The Winnipeg Jets will officially be selecting in the 10-spot on Friday, October 9, 2020. Despite owning a 12.5 percent chance of taking home the No. 1 spot in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft – originally scheduled for June 26, pre-COVID-19 – the Jets’ 75 percent chance of choosing in their previously determined 10th overall seed came true (Winnipeg had a 12.5 percent chance of choosing ninth overall, should Minnesota have earned the first selection).
On Monday evening at exactly 5:17 PM central time, viewers from around the world tuned in to the live feed and watched the ping pong ball as described by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to be emblazoned with the official New York Rangers’ logo get sucked up the vacuum tube of the official randomizer, giving general manager Jeff Gorton and the Rangers the right to choose Alexis Lafreniere first overall at the upcoming draft this October.
It’s a huge excitement to get the first pick in any year, but especially this year,” Gorton said post draft lottery. “It’s a special one. I wouldn’t want to give away what’s going to happen. We haven’t interviewed him (Lafreniere) yet, we didn’t want to do that unless we had a legitimate chance of getting him. We’ll go through that process, start to meet the young man and go down the road of talking to him and his family.”
As for the player expected to be selection at No. 1, the past year couldn’t have been any stranger.
“It was a pretty long process,” Lafreniere said. “But we were waiting for this day for a couple weeks now. It was a big day. We’ll see what happens next, but for sure it was a really special day and an emotional day. The lottery had a couple of really good teams, it was really exciting. But New York is probably one of the best spots in the league. It’s really fun – really good news. We’ll see what happens next, but I’m pretty excited right now.”
New York, which had just selected Kaapo Kakko second overall in last year’s draft, narrowly got by a bouncing Toronto Maple Leafs ping pong ball that seemingly appeared to be in line to travel up the tube before veering off course. Should Toronto have earned that first overall selection, all Hell may have broken loose everywhere other than ‘Leaf Land’.
As for Winnipeg, the Jets will choose 10th overall, seeing themselves in a position to select a player that should immediately bring help to the team still reeling from an early playoff exit. Should the stars align, Winnipeg product Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks very well may find himself in a position to be chosen by his hometown Jets. But at this point, it is all just fun and games, while the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs take place. Now with the order officially set, the 2020 NHL Entry Draft will be held on Friday, October 9th and Saturday the 10th, just days after the presentation of the Stanley Cup.