New York (AFP) - While 24 NHL teams look toward the July 10 opening of training camps before resuming the season, the other clubs begin looking to next season in Friday's NHL Draft Lottery.
The annual allocation of selections for top new talent has been altered due to the coronavirus pandemic shutdown that put the league on hiatus in March with five weeks remaining in the 2019-20 campaign.
The NHL plans a return in a two-hub format, one each for the Eastern and Western Conferences, with eight clubs from each. Hub cities have yet to be decided and a schedule has not been set.
Among those whose season was ended by the shutdown, the Detroit Red Wings, who had the worst win percentage of .275, have the best odds at landing the top pick in this year's NHL Draft through the lottery.
But the Ottawa Senators have two spots in the lottery thanks to an earlier trade with San Jose and as a result own the next two best chances at landing the top spot.
The eight teams that will lose qualifying-round best-of-five series to open the NHL return to play will have the worst eight chances at the spot.
If any team not in the bottom seven wins one of the first three picks, a later draw would be conducted involving the eight qualifying round losers to determine which of them gets the spot.