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Islanders, Rangers have slight chance of No. 1 draft pick after first phase of NHL lottery

Otto Koivula #21 of the Islanders and Kaapo

Otto Koivula #21 of the Islanders and Kaapo Kakko #24 of the Rangers battle for the puck at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Uniondale. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Either the Islanders or Rangers could wind up with the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft as a consolation prize if they lose their best-of-five qualifying series in the NHL’s return-to-play format.

A to-be-selected placeholder team earned the first overall pick against long odds in Friday night’s first phase of the NHL Draft Lottery. That team will be selected in the draft lottery’s second phase — to be conducted before the first round of the 16-team NHL playoffs — from among the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round. All eight teams have a 12.5% chance of drawing the No. 1 pick.

Team E among the eight placeholders won the draw for the first pick with a 2.5% chance of doing so.

The Kings, who had a 9.5% chance at the top pick, will pick second. The Senators, who had a combined 25.0% chance at the top selection as they also have the Sharks’ first-round pick, will draft third and fifth. The Red Wings, who had an NHL-low .275 points percentage and had an 18.5% chance at the top pick, fell to No. 4.

The Ducks, Devils and Sabres, in order, complete the top eight.

The Islanders, seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference, will face the 10th-seeded Panthers and the 11th-seeded Rangers will meet the sixth-seeded Hurricanes.

The Islanders included their 2020 first-round pick in the trade deadline deal for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but it was top-three protected. If they get the No. 1 pick, their 2021 first-round pick will go to the Senators.

The Rangers also own the lesser of the Hurricanes’ two first-round picks.

Left wing Alexis Lafreniere of Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is the consensus first overall pick.

The Rangers have picked first once since the draft was implemented in 1963, selecting Andre Veilleux in 1965. He never played in the NHL.

The Islanders have picked first four times: Billy Harris (1972), Denis Potvin (1973), Rick DiPietro (2000) and John Tavares (2009).

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