The Montreal Canadiens thought they’d be one of those teams in the Draft Lottery for Alexis Lafreniere, but they’ll instead be watching another get a chance.
The 10 days of the Stanley Cup Qualifier are up and done with. When the Montreal Canadiens were considering their approach to the end of the season, they likely believed they’d be one of the teams in on the first overall pick to select Alexis Lafreniere. The 24-team Stanley Cup Play-In format granted them an opportunity to change their fate, and they made the most of it defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in four games.
The entire fanbase is jacked and ready for the team’s first legitimate playoff series in three years, taking on the Philadelphia Flyers. However, there is another pocket that will be tuning into what happens at Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery.
The first phase of the draft lottery matched the chaotic nature of the Stanley Cup Qualifier as the Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators walked away with heavy hearts. The first overall pick went to Team E, but we didn’t know at the time who that would be. Therefore, the NHL needed a second lottery made up of teams who lost in the qualifier.
We now know the eight teams with a 12.5% chance of winning the right to draft Lafreniere.
It’s hard to weigh the benefits of making the playoffs vs. winning the first overall pick. Objectively for the Montreal Canadiens, you could make the argument for either scenario.
The team hasn’t been able to get there despite their best efforts. It’s a win for the veteran players who are dying for an opportunity at a championship, and it’s a win for Claude Julien who had a heap of heat underneath his seat, and it’s a win Marc Bergevin who proved this roster can fight against the best of them.
At the same time, having a generational franchise french player in Lafreniere is irreplaceable. It’s going to sting the Montreal Canadiens watching another team win it, but there are three teams that will make that sting burn further.
Let’s rank them, shall we?