Lose for Lafrenière? Part 2

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As discussed in “Lose for Lafrenière Part 1,” one of the 16 teams in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers will get the 1st overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft. This pick will most definitely be Alexis Lafrenière. Based on a team’s chance of going on a deep playoff run, I evaluated whether losing and getting a shot at Lafreniere might be a better option. I looked into the Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, and the Minnesota Wild in “Lose for Lafrenière Part 1.”

Better off Losing in the Qualifiers?

Alexis Lafrenière as a kid.

Montreal Canadiens

Lose for Lafrenière? YES

Everything in the universe would just make sense if the Habs got Lafrenière. He grew up in Quebec as a Habs fan and could help a struggling Hab offense. The Canadiens are also the worst team in the qualifiers in my opinion. I even wrote another article about them not belonging in the playoff picture. Of course, Price getting hot could be an exciting thought for Hab fans, but even if they somehow get past Pittsburgh I cannot see them getting further. I am not a Hab fan myself, but if I were I’d almost be more excited to lose in the qualifiers.

Nashville Predators

Lose for Lafrenière? No

A disappointing season for the Predators that saw them fire long time coach, Peter Laviolette. The Preds brought in former devils coach John Hynes who did begin to turn things around for them. Other than his offense, Pekka Rinne who is usually elite struggled pretty much the whole season. On the other hand, Juuse Saros was one of the hottest goalies in the league when suspension occurred. The Preds have the talent and could make another playoff run. Predators could be the surprise of the playoffs this year.

New York Islanders

Lose for Lafrenière? Yes

I am an Islander fan, but I am realistic. Yes, having Adam Pelech and Casey Cizikas back healthy is HUGE. However, I do not think the Isles have the offense or the right goalie for a deep run this year. Russian netminder Ilya Sorokin looks like he is on his way which could massively improve their goalie situation. Getting Lafrenière as well would be a big boost for a struggling offense, especially the power play. I would never root against the Isles, but that 12.5% chance at the first overall is very tempting .

New York Rangers

Lose for Lafrenière? No

After a rough start, the Rangers seemed to figure everything out right before the season was suspended. A huge reason for this was the rise of their rookie goalie, Igor Shesterkin. The Russian net-minder had 10 wins in 12 games played with a GAA of .932. The Rangers offense was also clicking and they will be getting Chris Kreider back. Their only problem is their defense. Lafrenière would help any team, but I think the Rangers would need him the least. If I was a Ranger fan, I’d be looking forward to a playoff run not the potential  1st overall pick.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Lose for Lafrenière? NO

Out of all the teams in the qualifiers, I think the Penguins have the best chance at winning the Cup. The Penguins are absolutely a win-now team. With Crosby, Malkin, Letang all not getting any younger if the Penguins are going to win another Cup now is the time. Penguin ownership knows this that’s why they were big buyers at the trade deadline bringing in the likes of Jason Zucker, Patrick Marleau, and Conor Sheary. I like the Penguins’ chances this year especially after watching Tristan Jarry emerge as one of the best goalies in the league. Penguin fans should be the most disappointed if they lose in the qualifiers and enter the Lafrenière sweepstakes.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Lose for Lafrenière? Yes

The Maple Leafs are a juggernaut offensively but have no backbone. They are like a Rolls Royce offensively and a totaled vehicle defensively. They were tied for 2nd in goals per game, but 27th in goals against average (GAA). I think the matchup versus the Blue Jackets is a tough one for the Leafs because the Jackets were 5th in GAA. On the positive side of things, they will be getting Jake Muzzin and Ilya MIkheyev back from injury. Andreas Johnsson however will not be ready to return. If the Leafs got Lafrenière, they could trade one of their many talented forwards for a shutdown defender. I don’t see a deep playoff run coming because of their defensive problems so I would not be too disappointed to end up with a 12.5% chance at Lafrenière if I was a Leaf fan.

Vancouver Canucks

Lose for Lafrenière? No

I don’t see the Canucks winning it this year, but they are an exciting team to watch. They not only have a great top 6 forwards but, they also have very good depth offensively. For example when the season was suspended Jake Virtanen was skating on the fourth line. They will get Jacob Markstrom and Micheal Ferland back for the qualifiers. I think they can definitely go on a playoff run, but I don’t see them winning it all so getting a shot at Lafrenière might not be the worst thing.

Winnipeg Jets

Lose for Lafrenière? NO

Winnipeg has a very good offense and one of the best goalies in the league in Connor Hellebuyck. I see the Jets as a Stanley Cup contender. They will need Hellebuyck to be at his very best because they are very average defensively. They rely a bit too much on their top 6 for scoring, but they do have one of the best top 6’s in the league with the likes of Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, and Patrik Laine. Out of all the teams in the qualifiers, I think the Jets and Penguins have the best chances of winning the Cup.

Remember to check out “Lose for Lafrenière Part 1.”

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