A spot in the Western Conference quarterfinals is at stake for the Wild in its best-of-five qualifying series with Vancouver that's set to kick off the NHL's return if the season resumes later this summer - and now so is a chance at the top pick in the draft. Well, no one did.
The First Phase of the lottery included the seven teams that are not part of the 24-team NHL Return to Play Plan, plus the eight placeholder positions for the eliminated qualifiers.
Lafreniere, the two-time Canadian Hockey League player of the year, had 35 goals and 112 points in 52 games before the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season was cancelled because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The league's bottom seven teams that had their seasons ended when play was paused March 12 will be off for nine months or more if the start of 2020-21 is delayed until December or January.
The Los Angeles Kings will pick second, while the Ottawa Senators, who had the best combined odds of picking first at 25 per cent because they also owned the San Jose Sharks' selection, will select third and fifth. The league will now have to re-do the lottery to determine which of the eight losers will end up with the first pick. 3 and 5 because of the 2018 Erik Karlsson trade with San Jose.
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Team E, which won the draw for first overall, only had a 2½ per cent chance of being selected.
For the fourth time in the last eight years, the Buffalo Sabres will have the eighth overall pick in the NHL Draft. He also captained Canada's gold-medal team and earned MVP honors at the world junior championships this year.
"Every team but one, actually", Yzerman said.
The only thing more on brand than a placeholder team - a team that's going to get to compete for the Stanley Cup! - drafting Alexis Lafreniere could be the Edmonton Oilers, or Taylor Hall's Arizona Coyotes, or the New Jersey Devils drafting Alexis Lafreniere.
The draft lottery is usually held in April at the conclusion of the regular schedule and before the playoffs, but was pushed back because of the pandemic before the National Hockey League unveiled this format as part of its return-to-play plan last month.