It makes sense to confuse the NHL draft lottery

By the time the NHL giveaway draw on Friday night is complete, we’ll know if the Rangers have a chance at the Stanley Cup championship first-round pick / daily double; if the islanders have the same chance or will even retain their first round 2020; And if the Devils will claim the first overall pick for the third time in four years.

Confused? You better believe it.

The NHL lottery will feature this season’s Seven Dwarfs who did not receive an invitation to the 24-team Cotillion Ball from the league (six, to be precise, since the San Jose team is owned by Ottawa), plus eight losers from the qualifying round. But since their identities will not be known until qualifiers have concluded in August, there will be eight “placeholder” teams entered in the draw. They will be known as Teams A through H, all with the same odds.

There will be separate drawings for each of the top three selections. If the top three choices go to those who don’t do well: Detroit, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Anaheim, New Jersey or Buffalo, that will be it, and the eight losers from the qualifying round will select total points in reverse order of their season. But, if a “placeholder” wins any of the first three elections, there will be another lottery between the qualifiers and the first round of the 16-team playoffs to determine the team’s identity.

The Rangers have their own first round plus Toronto or Carolina through Brady Skjei’s deadline agreement with the ‘Canes. The first assailant of the islanders will go to Ottawa through the deal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau unless it becomes one of the first three options. In that case, the islanders keep their choice with the first round of 2021 going to the senators.

The Devils, one of seven with their noses pressed against the window, enter the lottery with a 7.5 percent probability in the first overall pick. New Jersey won the lottery last year and chose Jack Hughes two years after winning the 2017 lottery and selecting Nico Hischier.

The Rangers could finish with the first overall pick and a shot to Rimouski Alexis Lafreniere’s left wing as a “placeholder” if they lose the qualifier. They would have a second chance if they beat Carolina, Toronto loses to Columbus in the standings and both the Leafs and the ‘Canes emerge with a top three pick.

In that case, the Maple Leafs would keep their pick through the conditions of their previous trade (Patrick Marleau) with Carolina, and the Blueshirts would get the pick from the hurricanes. But you wouldn’t know that Friday; I would only know that the “placeholders” were in the top three.

Otherwise, Blueshirts are entitled to the subsequent choice between hurricanes and maple leaves. The actual draft date has not been scheduled.