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The order of selection in the 2020 NHL Draft is set, and the Carolina Hurricanes' picks are locked in.
The Canes currently hold eight picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, including the 13th overall selection in the first round.
That pick originally belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but a fortuitous combination of savvy asset management and unusual circumstance gives the Canes - a playoff team in back-to-back seasons, the first such occurrence since 2001 and 2002 - a pick in the top 15, spots typically reserved for non-playoff clubs.
The Canes acquired veteran forward Patrick Marleau and two draft picks from Toronto at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver. The highlight of the move was the first-round pick, which ultimately cost the Canes, who bought out the final year of Marleau's contract, $833,333 in cash over two seasons (plus his $3 million signing bonus) and $6.25 million in dead cap space for 2019-20.
Since Toronto is poised to be a perennial playoff team, that first-round pick would fall somewhere in the 20s, the Canes figured. But, then the pause happened, the playoffs expanded and the draft lottery was shaken up. Toronto didn't advance beyond the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, so they were included among the "non-playoff" lottery picks. When they didn't win the lottery to jump up to the first overall pick - the traded pick was lottery protected, so in that case, the Canes then would have received Toronto's first-round selection in 2021 - their regular-season points percentage determined their spot at 13 in the draft order.
Now, lucky number 13 belongs to the Canes.
"We can be excited that there's going to be a player who has high impact," said Darren Yorke, the Canes' director of player personnel who leads their amateur scouting efforts. "I think the top 15 picks or so are very tight. Somebody that we're going to get is going to be able to have an impact for our organization for a long time."
The Canes selected Jake Bean with the 13th overall pick in 2016. Goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere was also a 13th overall selection of the franchise in 1995.
After pick 13, the Canes are then set to make seven additional picks in the draft, including two in the second round.
Carolina Hurricanes 2020 NHL Draft Picks
The 2020 NHL Draft, which was originally scheduled to take place in Montreal in late June, will now be held virtually. The first round will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., while the remaining six rounds will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 11:30 a.m.