6:17PM: The New York Rangers have won Phase Two of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery and will pick #1 overall.
LW Alexis Lafreniere is expected to be selected #1 overall.
The Rangers had a 12.5% chance at picking #1, 25% chance of picking #10 and a 62.5% chance at picking #11.
Jeff Gorton spoke right after the drawing and said:
- Does this soften the blow of losing to Carolina, “no question about that, anytime you can pick first, especially this year, it’s a special year we all know that. It was tough up in the bubble, those three games Carolina gave it to us pretty good but surely excited to have this happen tonight.”
- What stands out about Lafreniere, “Along with the skills, his competitiveness. If you go back to the World Juniors and follow him in Rimouski, right away you can see he has the kind of talent that we are all looking for but he also drags everyone into battle with him and we are all looking for a player like that.”
Lafreniere spoke right after the drawing and said:
- On his reaction on it being the Rangers, “Really good news, Rangers are an unreal team with really good players, a really nice city. It’s really good news and I’m really happy.”
- On joining the Rangers, “it really is exciting, for sure. Like you said, Panarin is one of the best players in the league and Zibanejad, guys like that. For sure, they are a really good team and a lot of success in the next couple of years so, for sure, it’s pretty fun.”
The Rangers also own Carolina’s 1st Round Pick and that pick number will be determined by when and where Carolina finishes in the playoffs.
This will be the third time in the past four drafts where the Rangers have more than one selection in the first round. The Rangers were slated to have two selections in the first round last year but traded it back to Winnipeg in the deal for Jacob Trouba.
Adam Rotter: Well this certainly makes up for last week against Carolina. Lafreniere adds another dynamic player to the rebuild and joins Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba and Igor Shesterkin in forming the likely long-term core.
There will be time to wonder about Panarin and Kreider already having the top two LW spots, time to wonder if they should engage Ottawa in trying to trade the pick for picks #3, #5 and more, whether they should keep the pick and select 6-4 center Quinton Byfield and what other moves may come as a domino effect, but those are all for another day. Right now the Rangers own #1 and have a massive asset that they can take in any direction they want. It will most likely be Lafreniere though and he and Kaapo Kakko will hopefully be skating and scoring circles around defensemen for many, many, many years to come.