NHL Draft

2020 NHL Draft lottery: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in wild event

2020 NHL Draft lottery: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in wild event

For a while there, the 2020 NHL Draft lottery was going about as terribly as possible for the Sharks.

Though they learned from the start that a placeholding team currently involved in the league's return-to-play format landed one of the top three picks, the next phase of developments painted a disaster scenario for San Jose.

The top eight picks in the draft were determined in reverse order, with the first big surprise occurring at No. 5 overall. The Ottawa Senators' first-round selection had the second-best odds of landing No. 1 overall, but instead they received the fifth pick.

That was followed by another major surprise, as the Detroit Red Wings -- who had the best odds in the entire league of landing the No. 1 overall pick -- came in at No. 4. That meant that the selections belonging to the Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and the mystery team -- in some order -- would be the first three picks in the draft.

Normally, that would have been a great thing for San Jose. But with its first-round pick already belonging to Ottawa as part of the Erik Karlsson trade, the Sharks surely were hoping their selection landed as far back in the draft order as possible, so as to lessen the value they ultimately gave up in the trade. Additionally, they definitely didn't want the division rival Kings to land the top pick.

But with the top three selections still to be revealed, there was a solid chance the Sharks' and Kings' selections would have ended up first and second overall. If that played out, regardless of the order, it would have been a terrible result for San Jose.

Alas, in what has truly been a year of ridiculously bad luck for the Sharks, something finally bounced their way. 

First, San Jose's own selection landed at No. 3 overall. Though it belongs to the Senators, that wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. In fact, the best possible scenario would have seen their pick land at No. 6. Had it landed No. 1 -- where consensus top prospect Alexis Lafreniere is expected to be picked -- it would have left the door open for the Sharks to wonder, 'What if?'

San Jose's good news didn't end there. With only the top two selections left to be determined, the league revealed the No. 1 overall pick belonged to the placeholder team that is involved in the return-to-play qualifying round. That meant that the Kings' first-round pick landed at No. 2 overall.

That's a mighty fine asset for Los Angeles, but the consensus is that there's a large drop-off in talent after Lafreniere, and assuming he goes No. 1 overall, that likely means he won't be in the Sharks' division.

Likely, but not certain. That's because the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round will be included in Phase 2 of the draft lottery, with the No. 1 overall pick belonging to its winner. That surely wasn't the result the NHL had hoped for when establishing the draft lottery format, but then again, not much has gone the way the league expected it would this season.

Among the eight Western Conference teams involved in the qualifying round are the Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames. Should any of them be eliminated in the qualifying round, they would then be in play to receive the No. 1 pick. All of those teams are in San Jose's division, so from the Sharks' perspective, they each ideally would advance past the qualifying round, thereby ruling out any chance of a Pacific Division team landing the top overall selection.

So, San Jose isn't out of the woods yet. But for a draft lottery that started out about as poorly as possible for the Sharks, it could have ended much, much worse.

[RELATED: Wilson recalls 'great' decision joining expansion Sharks]

Furthermore, the 2020 draft lottery offered further vindication for San Jose general manager Doug Wilson in making the decision to trade the haul for Karlsson prior to the start of last season. The Sharks already had won that trade. That was never in question. But Friday's result further cements it.

You rightfully make that trade 100 times out of 100. Especially now, knowing the true value of the first-round pick.

2020 NHL Draft lottery results: Sharks' pick goes to Senators at No. 3

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USATSI

2020 NHL Draft lottery results: Sharks' pick goes to Senators at No. 3

The NHL held the draft lottery for the 2020 NHL Draft on Friday, and it couldn't have produced a more unexpected result.

The biggest winner remains unknown, as the No. 1 overall pick will now be determined in Phase 2 of the draft lottery after a placeholder won the first phase on Friday night.

The Sharks' first-round selection, which they had previously sent to the Ottawa Senators in the Erik Karlsson trade, landed at No. 3 overall.

[RELATED: How Sharks are impacted by new NHL draft lottery setup]

With Phase 1 completed, the 2020 NHL Draft order is as follows:

1. Placeholder/Qualifying play-in team
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators (via San Jose Sharks)
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Ottawa Senators
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. New Jersey Devils

Picks 8 through 15, along with the No. 1 overall pick, will be determined in Phase 2.

NHL Draft 2020 lottery live stream: How to watch online, on NBCSN

NHL Draft 2020 lottery live stream: How to watch online, on NBCSN

The Sharks' 2019-20 season didn't go as planned.

San Jose was headed towards the NHL draft lottery before the global coronavirus pandemic halted the season, and the league's plan to restart the campaign confirmed that fate. Sharks fans will be watching Friday's lottery with piqued interest, but not because they can benefit from it.

The Ottawa Senators own the Sharks' first-round pick thanks to the Erik Karlsson trade nearly two years ago. Ottawa had the NHL's second-worst record this season and San Jose the third-worst, meaning the Senators have the best odds of any team to land the No. 1 pick.

The Sharks' pick winning the lottery would add insult to Karlsson's injuries over the last two seasons, which have limited the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman to 128 of San Jose's 172 regular-season and playoff games since the blockbuster trade that brought him to the Sharks.

General manager Doug Wilson didn't know the Sharks would've been in a position to select top prospect Alexis Lafrenière fewer than two years after trading for Karlsson, and the possibility wasn't front of mind for a team in win-now mode. The Sharks think they can still keep their window open, and they view Karlsson as a key part in doing so. But if Ottawa selects Lafrenière with San Jose's pick, there will be plenty of "What if?"s asked over the duration of Karlsson's contract extension.

[RELATED: Wilson recalls 'great' decision joining expansion Sharks]

Here's how to watch Friday's draft live online and on TV.

When: Friday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports