The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery was always going to be an unprecedented event in some forms, with the global pandemic uprooting some of the normal conventions we’ve come to expect.
Of course, some things will always remain the same, namely some conspiracy theories gaining legs, and this year is no different in that respect after the New York Rangers won the No. 1 overall pick, where they are widely expected to draft Rimouski Oceanic superstar Alexis Lafreniere, who in my estimation is the best prospect to enter the league since Auston Matthews did in 2016-17.
The person responsible for dropping each of the eight team balls into the apparatus accidentally dropped the Rangers’ ball too early, leading some to believe that the result was predestined all along.
It’s not the first time a New York-based team has been involved in a prominent draft conspiracy theory either. In 1985, Patrick Ewing was considered the best college basketball prospect of the decade to date, after an outstanding four-year career at Georgetown.
Each team that was eligible for the lottery had their name placed into a separate envelope, with all eight teams sporting an equal 12.5 percent chance. David Stern, who was conducting his second draft as commissioner, drew the Knicks’ envelope from the inside, leading some to believe that the Knicks’ entry was “frozen” or marked ahead of time so they could select Ewing.
History aside, Twitter predictably did its thing in reacting to the Rangers’ moment of good fortune:
Carolina’s Twitter account is among the very best in the NHL and couldn’t help but point out its role in helping New York get the No. 1 pick. It’s not all bad for the Hurricanes, who gained the Maple Leafs’ No. 13 selection as part of the conditions from the Patrick Marleau buyout.
Are we dreaming?
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) August 10, 2020
The Ernst and Young accountant might be seeing some ping-pong balls in his nightmares.
Lol, the look on this poor guy’s face after he drops the Rangers ball prematurely. His gut must’ve sunk when that ball was the first one up too. Anyway, booooo (and go Isles) but fun place for the kid to land for the league, anyway! pic.twitter.com/xteZNFKWbC
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) August 10, 2020
New York Rangers ball looks a little heavy 🤔
— Strombone (@strombone1) August 10, 2020
That’s the extremely good stuff. pic.twitter.com/CuEHt5nJPF
— Justin Fisher (Nautical) (@thejustinfisher) August 10, 2020
I'm not trying to single out that guy. It's a hard job, made even harder by how frostbitten his fingers must have been while holding the Rangers' ball. https://t.co/ULJQBbWbny
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 10, 2020
It must be rough for the other seven fan bases, who watched their teams fail to qualify for the playoffs, then miss out on the ultimate consolation prize. Twitter is an unforgiving place.
Leafs should have kept half of Marleau's contract then not wasted money on a Marner overpay and/or keeping Cody Ceci so they didn't have to give up the 13th overall pick to move Marleau.
— Todd Leigh Offside (@Totally_Offside) August 10, 2020
For what it’s worth, Lafreniere seems ready to move to New York.
Alexis Lafreniere: "Rangers are an unreal team w/ really good players and a really nice city. I'm really happy."
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) August 10, 2020
The New York Rangers won the NHL's draft lottery, and the right to select Alexis Lafreniere No. 1 overall in 2020.
Lafreniere is represented by Emilie Castonguay. She would be the first woman to rep a No. 1 pick as an NHLPA certified agent.
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) August 10, 2020
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