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The NHL Draft Lottery Backfired in the Worst Possible Way

The 2020 NHL Draft lottery saw a team yet to be determined receive the first overall pick. This is not the result the league was hoping for.


The idea for the 2020 NHL Draft lottery was to ensure that a team could not win the Stanley Cup and also receive a top pick in the draft. In doing so, the league decided to allow the eight losing teams from the qualifying round to participate in the lottery, even though those teams have yet to be determined.

If any team deserved the first overall pick, it would either be the Detroit Red Wings or the Ottawa Senators.

The Red Wings won just 17 games during the regular season, amounting to just 39 points (61 points less than league-leading Bruins with 100). If the idea of the draft is to give the worst teams the best players, then Detroit was far and away the most deserving team.

Secondly, the Ottawa Senators won just 25 games this season as the league’s second worst team standings-wise. They also had a 25% chance of landing the first overall pick due to having their own pick, and a pick from San Jose as a result of the Erik Karlsson trade.

How did the Red Wings and Senators do in the draft? The Red Wings were given the fourth pick, as the Senators received the third and fifth pick.

Then who received the first overall selection? We don’t know yet.

To Be Determined…

The NHL has been working diligently to get teams back on the ice to finish the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup. No one can knock their efforts. They are in talks daily with owners, teams, players, and health officials. On top of that, the league is working tirelessly to decide on two cities to host the postseason games, ensuring protocols and infrastructure is in place for success and safety for players.

The NHL was doing everything right, if there is a right way to do something that has never been done. That is until last Friday when the draft lottery was a complete disaster.

Eight teams who earned a chance to play for the Stanley Cup, albeit a small chance, were allowed the possibility of receiving a top three pick in the draft if they were to lose in the qualifying round. While all of the focus was on Detroit or Ottawa receiving a young superstar to right their respective franchise ships in the right direction, a “to-be-determined” team swept in a took it. It was the worst possible scenario that could have happened.

Cue the jokes.

Yes, this is not a “laugh out loud” joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek is known for rooting for chaos in the NHL, but I don’t think the league was hoping for this.

And lastly, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski with an absolute stinger.

Draft Lottery Phase 2

What this means is that another lottery will be held after the qualifying round. The eight teams who lose their series, will each have a 12.5% chance of landing the first overall pick.

Now the discussion has turned to what is more important to a franchise, winning a “play-in” series for a chance to win a Stanley Cup that many believe will be accompanied by an asterisk, or lose the series and have a great chance at landing Alexis Lafrenière?

What Should the Blackhawks Do?

The Blackhawks specifically are in a very unique situation. At the time of the season pause, they were last in the Central Division and were well out of the playoffs. Then the NHL had a decision to make. Instead of the typical 16 playoff teams, the league decided on 24 teams, 12 from each conference, to compete for the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks were given new life and fans were excited about the opportunity to see players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have another shot at the title.

Now with a chance at a first overall pick also in play, the fanbase seems to be torn, but the players aren’t.

Professional athletes are the best at their profession, because they love to win. No player will purposely “tank” for a chance at a high pick and a young prospect who could potentially take their spot in the lineup. Expect the Blackhawks to play hard and take the series against the Oilers seriously, but if they do lose, I don’t think anyone would be too upset.

In the words of Jeff Marek, whatever happens will be CHAOS!!!!!

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1 year ago

Has Team E been determined and we’re just waiting on play to resume?

1 year ago

What this article misses is that it wasn’t team E having a 2.5% chance of being #1 overall, it is that if any team between 8-15 got the #1 pick all teams between 8-15 benefitted which meant that teams 8-15 were in phase 1 of the lottery as a collective group. Teams 8-15 combined total odds of #1 was 25%, now in Phase 2 it is based on the individual team’s odds with each having a 12.5% chance. What the league should have done was have one pick representing teams 8-15.

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