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Draft Lottery: Scratched. What’s next for the Predators?

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The lottery is (somewhat) set—what does this mean for Nashville?

2019 NHL Lottery Draft Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The very first step in the NHL’s Return to Play protocol is in the books, and with it, some answers for the future going forward. The draft lottery is complicated and there’s still some uncertainty as to where the teams in the qualifying round will fall.

The Results:

  1. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  2. Los Angeles Kings
  3. Ottawa Senators (pick traded from San Jose in the Erik Karlsson trade)
  4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. Ottawa Senators (own pick)
  6. Anaheim Ducks
  7. New Jersey Devils
  8. Buffalo Sabres
  9. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  10. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  11. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  12. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  13. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  14. Qualifying Round Losing Team
  15. Qualifying Round Losing Team

Where does Nashville stand and when will they know?

If Nashville wins against Arizona:

If Nashville is able to win the best-of-five series against Arizona, they will pick outside the top 15. Order will be determined by descending regular season points percentage (see below).

If Nashville loses to Arizona in the Qualifying Round:

Nashville will be one of eight losing qualifying-round teams vying for the single lottery spot. Phase 2 of the lottery will occur after the qualifying round is over, and each team will have an equal chance for the pick, a 12.5% chance. If Nashville does not win the Phase 2 lottery spot, they will be assigned a pick between 9 and 15 in order of descending points percentage.

  • If Nashville is selected in Phase 2 of the lottery: Alexis Lafreniere, y’all. Oh man I can’t properly express how excited we should be.
  • If Nashville is not selected in Phase 2 of the lottery: Picks 9 through 15 are up for grabs. In this case, Nashville fans should be cheering for the underdog in every other series. Per NHL.com here are the final regular season points percentages:
  1. Montreal Canadiens .500
  2. Chicago Blackhawks .514
  3. Arizona Coyotes .529
  4. Minnesota Wild .558
  5. Winnipeg Jets .563
  6. Calgary Flames .564
  7. New York Rangers .564
  8. Vancouver Canucks .565 (27 Regulation Wins/32 Regulation/Overtime Wins)
  9. Nashville Predators .565 (28 RW/34 ROW)
  10. Florida Panthers .565 (30 RW/32 ROW)
  11. Columbus Blue Jackets .579
  12. Toronto Maple Leafs .579
  13. Edmonton Oilers .585
  14. New York Islanders .588
  15. Carolina Hurricanes .596
  16. Pittsburgh Penguins .623

Regular tie-breaking procedure determines teams that are tied in points percentage—if Nashville, Florida and Vancouver are not selected for the lottery and all lose in the qualifying round, Nashville sits between both teams in regulation wins: their 28 regulation wins between Vancouver’s 27 and Florida’s 30.

The teams with a better points percentage are overwhelmingly Eastern Conference teams:

  • Penguins vs Canadiens
  • Hurricanes vs Rangers
  • Islanders vs Panthers
  • Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets

The outcome of Maple Leafs/Blue Jackets won’t matter to Nashville (unless one wins the lottery)—Nashville has a worse points percentage. Nashville will also pick ahead of either Florida or the Islanders, so they would be picking ahead of those two teams, potentially setting them up to pick two draft picks higher. In the other games, Nashville should be cheering for the Rangers and Canadiens to advance into the playoffs, pushing them up another two spots.

As for the Western Conference:

  • Oilers vs Blackhawks
  • Canucks vs Wild
  • Flames vs Jets

Edmonton is the only team with a better points percentage—if they lose, Nashville gains another spot in the draft. However, that means Chicago moves on, and that’s hard to stomach. The Calgary and Winnipeg series doesn’t matter at all, so you may root for whomever your heart desires—Nashville’s pick isn’t affected whatsoever. However, if Vancouver loses to Minnesota, Vancouver would receive the higher pick over Nashville due to less regulation wins than Nashville. But Minnesota also had a lower points percentage, so Nashville would be behind either of these teams no matter what.

Best case scenario if Nashville doesn’t hold the number 1 pick and the lottery team is one with a worse points percentage: If Edmonton, Carolina and Pittsburgh lose—in addition to the Florida/New York and Columbus/Toronto losers—and none win the lottery, Nashville picks at number ten. At worst, Nashville will pick ahead of at least two teams, setting them up potentially at 13 - pick 14 if a team with a higher point percentage wins the number 1 overall pick.

If Return to Play doesn’t happen and the season is cancelled: Nashville is not in the bottom 8 for points percentage, so would not be part of the phase 2 draft lottery, and likely finishes with the 16th overall pick.

Stay tuned to On The Forecheck for more draft coverage.