That was before the NHL suspended play due to the coronavirus, before a good chunk of the regular season was wiped out and before the league sent out a memo last Friday with a proposal for a new lottery format. That proposal could be a major win for Detroit.
Instead of selecting three winners, the NHL would draw for the No. 1 pick only. So the furthest any team could slide is one spot. And the winner wouldn't be allowed to move up more than four spots, taking 10 teams out of the running for the top pick.
Suddenly, the Red Wings would be guaranteed, at worst, the No. 2 pick. And they'd have a 57 percent chance of picking first, an increase in odds of over 200 percent.
The memo from the NHL also indicated the league would like to hold the draft sometime in June. That would take place before the Finals, if the playoffs are held at all.
A decision on the draft, one way or another, is expected later this week.
Lafreniere, the presumptive No. 1 pick, had 35 goals and 112 points in 52 games this season in Quebec Major Junior. Other top prospects include Canadian center Quinton Byfield and German winger Tim Stutzle.