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Bettman unveils NHL’s return-to-play plan, Draft Lottery details

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15 teams will have a shot at 1st overall in the 2020 NHL Draft

2020 NHL All-Star - Commissioner Gary Bettman Media Availability Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman finally put forth the league’s so-called “return-to-play” format late Tuesday afternoon. The past few weeks have been filled with the same information being repurposed, and it appears that’s what happened during his update - with little nuggets of new information such as potential cities that will host the 24-team playoff tournament. Here’s Bettman’s full address:

What the NHL truly lacks is a timeline. In his update, Bettman couldn’t give specific dates, but he said that training camps would not happen until sometime in the first half of July.

The biggest update coming out of Tuesday’s news conference was the NHL Draft Lottery, which Red Wings fans are not happy with. It’s an extremely convoluted potentially “two-phase” plan — with picks 1-3 being announced on June 26th. 15 teams will be included in the Draft Lottery, which means that play-in teams who don’t make it past the round robin will automatically have their chance at a lottery pick.

The NHL is essentially trying to keep the Draft format the same, while trying to juggle the nearly-impossible act of getting 24 teams ready to resume play safely. There were rumblings that the league was set to change the lottery format, in which it would have greatly benefited the Detroit Red Wings with a top-three pick. To me, if that scenario was never put on the table, I think the fan reaction might be a little more tame. However, the league is shaking up the playoff format to benefit middling teams, so why can’t they change the Lottery format to benefit teams in the basement who have ZERO chance of seeing the playoffs? Of course I have feelings on this, because I’m a fan of the worst team in the league.

Prashanth Iyer calculated the odds of picking first overall under the new format. This is taking into account the odds for “Phase 2” as well.

(Ignore the text at the top of the tweet, WIIM has confirmed this with multiple league sources that it’s accurate).

When you get down to brass tacks, not much changes for the Red Wings. 15 teams will have a shot at picks 1-3, and the rest will be figured out by points percentage. I think the biggest thing is that this fanbase, which had to endure (most of) a historically dismal season, had their hopes high that the NHL would throw them a bone.

Folks... Hope is not a strategy.


There you have it. While there’s still a ton of uncertainty, this answers SOME questions that many fans have been asking — especially about the NHL Draft Lottery.

I wish I could say I were truly angry, but I anticipated the NHL making very little sense with its moves to resume play. I think the idea on paper looks good, but carrying it out will be all but simple. Will it work? I’m not as confident as some of the mainstream media appears to be.


Full Press Release is linked below:

ReturnToPlay_Slides (1).pdf