Seven teams in the NHL didn’t get a chance to return to play this summer. Their regular seasons were so disastrous that they didn’t qualify for a tournament which saw 24-teams take part. But none of them will be rewarded with the first-overall pick in 2020. Instead, that selection will go to one of the eight teams eliminated over the past week, after the first part of the draft lottery ended with a TBA club taking home the top spot.
The qualification round provided some incredible storylines. It also provided some eye-popping upsets. Both the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, respective 12-seeds going into the return to play format, defeated Stanley Cup contenders with all-world talents leading the way. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and their teams are out before even seeing the first round but now have a chance to land a consolation prize of sorts.
The Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets, and Minnesota Wild all have a 12.5% chance of being awarded that first-overall pick, and the chance to select two-time CHL Player of the Year Alexis Lafreniere.
That may seem ridiculous, given the regular season performances from those clubs, but remember it required a previous lottery to get to this point. There was only a 24.5% chance of a qualification-round team earning the pick in the first place. That ended up happening, with the Los Angeles Kings also moving up to second place. The Detroit Red Wings, who had the highest chance of winning any of the three lottery spots ended up the big losers of the event, dropping all the way down to fourth despite winning just 17 games this season.
The league will announce the lottery winner this evening, with hockey fans all over the world tuning in to see where Lafreniere will go. The format of the lottery has drawn massive criticism given how things played out, but that won’t stop it from being a must-see event for the entire NHL.
Where do you want to see the phenom go? Which of the eliminated teams deserves the pick? Which would you hate to see win? Cast your vote below and make sure to explain your choice in the comments!
[Mobile users click here to vote]