2020 NHL Draft Lottery: How the mystery team winds up with the No. 1 overall pick will be determined

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The NHL held the first stage of its 2020 Draft Lottery on Friday night but we still don’t know which team will have the right to pick first overall. That’s because the lucky lottery balls bounced in favor for a mystery placeholder team, meaning one of the eight teams eliminated in the play-in round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs will get the No. 1 pick.

After COVID-19 brought a league shutdown and premature end to the regular season, the NHL opened up its playoff format to 24 qualifying teams (expanded from 16) this year, which meant that the draft lottery had to be tweaked a bit as well. The seven teams that didn’t make the postseason were automatically entered into the lottery with the top-seven best odds, while the eight remaining spots in the lottery will eventually go to the teams that lose their best-of-five play-in series. One of those eight teams will win the rights to the No. 1 pick when the league holds a second lottery phase during the playoffs. 

In the simplest terms: We don’t know who will pick No. 1 but there are 16 teams that could possibly end up in that spot. Those 16 teams are: 

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Here are the teams that will have a chance for the No. 1 pick: 

Each of the eight teams eliminated from the play-in round will enter Phase 2 of the lottery, where they will all have equal odds to earn the first overall pick. 

After Phase 1 of the lottery, the draft order we know so far is as follows:

No. 1 Placeholder team to be determined 
No. 2 Los Angeles Kings
No. 3 Ottawa Senators
No. 4 Detroit Red Wings
No. 5 Ottawa Senators
No. 6 Anaheim Ducks
No. 7 New Jersey Devils         
No. 8 Buffalo Sabres


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