If your favorite NHL team loses in the qualifying round, you might get the No. 1 pick.
The NHL Draft lottery winner is a team yet-to-be-identified because the winner of that is going to be one of the losers from the qualifying round.
Yep, a playoff team, well not really a playoff team in the true sense of the word, but a post-season qualifier nonetheless won the lottery ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings who round out the top four picks. The NHL Draft lottery was a total disaster, but it’ll be a happy ending for at least one fan base.
NHL Draft lottery results (Phase 1)
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators
4. Detroit Red Wings
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Buffalo Sabres
So who has a shot at the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft?
The top four teams from each conference is not playing in the qualifying round so those eight teams are not eligible for the to pick and the right to draft the consensus top prospect Alexis Lafreniere.
Those eight teams are Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia from the Eastern Conference and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the Western Conference.
The teams eligible to win the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft are the remaining teams in the qualifying round which includes Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Nashville, Vancouver, Minnesota, Arizona and Chicago from the Western Conference. And then Pittsburgh, Carolina, Toronto, Columbus, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Florida and Montreal.
If you’re a fringe playoff team like the Chicago Blackhawks or Montreal Canadiens who got to continue the season even though they were outside of the top eight and would otherwise not make the playoffs, you may be compelled to root for the chance at the top pick vs. pulling an upset in the qualifying round and then trying to round a Stanley Cup challenge.
Nevertheless, the mystery will be revealed in Phase 2 of the NHL Draft lottery. In short, the eight losers of the qualifying round will have identical 12.5 percent chances at the top pick. Buckle up, it’s about to get even more nuts than it already is.