In a matter of days, the New York Rangers went from analyzing their Stanley Cup chances to their NHL Draft Lottery hopes.
Getting swept out of the qualifying round by the Carolina Hurricanes in three games officially entered the Rangers into the draft lottery, which will hold its second phase on Monday night (6 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
With it comes the hope that they will nab the No. 1 overall pick of the draft and, with it, a clear path at selecting this year’s overwhelming top prospect, Alexis Lafreniere.
It has already been determined that one of the eight eliminated teams from the Stanley Cup Qualifiers will get the No. 1 overall pick after the first phase of the lottery in June.
Each of these recently eliminated teams from the first round of the NHL’s return-to-play plan, including the Rangers, now has a 12.5% chance of winning that coveted selection.
Here is the current draft order:
- Placeholder Team
- Los Angeles Kings
- Ottawa Senators (from San Jose)
- Detroit Red Wings
- Ottawa Senators
- Anaheim Ducks
- New Jersey Devils
- Buffalo Sabres
The Rangers experienced similar good fortune last year when they shot up the draft lottery to get the second-overall pick despite having only the sixth-worst record in the league.
This season, the Rangers were in the thick of the playoff hunt before the season was halted due to COVID-19. If the Rangers do not win the No. 1 pick, they’ll be choosing at either No. 10 or 11 depending on which of the eliminated teams wins the first selection.
Lafreniere would be the ultimate consolation prize for one of the teams that was forced to leave their postseason bubble so early.
The 18-year-old left-winger has electrified the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League over the past two seasons, posting 217 points (72 goals, 145 assists) in 113 games.
Almost everything about his game is elite, including his vision, skating ability, puck-handling, and scoring touch.
Adding him to the Rangers’ left-wing depth chart which already includes Hart Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider will make the Rangers’ offense that much more explosive as they continue their rebuild.