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Alexis Lafrieniere is back on the table for the New Jersey Devils.
There had been a lot of speculation in recent weeks that the lottery would be changed for this year and teams could only move up a maximum of four slots. Not happening.
We’re having a normal lottery. Well, normal in that, as the 26th ranked team, the Devils have the same odds of winning the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd overall pick as they would in any other season.
A few weeks ago it appeared Lafrienere was no longer a possibility. Now? The Devils have a 7.5% chance of winning top spot and pairing him with Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes for the next decade and change. That’s not nothing.
With regards to how this playoff format impacts the 1st round picks from Arizona and Vancouver, it is pretty simple:
• If Arizona loses the play-in round to Nashville (hello, John Hynes), and they don’t win the lottery, the Devils will get a pick ranging from 8-15.
• If Arizona goes on a deep run, the pick could slip as far as 31. Either way, the Devils are getting the pick unless Arizona wins a lottery pick. The chances of that happening are slim.
• If Vancouver beats Minnesota in the play-in round, New Jersey gets the pick. It will be 16 at best, but they’ll get another 1st rounder.
• If Vancouver loses to Minnesota, New Jersey gets an unprotected 1st rounder next year. I would guess it’ll be in the similar range as this season, however, all it takes is a couple key injuries or poor goaltending and...boom, the Devils are in business.
Based on those potential scenarios, the dream situation is a) New Jersey winning a lottery pick; b) Arizona losing to Nashville *and* losing the lottery and; c) this is debatable, but Vancouver losing to Minnesota and the pick deferring to next season.
That would give the Devils a top-3 pick, potentially another as high as 8th overall, and an unprotected 1st next year to pair with their own.
How things actually play out remains to be seen, however, the draft format the NHL revealed gives the Devils a much higher ceiling than initially thought.
Let’s hope luck is on their side.
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