The National Hockey League Draft Lottery is a weighted system to determine the order of selection for the first 15 picks of the Draft.
The Draft Drawing involves clubs that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, or the clubs that acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff clubs.
From 1995 through 2012, the league's rules stipulated that the club selected in the Draft Lottery could not move up more than four positions in the draft order. Thus, the only clubs with the opportunity to receive the first overall selection were the five teams with the lowest regular-season point totals, or the clubs that acquired an eligible club's first-round draft pick. No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Lottery.
Prior to the 2014-15 season, prominent changes were made to the lottery. For the 2015 lottery, the odds were changed, giving less weight to finishing 30th overall. In addition to a more spread out distribution of odds, the opportunity to select first overall was awarded to any team that wins the lottery instead of the maximum four-slot advancement.
Beginning in 2016, the top three picks were awarded through the draw, ensuring the team that finishes 30th overall is guaranteed only a top-four selection, instead of the second pick being a worst-case scenario.
The 2020 NHL Lottery
One of eight placeholder spots beat the odds to secure the No. 1 pick in the league's draft lottery on June 26, meaning a second draw is required later this summer following the qualifying round of the NHL's return-to-play plan.
The placeholders, who represent the eight teams that will eventually lose out in the NHL's qualifying round, had a combined 24.5 per cent chance of selecting first. The placeholder team that won the lottery had a 2.5 per cent chance. The eliminated clubs from eight separate best-of-five play-in series will each have a 12.5 per cent chance of securing the top pick in the second phase of the lottery.
The Los Angeles Kings moved up from fourth to pick second, while the Ottawa Senators, who had the best combined odds of picking first at 25 per cent because they also owned the San Jose Sharks' selection, will select third and fifth. The Detroit Red Wings, who had the best singular odds to pick first at 18.5, fell to No. 4.
The Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres round out the top-8 in what is the most complicated lottery in NHL history.
Apart from its own pick, 30th-ranked Ottawa also possesses San Jose's selection as part of the blockbuster trade for star defenceman Erik Karlsson in September 2018. San Jose was 29th in the overall standings when the league went on hiatus.
The seven draft spots owned by franchises outside the league's 24-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season later this summer were confirmed as part of the draw, but the other eight were occupied by placeholders representing clubs that will eventually lose out in the best-of-five qualifying round ahead of the playoffs.
Picks nine through 15 will be determined by the yet-to-be-eliminated teams' regular-season points percentage at the time of the league's pause on March 12.
Draft Lottery History
|Year||No. 1 SEED||WINNER (SEED)||NO. 1 PICK||1ST OVERALL|
|1995||Ottawa||Los Angeles* (7)||Ottawa||Bryan Berard|
|1996||Ottawa||Ottawa (1)||Ottawa||Chris Phillips|
|1997||Boston||Boston (1)||Boston||Joe Thornton|
|1998||Tampa Bay||San Jose# (2)||Tampa Bay||Vincent Lecavalier|
|1999||Tampa Bay||Chicago**(8)||Atlanta||Patrik Stefan|
|2000||Atlanta||NY Islanders (5)||NY Islanders||Rick DiPietro|
|2001||NY Islanders||Atlanta (3)||Atlanta||Ilya Kovalchuk|
|2002||Atlanta||Florida^ (3)||Columbus||Rick Nash|
|2003||Carolina||Florida^^ (4)||Pittsburgh||Marc-Andre Fleury|
|2004||Pittsburgh||Washington (3)||Washington||Alexander Ovechkin|
|2005||-||Pittsburgh+ (1*)||Pittsburgh||Sidney Crosby|
|2006||St. Louis||St. Louis (1)||St. Louis||Erik Johnson|
|2007||Philadelphia||Chicago (5)||Chicago||Patrick Kane|
|2008||Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay (1)||Tampa Bay||Steven Stamkos|
|2009||NY Islanders||NY Islanders (1)||NY Islanders||John Tavares|
|2010||Edmonton||Edmonton (1)||Edmonton||Taylor Hall|
|2011||Edmonton||New Jersey++ (8)||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|2012||Columbus||Edmonton (2)||Edmonton||Nail Yakupov|
|2013||Florida||Colorado (2)||Colorado||Nathan MacKinnon|
|2014||Buffalo||Florida (2)||Florida||Aaron Ekblad|
|2015||Buffalo||Edmonton (3)||Edmonton||Connor McDavid|
|2016||Toronto||Toronto (1)||Toronto||Auston Matthews|
|2017||Colorado||New Jersey** (5)||New Jersey||Nico Hischier|
|2018||Buffalo||Buffalo (1)||Buffalo||Rasmus Dahlin|
|2019||Ottawa***||New Jersey (3)||New Jersey||Jack Hughes|
* - Los Angeles could only move up a maximum of four spots (moved from 7th to 3rd). The Kings selected D Aki Berg.
# - San Jose was selected in the 1998 drawing, but Tampa Bay held the right to swap first round picks with the Sharks and exercised that right to go to first.
** - Chicago could only move up a maximum of four spots (moved from 8th to 4th). The New York Rangers obtained Chicago's pick in a trade (via Vancouver and Tampa Bay) and selected RW Pavel Brendl.
^ - Florida traded its first overall pick to Columbus
^^ - Florida traded its first overall pick to Pittsburgh
+ - NHL lockout cancelled 2004-05 season, all 30 teams were entered into a lottery with each team having as many as three or as few as one ball to be drawn based on playoff qualification or draft lottery wins over the previous three seasons. The Penguins - who were one of four teams that had three balls in the lottery (*) - were pulled for the right to select C Sidney Crosby.
++ - New Jersey could only move up a maximum of four spots (moved from 8th to 4th). The Devils selected D Adam Larsson.
*** - Ottawa's pick belongs to the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Matt Duchene trade made in 2017.