2020 NHL Mock Draft 2.0: Order comes into focus after Draft Lottery
How about a little intrigue with the 2020 NHL Mock Draft?
That’s what we’ll get now after this weekend’s NHL Draft Lottery resulted in a TBA team getting the No. 1 overall pick based on another draft lottery for the No. 1 overall selection following the qualifying round of the 24-team NHL tournament. It means one of the eight teams eliminated in the play-in round will get the No. 1 overall pick and 16 of the 24 teams involved in the Return to Play this summer have a chance at getting Quebecois winger Alexis Lafreniere.
It's certainly a bitter pill for a Red Wings team that was by far the worst in the NHL this season, and “deserved” the No. 1 overall pick based on their play. It’s also a tough body blow for an Ottawa Senators team that had two picks in the lottery and the best odds to get the No. 1 pick, but instead settles for the third and fifth picks in the draft.
The Kings were also winners in the draft lottery shooting up to the second overall pick, but clearly there’s a team still alive in this unique Return to Play postseason that will get a talented player in Lafreniere coming their way. Can you imagine if the Montreal Canadiens somehow get the No. 1 pick and get a French-speaking Quebec kid superstar? That would be amazing. We’ll see how it all pans out in August.
Without further ado, here’s a look at our NHL mock draft 2.0:
1. Qualifying Team to Be Announced
Alexis Lafreniere (LW, Rimouski)
Lafreniere was the top scorer in the QMJHL with 35 goals and 112 points in 52 games while also being named the MVP of the World Junior tournament as an 18-year-old on Team Canada.
The 6-foot-1, 193-pounder is a scorer, a playmaker and a physical factor, and he’s consistently excelled against older players in international tournaments for Hockey Canada. He would step right in and be a factor for any of the 16 teams that might get that No. 1 overall pick based on the qualifying round results.
Of the players in this draft class, Lafreniere has the best chance to be a generational talent and that’s exactly the kind of talent injection that could help any team. Interestingly enough, he’ll also be the first Canadian kid to be selected No. 1 overall since Connor McDavid back in 2015.
2. L.A. Kings
Tim Stützle – (LW, Mannheim)
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Stützle really flashed on everybody’s radar when he had five points in five games for Team Germany at the World Juniors, and parlayed that into winning the Rookie of the Year for Mannheim in Germany’s top pro league.
He finished with seven goals and 34 points in 41 games while showing off his hard-working, skilled speed game against men in Germany and should have a better chance of making the jump to the NHL as a result. It’s a testament to the resurgence of the German hockey program that they are beginning to produce first round talent after going through a tough period prior to Leon Draisaitl going to Edmonton a few years ago.
The Kings just hope they are getting another Draisaitl-type player up in Los Angeles, but they might eventually get a player that ends up being the best one to come out of this draft class. Los Angeles was a big winner in Friday night’s Draft Lottery.
3. Ottawa Senators (from Sharks)
Quinton Byfield – (C, Sudbury)
A 6-foot-4, 215-pound center from the Sudbury Wolves that has prototypical size and skating ability with 32 goals and 82 points in 45 OHL games last season. Byfield has been compared to Penguins center Evgeni Malkin in terms of size, speed and offensive skill, and that’s a great fit for a Senators team that could use a big franchise center to build around in Ottawa.
Given his size and skill level, Byfield has got a chance to be even more dominant as he matures than he is right now. The only question about him is whether the motor will consistently run as high as they will with Lafreniere and Stützle. But this is exactly the kind of player that Ottawa needs.
4. Detroit Red Wings
Marco Rossi – (C, Ottawa)
Rossi is a bit of a bowling ball at 5-foot-9, 193-pounds and plays with feistiness in addition to breathtaking skill on the ice that allowed him to post 120 points in 56 games last season.
