NHL: Placeholder Team Snags Top Draft Pick

Well, it happened.

We noted yesterday that the draft lottery was going to be unique and it did not disappoint Friday, with the top pick going to one of the eight placeholder teams.

That means one of the eight teams that lose in the NHL’s play-in round for the playoffs will have the honour of selecting first in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, but that also means we have no idea who that team is yet and won’t for a good while. That didn’t stop social media conspiracy theorists from claiming, as they do each year, that the draft lottery was “fixed.”

The placeholders had a combined 24.5 percent chance of winning the draft lottery, so it wasn’t that unlikely a scenario. As the lottery enters the second phase, the eliminated teams from the play-in round will each have a 12.5 percent of securing that top spot.

The Los Angeles Kings will select second in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, while the Ottawa Senators will select third as well as fifth. They owned the best odds to produce the top selection in the draft at 25 percent, since they owned both their own pick in the lottery and the pick of the San Jose Sharks thanks to the Erik Karlsson trade.

The Detroit Red Wings will pick fourth.

The Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Buffalo Sabres round out the top eight picks for the draft.

The elephant in the room is that we don’t even actually know if this post-season is going to happen. While most of us have spent the last several months clinging to hope, perhaps stubbornly, the reality is that we are only close in terms of operational plans. We have no specifics and no agreement from the players on returning to the ice, however, and that’s a pretty big deal.

Consider that the players are still negotiating the terms of various issues, like where the hub cities will be and how health concerns will be handled. They’re also roping in an extension to the current collective bargaining agreement, which means any vote will be a catch-all kind of deal – and a complicated one at that. If you thought this draft was complex, just wait.

So what happens if the season doesn’t conclude? According to reports, the bottom eight teams remaining will have a one-in-eight chance of getting that top spot in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Image: NHL

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