NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league's official return-to-play plan last month, making the NHL the first of the four major North American sports leagues to officially declare its plans to play following the coronavirus shutdown. Bettman officially closed the book on the 2019-2020 regular season and outlined the 24-team playoff format that was approved by the NHLPA over the weekend. The league is hoping to begin the postseason in late July.
As part of that return-to-play announcement, the commissioner also detailed plans for this year's NHL Draft Lottery, which will be held on June 26th. On Monday, the league announced that the NHL Draft Lottery will be held at the NHL Network studio in Secaucus, N.J. and will be broadcasted beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Since the lottery will be held prior to the league's restart, the league has come up with a unique (and complicated) two-phase format to determine this year's lottery order. Here's how it breaks down:
- The seven teams that will not qualify for the 24-team playoff will automatically be entered into the lottery
- The eight teams that fail to advance out of the postseason play-in round receive the final eight draft lottery spots
- During Phase 1 of the Draft Lottery on June 26th, the league will draw the first three selections of the 2020 NHL Draft, using placeholders for the eight teams still in competition
- If any still-competing teams are among the three draws at the top of the draft, a Phase 2 stage will be triggered
- After the completion of the play-in round, all eight teams entered into the lottery will have the exact same odds (12.5 percent) of being selected to move into the top three (where the placeholder was drawn)
- When the top three picks are finalized, the order for the remainder of the first round will be determined by 2019-2020 points percentage
Here are the current lottery odds (or odds of landing a top-three selection) for the seven teams officially eliminated from postseason contention:
And here are the lottery odds for the remaining eight placeholder teams:
- Team A: 6.0%
- Team B: 5.0%
- Team C: 3.5%
- Team D: 3.0%
- Team E: 2.5%
- Team F: 2.0%
- Team G: 1.5%
- Team H: 1.0%
There are 16 teams that are set to compete in the league's play-in round, with eight best-of-five series determining which teams will move on to take their place in a traditional 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs. Again, the eight teams that fail to advance out of the play-in round will earn a draft lottery entry (if at least one placeholder team is drawn in Phase 1).
Here are the play-in teams/matchups:
• 5) Edmonton vs. 12) Chicago
• 6) Nashville vs. 11) Arizona
• 7) Vancouver vs. 10) Minnesota
• 8) Calgary vs. 9) Winnipeg
The draft will be held at the conclusion of the playoffs but no official date has been set as of yet.