Rangers win NHL draft lottery to earn top pick and clear path to highly-touted Lafreniere

The Rangers have won the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. It is the second time in history that the franchise will have the top overall pick.

Posted: Aug 10, 2020 7:00 PM
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 1:49 AM

NEW YORK - For the first time in 55 years, the New York Rangers will have the top pick in the NHL Draft.

The Blueshirts won the second phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, Monday, giving them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a shot at selecting consensus top pick, Alexis Lafreniere.

New York was one of eight teams that lost in the Stanley Cup qualifying round in the lottery pool, each with a 12.5% chance at earning the top spot.

This comes after the first phase of the lottery in June determined a 'placeholder' team, one of the return-to-play postseason participants, eliminated in the Qualifiers, would be chosen to pick first. Non-playoff teams, that had a higher percentage of landing the top pick in the first phase, ended up earning the 2-8 spots on the draft board.

It's the Rangers first No. 1 overall pick since 1965, when they selected Andre Veilleux, who never appeared in an NHL game.

Lafreniere, an 18-year-old forward from Quebec, has garnered a lot of attention over the last couple of years, being described as a "generational talent" and has high expectations to be a star in the NHL.

In three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Lafreniere has 297 points (114 G, 183 A) in 173 games with Rimouski Oceanic, an average of 1.71 points per game.

In the shortened 2019-20 season, he had 112 points in 52 games.

He earned the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Player of the Year for the second straight season, joining current Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sydney Crosby, widely considered one of the all-time greats, as the only players to win it twice. The CHL combines the top three Canadian major junior hockey leagues (QMJHL, OHL, WHL).

Lafreniere was also the MVP of the 2019 World Junior Championship after registering four goals and six assists in five games for Team Canada.

The Rangers were two points out of a playoff spot at the time of the pause on March 12. They were among the 24-team return-to-play postseason tournament, getting swept in three games by the Carolina Hurricanes in the qualifying round.

In the 2019 NHL Draft, the Blueshirts chose Kaapo Kakko with the No. 2 overall pick.

As of now, the NHL aims to hold the draft on October 9-10.

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