The Pittsburgh Penguins traded their first-round pick, with prospect Calen Addison to the Minnesota Wild as part of the Jason Zucker deal. However, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford lottery-protected his pick, so if additional misfortune befell his team, the Penguins would be able to keep their pick this season and dish a 2021 pick to Minnesota.
Given the spate of injuries, the Penguins assertive record seemed tenuous. Of course, no one predicted that in a few weeks, the leagues would shut down, and the NHL would thrust the third-place Penguins into a best-of-five Qualifying Round matchup against the 12th seeded Montreal Canadiens. The Qualifying Round does not count as a playoff appearance, so losing teams will be eligible for the NHL Draft lottery, at least in a mangled sort of way.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are not likely to lose to the Montreal Canadiens. However, things happen. Especially in a shorter series, if the Penguins season-long bad luck streak continues, who knows?
Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the complicated NHL Draft lottery format, during his televised speech last month. As part of the deal between the NHL and NHLPA, if the Penguins lost to Montreal, they could snare a top-three pick. The Penguins could pick 15th because they have the best record of all Qualifying Round teams.
The Penguins get another first-overall pick from Rimouski? The hockey world would love that, wouldn’t they? Alexis Lafreniere is the consensus top pick after scoring 112 points in just 52 games. He’s not a generational talent like Crosby, but he should be pretty good.
However, even if the Penguins lose to Montreal, they have about a 3% chance of earning the top pick. We’re going to focus on the prospects more likely to be on the board at No. 15.