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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 14, 2020
Assuming the NHL plays games in August, the Vancouver Canucks still have a chance to pick first overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
One of the eight teams that lose in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs qualifying round will select first when the draft takes place in October.
The Canucks are slated to play the Minnesota Wild in a best-of-five series in that qualifying round.
The first phase of the 2020 draft lottery, held Friday night, resulted in a to-be-determined team winning the lottery’s top pick.
The Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators will pick second and third overall, respectively, after winning the draws for those two selections. The five other teams not advancing past the qualifying round will have the next six picks.
Because the draft lottery usually has the 15 non-playoff teams in the mix, the NHL elected to include balls in the three draws representing the eight teams that will lose in the qualifying round.
Team E, which won the draw for first overall, only had a 2.5 per cent chance of being selected.
A second phase to the draft lottery will take place after the qualifying round, which is scheduled to be played during the first two weeks in August.
The eight teams that lose in that round will each have a 12.5 per cent chance in the Phase 2 draw. If the Canucks lose to the Minnesota Wild, they’ll actually have a better chance of picking first overall this year, when they contended for the playoffs, than they did in 2016, when they finished third-last in the league and had an 11.5 per cent chance of winning the draw for first overall.
In 2017 the Canucks had a 12.1 per cent chance of selecting first overall because of their second-last standing in the NHL.
If the qualifying round can’t be completed because of the COVID-19 pandemic — or some other reason — the eight teams in the Phase 2 lottery will be determined using points percentage in each conference, which would make the Canucks the eighth and final ‘playoff’ qualifier in the Western Conference. That would mean they’d cede their first round pick this year to New Jersey, who acquired from Tampa Bay the conditional first round pick the Canucks traded to the Lightning at last year’s draft for J.T. Miller.
The condition on that pick was if they make the playoffs in the 2019-20 season, they’d send the pick to Tampa, but if they missed qualifying for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, they’d yield their 2021 first round pick instead.
Alexis Lafrenière is expected to be selected first overall. Lafrenière is a left-winger for the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The 2020 NHL draft is expected to take place online in late October.
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