The NHL Draft Lottery and Why it Matters for the Minnesota Wild

NHL Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Gary Bettman and Bill Daly (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NHL Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Gary Bettman and Bill Daly (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The First Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery is this Friday, June 26th at 7 pm CT on NBCSports and NHLNetwork. Why should Minnesota Wild fans tune in?

As a part of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan, Gary Bettman announced the League’s plan on the Draft Lottery will occur during the COVID-19 pandemic. It could occur in several phases, here’s how that will work.

Like any other year, there will be fifteen teams involved in the lottery. The case with this year’s draft is that in the first phase of the lottery, only half of the teams are known. The seven teams not included in the Expanded Play-In Series are ranked based off Points Percentage, which are:

"Detroit Red Wings (.275) 18.5% Chance for No. 1 PickOttawa Senators (.437) 13.5% Chance for No.1 PickOttawa Senators (From San Jose, .450) 11.5%Los Angeles Kings (.457) 9.5%Anaheim Ducks (.472) 8.5%New Jersey Devils (.493) 7.5%Buffalo Sabres (.493) 6.5%"

If any of the teams in the bottom seven (i.e any of the teams not involved with the play-in series/postseason) wins any of the first three lottery draws, they earn that pick in the Entry Draft. The Winner of the first draw gets the first pick, the Winner of the second draw gets the second pick, and the Winner of the third draw gets the third pick.

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The other eight teams are labeled as “Qualifier Team (letter)”, meaning, if any of the “Qualifier Teams” win any of the three lottery draws, a second phase of the NHL Lottery Draft will occur between the Play-In Series and the First Official Playoff Round.

The Qualifier Team lottery odds are:

"Qualifier Team A 6.0% Chance for No. 1 PickQualifier Team B 5.0%Qualifier Team C 3.5%Qualifier Team D 3.0%Qualifer Team E 2.5%Qualifer Team F 2.0%Qualifer Team G 1.5%Qualifier Team H 1.0%"

If the three lottery draws in Phase 1 are won by teams #1-7, there will not be a second phase, and the remaining teams (the other four from #1-#7 and the teams who don’t advance from teams #8-#15) are ranked in inverse points percentage for draft selection.

In the Second Phase of the Lottery Draft, all teams have the same odds for each lottery draw, even between teams who did not participate in a Play-In and those who did.

Okay, That’s The Process, Why Does This Matter for the Minnesota Wild?

If any of the Three Draws are won by Qualifier Team Placeholders and the Minnesota Wild fail to defeat the Vancouver Canucks in the Play-In Series, the Wild could make a significant jump in draft selection. Even if the Wild fails to win the Lottery, they could select as high as 8th (if all three of Montreal, Chicago, and Arizona win their Play-In Series) and at worst they are picking 11th overall.

Another angle that makes this interesting is the First Round Pick the Wild acquired in the Jason Zucker trade. Should both the Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins lose their Play-In Series,  and the Pens elect not to defer the pick to next season (the draft pick had a condition that if the Penguins did not make the Playoffs, they could defer it to 2021, and the Play-In series isn’t defined as the Playoffs), the Wild could have two chances to win the draft lottery.

However, this situation is unlikely. The Penguins are a wagon of a team and are one of the better Play-In Series teams. The storyline that a rested Carey Price could steal a series for the Habs is one I don’t believe too much in.

Draft Lottery Information was gathered from and the Official NHL Public Relations Media Release

Related Story. Jason Zucker Traded to Pittsburgh Penguins. Package includes Alex Galchenyuk, Prospect, and 2020 First Round Pick. light