So, the big day is upon us, after being postponed for months we will soon get to see all the fresh faces added to NHL organizations, the NHL stars of tomorrows. We will not see Commissioner Gary Bettman in an arena being booed by fans or team scouting personnel handing their selections jerseys and getting a photo from the stage as the 2020 edition will be a virtual experience. Should be interesting. Here is our teams final mock draft and who we see going where in the first round of selections.
1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere – LW – Rimouski (QMJHL)
Rangers add a franchise cornerstone piece with this pick just as one leaves the organization in ‘King Henrik’. Lafreniere should come in and immediately command some of the spotlight as well as contribute on the scoresheet. Best player on the board, big time personality, fits in as a future Rangers marquee name.
2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield – C – Sudbury (OHL)
The Kings draft their future #1 centreman to follow in the footsteps of Kopitar. Byfield brings the speed and explosiveness that the LA Kings have been looking for in recent draft years. Having a tandem of Byfield and Turcotte down the middle for years to come will put the Kings back on the map. Big upside as a defensively sound, physically imposing, playmaking center. A cornerstone piece for the rebuild.
3. Ottawa Senators (From San Jose) – Tim Stutzle – C/LW – Adler Mannheim (DEL)
Stutzle brings some of the best wheels in the draft as well as offensive creativity. And with the likelihood Tkachuk stays on the wing, this pick becomes even more intriguing. One area the Sens are lacking in with their prospect depth chart is elite talent down the middle and even though he played a large chunk of this past season off the wing, Stutzle fits the bill.
4. Detroit Red Wings – Jamie Drysdale – D – Erie (OHL)
Top pairing defenders are hard to come by unless you draft them. Drysdale has the skating, IQ, offensive abilities, and confidence to be a #1 defenseman for Detroit. In this situation, it’s incredibly hard to pass up on him. Yzerman and Co. need to solidify the backend and this pick does just that. Has a lot of similar traits as Cale Makar and well, we’ve already seen what he can do at the NHL level.
5. Ottawa Senators – Lucas Raymond – RW – Frolunda (SHL)
Sens look to continue to improve their offense with selecting Raymond whom they absolutely love. His elite skill level will drastically improve their powerplay and his grinder like work ethic fits in perfectly with the young hard-working core of the rebuilding team.
6. Anaheim Ducks – Marco Rossi – C – Ottawa (OHL)
The Ducks are going with the BPA in Marco Rossi and by that hoping that they are finding the long-time replacement for Ryan Getzlaf. In Rossi the Ducks get a two-way center man with great hands and IQ but he can also play a hard and gritty type of game, always competitive in every situation.
7. New Jersey Devils – Cole Perfetti – C/LW – Saginaw (OHL)
The Devils need help everywhere and are ecstatic to see Perfetti still available when their first top-31 pick on the evening comes up as they love the situational intelligence, natural hockey sense and offensive creativity this one-part playmaker, one-part goal scorer brings to the table.
8. Buffalo Sabres – Alexander Holtz – RW – Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
The Sabers are desperately searching for the players who can score goals for them and now they think they have found him in Holtz. They hope Holtz becomes the best goal scorer in the draft and someone who can be a 35-40 goal scorer per season for them. Holtz has the natural instincts, a deadly shot and can score in many different ways making that a distinct possibility.
9. Minnesota Wild – Anton Lundell – C – HIFK (Liiga)
The Wild look to fill a big time need down the middle of the ice. He may not be the next elite offensive #1 NHL centreman but Lundell has a lot of same characteristics as Mikko Koivu, who they have now moved on from after 15 years. Lundell will surely go on to have a long NHL career with how intelligent and multi-dimensional he is.
10. Winnipeg Jets – Jake Sanderson – D – USNTDP
The Jets would have loved to add a top six future centre here but can’t pass on Sanderson to add to a talented young blueline corps with Heinola, Niku and Morrisey already in the fold. They love his fluid skating, his strong two-way game and feel he has the potential to become a solid top pairing guy who can lead.
11. Nashville Predators – Jack Quinn – RW – Ottawa (OHL)
Nashville needs a top line centre but they can not pass up on the opportunity to select who they see as a future top line goal scorer. They love the fact that he gets to high percentage scoring areas and can rip the puck on net but also works hard, follows the play back into his own zone and can strip pucks defensively.
12. Florida Panthers – Rodin Amirov – LW – Salavat Yulaev (KHL)
With Tallon out and Bill Zito in as GM the Panthers look to make a splash. While a strong defender makes sense in this position they like that Amirov bring some superstar vibes to south Florida with a bubbly personality, a fearless approach on the ice and skills to fill the net.
13. Carolina Hurricanes (From Toronto) – Yaroslav Askarov – G – SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
There it is. The wildcard pick of the first round is off the board. Carolina loves the personality and skill the big-time puck stopper brings. He is big and highly flexible, never giving up on the play. And if you have ever been in a rink while he is playing, he is a leader as he directs his teammates constantly. The Canes think they have their brick wall for the next dozen years.
14. Edmonton Oilers – Seth Jarvis – RW – Portland (WHL)
After the team spend the last few first round picks on the backend scoring depth is needing to be addressed. Ken Holland and his scouting crew jump at the chance to select the uber-skilled, yet hard-working and determined winger. They think he could settle into a top six role before too long.
