5%
- New Jersey Devils 7.5%
- Buffalo Sabres 6.5%
- Team A 6.0%
- Team B 5.0%
- Team C 3.5%
- Team D 3.0%
- Team E 2.5%
- Team F 2.0%
- Team G 1.5%
- Team H 1.0%
Teams A-H are the teams participating in the qualifying round. All of them were rightfully considered long-shots to win the chance to draft Canadian QMJHL superstar Alexis Lafreniere first overall.
The eyebrow raising started when Bill Daily said that he was given eight cards instead of seven, meaning that one of the qualifying teams had moved into the top three. The high drama continued, with league-worst Detroit drafting fourth overall, and double first round participant Ottawa drafting 5th and 3rd. The Los Angeles Kings moved up to second, which leaves that mystery team picking first overall (the full draft order can be found here).
Congrats to TBD!
The draw for the first overall selection will be held during Phase 2 of the #NHLDraft Lottery among only the eight teams that fail to advance from the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. All participants will have the same odds (12.5%).— NHL (@NHL) June 27, 2020
MORE: https://t.co/GDxzfsHGvz pic.twitter.com/svmEVD4NgD
Now we have a Phase 2 of the draft to look forward to. What happens then?
According to the NHL, the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round will each have a 12.5% chance of being selected as the first overall pick. The Phase Two lottery will happen upon completion of the QR.
Needless to say, none of the seven GMs participating tonight in the lottery signed off of the Zoom call happy, but fans were gloriously entertained. The big question going forward is, of course, will teams throw the first round?
Of course they won’t.
The serious first question is what if a team that already finished fairly well during the regular season stumbles in the first round. What if, say, the Oilers lose to the Blackhawks, then go on to win the draft?
Maybe that’s not the best scenario to throw out there, but you get the point.
Sometimes the NHL gets stuff right. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes accidents happen that lead to unintentionally wonderful results. This might be one of those times. At least tonight was.