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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Flames alive in 2020 NHL Draft sweepstakes after Placeholder wins first pick

As has become the custom in 2020 in the wider world, in the NHL Draft Lottery chaos reigned. The winner of the first overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft was… nobody. Well, not yet.

A placeholder team won the lottery for Alexis Lafreniere, and the first overall pick will be drawn from among the Qualifying Round losers sometime in mid-August.

Wait, what?

A placeholder team, technically Team E, won the draft lottery. They had a 2.5% chance at winning the top spot, though the eight placeholder teams collectively combined for a 24.5% shot – only Ottawa’s combined 25% chance was better.

So what happens now?

After the Qualifying Round, the eight teams that lose those series will be put in a draw. The winner of that draw, with a 12.5% chance, gets the first overall pick and probably Rimouski Oceanic superstar Alexis Lafreniere.

So if the Calgary Flames lose to Winnipeg, they have a 1-in-8 shot of getting Lafreniere (who coincidentally played on the same line as Flames prospect Dmitry Zavgorodniy this past season).

If they lose and don’t win the lottery, the 9th to 15th picks will be assigned among the remaining teams in ascending order of points percentage.

What if the playoffs don’t happen?

If for public health reasons the NHL never gets to conduct their playoff scheme, there’s a plan.

The eight teams involved in that draw would be: Montreal, Chicago, Arizona, Minnesota, Winnipeg, NY Rangers, Florida and Columbus. The 9th to 15th picks will be assigned among the remaining teams in ascending order of points percentage.

TL, DR…

If the Flames beat Winnipeg, they move onto the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If the Flames lose to Winnipeg they have a 1-in-8 shot at drafting first overall.

If the playoffs don’t happen, the Flames would draft 16th as the worst playoff-qualifying team by points percentage.

2020 is super weird.