NHL Draft Lottery 2020: Play-In Team Wins Top Pick; Kings No. 2, Senators No. 3

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 27, 2020

HAMILTON, ON - JANUARY 16:  Alexis Lafreniere #11 of Team White skates during the 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game against Team Red at FirstOntario Centre on January 16, 2020 in Hamilton, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The first phase of the NHL draft lottery came and went without a team claiming the No. 1 overall pick.

The team selecting first overall in 2020 will be one that loses in the qualifying round of the league's scheduled Return to Play plan after the NHL's COVID-19 pandemic-related suspension ends, per NHL.com.

Sixteen teams will be paired off into eight groups and play in that qualifier round. The winners will move on and face the top eight seeds in a standard NHL 16-team knockout-round playoff, and the losers will go home and receive the consolation prize of earning a draft-lottery pick.

One of those eight teams is going to select first overall in the draft, though, as it was revealed that a placeholder for a qualifying team spot took the No. 1 choice.

That placeholder, which went by the designation "Team E," had just a 2.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, per Frank Seravalli of TSN:

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As for which team gets that honor, a second phase of the draft lottery will determine the No. 1 overall pick. All eight losing teams will have a 12.5 percent chance to win the No. 1 spot. 

                       

Draft Lottery Order

1. Undetermined Qualifier Team

2. Los Angeles Kings

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)

4. Detroit Red Wings

5. Ottawa Senators

6. Anaheim Ducks

7. New Jersey Devils

8. Buffalo Sabres

9. Undetermined Qualifier Team

10. Undetermined Qualifier Team

11. Undetermined Qualifier Team

12. Undetermined Qualifier Team

13. Undetermined Qualifier Team

14. Undetermined Qualifier Team

15. Undetermined Qualifier Team

Potential qualifier teams (h/t NHL.com): Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins.

                  

The seven losers of that draw will then be ordered from No. 9 to 15 based on regular-season points percentage.

The second phase will occur between the qualifying round and first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The league does not have a timetable for its return to the ice, so that date is to be determined.

If the league's Return To Play plan does not happen, then TSN's Bob McKenzie noted the league's backup lottery plan:

Typically, the 15 non-playoff teams (barring trades) are represented in the lottery, and their identities are known in advance since the lottery takes place after the playoffs begin.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing the NHL's suspension, however, the league had to call an audible.

Although the No. 1 team is uncertain, it's a virtual lock that Rimouski Oceanic left wing Alexis Lafreniere will go No. 1 overall, although a deep and talented class awaits the rest of the league's 30 franchises.

There's plenty of talent to be had at forward, defenseman and goaltender this year, so teams missing out on Lafreniere shouldn't be too disappointed.

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