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Understanding the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery

...the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery takes place this Friday night

by Canucks staff @Canucks / Vancouver Canucks

The NHL Draft Lottery takes place this Friday at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT.

It will not be your typical draft lottery as the league shut down in mid-March and is laying the groundwork for a restart to the season in mid-July.

Under normal circumstances, the 15 teams that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs would be entered into a weighted draw to determine the first three picks. Those odds are assigned based on the club's regular season records. Since there were a staggered amount of games played at the time of the shutdown and Stanley Cup Qualifiers for some teams, it is not as cut and dry for this year.

The top four teams in each conference, based on points percentage, will automatically make the playoffs. The following eight teams in each conference will be matched up against each other in Stanley Cup Qualifiers. The four winners will advance to the official NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the four losing clubs will get added to the lottery.

Since these games are set to play in a few weeks, it begs the question of how this lottery will work on Friday night?

The seven teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers are entered into the lottery and are assigned in the order based on their point-percentages. There are eight placeholders, labeled Team A through Team H, that occupy the eight through fifteenth odds for the team that lose the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.




1. Detroit Red Wings



2. Ottawa Senators



3. Ottawa Senators*



4. Los Angeles Kings



5. Anaheim Ducks



6. New Jersey Devils



7. Buffalo Sabres



8. Team A



9. Team B



10. Team C



11. Team D



12. Team E



13. Team F



14. Team G



15. Team H



Acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks (.450 P%)

The Buffalo Sabres (.406 ROW%) ranked higher than the New Jersey Devils (.348 ROW%) based on regulation/OT win percentage

If one of those placeholders win one of the lotteries, there will be a second lottery event completed to determine which of the losing clubs is assigned that pick. If all three lotteries go to the seven clubs out of the playoffs, then that second lottery event will not happen. Full draft lottery details are available here.

Why does all this matter to the Canucks?

The Canucks are set to play the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-five. Win and they move into the first round of the playoffs and due to the J.T. Miller trade last summer, surrender their first-round pick to the New Jersey Devils (which was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning). If they are unable to win, the organization would retain their 2020 1st round pick and then would be slotted into one of the placeholder spots.

There are a few things to sort out in the coming weeks with the most important factor being that if a placeholder team wins the lottery, it will go to a team competing in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, which includes the Canucks.

Friday night's NHL Draft Lottery will be intriguing.

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