Winners and Losers of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery
By: Zach Irwin (@Zachirwin3196)
Last Friday, hockey fans watched with intrigue to see who would win the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft during the fall. The prize of winning the first overall pick has the opportunity to select a can’t miss prospect and consensus top pick in the draft winger Alexis Lafreniere. As usual, teams and their fans anxiously waited to see where they would pick in the upcoming draft, this year’s lottery was much more different than in years past. This year the winner of the lottery was well….we don’t know actually. Yes, the winner of the draft lottery is to be determined after the play-in round of the playoffs is complete. So almost every team that qualified for the playoffs minus the top four teams from the two conferences.
That means any team in the play-in 5-12 could be awarded the first overall pick. After that, the Los Angeles Kings will draft second, and the Ottawa Senators who had two lottery picks will pick third via the San Jose Sharks trade and fifth overall from their pick. The Detroit Red Wings, who had the best odds of the non-playoff teams, dropped all the way to fourth overall pick, the furthest they could’ve dropped. The five through eight teams all fell into the picks that they were projected too. Not everybody was happy about how the lottery turned out for their teams, and for that, let’s look at the winners and losers of the 2020 NHL draft lottery.
Whoever team E is congratulations! You’ve won the 2020 NHL Draft lottery and will now be picking first overall come the fall!!!! Oh, we don’t know who won? Well, whoever Team E is once the play-in round is over the losers of the play-in round will find out who owns the first overall pick. This team had a 2.5 percent chance of securing the number one overall pick and with those odds becoming the first team to win the lottery with that low of odds to win. This is a great day for Team E and their fanbase, well, whoever this team may be.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have been in a slow rebuild for two years now and have gathered a plentiful of prospects like Gabe Vilardi, Arthur Kaliyev, and last year’s fifth overall pick Alex Turcotte. But this will be the tip of the iceberg in having the opportunity to pick from the second overall spot. With players like Quintin Byfield or Tim Stutzle projected to be taken with the second pick, LA has a difficult, but yet exciting decision to make. With already one having one of the deepest prospect pools in the league, whoever they end up picking will immediately jump to being their number one prospect in their system. The future is looking bright for LA.
Now I don’t think Lafreniere would’ve cared if a team like Ottawa or Detroit drafted him. Still, Alexis will be happy to know that he might be going to organizations like Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, or maybe the Edmonton Oilers. With the results of the lottery, it has guaranteed him that he won’t be drafted by one of the worst teams in the NHL. It also means that he won’t have the pressure of being a franchise savior for an organization he can just slip right into playing with his team, which his teammates could end up being with names like Crosby, McDavid, Kane, or another team in the play-in round.
the senators had an almost 50% chance of obtaining the first overall pick due to two picks projected at second and third overall pick. The worst outcome for the Senators happened that they were only to get the third and fifth overall picks in the draft. Now on the outside having two picks in the top five sounds like that team has already won the first round. But Ottawa desperately needs that impact player that the franchise is looking for since they traded Erik Karlsson two summers ago. I do think Ottawa will end up with two very solid NHL players, but to have two excellent opportunities at the first overall pick and landing at Nos. 3 and 5 will hurt a little for the fanbase who so desperately wanted Lafreniere.
Detroit Red Wings
If you didn’t realize how upset Red Wings fans were about not getting the first overall pick even though they owned the best odds to land it here’s a example:
My live reaction to the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery for the Red Wings. pic.twitter.com/woFa473Kbb
— Tony Dombrowski (@tonydombrowski) June 27, 2020
Having one of the worst records, the NHL has seen in quite some time didn’t get the Red Wings any closer to landing the franchise cornerstone they’ve so desperately longed for to get the team back to its glory days. Like I said about Ottawa, the same will be said about the Red Wings that they will get an outstanding player at fourth overall. Players like Jamie Drysdale, Alexander Holtz, and Marco Rossi will be on the board when their pick is on the clock.
The problem is though that it won’t meet the possible quality of the players that will be drafted with the first two picks in the draft. In my opinion, the Red Wings may be the biggest loser of the draft lottery.
Wow! Talk about a double whammy for the team with the longest playoff drought in the NHL. Buffalo, who hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011, wasn’t close to making the playoffs if the regular season had resumed. But when it was announced the NHL would expand the playoffs, Sabres fans got excited that their possible playoff drought would finally be over. It didn’t happen. The team missed the playoffs by three points and extended the drought to 8 years.
After missing the playoffs, their superstar center Jack Eichel expressed his frustrations about the direction of the team and missing the playoffs every year since he debuted in the NHL in 2015. Finally, the draft lottery comes, and the Sabres had the worst odds to win the draft lottery out of the teams that missed the playoffs. As if it wasn’t bad enough for the team and fans with the terrible stretch they’ve been having. Well, it got a whole lot worse. Not only did the Sabres miss the playoffs, but the fact that a team who qualified for the play-in round will not only have the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup but if the teams that do lose in the play-in round one of those teams will be awarded the first overall pick in the draft. It’s safe to say that the Buffalo Sabres are the New York Knicks of the NHL with these long years of bad luck and suffering.