There are about four weeks left in the 2019-20 NHL season, and the Detroit Red Wings already have the NHL’s top draft lottery odds for this season.
The 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings have had a season to forget. The Red Wings are, by far, the NHL’s worst team this season, and it’s really not even close as the final month of the regular season begins.
With the end of the regular season approaching, the focus for teams out of the playoff picture shifts to the approaching draft lottery that will decide the fate — and order — of the teams in the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Though the tentative date for the upcoming 2020 draft lottery sits at April 9, nothing has been made official yet as to how the NHL will approach this year’s event.
Even though there is still a lot of hockey left to be played this season — about one month’s worth, in fact — the Red Wings have already been eliminated from the playoffs and have secured last place in the NHL with a 17-49-5 record. With 71 games played this season, and 11 left to go, the Red Wings now have the NHL’s top lottery odds for picking No. 1 overall this coming summer at 18.5 percent.
It’s not a surprise to see the Red Wings nail down the top lottery odds, given how horrifically bad the team has been this season. Detroit has the NHL’s worst goal differential at minus-122 this season, more than double the Ottawa Senators minus-51 with just one more game played. The Red Wings were not expected to be major players this year, but their nosedive will be considered one of the worst seasons in hockey when all is said and done.
The aforementioned Senators and the Los Angeles Kings will likely nail down the No. 2 and 3 spots in the lottery within a few weeks, with the San Jose Sharks unlucky enough that their 2020 first-round pick goes to Ottawa this year thanks to the Erik Karlsson trade made in 2018.
Of course, the No. 1 pick in the NHL lottery does not often go to the team with the highest odds of the bunch. In 2017, the Philadelphia Flyers jumped up 11 spots to take the No. 2 overall pick in that draft while the New Jersey Devils snagged the No. 1 overall pick with just an 8.5 percent chance to do so. Before that, the Buffalo Sabres had the highest odds in the Connor McDavid draft lottery, but famously were jumped by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015.
The 2020 NHL draft seems to be a mixed bag in terms of a deep prospect pool, but the consensus No. 1 overall pick remains 18-year-old winger Alexis Lafreniere heading into the draft.
Thanks to a terrible season, the Red Wings now have the best odds to draft Lafreniere this upcoming summer. However, given the draft lottery’s near unpredictability at times, the team with the best odds at the end of the season may be shut out of the top three come June thanks to pure random chance.
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