The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft will be awarded in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday (6 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSN, SN, TVAS).
The eight teams eliminated from the Stanley Cup Qualifiers will participate in the Second Phase, each with a 12.5 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick.
Seven have been determined: the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. The loser of Game 5 between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-O) will be the eighth.
Those teams finished from seventh (Pittsburgh) to 21st (Minnesota) in the NHL standings this season.
Since the 1995 NHL Draft, no team has held the No. 1 pick finishing better than 26th in the standings.
No team has picked No. 1 after playing in a postseason series since the Minnesota North Stars in the 1983 NHL Draft. Since the 1963 NHL Draft, nine teams have picked No. 1 after playing in the postseason.
“The uniqueness of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery is exciting for the NHL and its fans in part that it was reconfigured into a two-phase process with the initial lottery phase resulting in the No. 1 selection going to a yet to be determined club,” said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. “The fact that the eight clubs eliminated in the [Stanley Cup Qualifiers] all have equal odds at winning the lottery makes it truly unique, and the fans in each of those eliminated cities will be excited knowing they have a 1-in-8 chance to be awarded the No. 1 selection.”
Forward Alexis Lafreniere is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
The First Phase of the lottery, held June 26, included the seven teams that were not part of the 24-team NHL Return to Play Plan, plus the eight placeholder positions for the eliminated qualifiers. A separate drawing was held for each of the top three picks.
The winning placeholder, designated Team E, had a 2.5 percent chance to be assigned the No. 1 pick, the 12th-best odds among the 15 entries.
The Los Angeles Kings moved up to the No. 2 pick, and the Ottawa Senators received the No. 3 pick. The Detroit Red Wings, who had the best odds to win the No. 1 pick, fell to No. 4.
The 2020 NHL Draft is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. It was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but postponed due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, which paused the NHL season on March 12.
Picks 4-8 were determined after the First Phase based on inverse order of regular-season points percentage.
Picks No. 9-15 will be assigned to the other seven teams that lost a qualifier series, in inverse order of their points percentage.
Picks 16-31 will be determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Lafreniere (6-foot-1, 193 pounds), a left wing for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, was No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters.
“He’s a really smart player and his hockey IQ is at the highest level possible,” said Jean-Francois Damphousse of NHL Central Scouting. “He’s not a finesse guy who only relies on his overall skills … he competes, he hits, he finishes checks, and is really entertaining to watch. You can feel it when he’s on the ice.
“I wasn’t there when (Pittsburgh Penguins captain) Sidney Crosby played (for Rimouski from 2003-05), but you got that feeling that something special was going to happen every time he was on the ice. Alexis brings that same level of excitement.”
The 18-year-old won the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the leading scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists), the Paul Dumont Trophy as QMJHL personality of the year, the Michel Briere Trophy as the most valuable player in the QMJHL, the Canadian Hockey League Top Draft Prospect of the Year Award, and the CHL David Branch Player of the Year Award.
“Lafreniere has lived up to all the hype and well-deserved accolades that have been bestowed upon him leading up to his NHL Draft selection,” Marr said. “He will be an excellent player in the NHL and will impact and contribute to the success of whichever NHL club is lucky enough to be awarded the No. 1 overall pick.”
Lafreniere was named most valuable player at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship after he scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games to help Canada win the tournament. He could be the third QMJHL player to be picked No. 1 since 2013, when the Colorado Avalanche selected Halifax center Nathan MacKinnon. The New Jersey Devils selected center Nico Hischier, also of Halifax, No. 1 in 2017.
The North Stars were seventh in the 1982-83 NHL standings and lost in the Norris Division Finals before selecting Brian Lawton with the No. 1 pick, which was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Montreal Canadiens held the No. 1 pick three times after winning the Stanley Cup (1968, 1969, 1971) and twice after participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1963, 1980).
The Philadelphia Flyers had the No. 1 pick after winning the 1975 Stanley Cup, and the Detroit Red Wings had it after losing the 1964 Stanley Cup Final. The Boston Bruins picked No. 1 after reaching the 1982 playoffs.
2020 NHL DRAFT ORDER
1. Placeholder team
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Ottawa Senators
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Buffalo Sabres
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