“I’m really excited to join the New York Rangers and can’t wait to see the fans,” said Lafreniere. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about the fans and the building (Madison Square Garden), so I’m really excited to be arriving in New York in the next couple of months maybe.
The left winger led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 77 assists and 112 points for Rimouski and was voted QMJHL MVP, QMJHL Personality of the Year and Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Rangers won first pick in the second round of the NHL Draft lottery on August 10.
“I think just wearing a Rangers jersey … it’s pretty amazing,”
[RELATED: NHL Draft first-round results, analysis | Complete 2020 NHL Draft coverage]
The draft has been rescheduled since June due to coronavirus concerns. It was conducted virtually for the first time, with each team selecting from their own rehearsal room in his hometown and Commissioner Gary Bettman based at NHL Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Rounds 2-7 will be Wednesday (11:30 am ET; NHLN, SN1).
Center Quinton Byfield was chosen in second place by the Los Angeles Kings, the most select black player in NHL history. Forward Evander Kane (2009 NHL Draft, Atlanta Thrashers) and defender Seth Jones (2013 NHL Draft, Nashville Predators) were each chosen with pick no. 4.
“[Being the first Black player chosen] it’s something super positive, “Byfield said.” I just want to keep spreading positivity and awareness on this topic. “
Byfield has scored 82 points (32 goals, 50 assists) in 45 games with Sudbury in the Ontario Hockey League this season.
“I don’t get too nervous, but I was pretty nervous and excited about this moment you’ve been waiting for all your life,” Byfield said. “Just celebrating with my family right now is something super special.
“I was definitely anxious and hearing my name being called was definitely a big relief to my shoulders. I can’t wait to go to Los Angeles now.”
Video: Kings draft C Quinton Byfield No. 2
Striker Tim Stuetzle was picked in third place by the Ottawa Senators, who also picked defender Jake Sanderson at number 5.
Stuetzle has scored 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 41 games this season for Adler Mannheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the German men’s top professional league. He is the most select NHL draft pick, born and trained in Germany since then Leon Draisaitl was selected in third place by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2014 NHL Draft.
“It is a great honor to be [picked] by the Ottawa senators, “Stuetzle said.” But, in the end, I want to be a team. This was my first step right now. I want to team up as soon as possible and try to do my best every day. “
Sanderson was the first of two US-born players chosen; center Brendan Brisson was drafted at number 29 by the Vegas Golden Knights. There were 11 US-born players selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
19 Canadian-born players were selected on Tuesday, the highest number in the first round since 2003 (19).
Iaroslav Askarov became the Russian-born goalkeeper with the highest number of players in NHL history and the fifth to be selected in the first round.
“I am full of emotions right now,” Askarov said. “I feel joy and happiness and still can’t understand what just happened. Every child has dreams and goals, and I was one of them. When I started playing hockey, I was dreaming of the NHL, and today is the first step towards make it real. “
Lukas Reichel, a German-born Eisbaren Berlin (DEL) forward, was picked at number 17 by the Chicago Blackhawks. Prior to this year, five German-born and trained players had been selected in the first round, but never more than one in any given year.
“It is very good for German hockey,” Stuetzle said. “What [Draisaitl] (voted NHL MVP this season), as I said before, it’s incredible. Many guys admire it. “
Striker Lucas Raymond was chosen in fourth place by the Detroit Red Wings. Defender Jamie Drysdale was chosen No. 6 from the Anaheim Ducks, striker Alexander Holtz was chosen No. 7 by the New Jersey Devils, striker Jack Quinn was chosen No. 8 by the Buffalo Sabers, the Marco Rossi center was chosen n. 9 from the Minnesota Wild and striker Cole Perfetti were picked at number 10 by the Winnipeg Jets.
Video: Every first round pick from the 2020 NHL Draft
Rangers were 18th in the NHL rankings this season and were the first team to finish this low and were the # 1 pick from the 1994 NHL Draft, when the Florida Panthers finished 16th (Ed Jovanovski). New York was the first team to participate in the postseason and had the # 1 pick from the 1983 NHL Draft (Minnesota North Stars, Brian Lawton).
This was the 19th time that a team has chosen number 1 and number 2 in consecutive NHL Draft. Rangers selected forward Kaapo Kakko with choice n. 2 in the draft of 2019, after the center selected by the devils Jack Hughes at no. 1.
Rangers were given number 1 pick for the second time; picked Andre Veilleux forward in the 1965 NHL Draft.