The Austrian-born Rossi became the first European player to ever lead the OHL in scoring, which is a pretty impressive feat. Rossi goes to the net, scores and plays a bit on the edge in the kind of package that translates very well into today’s NHL. Rossi finished with the most points in the OHL since Alex DeBrincat back in 2016-17, so that should also bode pretty well about how he’d translate to the NHL.
Rossi is one of the older kids in his draft class and there’s some question as too how much better he’ll get as his game matures, but he’s exactly the kind of offensive firepower that the Red Wings really could use right now. Still, Detroit has to be crestfallen they didn’t get the No. 1 overall pick.
5. Ottawa Senators
Jamie Drysdale – (D, Erie)
Drysdale is a smooth-skating, playmaking defenseman in the mold of many others that have gone in the first round over the last few seasons. He’s not the biggest at 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, but he’s the best D-man in his entire draft class for this season.
The nine goals and 47 points in 49 games this season are strong, strong numbers that speak to his all-around game. As with other defenders his size, it’s about body positioning, smarts and using his stick at the defensive end where he’ll obviously never be a shutdown guy. But the Senators need a guy on the back-end to kick-start their attack and add to their overall speed level. Drysdale would be that guy in a fitting replacement for Erik Karlsson.
6. Anaheim Ducks
Cole Perfetti – (C, Saginaw)
A 5-foot-11, 177-pound points machine, Perfetti was second on the OHL with 111 points (37 goals, 74 points) in 61 games while showing off the kind of skill and smarts that will lead to offense at the NHL level.
He’s by no means the biggest or the fastest prospect among the forward class in this draft, and one of his attributes really stand out as compared to the rest of his peers in the lottery portion in the first round. But his production and his high hockey IQ put him near the head of the class. He’s also got one of the most lethal releases to his shot of anybody in this draft crop.
Perfetti should fit right in with a Ducks squad that needs all kinds of offensive talent to upgrade their roster.
7. New Jersey Devils
Lucas Raymond – (LW, Frolunda)
The Swedish left winger is renowned for his hands, his play-making ability and he exhibits a tenaciousness to his game that endears him to scouts as well. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is a right-shot playing his offside that managed six goals and 10 points in 33 games in the Swedish Elite League this past season mostly as a 17-year-old. But he’s also flexible and capable of playing both right wing and center.
He’s an impressive prospect that has a lot of upside as he continues to get bigger and stronger as a hockey player, but one prevailing viewpoint on him is that he’s more playmaker than actual scorer. That along with a rep as a perimeter player will probably keep him out of the top five.
8. Buffalo Sabres
Dawson Mercer – (C, Chicoutimi)
The versatile 6-foot, 180-pound can play any of the forward positions and is a well-rounded prospect with 24 goals and 60 points in 42 games last season. Clearly, he’s got a good offensive game that would attract a team like the Sabres, but Mercer also showed a flair for the physical game during his time in the QJMHL.
His ability to also impact the special teams at both ends of the ice makes him a player that’s going to be a factor in pretty much every situation for whatever team drafts him. The Sabres could go in a few different directions with this pick and a new GM, Kevyn Adams, making the calls in Buffalo.
9. Montreal Canadiens
Noel Gunler – (RW, Lulea)
The Swedish winger has size at 6-foot-2, 176-pounds, has offensive skill and playmaking ability, and posted four goals and 17 points while playing in the Swedish Men’s League as a teenager this past season. He can shoot the puck and he’s got all the high-end offensive skills, and would bring a needed element of that to the Habs.
There’s a bit of a reputation with Gunler that he’s lacking in the defensive aspects of the game, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that Claude Julien can coach up with young prospects.
10. Chicago Blackhawks
Jake Sanderson – (D, NDTP)
A mobile, left shot defenseman with good size at 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, Sanderson is more of a traditional two-way defenseman with physicality along with good offensive tools. He’s also got great hockey bloodlines as the son of former NHLer Geoff Sanderson.
