Tonight, the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery set the order of picks for the teams who did not qualify for the postseason tournament… sort of. The first overall pick is up for grabs still, but at least we know where the Devils are picking.
The Devils, with an 87.5-percent chance of gaining pick number one for the third time in four years, actually fell a spot from sixth to seventh. They will have the seventh overall pick in the Draft later this Summer.
For the record, in his final mock draft, TSN’s Bob McKenzie had Austrian forward Marco Rossi at the seventh position. Obviously things can change based on who is taken before and what the Devils feel they need or want – which is something Martin Brodeur mentioned a lot in his interviews with Matt Loughlin on the Devils preshow and in his interview on NBCSN prior to the Draft Lottery itself – that the Devils were going to be drafting for the future, not the present.
Rossi was the first European-born player to lead the Ontario Hockey League in scoring when he notched 129 points (39 goals and 81 assists) for the Ottawa 67’s last season according to Eliteprospects.com.
The rest of the known first round sees Buffalo picking behind the Devils at the eighth spot, then Anaheim just above the Devils at six, Ottawa (their own pick) at fifth, Detroit at fourth (the Red Wings actually had the best odds on their own of getting the first overall pick, so this has to be disappointing to them), Ottawa (via San Jose) at three, Los Angeles at number two and an unknown team getting the rights to pick Alexis Lafreniere at number one.
The unknown team will be one of the teams that qualified for the play-in round but get bounced and do not make the playoffs. As a refresher, the 16 teams that are in the qualifying round are: Carolina, the Rangers, Florida, the Islanders, Columbus, Toronto, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Chicago and Vancouver.
Once eight of those teams are eliminated, they will be put back into phase two of the Lottery and Lafreniere will know his destination. The second part of the Lottery will obviously take place following the qualifying round of the NHL’s Return to Play initiative.
This kind of adds another layer of intrigue to the qualifying round. Eight teams will continue on to the playoffs while eight teams will take their chances at another lottery and the rights to the first overall pick. Keep in mind that, technically, the qualifying round is not the playoffs so nobody is making the playoffs and also getting the first overall pick in the Draft.
While this may be a little disappointing to Devils fans, keep in mind that the top ten of this Draft are very deep and we will likely be ending up with a good player no matter what. Plus, there is still the matter of Arizona (the Taylor Hall trade) and Vancouver’s (via the trade that sent Blake Coleman to Tampa Bay) first round picks to hash out for the Devils. That, again, hinges on the qualifying round. There should be a lot to look for once hockey gets going again and that makes it all the more exciting.