Play-in round team wins draft lottery, shot at Lafreniere

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Alexis Lafreniere was presupposed to stroll on stage Friday evening in Montreal as the highest choose within the NHL draft.

After the COVID-19 pandemic paused the hockey season and postponed that chance, Lafreniere was supposed to search out out Friday evening the place he’d be going when the league held its draft lottery. Instead, he’ll have to attend a little bit bit longer.

Chaos reigned on the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 choose nonetheless up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the many eight groups that lose within the qualifying spherical of the playoffs — if play resumes.

“We all knew this could happen,” Ottawa Senators normal supervisor Pierre Dorion stated. “It definitely has been a different 2020 compared to every other year that I’ve been on the face of this earth.”

As a part of the NHL’s 24-team playoff format if it resumes, 16 groups will play one another in best-of-five collection to maneuver on — and the losers of these matchups now have a serious comfort prize looming: equal 12.5% odds of touchdown Lafreniere.

“Still not drafted, so we’ll still have to wait a little bit,” stated Lafreniere, a star left winger for Rimouski Oceanic within the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League who additionally was captain of Canada’s world junior championship gold medal-winning workforce.

The league’s backside seven groups that had their seasons ended when play was paused March 12 shall be off for 9 months or extra if the beginning of 2020-21 is delayed till December or January. They additionally received’t be capable to pencil Lafreniere into their lineup of the long run.

Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins or Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers might get fortunate once more or Taylor Hall might carry his lottery luck to a 3rd franchise.

The league-worst Detroit Red Wings dropped to fourth, the Los Angeles Kings bought the second choose and the Senators ended up with Nos. three and 5 due to the 2018 Erik Karlsson commerce with San Jose. The drama was right down to the Kings or a still-to-be-determined workforce, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly unveiled a card with the NHL brand on it at No. 1.

“It’s a little strange when they flip it over and you have to process that there is a secondary lottery that’s going to take place,” Kings GM Rob Blake stated. “Everything has kind of taken a different path since the pause and you maneuver your way around it.”

The successful placeholder workforce bought the highest choose regardless of a 2.5% probability. Ottawa had one of the best odds at 25% combining its choose and San Jose’s, Detroit had an 18.5% probability — and the mixed eight groups that might play on this summer season added as much as 24.5%

“I’m not really surprised,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman stated. “The odds were better that the first pick went to (one of) the bottom eight than it did to us.”

Detroit completed with 39 factors, 23 factors behind 30th-place Ottawa, and was the largest loser of the evening dropping out of the highest three. The Red Wings had a league-low 17 wins of their 71-game season.

Yzerman, who the Red Wings took fourth in 1983 and went on to be a Hockey Hall of Famer, introduced up that Colorado misplaced the 2017 draft lottery and at No. four took Cale Makar, a rookie of the yr candidate.

“Ultimately, let’s see in a few years when we see how the draft shakes out and who becomes a good player,” Yzerman stated. “We can sit here today and feel sorry for ourselves if we want. It doesn’t matter. The system is what it is, and it’s the same for all the teams. We’ll get a great prospect and do whatever we can to develop him. Maybe we will get lucky.”

The Sharks are even perhaps much less lucky after not being in competition this season and shedding out on the prospect to take somebody like middle Quinton Byfield second. That alternative belongs to Ottawa, which is the primary workforce since 2000 to have two picks within the high 5.

“It’s a major step forward in our carefully laid plan to build a perennial Stanley Cup contender — and a champion,” Senators proprietor Eugene Melnyk stated.

The Anaheim Ducks wound up with the sixth choose, New Jersey Devils the seventh and Buffalo Sabres the eighth. No. 1 and picks 9-15 shall be determined later. The groups that might nonetheless choose first are the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Wild, Canucks, Predators, Panthers, Flames, Rangers, Jets, Islanders, Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, Oilers and Penguins.

The high 4 groups in every convention — Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia within the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas within the West — bought byes into the normal “first round” of the playoffs that might begin as quickly as late July. If hockey doesn’t return, the groups exterior the highest eight in every convention March 12 by factors proportion all have equal possibilities at No. 1: the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Wild, Jets, Rangers, Panthers and Blue Jackets.