Lafreniere was sitting next to his parents, Nathalie and Hugo, and his sister, Lori-Jane, at home in Saint Eustache, Quebec when the Rangers made the selection.
“We’re 10 out of 10 in enthusiasm, to be honest with you,” said New York President John Davidson. “These things maybe only happen once in a lifetime, it seems. For us to have one of those kinds of once-in-a-lifetime choices, it’s almost dramatic. We’ve been keeping our eyes on Alexis all the time, but the good part for me, or great, or wonderful, it was when he wore that shirt.
“When he put on that shirt, it seemed to fit him, it was perfect. He’s already a pro in many ways.”
Lafreniere is the first Quebec-born player selected at number 1 as goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 NHL Draft. The last Quebec-born skater chosen at number 1 was Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier in the 1998 NHL Draft.
“I think it means a lot,” Lafreniere said. “It means a lot to me. Just being able to represent Quebec City … I think it’s something really special to me and I’m really excited to move on and try to make them proud again.”
Video: Lafreniere on Rangers selecting him first overall
Rangers moved later in the first round in an exchange with the Calgary Flames and selected defender Braden Schneider at number 19. The Flames received pick no. 22 and a pick for the third round (# 72), and then they swapped the Pick # 2. 22 for the Capitals for the choice n. 24 (center Connor Zary) and a pick for the third round (# 80).
The senators and the devils each had three choices in the first round. Ottawa, who chose the Ridly Greig center with the No. 28, has four picks in the second round and 12 picks in all.
New Jersey also enlisted center Dawson Mercer at number 18 and defender Shakir Mukhamadullin at number 20.
Rangers were one of eight teams with a 12.5% chance of winning number 1 pick after being knocked out of the Stanley Cup qualifiers. The prize was awarded in the first round of the lottery on June 26. New York was wiped out by the Carolina Hurricanes in their best-of-5 qualifying streak as part of the 24-team Return to Play plan.
Yevgeni Ryabchikov, b. 21 in 1994 by the Boston Bruins; Semyon Varlamov, No. 23 in 2006 from the Washington Capitals; Andrei Vasilevskiy, No. 23 in 2012 from Tampa Bay Lightning; is Ilya Samsonov, No. 22 in 2015 from Washington were the other Russian-born goalkeepers selected in the first round.
FIRST ROUND OF DRAFT NHL 2020
1. New York Rangers: Alexis Lafreniere, F.
2. Los Angeles Kings: Quinton Byfield, C
3. Ottawa Senators: Tim Stuetzle, F
4. Detroit Red Wings: Luca Raymond, F
5. Ottawa Senators: Jake Sanderson, D.
6. Anaheim Ducks: Jamie Drysdale, D.
7. New Jersey Devils: Alexander Holtz, F
8. Buffalo Sabers: Jack Quinn, F
9. Minnesota Wild: Marco Rossi, C.
10. Winnipeg Jets: Cole Perfetti, C
11. Nashville Raiders: Iaroslav Askarov, G
12. Florida Panthers: Anton Lundell, C
13. Carolina Hurricanes: Seth Jarvis, C
14. Edmonton Oilers: Dylan Holloway, C
15. Toronto Maple Leafs: Rodion Amirov, F
16. Montreal Canadiens: Kaiden Guhle, D
17. Chicago Blackhawks: Lukas Reichel, F
18. New Jersey Devils: Dawson Mercer, C
19. New York Rangers: Braden Schneider, D.
20. New Jersey Devils: Shakir Mukhamadullin, D
21. Columbus blue jackets: Yegor Chinakhov, F
22. Washington Capitals: Hendrix Lapierre, C
23. Philadelphia Flyers: Tyson Foerster, F
24. Calgary Flames: Connor Zary, C
25. Colorado Avalanche: Justin Barron, D.
26. St. Louis Blues: Jake Neighbors, F
27. Anaheim Ducks: Jacob Perreault, F.
28. Ottawa Senators: Ridly Greig, C
29. Vegas Golden Knights: Brendan Brisson, C
30. Dallas Stars: Mavrik Bourque, C
31. San Jose Sharks: Ozzy Wiesblatt, F
NOTES: choose number 3 of Sharks; pick number 13 from Maple Leafs; choose number 15 of the Pittsburgh Penguins; choose number 18 of the Arizona Coyotes; choose number 19 of Flames; take number 20 from Vancouver Canucks via Tampa Bay Lightning; choose number 22 from Flames via Rangers; choose number 24 from Capitals; choose number 27 of Boston Bruins; choose number 28 among the New York Islanders; choose Lightning number 31