With the results of the first NHL Draft Lottery, the stage is set for a second lottery to decide the ultimate winner of Alexis Lafreniere. In some ways, he’s already won, because the team he’ll join next season — the first overall almost always goes right to the NHL — won’t be a bottom feeder or a tanking team. Lafreniere will also be the first number one draft pick who isn’t forced into a whirlwind of appearances, WJC camps, rookie and prospect tournaments and will instead be placed in a team-controlled training program for however long the resumption of play, the playoffs and the offseason lasts.
But before all that is resolved, the second lottery has to take place.
The NHL has formally said the second draft lottery will be after the qualifying round that determines the eight losing teams that take part in it, but before the first round of the playoffs proper. No date has been given.
If the NHL can continue on their Return to Play schedule as broadly drawn out right now, that would be sometime around the first or second week of August.
If the NHL cannot complete the qualifying round, the second lottery will take place at some time after the formal cancellation.
We might assume that the second lottery will be held in a studio in Toronto with a split-screen zoom call of eight GMs, but by the time it takes place, the two hub cities will be running, and games will be ongoing, so the opportunity for a slightly less virtual lottery presentation exists.
There are two potential outcomes to the events between now and whenever this lottery takes place, and a lot more than two potential lists of teams. If the qualifying round cannot take place, it has been confirmed by Elliotte Friedman and Bob McKenzie that the eight teams in the lottery will be:
Montreal, Chicago, Arizona, Minnesota, Winnipeg, New York Rangers, Florida, Columbus
If the qualifying round does take place, whoever loses these eight best-of-five series enters the draw.
No matter who is in the lottery, the odds are even, so 12.5% chance at a win for each team in it. No one has a chance at having two picks in the second lottery, no matter how the trades play out.
Second Lottery Losers
If the qualifying round is played, the seven teams who lose the second lottery will be sorted out into spots nine through 15 in the draft order in reverse of points percentage from the 2019-2020 regular season.
The 16 possible takers of those spots in order of points percentage, worst to best are (ties are broken by Regulation Wins):
- Montreal - .500
- Chicago - .514
- Arizona - .529
- Minnesota - .558
- Winnipeg - .563
- Calgary - .564 and 25 RW
- New York Rangers - .564 and 31 RW
- Vancouver - .565 and 27 RW
- Nashville - .565 and 28 RW
- Florida - .565 and 30 RW
- Columbus - .579 and 25 RW
- Toronto - .579 and 28 RW
- Edmonton - .585
- New York Islanders - .588
- Carolina Hurricanes - .596
- Pittsburgh Penguins - .623
If the qualifying round is not played, the rest of the eight teams who are in that form of the lottery will be sorted out into the rest of the top 15 draft spots in reverse order of points percentage.
This means there are eight teams that can only get a shot at the second lottery if the qualifying round actually takes place.
Trading is currently suspended, although there has been a report, unverified by the NHL, that trades between the bottom seven teams are allowed right now. There has been no announcement if trading will be resumed before the playoffs are either over or cancelled, so as far as it is known now, no one who could be in the second lottery can trade their 2020 first round pick before it happens.
Picks Already Traded
Several teams on the full list of 16 potential lottery participants have already traded their 2020 first-round pick.
Arizona: traded their first-round pick for Taylor Hall. It is top-three protected, so if they win the second lottery, they keep the pick, otherwise, New Jersey slots into their spot in the draft order, wherever that ends up being.
Vancouver: traded their first-round pick to Tampa for J.T. Miller. The trade was conditional on Vancouver making the playoffs. The qualifying round is not considered playoffs for trade condition purposes, so if Vancouver loses in the qualifying round, they keep this pick, and give Tampa their 2021 first-rounder. Tampa traded whichever pick they get to New Jersey for Blake Coleman, so the 2020 Vancouver pick is held by either Vancouver or New Jersey, but would be in the lottery only as a Vancouver pick.
New York Islanders: traded their first-round pick to Ottawa for Jean-Gabriel Pageau. That pick is top-three protected, so if the Islanders lose in the qualifying round and win the second lottery, they keep the pick, otherwise it goes to Ottawa.
Toronto: traded their first-round pick to Carolina to pay the freight on the Canes buying out Patrick Marleau. That pick is top-10 protected, and if the Leafs lose in the qualifying round AND win the lottery, they will keep the pick. They cannot finish top 10 any other way.
Carolina: traded a first-round pick to the Rangers for Brady Skjei. The Rangers receive the worse pick (by final order) between the Toronto pick and Carolina’s own. If the Leafs lose the qualifying round and win the lottery, Carolina will give up their own pick even if they also lose the qualifying round. If Carolina loses and wins the lottery themselves, they will, by default, have the Toronto pick to give to New York.
Pittsburgh: traded their first-round pick in the deal that sent Alex Galchenyuk to Minnesota for Jason Zucker. This pick is conditional on the Penguins making the playoffs. If they do not, they have the option to keep it and substitute the 2021 pick. Note that’s an option (per CapFriendly) and they will have to choose if they lose the qualifying round. When that choice gets made is unknown, but one presumes after the second lottery.
The draft itself will be after the Stanley Cup is awarded or the season is formally cancelled. At that time, it is expected that Lafreniere will be able to sign an ELC for 2020-2021 immediately. Since the NHL and the NHLPA are currently negotiating an extension to the CBA the rules governing that contract remain one of the many mysteries in hockey right now. Any changes to the ELC rules or bonus structure will take place for the 2020-2021 season if a new CBA is agreed upon.
When will Alexis Lafreniere take to the ice in an [Insert Team Name Here] jersey? That’s the biggest mystery of all, but 2021 seems to be the most likely date.