The top-pairing defenseman prospect posted seven goals and 29 points in 47 games for the Under-18 team last season and also served as the captain while showing he’s got leadership qualities in addition to doing everything well on the ice. It was his offensive push in the latter half of the season that showed he could be an all-around defenseman rather than merely a shutdown guy. A Blackhawks team with aging back-end pieces could surely use a guy like Sanderson.
11. New Jersey Devils (from Coyotes)
Jack Quinn – (RW, Ottawa)
The 6-foot, 176-pound Quinn was second in the OHL with 52 goals in 62 games along with 89 points. Others who have topped 50 goals in the OHL over the last 20 years include Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jeff Skinner and Alex DeBrincat, so that bodes well for his overall development into something special at the NHL level.
Strength is most definitely not an issue for Quinn, but it’s his skating that will be the thing he needs to continue to work on as he rises the ranks. Quinn has been a late bloomer in junior hockey and that might keep him out of the Top 10, but he also might end up being the most gifted goal-scorer in this entire draft.
12. Minnesota Wild
Yaroslav Askarov – (G, Neva St. Petersburg)
The 6-foot-3, 176-pound Askarov has to be an elite prospect given how rarely goaltenders show up this high in mock NHL drafts. It would be an interesting pick for the Predators given their current goalie situations, but it would make sense that Askarov could eventually be the heir apparent to an aging Devan Dubnyk with a Wild group that’s become reliant on elite goaltending as part of their team success.
He is considered the best goalie prospect since Carey Price came onto the scene a decade ago, so somebody will take a flier on him in the first half of the first round.
13. Winnipeg Jets
Alexander Holtz – (RW, Djurgardens)
The 6-foot, 192-pound right winger is a tough goal-scorer and has shown a pretty good ability to be effective in the Swedish Men’s League with nine goals and 16 points in 35 games. Holtz is one of the better goal-scorers in the entire draft and that’s certainly something that any team could use more of.
The ruggedness and the advanced offensive game for Holtz might make for a pretty easy transition from the Swedish League to the NHL. He’s viewed as a Top 10 prospect in this draft, so this would end up being an excellent choice for a Jets team that’s stockpiled talented young forwards and values toughness in their players.
14. New York Rangers
Anton Lundell – (C, HIFK)
One of the best two-way centers in the draft out of Finland, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Lundell plays a 200-foot game in the mold of guys like Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews. Lundell had 10 goals and 26 points in 44 games for Liiga, Finland and was one of a number of prospects who played well against grown men in a European league.
It was unfortunate that Lundell was injured during the World Junior tourney and couldn’t play for Team Finland, but his draft stock is still very high as a potential Top 10 pick.
15. Florida Panthers
Dylan Holloway – (C, Wisconsin)
The 6-foot, 203-pound Holloway has big-time offensive potential and skating ability to go along with pretty good size, and good pedigree as a college player. He should be the first NCAA player selected in the first round after posting eight goals and 17 points in 35 games for the Badgers last season as a true freshman.
The Panthers may not be in the market for another center given their wealth of riches among young players at the center position, but Holloway might also be the best player available here. And his standing in a Wisconsin program that’s churning out a lot of pros is a plus as well.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets
Rodion Amirov – (LW, Ufa)
The 6-foot, 167-pound Russian winger has exhibited speed, skill and offensive ability during his time rising up through the ranks. He managed a couple of points in 21 games for Ufa at the KHL level and had a dominant 10 goals and 22 points in 17 games with the Ufa junior team.
The Blue Jackets can always use more offense added to their ranks with the future assets they have accumulated, but the good news is they’re also good enough right now to let Amirov develop on his own timetable. Could this be their eventual Russian replacement for the Bread Man after he left for New York?
