NHL Draft Conspiracy Theorists Were On Fire After The Rangers Were Awarded The #1 Overall Pick Under Controversial Circumstances

2020 NHL Draft Lottery

Getty Image / Mike Stobe/NHLI

The race to sign Alexis Lafreniere is over after the New York Rangers were awarded the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft under the most unusual circumstances in recent memory. Lafreniere led scoring in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 112 points (77A, 35G) and won the QMJHL MVP along with plenty of other awards. He’s a generational talent and player the New York Rangers will seek to rebuild a Stanley Cup caliber team around.

The Rangers were awarded the #1 overall pick on Monday night under the strangest of circumstances. The order of this year’s lottery was split between a ‘First Phase’ which included seven teams that were not a part of the NHL’s 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs restart bubble. Then there were 8 placeholder teams. And a separate draw was weld for the top three overall picks.

On Monday night, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wore a mask and watched as an Ernst & Young employee removed lottery balls from a briefcase, showed each ball to the Commissioner so he could inspect the team’s logo, and placed them into a lottery machine. But this E&Y employee buttfumbled it and dropped the New York Rangers ball in first, the same Rangers who would win the #1 overall pick.

The NY Rangers ball was removed but this didn’t stop a flurry of conspiracy theories from popping up immediately about how the Rangers’ ball might’ve weighed more than the others. And then there’s the moment the Rangers’ ball actually went through the shoot for the #1 overall pick. The Toronto Maple Leafs were literally a fraction of an inch away from the top pick.

A lot of fans were not convinced this was legit.


That has to be a bonafide ‘Ray Finkle’ moment for some Leafs fans. Knowing they were a fraction of an inch away from being able to sign Alexis Lafreniere. Instead, the Leafs just got bounced from the Playoffs and the Leafs surrender their #13 pick to Carolina. That’s a major “OOOOFF” right there.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings were mathematically eliminated from the NHL Playoffs before the season was even shut down back in March and they’ll be drafting with the #4 overall pick and the New York Rangers were taking part in the Playoffs restart just mere days ago.

The silver lining here is the Rangers consistently and inexplicably dump their top talent to my Tampa Bay Lightning every couple of years so by my calculations, Alexis Lafreniere should be with the Bolts at some point in the next few seasons.

Can’t wait to see him in Tampa.