Inside Scoop – 2020 NHL Draft Lottery

2

The Penguins are hoping the odds will be in their favor in Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, set for 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network and NHL Network.

The Penguins have a 12.5-percent chance of landing the first-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The Penguins, who were eliminated in four games by Montreal in their best-of-five Qualifying Round, are in the running because one of eight placeholders that represented the Qualifying Round teams that did not advance – ‘Team E’ – won the first draw of Phase 1 held on June 26. 

About Inside
Inside may refer to:

Insider, a member of any group of people of limited number and generally restricted access

Inside Scoop: 2020 NHL Draft Lottery

About Scoop:

That means all eight teams that did not advance from the Qualifying Round are eligible to win, and they all have the same odds. The other teams in the running along with Pittsburgh are Edmonton, Nashville, Toronto, Winnipeg, Florida, Minnesota and the New York Rangers. 

If the Penguins do not win the first-overall pick, they can still choose to keep their first-round pick, as the first-round pick they sent to Minnesota along with Alex Galchenyuk and Calen Addison in exchange for Jason Zucker was conditional.

Inside Scoop: 2020 NHL Draft Lottery

The Penguins would have seven days following the draft lottery to determine if they want to keep the pick, which would be 15th overall since they had the highest regular-season points percentage (.623) of all the teams who participated in the Qualifying Round. 

If the Penguins did decide to keep the pick, their first-round pick in 2021 would then be transferred to Minnesota.

The top prospect for this year’s draft is Alexis Lafreniere, who is ranked No. 1 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. 

This past year, the 18-year-old winger led all Quebec Major Junior Hockey League skaters with 112 points (35G-77A) in 52 games played with Rimouski, his third season with the club.

Lafreniere was named the MVP and Best Forward at the 2020 World Junior Championship, where he led Team Canada to gold after scoring four goals and 10 points in five games. 

He was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year in 2019-20 and ’18-19 – joining Sidney Crosby, who had his jersey retired by Rimouski last season, as the only two-time winner of the award.

Lafreniere also became the first back-to-back QMJHL MVP since Crosby, who was selected first overall by the Penguins in 2005 after Pittsburgh won the draft lottery that year (they had a 6.2-percent chance to win going into it).

“Alexis has the ability to beat you wide with speed, but also to slow down the play to create some space for himself and make plays,” J-F Damphousse of NHL Central Scouting told NHL.com. “He’s a really smart player, his hockey IQ is at the highest level possible and he also competes really hard. He’s not a finesse guy who only relies on his overall skills, but he also hits and finishes checks.

“I wasn’t scouting when Crosby was in Rimouski, but I know you got that feeling that something special was going to happen every time he was on the ice. Alexis is the same way.”

NHL Central Scouting compares Lafreniere, who is 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, to Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau.

“(Lafreniere) is an exceptionally smart player with top-end speed and pull away gear,” their report reads. “Great at carrying the puck and leading rushes. Executes under pressure and has great vision and anticipation. Very good quickness with the puck and exceptional ability to change speed. Elite puck skills and vision to create plays in the offensive zone.”

[sg_popup id=1]