A major point of confusion around the NHL’s plans for a 24-team summer tournament is how the draft order will be determined.
Since the league is expanding the field to 24 teams with 16 teams squaring off in a play-in round, it obviously wouldn’t be fair to determine the draft order based on the standings at the time the league was paused in March. In that instance, you could have a team like Montreal moving on to the playoffs while simultaneously ending up with a top pick.
Apparently, the solution to this issue is putting the losers of the play-in round into the draft lottery along with the seven non-playoff teams.
To add to Shayna's info, I have heard that the 2020 NHL draft will not happen until after the playoffs. https://t.co/OwXNNwzmG9
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) May 26, 2020
Though it isn’t fully clear, I would imagine that they’ll determine lottery odds based on the regular-season points percentage of the eight teams eliminated, and the seven non-playoff teams will have the highest odds.
This could have major ramifications for the Leafs. If they lose to Columbus in the play-in round, they would be put into the draft lottery, albeit, with low odds of getting a high pick. But if Toronto does get their name drawn, they wouldn’t have to give Carolina their first-round pick this year.
When they traded that pick in order to offload Patrick Marleau’s contract, the Leafs made it Top-10 protected. In the event that Toronto moves up to first, second, or third overall, they would then keep their pick and give Carolina their first-round pick in 2021 instead.
So maybe losing in the first round wouldn’t be quite so bad this time.