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No luck: Wild will select ninth in NHL draft after Rangers land top pick in lottery

Wild Evason Hockey
FILE – In this Sunday, March 8, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Wild interim head coach Dean Evason, above center, directs players behind the bench during the overtime period of an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim, Calif. The Minnesota Wild made Dean Evason their full-time head coach on Monday, July 13, 2020, signing him to a two-year contract extension at the commencement of training camp for the restarted NHL season.(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo, File)

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

The Minnesota Wild’s loss to Vancouver in the qualifying round of the Western Conference playoffs created the potential that Minnesota could get the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft in October. The first phase of the league’s lottery revealed a placeholder team would get that selection and that team would come from among the eight that lost in the qualifying round. Each of them had a 12.5 percent chance at winning the lottery on Monday night and getting the opportunity to take Quebec Major Junior star left winger Alexis Lafreniere.

When the winning ping pong ball popped up, it carried the logo of the New York Rangers, who were ousted by Carolina in the qualifying round. That means the Wild will select ninth in the Oct. 9 draft. Minnesota was helped by the fact that Arizona, Chicago and Montreal all advanced to the first round of the playoffs after having a worse point percentage during the pandemic-shortened regular season.

Other teams that failed to win the lottery were Edmonton, Florida, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Lafreniere had 35 goals and 77 assists for 112 points in 52 games last season with Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. He long has been considered to be the best player in this draft and has been compared to Penguins star Sidney Crosby.

The Wild’s highest draft pick came in 2000, when the expansion team took winger Marian Gaborik third overall. The team’s second-highest pick was winger Benoit Pouliot, who went fourth in 2005.