Phase two of the NHL Draft Lottery took place this evening, and the New York Rangers were the big winners. The first-overall pick and the right to draft Alexis Lafreniere was on the line after the first part of the lottery ended up in a “TBA” team winning, which then went to one of the eliminated qualification round teams. Lafreniere, the consensus top prospect in this year’s field, will get a chance to join Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad on October 9th when the draft is held virtually and is expected to make an impact in the 2020-21 season.
The rest of the qualification losers will be dropped in based on regular season points percentage. That means the top-15 selections will look like this:
- New York Rangers
- Los Angeles Kings
- Ottawa Senators (via San Jose Sharks)
- Detroit Red Wings
- Ottawa Senators
- Anaheim Ducks
- New Jersey Devils
- Buffalo Sabres
- Minnesota Wild
- Winnipeg Jets
- Nashville Predators
- Florida Panthers
- Carolina Hurricanes (via Toronto Maple Leafs)
- Edmonton Oilers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
Lafreniere is quite the prize for the Rangers. The 18-year old forward is coming off his second consecutive CHL Player of the Year award after dominating for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. In 173 regular season games across three years for the club, Lafreniere recorded 297 points to go along with Hlinka-Gretzky and World Junior gold medals. There is very little he can’t do offensively, and he’ll get to join what is turning into a loaded forward group in New York. Remember, the Rangers won the second-overall pick in last year’s lottery and ended up selecting Kaapo Kakko, another extremely talented winger (who admittedly didn’t have an excellent rookie season).
Another change from the lottery includes the Hurricanes picking up a top-15 pick of their own. The Maple Leafs had sent them that pick to get Carolina to buyout Patrick Marleau, but it was lottery protected and would have stayed with Toronto had they won tonight. The Hurricanes will actually give up their own pick to the Rangers as part of the Brady Skjei deal, but still have a chance of picking a top prospect.
Undoubtedly though, the Rangers front office will come out of tonight with huge smiles on their faces. Though they didn’t get the chance to advance in the playoffs, their time is coming as a contender in the Eastern Conference.