17. Calgary Flames
Kaiden Guhle – (D, Prince Albert)
The 6-foot-2, 186-pound defenseman is a player comfortable at both ends of the ice who took a jump in the offensive part of his game over the last season. Guhle finished with 11 goals and 40 points in 64 games and showed both good skating and a big, hard shot that will translate into the NHL, and would add a talented offensive D-man to a Flames group that’s probably going to need to begin re-stocking their back end over the next few years.
18. New Jersey Devils (from Lightning)
Braden Schneider – (D, Brandon)
It feels like there’s a highly-ranked defenseman from the Brandon Wheat Kings pretty much every season, and Schneider will be that guy this season.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder has ideal size and a big shot that helped him produce seven goals and 42 points in 60 WHL games this season. The Devils could certainly use a physical, skilled defenseman in the mold of Jacob Trouba, and Schneider is exactly that kind of player in this year’s draft.
19. Nashville Predators
Hendrix Lapierre – (C, Chicoutimi)
The 5-foot-11, 179-pound Lapierre didn’t play after November due to upper-body injuries, but he had already shown the speed and high-end skill that will play at the NHL level. Lapierre had two goals and 17 points in 19 QMJHL games prior to the injury and was dominant for Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup over the summer as well.
It’s a bit of a risk given the injury issues, but he projects to have elite skill and offensive ability at the next level. The Predators could use more players with that kind of explosive upside.
20. Carolina Hurricanes (from Maple Leafs)
Seth Jarvis – (C, Portland)
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Jarvis finished second in the Dub with 98 points in 58 games and scored 42 goals while showing the speed and quickness to play at an extremely high pace.
Everything with the right-shot center is about speed and that would make him a really interesting fit in Carolina where the youth and skill movement has taken over under Rod Brind’Amour. Jarvis would fit right in with that group.
21. Edmonton Oilers
William Wallinder – (D, MoDo)
The Swedish defenseman prospect is very young (he doesn’t turn 18 until the end of July) and very raw at this point, but his 6-foot-4, 191-pound size and his rapid skating ability project him to be an extremely effective defenseman at the NHL level.
It might take him a couple of years to get there, but Wallinder has the kind of tools that could make him the No. 1 defenseman that the Oilers have been dying for on their NHL roster for a long, long time.
22. Ottawa Senators (from Islanders)
Lukas Reichel – (LW, Berlin)
The German hockey factory continues to pump out good prospects this season as Reichel is one of three potential German players to be selected in the first round. Reichel is the son of 20-year German pro hockey player Martin Reichel, who was actually drafted in the second round by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1992 Draft.
The elder Reichel never played in the NHL, but Lukas’ uncle, Robert Reichel, ended up having a long NHL career. As a rookie in the men’s German league this season, Reichel posted 12 goals and 24 points in 42 games as a 17-year-old. His game is built around speed and skill, and that would obviously make him a good fit in Ottawa.
23. Dallas Stars
Mavrik Bourque – (C, Shawinigan)
The 5-foot-10, 178-pound Bourque already has one of the best names in all of hockey, and he adds the offensive flair with 29 goals and 71 points in 49 QMJHL games last season.
Bourque is a strong, sneaky-fast skater and a hard worker, and has drawn some favorable comparisons to fellow Quebecois Patrice Bergeron. That’s a pretty large compliment to a kid in his all-important draft season. Given that Dallas focuses on two-way players these days, Bourque makes a lot of sense here.
24. New York Rangers (from Hurricanes)
Justin Barron – (D, Halifax)
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Barron would have likely gone higher in this draft were it not for a blood clot issue that wiped out much of his hockey season during his draft year. He returned in late February with his good skating game and excellent instincts for moving the puck, so there shouldn’t be much doubt about him as a first round talent.
Barron may need some work in the defensive end of the ice, but that shouldn’t be a big concern for a Rangers team bringing him into the fold. A puck-moving greyhound or two on the back end could make them an even more lethal group.
25. Minnesota Wild (from Penguins)
Jacob Perreault – (RW, Sarnia)
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound son of Yanic Perreault scored 39 goals in 57 games for the Sting last season while showing a great combination of physicality, offense and work ethic. He certainly brings plenty in the speed and creativity department as well.
