NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has announced the league will host the 2020 draft lottery on Friday, June 26, in what could be the first of two phases to determine the full draft order.
Fifteen teams will be eligible for the top three picks, including the seven teams that were not selected to the league's 24-team tournament agreed upon by the NHL and Players Association to return to play.
The seven teams will have the highest odds to land a top-three pick, while the remaining eight teams will be determined by eliminations in the Qualifying Round of the 24-team tournament. Because the league is holding the lottery before it returns to play, it will use placeholder teams during the lottery, designated Teams A-H.
Should one of the remaining eight teams win the lottery, a second phase of the lottery will be held to determine who gets awarded the pick based on their finish in the 24-team tournament.
The league will conduct three drawings—one for each of the top three picks.
As TSN's Bob McKenzie notes, the draft lottery sounds more complicated than it is. The odds are the same as they have been in past years with the bottom seven teams in the league still the most likely to end up with a top pick.
In this case, that refers to the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. The San Jose Sharks have the third-best odds at winning the lottery; however, they traded their first-round pick in 2020 in the deal to land Erik Karlsson from Ottawa, giving the Senators two chances at landing a top-three pick.
Teams A-H will not be determined until after the qualifying round of the 24-team tournament.
The tournament will see the top four teams—based on regular-season points—in both the Western Conference and Eastern Conference play a round robin, while the remaining eight teams in each division compete in a qualifying round. The losing teams of the qualifying round will go on to make up Teams A-H in the lottery, while the winning teams advance to what is officially being called the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In the event Phase 2 is needed for the lottery, it will take place between the qualifying round and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
According to the league, after each Phase 2 draw, the winning team will be assigned the corresponding top-three selection, and if another Phase 2 draw is necessary, that team's numbered lottery ball will be removed.
All teams in Phase 2, should it become necessary, will have the same odds.
Once the top three picks are set, either using Phase 1 or possibly Phase 2, the rest of the top 15 picks will be assigned based on the lowest points percentage by each team.
The remaining draft positions will be assigned based on playoff finish, as normal.