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Sports News:
Play-in round team wins draft lottery, shot at Lafreniere

Alexis Lafreniere was alleged to stroll on stage Friday night time in Montreal as the highest choose within the NHL draft.

After the COVID-19 pandemic paused the hockey season and postponed that risk, Lafreniere was supposed to search out out Friday night time the place he’d be going when the league held its draft lottery. Instead, he’ll have to attend a little bit bit longer.

Chaos reigned at the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 choose nonetheless up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the many eight groups that lose within the qualifying round of the playoffs – if play resumes.

“We all knew this could happen,” Ottawa Senators common supervisor Pierre Dorion mentioned. “It definitely has been a different 2020 compared to every other year that I’ve been on the face of this earth.”

As a part of the NHL’s 24-team playoff format if it resumes, 16 groups will play one another in best-of-five sequence to maneuver on – and the losers of these matchups now have a serious comfort prize looming: equal 12.5% odds of touchdown Lafreniere.

“Still not drafted, so we’ll still have to wait a little bit,” mentioned Lafreniere, a star left winger for Rimouski Oceanic within the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League who additionally was captain of Canada’s world junior championship gold medal-winning team.

The league’s backside seven groups that had their seasons ended when play was paused March 12 might be off for 9 months or extra if the beginning of 2020-21 is delayed till December or January. They additionally gained’t be capable of pencil Lafreniere into their lineup of the longer term.

Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins or Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers may get fortunate once more or Taylor Hall may convey his lottery luck to a 3rd franchise.

The league-worst Detroit Red Wings dropped to fourth, the Los Angeles Kings received the second choose and the Senators ended up with Nos. three and 5 due to the 2018 Erik Karlsson commerce with San Jose. The drama was all the way down to the Kings or a still-to-be-determined team, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly unveiled a card with the NHL emblem on it at No. 1.

“It’s a little strange when they flip it over and you have to process that there is a secondary lottery that’s going to take place,” Kings GM Rob Blake mentioned. “Everything has kind of taken a different path since the pause and you maneuver your way around it.”

The successful placeholder team received the highest choose regardless of a 2.5% probability. Ottawa had the very best odds at 25% combining its choose and San Jose’s, Detroit had an 18.5% probability – and the mixed eight groups that would play on this summer season added as much as 24.5%

“I’m not really surprised,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman mentioned. “The odds were better that the first pick went to (one of) the bottom eight than it did to us.”

Detroit completed with 39 factors, 23 factors behind 30th-place Ottawa, and was the most important loser of the night time dropping out of the highest three. The Red Wings had a league-low 17 wins of their 71-game season.

Yzerman, who the Red Wings took fourth in 1983 and went on to be a Hockey Hall of Famer, introduced up that Colorado misplaced the 2017 draft lottery and at No. four took Cale Makar, a rookie of the 12 months candidate.

“Ultimately, let’s see in a few years when we see how the draft shakes out and who becomes a good player,” Yzerman mentioned. “We can sit here today and feel sorry for ourselves if we want. It doesn’t matter. The system is what it is, and it’s the same for all the teams. We’ll get a great prospect and do whatever we can to develop him. Maybe we will get lucky.”

The Sharks are even perhaps much less lucky after not being in rivalry this season and shedding out on the prospect to take somebody like middle Quinton Byfield second. That alternative belongs to Ottawa, which is the primary team since 2000 to have two picks within the prime 5.

“It’s a major step forward in our carefully laid plan to build a perennial Stanley Cup contender – and a champion,” Senators proprietor Eugene Melnyk mentioned.

The Anaheim Ducks wound up with the sixth choose, New Jersey Devils the seventh and Buffalo Sabres the eighth. No. 1 and picks 9-15 might be determined later. The groups that would nonetheless choose first are the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Wild, Canucks, Predators, Panthers, Flames, Rangers, Jets, Islanders, Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, Oilers and Penguins.

The prime 4 groups in every convention – Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia within the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas within the West – received byes into the normal “first round” of the playoffs that would begin as quickly as late July. If hockey doesn’t return, the groups outdoors the highest eight in every convention March 12 by factors share all have equal probabilities at No. 1: the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Wild, Jets, Rangers, Panthers and Blue Jackets.

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For extra AP NHL protection: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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