Phase Two of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery will take place on Monday, August 10 at 6 P.M EST, but Phase One of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery has already happened. Seven teams that did not make the playoffs/qualifying round along with eight placeholder teams were in a lottery for picks one, two and three. Shockingly, a placeholder team was given the first overall pick which meant all of the teams that were eliminated in the qualifying round will have equal odds of getting the first pick. The team with the first pick will almost certainly take a future franchise left-winger, Alexis Lafreniere. Which team needs Alexis Lafreniere the most?
- Pittsburgh Penguins
After getting upset by the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round, the Penguins are looking for some more young players that could increase depth and talent on their team. Lafreniere could be a perfect fit for the Penguins’ team right now and in the future. However, it would be extremely overpowering if the Penguins, who have had many top picks in the last two decades (Fleury, Crosby, Malkin, etc.) and have been successful end up with Lafreniere.
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Crosby-Guentzel
- New York Rangers
The Rangers have tons of young and skilled prospects they are building around and Alexis Lafreniere could be added to that list. Lafreniere would add a lot of talent to the young Rangers team, however, Lafreniere would be a horrible fit in New York. The Rangers already have many left-wingers on their team such as Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich and star Artemi Panarin. Lafreniere would get limited playing time with all of these players in front of him, possibly stunting his progression. Also, the Rangers had the second overall pick in the NHL Draft last year, where they drafted winger Kaapo Kaako. The Rangers have many great young players right now, so it would be more beneficial if a team that needed him, would get Lafreniere.
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Zibanejad-Buchnevich
- Toronto Maple Leafs
After yet another disappointing season, the Maple Leafs desperately need something to push them to the top of the Eastern Conference. Lafreniere could be that piece that can help them finally propel them to the top. Lafreniere would fit perfectly with the young Maple Leafs core, but the Leafs don’t really need any more offensive talent. They are better off in the long run, if they get a defenseman or goalie instead of spending a lot of money on forwards. Also, the Maple Leafs have had many high picks in the draft in the last five seasons (Matthews, Marner, Rielly, Nylander).
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Mattews-Marner
- Edmonton Oilers
The biggest struggle for the Oilers is that they can’t get any help for Connor McDavid. He has been stuck with below average wingers for his whole career, but the addition of Lafreniere would be a great help for McDavid. A line of Lafreniere, McDavid and Draisaitl would be insane. However, if the Oilers got the first overall pick it would be their fifth first overall pick in 10 years. It would seem unjust if the Oilers would get another first overall pick.
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-McDavid-Draisaitl
- Florida Panthers:
The Panthers are in an interesting position right now as they just fired their GM and have many pending free agents, but not much cap space. Along with that, the Panthers are struggling to find a way to get deep into the playoffs. Lafreniere could help the Panthers improve their all-around game. But, if Lafreniere goes to a small market team, like the Panthers, he would get no fame or attention, which is horrible for the NHL and Lafreniere. Also, the Panthers have had many high picks in the draft in the last five to 10 seasons (Ekblad, Barkov, Huberdeau).
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Barkov-Dadanov/Hoffman
- Nashville Predators
One of the biggest weaknesses for the Predators is their offense. The Predators are a very defensive team that could use an offensive star like Lafreniere to improve their offense. Unlike most teams on this list, the Predators haven’t had a first overall pick in their history. Nashville would be a great home for Lafreniere as they need a franchise player to lead their team back into playoff contention.
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Duchene-Arvidsson
- Minnesota Wild
The Wild are in a very interesting position right now, being a playoff bubble team. They aren’t a good enough team to make a deep run in the playoffs, but not a bad enough team to get a high pick. They are just stuck, however, a player like Lafreniere could change that. He could be that potential franchise player that Minnesota was missing all these years. Lafreniere would be a great fit for the Wild, as most of their team is filled with aging veterans. A young superstar like Lafreniere could start a new system for the Wild.
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Staal-Fiala
- Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets are the team that needs and deserves Lafreniere the most. Throughout their history, the Jets have not had much success or luck. They have faced many injuries and can’t manage to make it far in the playoffs. Even though Lafreniere wouldn’t be the best positional fit for the Jets, he could allow the Jets to trade one of their top six wingers (Patrick Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers) for a top tier defense. Lastly, Winnipeg is a passionate hockey city and Jets fans are very loyal. If the Jets land the first overall pick, fans would be ecstatic.
Potential Line Combination: Lafreniere-Scheifele-Wheeler