For the Rangers, this will be the first time since the universal draft was adopted in 1969 where the team will select with the first overall pick. The last time that New York had the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft was in 1965 when they selected André Veilleux, but he never played a single game in the NHL.
The 18-year-old put up some outstanding production in his three seasons in the QMJHL, scoring 114 goals and picking up 183 assists for 297 points in 173 games played. His 2018-19 season was a memorable one as a 16/17-year-old, where he put up 105 points (37+68) in 61 games and was named the league's Most Valuable Player, as well as the MVP of the entire Canadian Hockey League.
Lafrenière was having another phenomenal 2019-20 season in Rimouski before the rest of the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He scored 35 goals and amassed 77 assists for 112 points in just 52 games and was, once again, named the MVP of the QMJHL and CHL, joining Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby as just the second player in history to repeat as MVP in both leagues.
Just last season, the Rangers got the luck of the draw when they ended up winning the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. They went on to select Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko, who struggled in his first season in the NHL with just 23 points (10+13) in 66 games played. In the Rangers' three playoff games against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Qualification Round, the 19-year-old went pointless and had a minus-1 rating.
As for the rest of the draft order for the 2020 draft, the Los Angeles Kings moved up three spots when they won the second overall pick in Phase 1. The third overall pick in Phase 1 of the draft lottery went to the Ottawa Senators, who won the pick with the San Jose Sharks' first round selection that was acquired as part of the Erik Karlsson trade during the 2018 offseason.
Here is how the draft order will look for the top-15 picks in the 2020 NHL Draft:
1. New York Rangers2. Los Angeles Kings3. Ottawa Senators (from the San Jose Sharks)4. Detroit Red Wings5. Ottawa Senators6. Anaheim Ducks7. New Jersey Devils8. Buffalo Sabres9. Minnesota Wild10. Winnipeg Jets11. Nashville Predators12. Florida Panthers13. Carolina Hurricanes (from the Toronto Maple Leafs)14. Edmonton Oilers15. Pittsburgh Penguins*