The NHL Draft is always a critical juncture in hockey's calendar.
With the newest Stanley Cup champion normally anointed a week or two prior, it officially signifies the onset of preparations for the upcoming season and the future for the NHL's 31 franchises.
Things are a bit different this year after the COVID-19 pandemic paused the season and shifted everything around. The 2020 draft was originally set to take place June 26 and 27 and be held at Montreal's Bell Centre for the first time since 2009, when John Tavares was selected first overall by the Islanders. The league announced the postponement of the draft and scouting combine on March 25, which also put the draft lottery on the back burner.
Now, though, things are officially a go.
Sporting News has everything you need to know about the rescheduled 2020 NHL Draft.
When will the 2020 NHL Draft take place?
After months of speculation and a little jiggering, the official dates of the NHL Draft were announced Sept. 11.
- Date: Tuesday, Oct. 6
- Time: 7 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. PT
- TV channel (USA): NBCSN
- TV channel (Canada): Sportsnet, TVA
- Date: Wednesday, Oct. 7
- Time: 11:30 a.m. ET | 8:30 a.m. PT
- TV channel (USA): NHL Network
- TV channel (Canada): Sportsnet
Where will the 2020 NHL Draft take place?
As mentioned, this year's draft was supposed to be in Montreal but now, like every other sports league in 2020, the draft is expected to take place virtually.
What happened with the draft lottery?
The draft lottery happened in two parts; the first on June 26 and the second on Aug. 10. Why were there two rounds? Well . . . that'll take some explanation.
Normally, the draft lottery includes the 15 teams that don't make the postseason. This year, the seven teams that were not invited to the bubble were there — the Red Wings, Senators, Kings, Ducks, Devils, Sharks (whose pick went to Ottawa) and Sabres — along with eight unnamed teams. Those unnamed teams would eventually be the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round.
That was Phase 1. Why was this a two-parter? Because chaos happened on June 26 — an unnamed team jumped the seven worst teams for the No. 1 pick, thus activating Phase 2.
Phase 2 in August had tons of tension and drama. In the end, the Rangers' pingpong ball was sucked up the tube for the top pick.
Who is expected to be the No. 1 pick?
The pick has been cemented for some time: Alexis Lafreniere will be tapped first overall. Ranked the top skater among North Americans by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, the 6-1, 193-pound left winger torched the competition in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this past season. He led the league with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games for the Rimouski Oceanic.
What does the draft order look like?
While the exact order won't be known until teams walk to their virtual podium and make their picks, teams have already swapped spots — some at the trade deadline last winter and some since being bounced from the bubble.
25. Colorado Avalanche
Here's the current order for the first round:
|1. New York Rangers|
|2. Los Angeles Kings|
|3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS)|
|4. Detroit Red Wings|
|5. Ottawa Senators|
|6. Anaheim Ducks|
|7. New Jersey Devils|
|8. Buffalo Sabres|
|9. Minnesota Wild|
|10. Winnipeg Jets|
|11. Nashville Predators|
|12. Florida Panthers|
|13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR)|
|14. Edmonton Oilers|
|15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT)|
|16. Montreal Canadiens|
|17. Chicago Blackhawks|
|18. New Jersey Devils (from ARI)|
|19. Calgary Flames|
|20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TBL)|
|21. Columbus Blue Jackets|
|22. New York Rangers (from CAR)|
|23. Philadelphia Flyers|
|24. Washington Capitals|
|25. Colorado Avalanche|
|26. St. Louis Blues|
|27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS)|
|28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI)|
|29. Vegas Golden Knights|
|30. Dallas Stars|
|31. San Jose Sharks (from TBL)|