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Phase 1 of 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on tap for tonight

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Panthers have a chance (albeit a small one) at the first overall pick

2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Phase 1 of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft Lottery will be conducted tonight at NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, NJ at 8 p.m. ET. The event will be broadcast live on both NBCSN and NHL Network in the United States. Sportsnet and TVA Sports will handle those duties for our friends north of the border.

Originally, tonight was supposed to be the night the entire first round was completed, when potential franchise player Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic and 30 others stepped onto the stage to collect sweaters and hats from their new teams. Then a certain pandemic hit and... well; you know the rest.

Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, Tim Stutzle, Cole Perfetti and Lucas Raymond are among the top forwards available. Jamie Drysdale of the OHL’s Erie Otters should be the first defenseman to be selected. Russian Yaroslav Askarov is only goaltender expected to go in the opening round.

How the lottery work?

The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery will be held in two phases - if necessary.

Fifteen teams will be eligible for tonight’s Phase 1, the seven teams that already have not qualified for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs - the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Ottawa again (via the San Jose Sharks), Los Angeles Kings , Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres – ranked in inverse order of their points percentages at the time of the pause in the regular season – and eight “placeholders” that represent the to-be-determined Qualifying Round teams that do not advance, thus maintaining previously established odds for the Draft Lottery.

First Lottery Draw

If the winning team of the First Lottery Draw is from the #1-7 group, that team wins the right to the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. If the winning team of the 1st Lottery Draw is from the #8-15 group, the right to the first overall pick will be determined in Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

After the First Lottery Draw, the winning team (from either the #1-7 group or the #8-15 group) no longer will be eligible for the 2nd or 3rd Lottery Draws. All number combinations originally assigned to this team will become “Re-Draw Combinations” for the 2nd and 3rd Lottery Draws. The remaining teams’ odds will increase on a proportionate basis for the 2nd Lottery Draw, based on which team wins the 1st Lottery Draw

2nd Lottery Draw

If the winning team of the Second Lottery Draw is from the #1-7 group, that team wins the right to the second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. If the winning team of the 2nd Lottery Draw is from the #8-15 group, the right to the second overall pick will be determined in Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

After the Second Lottery Draw, the winning team (from either the #1-7 group or the #8-15 group) no longer will be eligible for the 3rd Lottery Draw. All number combinations originally assigned to this team will become “Re-Draw Combinations” for the 3rd Lottery Draw. The remaining teams’ odds will increase on a proportionate basis for the 3rd Lottery Draw, based on which team wins the 2nd Lottery Draw.

Third Lottery Draw

If the winning team of the Third Lottery Draw is from the #1-7 group, that team wins the right to the third overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. If the winning team of the 3rd Lottery Draw is from the #8-15 group, the right to the third overall pick will be determined in Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

What If All Three Draws Are Won by Teams in the #1-7 Group?

The winning teams receive the respective top three selections in the 2020 NHL Draft. The remaining four teams in the #1-7 group are assigned 2020 NHL Draft positions 4 through 7, in inverse order of their points percentages at the time of the pause in the regular season. The next eight 2020 NHL Draft positions (8 through 15) are assigned to the eight teams that do not advance from the Qualifying Round, in inverse order of their points percentages at the time of the pause in the regular season. In these circumstances, Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery will not be necessary.

What If Any of the Three Draws Are Won by Teams in the #8-15 Group?

The draws for the corresponding selections will be conducted during Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery among only the eight Qualifying Round teams that fail to advance.

This means if the Florida Panthers drops its Qualifying Round series to the New York Islanders, they could possibly have a crack at one of the top three picks in the draft if one of the “placeholder” slots wins one of the three drawings tonight.