The NHL season suspended on March 12, and today is the first official league event in over three months. Phase 1 of the draft lottery will attempt to decide the first seven picks of the 2020 NHL Draft, the date of which is yet to be determined.
The format of the lottery is essentially unchanged from what the league has done since 2016 in that there will be a drawing for each of the first three picks, and the rest of the non-playoff teams will draft in reverse order of regular-season record. The primary difference is that the lottery will be taking place at the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, N.J. and teams will be joining in remotely rather than congregating in Toronto.
However, given the modified (proposed) postseason format for 2020, a slightly new process will unfold at the lottery. In case you’ve forgotten, the eight teams who will be eliminated from the best-of-five opening round of the playoffs will be given placeholder spots in the lottery tonight. If any of them are drawn in the top three, a phase 2 of the lottery will be held at a later date. If only the bottom seven teams are drawn (or technically six, since Ottawa owns San Jose’s pick), then there will be no need for a phase 2.
Where: NHL Network studios, Secaucus, N.J.
When: 5 p.m. PT
How to watch: NBCSN and NHL Network (Sportsnet or TVA Sports in Canada)
The consensus no. 1 prospect is Alexis Lafrenière, but there is talent to be had after the top pick. Pro Hockey Talk has Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle rounding out the top three, as do Chris Peters at ESPN, The Hockey News, and Corey Pronman at The Athletic. Bob McKenzie at TSN and NHL.com have the same two in the opposite order. The Hockey Writers is the lone outlier — they have Byfield at no. 2 and Lucas Raymond at no. 3.
Here are the odds for the first pick for every team in the lottery, with Teams A-H representing the round-robin losers.
1. Detroit Red Wings: 18.5%
2. Ottawa Senators: 13.5%
3. Ottawa Senators (San Jose’s original pick): 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%
In addition to their 9.5% chance at the top pick, the Kings have a 28.8% chance of landing in the top three and can fall no lower than seventh. Here are their odds of getting each pick, per Tankathon:
First pick: 9.5%
Second pick: 9.6%
Third pick: 9.7
Fourth pick: 2.8%
Fifth pick: 26.1%
Sixth pick: 34.0%
Seventh pick: 8.3%
L.A.’s most likely outcome is the fifth pick, which they used last year to select center Alex Turcotte. Since the institution of the draft lottery in 1995, the Kings have had had five picks in the top-five, which led to Turcotte (2019), Brayden Schenn in 2009, Drew Doughty in 2008, Thomas Hickey in 2007, and Olli Jokinen in 1997. The team has never picked first overall in the lottery era, despite technically winning the 1995 lottery, but that only moved them up from 7th to 3rd in the draft order.
Here’s hoping the team breaks that streak this year.