The 2020 NHL Draft lottery was a coup for the Kings, who jumped two spots in the draft order and will have their pick of any prospect not named Alexis Lafrenière. It was also quite the draw for the average NHL fan and the league itself — though opinions differ — as the selection of a placeholder team for the no. 1 pick generated significant drama, something the league should enjoy during this extended hiatus.
Personally, knowing that a placeholder team would vault into top three from the moment Bob Daly took out his box of cards lent a greater air of excitement to the proceedings, even if said placeholder ended up denying the Kings of the no. 1 pick. Although I was originally opposed to the idea of phase 2, this suggestion from Down Goes Brown for what to do with the ping-pong balls in the second lottery has me reconsidering:
Why pull out one ball for the winning team? Let’s pull out seven balls to eliminate the losers. Imagine watching Gary Bettman draw teams one at a time to scratch them off the list, knowing your team hadn’t been picked yet. You’d lose your mind. It would be amazing TV.
While fans of the 16 teams still in the no. 1 pick sweepstakes decide whether they’d rather win one playoff round or enter the Lafrenière lottery (on that note, I apologize for conflating the round-robin series and the best-of-five last week; they are indeed two separate tournaments), the Kings have their own choice to make. Currently, the top two contenders for the second overall pick (though Rob Blake indicated the team is strongly considering four players at the moment) are Quinton Byfield and Tim Stützle, both centers, like every other Kings prospect. From this week’s 31 Thoughts:
L.A.’s last three first-rounders were centres: Alex Turcotte (2019), Rasmus Kupari (2018) and Gabe Vilardi (2017).... Does this matter to the Kings? “No,” Blake answered. “You mention those three, we’ll take four centres like that.”
We’ll spend some time before the draft digging deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of Byfield and Stützle, as well as whichever two other prospects have drawn Blake’s eye. For now, if the draft were today, who would you want to select?
Who should the Kings choose with the no. 2 pick?
This poll is closed
On to the links...
- Scott Wheeler has some thoughts on the Kings’ “embarrassment of riches” at center.
- Lisa Dillman checked in with the team’s brass to see what the Kings think of landing the no. 2 pick.
- Dennis Bernstein on L.A.’s good fortune and an early argument for Byfield with the Kings pick.
- Bob McKenzie with a (pre-lottery) analysis of the top non-Lafrenière prospects.
- Now that we have one piece of the draft order, it’s mock draft season! Here’s another one from The Fourth Period.
- The hub city list is down to five now that Vancouver is out of the running: Edmonton, Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
- From around the NHL, Alex Ovechkin is finally back at practice as the Capitals prepare for the round-robin series. Thus far, the league does not plan to quarantine players during training camp.
- A very thoughtful look on how Native Americans view the Chicago Blackhawks logo.
- Greg Wyshynski has an update on CBA negotiations, specifically the importance of escrow. Artemi Panarin doesn’t think players should report to camp without a new deal.
- The new Seattle arena will be called Climate Pledge Arena. Sure.