Ramblings: Placeholder Team Wins First Overall Pick, Top Frozen Tools Searches Burakovsky, Bjorkstrand (June 27)

Ian Gooding

2020-06-27

If Phase 1 of the Draft Lottery was the only new entertainment we as hockey fans receive for a while, then it was well worth the half hour. The only outcome more intriguing than a placeholder team winning the first overall pick would be if all of the first three picks went to placeholder teams.

That placeholder team (or to be more precise, Team E) will have the opportunity to choose Alexis Lafreniere. However, if Cam Robinson were the GM of Team E, he would pick Quinton Byfield. View his final 2020 NHL draft rankings if you haven't already. I don't know if I agree with Cam (and I certainly don't put in the work that he does watching prospects), but I admire his bold take.

Entertaining? Yes. Fair? Not so sure. If the NHL wanted to deter teams from tanking for the first overall pick, then it has accomplished its purpose. The Detroit Red Wings, with the lowest point percentage of any team in 20 years, fell as far as they could to the fourth overall pick, losing the first overall pick to a team with just 2.5 percent odds of winning it. If you combine all eight placeholder teams, a placeholder team was more likely to land the first overall pick (24.5%) than the Red Wings (18.5%), so maybe we should have expected this. Although I have faith that Steve Yzerman can rebuild the once-proud franchise, that's the worst possible outcome for a team that needed as many positives as it could get.

In case you're wondering what happens if the play-in cannot be completed…