The long-awaited draft lottery on Friday night turned into a sombre occasion for Ottawa Senators fans. Despite favourable odds, things did not play out as hoped, as the team retained their third overall slot, and saw their other pick slide from 2nd to 5th.
The Senators entered the night with the combined highest chance of landing the first overall selection, with their own first round pick having a 13.5% chance, and the San Jose Sharks’ first at an 11.5% chance.
They did actually win one of the three lotteries that took place, however they lost out on spots one and two to a placeholder team that will be determined after the NHL’s playoff qualifying round, and the Los Angeles Kings respectively.
As was the case during the 2018 draft lottery, the Senators owned the most winning number combinations when drawing the first overall pick. Unfortunately, the numbers were once again not on the Senators’ side, and they instead landed the third overall selection.
It will be hard for many Senators fans to watch a fringe playoff team team select first overall in this draft, but the silver lining in all of this is that it definitely could have been worse. If the team were to drop to picks 5 and 6 for instance, the general mood of the fanbase would be far worse than it is today.
While having two of the top three picks in a the draft would certainly have been wonderful for the Senators, owning two in the top five is nothing to be upset about. Suggesting that the Ottawa Senators lost big-time here is an overreaction, as it was always more likely that they would drop.
The 2020 draft class is being lauded as one of the deepest in recent memory. This still presents a very good chance for the Ottawa Senators to acquire players that could potentially play and be impactful for them as soon as next season, and for many to come. This was the position Pierre Dorion took throughout this many media appearances on the night.
Ottawa does technically have a chance for the now coming second lottery, as they own the New York Islanders’ first round selection this year. However, that pick is top three protected, so should the Senators win the second lottery, the Islanders have the right to use the selection, and provide the Senators with their 2021 first instead.
To even get to this second lottery possibility, the Islanders would have to lose their playoff qualifying series to the Florida Panthers. That is also under the assumption that the NHL does safely return at some point amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A lot is going to happen between now and the undetermined NHL draft, but despite the hard luck, Senators now have genuine news to be excited about. Let’s be real, dropping in the lottery is hardly the worst thing that has happened to this franchise in the past few seasons.
While Friday certainly would have been a great, and well-earned win for fans who have stuck by this team, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Now, it’s time to hope that this desperately needed win is somewhere around the corner. The fans and team all need it.