Colorado Avalanche: A Look at the Draft Lottery Process

The Colorado Avalanche will not have to worry about how the draft lottery plays out this year — except to maybe see old enemies lose.

The Colorado Avalanche got screwed by the draft lottery not once but twice. The first time was in 2017 when the team finished with just 48 points — worst in the salary cap era — and still lost out on all three of the first picks. The exact same thing happened last summer when Colorado had Ottawa’s first rounder.

Yes, we got more than adequate compensation in the drafting of Cale Makar and Bowen Byram. However, that’s not the point. We lost the draft lottery.

Luckily, the Avalanche have no chance of losing it this season. The Avs aren’t involved. As second in the Western Conference and third in the entire NHL, Colorado is well and truly out of lottery contention. They will pick at #27 in the first round.

The 2020 NHL draft lottery is set to take place this Friday. Because of the unusual circumstances with the COVID-19 crisis, procedures are different this year. The draft lottery could be a two-stage process.

In this year’s playoffs, 16 teams will play a best-of-five game series to determined the final eight playoff teams. The eight teams that lose will have a chance to win one of the top three selections.

The lottery that’s taking place this Friday will include the seven teams that were officially eliminated from playoff contention:

  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Ottawa Senators
  • San Jose Sharks
  • LA Kings
  • Anaheim Ducks
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Buffalo Sabres

When the league makes the selections for the top three picks, those seven teams will be in the mix. The league will also have placeholders for the eventual eight teams that will join their ranks.

If the above teams win all three of the top picks, then the lottery process stops there. However, if any of the top three selections falls to a placeholder team, the NHL will hold another lottery after the play-in round. The eight eliminated teams will be put up for the available placeholder selection.

I hate the lottery process — see the rant to begin this post for the reason. I get that some teams used to tank on purpose to secure top draft positions. I think with the parity in the NHL nowadays, few teams would tank a whole season for that reason.

If you must have a lottery to preserve the sanctity of the season, then hold it only among the bottom-most teams. This year, you could have just chosen picks one through three from among the seven teams already eliminated from playoff contention. There’s no reason a team playing for playoff contention should have the chance at a first-overall selection.

However, if it does happen again this year, the saving grace is that the Detroit Red Wings, our one-time rivals, will get the green weenie. Also, the team that stole the Colorado Avalanche’s first-overall in 2017, the New Jersey Devils, would get screwed, too.

Just let it be an Eastern Conference team that wins the top three picks then.