Scouts will most definitely look favorably on the offspring of a player who was able to amass over 800 games in the NHL and turned out to be a pretty decent goal-scorer in his day as well. It would be appropriate that the Wild draft another potential long-time winger with the first round pick they acquired for Jason Zucker.
26. Philadelphia Flyers
Ridly Greig – (C, Brandon)
The 5-foot-11, 163-pound forward certainly has some work to do in the weight room when it comes to gaining size and strength, but he’s got the pro game already as he showed while scoring 26 goals and 60 points for the Wheat Kings this season. Grieg has an excellent all-around game where he plays in all situations and has shown first round talent, and he also would bolster the elite center depth for a team that hasn’t been able to rely on Nolan Patrick much over the last couple of seasons.
And the clincher: Greig’s father, Mark, is a scout for the Flyers as well. So they certainly have the inside scoop on this prospect.
27. San Jose Sharks (from Lightning)
Brendan Brisson – (C, Chicago USHL)
The 5-foot-11, 179-pound center showed himself to be a top two-way player this past season while putting up 24 goals and 59 points in 45 games for the Steel. Brendan finished second in the USHL in points this past season while representing the family name well as the son of hockey super-agent Pat Brisson.
Brisson is expected to head for the University of Michigan, so a rebuilding team that could wait for him to develop like the Sharks would be an ideal fit.
28. Colorado Avalanche
Helge Grans – (D, Malmo)
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound defenseman has the size and smooth skating ability of so many players who come out of the Swedish League, and was good enough to log 20-plus games in the men’s league this past season.
He has all the tools with the skating, shot and attention to the two-way game and would be in a situation where he can take time to develop with a loaded Avalanche organization. One thing they could use is more good, big defensemen added to their NHL roster and Grans fits that bill.
29. Vegas Golden Knights
Tyson Foerster – (RW, Barrie)
The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder put himself on the map with a big performance at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January and then really put the pedal down with the Colts down the stretch during the regular season.
Foerster finished with 36 goals and 80 points in 62 games and would be a nice add to a Golden Knights organization that’s looking to simply augment the high-end talent they already have on their roster.
30. Washington Capitals
John-Jason Peterka – (LW, Munich)
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Peterka is one of three talented German forwards that could go in the first round in this draft. Peterka is a speed and skill player with great hands, but he’s also somebody who plays with high risk in his game and may be a defensive project at higher levels of hockey.
That being said, he had four goals and six points in seven games during the World Junior tournament for Team Germany and posted seven goals and 11 points in 41 games in the German men’s league this past season. Peterka would fit right in as the Capitals keep stockpiling young talent in their organization.
31. St. Louis Blues
Connor Zary – (C, Kamloops)
The 6-foot, 178-pound Zary was one of the most dangerous players in the WHL with 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games, and showed good passing ability along with his willingness to shoot the puck. Zary was among the league leaders in both PP goals and shorthanded goals, so he’s another prospect that is going to have a major impact on a team’s special teams when he makes it to the NHL level.
Zary turned 18 way back in September, so he’s one of the oldest players in this year’s draft and would be that much closer to contributing to a team like the Blues that are square in the middle of their Stanley Cup window.
32. Anaheim Ducks (from Bruins)
Thomas Bordeleau – (C, NDTP)
Bordeleau isn’t the biggest guy at 5-foot-9, 175-pounds, but he fits right in where the NHL is headed these days with strong, explosive small forwards. The left-shot center led the NDTP with 46 points in 47 games this past season and plays a quick, creative game with the puck.
Bordeleau is headed to the University of Michigan and the Avalanche would be the kind of team that could allow him to develop his game at the college level. That being said, Bordeleau would fit a big-time need for a Ducks organization that needs offense in all shapes and sizes.