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (From Pittsburgh) – Ridly Greig – LW – Brandon (WHL)
Kyle Dubus and company have said they need to get tougher to play against, but they also want to have those players inject skill into the roster and not just employ goons. Enter Greg, a pesky, gritty fourth line worker with potential top six skills.
16. Montreal Canadiens – Hendrix LaPierre – C – Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Going with the hometown Quebec boy, Montreal picks up arguably a top ten talent in this draft. His history with injury may scare teams away, but for the Habs they see the need for a natural centreman and can be patient with him due to the abundance of prospects they have in their system.
17. Chicago Blackhawks – Kaiden Guhle – D – Prince Albert (WHL)
Blackhawks look to completely retool their blueline for when Seabrook and Keith move on or retire, it makes perfect sense for them to select another Western Canadian defenseman to follow in their footsteps. Boqvist, Mitchell, Beaudin, and now Guhle will be their future top four crew.
18. New Jersey Devils (From Arizona) – Braden Schneider – D – Brandon (WHL)
New Jersey is tickled to have this defenseman fall in their laps as he will help move the puck up to the stable of young talented forwards the devils are building as well as provide a shutdown PK performer and a physical presence from the backend.
19. Calgary Flames – Lukas Reichel – LW/C – Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)
The Flames could use help coming on the backend but the two main targets in their sights taken just before this pick they opt for the skilled, smart, two-way, versatile forward from Germany whose uncle Robert played parts of six seasons with Calgary.
20. New Jersey Devils (From Vancouver) – Dawson Mercer – RW – Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Mercer ends up here as the best player available for the Devils at #20 and look for him to balance out a few of their lines with his exceptional three zone competitive play. A skilled tandem of Perfetti and Hughes already looks tasty, then you add Mercer and you could have a young line that offers speed, skill, smarts and work ethic in all zones.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Connor Zary – C – Kamloops (WHL)
Columbus adds a strong, skilled playmaking pivot with this pick and someone who they hope will be in their lineup sooner rather then later. His vision, willingness to play in traffic and quick, skilled hands will also give the Blue Jackets powerplay a boost.
22. New York Rangers (From Carolina) – Dylan Holloway – C -University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
The Rangers, already the winners of the draft due to the no. 1 pick, add a potential future captain with this selection. Someone who will do what it takes to win, play some important minutes, bring a strong defensive game as well as play physical and even consitently contribute on the scoresheet.
23. Philadelphia Flyers – Jacob Perreault – C – Sarnia (OHL)
With the success they have had in mining the OHL they go back to grab this skilled goal scorer with impressive bloodlines. They see him fitting in really well with the young nucleus as he is skilled, fearless and plays with a good amount of grit.
24. Washington Capitals – Helge Grans – D – Malmo J20 (SuperElit)
With few prospects coming, and most of the NHL roster defense north of 30 years old, the Caps need blueline help coming and they believe Grans will become a puck moving top four blueliner that they can build their future defensive core around.
25. Colorado Avalanche – Jan Mysak – LW/C – Hamilton (OHL)
The Avs cannot believe a dynamic offensive prospect of Mysak’s ilk is available to them at #25 overall. They have a young skilled NHL team already and this is just one more potential piece for them to build around. They think he could potentially lead the OHL in scoring this coming season.
26. St. Louis Blues – Justin Barron – D – Halifax (QMJHL)
St. Louis needs to replenish the cupboard especially where defenders who could one day play in the top four are concerned. With Pietrangelo possibly moving on and most others getting a little long ion the tooth now is the time to add a solid, safe, defensive presence, especially if they can also move the puck up ice like Barron has shown.
27. Anaheim Ducks (From Boston) – Noel Gunler – RW – Lulea (SHL)
This is a name that could have been picked from fifteenth to fiftieth, he is a polarizing figure in this class to put it lightly. We know of some teams who have him on their do not draft lists. But some teams love his size and his goal scoring prowess. Anaheim needs difference makers and that is exactly what Gunler can be.
28. Ottawa Senators (From NY Islanders) – Tyson Foerster – C – Barrie (OHL)
With their third pick in the top-31 Ottawa snags a third forward and one they like the potential for a power game to emerge. The big goal scorer has been working on his skating for months and it looks night and day better than it did at the start of last season.
29. Vegas Golden Knights – Mavrik Bourque – C – Shawinigan (QMJHL)
The Knights look to add a future impact forward with this selection as they love the smarts, offensive skill and drive this sub-six foot forward brings to the table. After a few trades to take a run at the Cup Vegas needs to re-tool the prospect cupboard and Bourque goes a long way to doing just that.
30. Dallas Stars – William Wallinder – D – MODO J20 (SuperElit)
The Stanley Cup runner ups would like to add a difference maker at any position and think they do when they grab a potential top four defends piece with the late first as they like the way Wallinder moves the puck, can skate as well as his natural size.
31. San Jose Sharks (From Tampa Bay) – Luke Evangelista – RW – London (OHL)
The sharks love to draft and develop out of the Ontario Hockey League and go back to the well for this somewhat surprise of a pick. Evangelista, an intelligent playmaker who plays a consistent two-way game, was slated to go anywhere from the second to third round but the Sharks like his progression and feel he is just scratching the surface of his potential.
That is all from us on the 2020 draft crop. Enjoy the draft everyone and feel free to take our draft simulator for a spin.