One of the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round will make the No.1 selection in the draft, after a placeholder representing one of those undetermined clubs won the draft lottery Friday, which was held at the NHL Network studios in New Jersey.
The eliminated teams from eight separate best-of-five play-in series will have a 12.5 per cent chance of securing the top pick in the second phase of the lottery.
The Red Wings had an 18.5% percent chance to land the top pick, after finishing last in the National Hockey League during the 2019-20 season.
The placeholder teams included in the lottery will be decided by the play-in series when the National Hockey League is eventually permitted to return to play.
Lafreniere - a winger for the Rimouski Oceanic and NHL Central Scouting's top-ranked North American skater - is expected to go first overall when the draft is eventually held at a later date.
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"This is a hell of a draft, especially at the top", said Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, whose team is preparing to meet the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL's qualifying round. "We're going to get a great prospect, we'll do everything we can to develop him, and, you know what, and maybe we'll get lucky again".
Manufacturing maddening draft lottery outcomes out of thin air (or paper thin lottery balls) is the NHL's modus operandi.
There will be good players available at fourth overall.
"I'm not really surprised", Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said. "We can sit here today and feel sorry for ourselves if we want". The Sharks are in the same company after not being in contention this season and losing out on the chance to take center Quinton Byfield second.
The top four teams in each conference - Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West - got byes into the traditional "first round" of the playoffs that could start as soon as late July.