Lafrenière, like Crosby, also has two Michel Brière Memorial Trophies to his name which is given to the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player. The addition of Lafrenière to the Rangers’ system is huge. The fact that the Rangers won the lottery, a year after moving up to No. 2 overall, is something that can’t be understated.
The soon-to-be 19-year-old projects to be a major piece of the franchise once they are back to being a Stanley Cup contender, and is the most impactful prospect the Rangers have had in years.
This is not to say that Lafrenière doesn’t have some areas to grow, all young players do, but whenever the 2020-21 season starts, he is someone who will be able to contribute in a meaningful capacity right away.
Just as the 2008 draft changed the Kings’ franchise, ushering in a new era of young talent and a couple of Stanley Cups, choosing Quinton Byfield will become the same level of franchise-altering decisions for many reasons, not the least of which being that Byfield is now the highest-drafted Black player by an NHL team. In a time when the league so desperately needs it, I also see Byfield ushering in a more diverse NHL.
The Ottawa Senators completed the projected top-three of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, selecting German centre Tim Stutzle at the third-overall spot. The 6’ 1”, 187-lb forward instantly becomes one of the team’s top prospects, and will be given a chance to take over top-line duties this coming season. And the Sens brought in a special guest to do the pick in style:
Stützle (pronounced “SHTOO-tsleuh”, per friend-of-the-blog and mascot aficionado Poppy) has seen his stock rise immensely, from low first-round pick a year ago to a near-guaranteed top-three pick now. He continued his lifelong trend of playing extremely well against much older competition, with 34 points in 41 games in the DEL, Germany’s top men’s league. Couple with a point-per-game performance for Germany at the IIHF World U20 Division I championships, leading the Germans back to the top-flight World Juniors for 2020.
Raymond is already off to a hot start in the Sweden’s top league with a couple of points in four games, but the hockey world saw what Lucas Raymond can really do at the last WJC. Raymond made his break into professional hockey last year — he put up 10 points in 33 games after lighting up the J20 SuperElit.
5. Ottawa Senators - Jake Sanderson
The left shot defender from Whitefish, Montana is the latest member of the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks to join the Senators pipeline. After spending the past two seasons with the US National Development Program, Sanderson joins the Senators organizations as one of the top ranked defenders in the 2020 draft.
Jamie Drysdale served as the alternate captain to the 2019-20 Erie Otters, where he was nearly a point per game player. His work with Team Canada — as a 16-year-old with the U18 team and the following year with the U20 group — has most agreeing the Drysdale is the best defender available in a deep draft year.
Alexander Holtz is a taller Swedish winger, coming in at 6 foot even and weighing 183 pounds. He has good size, and a skillset to match. He has played his entire career to this point in the Swedish system, rising all the way to play the majority of his games this season in the SHL, Sweden’s top professional league. As always, the debate for European skaters is whether to play in the pro game at home, or come to North America and play in juniors/college here. Holtz elected to go the former route, and considering his draft ranking, he has made a solid choice.
8. Buffalo Sabres - Jack Quinn
Quinn is considered a two-way forward with a good shot and better hands who always positions himself well in the offensive zone. Quinn’s hockey IQ and agility help him to create a lot of open space and make him a reliable choice for the Ottawa 67’s coaching staff to throw over the boards in all situations. He scored a ton of goals last season without an elite shot, as his ability to work around defenders and cerebral play set him up for opportunities routinely. It also doesn’t hurt that his skating went from lacking to a plus this season, which may have helped him earn the honor of being voted the most improved player in the Eastern Conference in 2019-20 by OHL coaches (he also finished third in the Eastern Conference in the categories of ‘best shot’ and ‘most dangerous in goal area’).
A 5-foot-9, 185 pound 19-year old from Feldkirch, Austria, Rossi scored 39 goals and added 81 assists in 56 games with the 67s during the 2019-20 season.
Rossi was ranked sixth by NHL Central Scouting’s ranking for North American skaters, and was ranked as high as fourth by Eliteprospects.com.
10. Winnipeg Jets - Cole Perfetti
Cole Perfetti has been dominating the Ontario Hockey League from the get-go. After being selected fifth overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Perfetti burst onto the scene with 74 points in 63 games and led all rookies in points. This season — although shortened — he excelled even more. His 111 points in 61 games was second in the league, beaten only by Austrian Marco Rossi.
Here’s some things to love about Askarov:
He’s got pretty nice NHL size. At 6’3”, Askarov is not a giant like Ben Bishop; rather, he’s more in the middle of the pack in terms of size.
Askarov is a right-catch goalie. That’s rare in NHL netminders. Louis Domingue, Michael Hutchinson, and Pavel Francouz are the only right-catch goalies who’ve seen NHL time in the last two seasons.
In the style of up-and-coming goalies, Askarov is technically very sound. He’s rarely beat on a shot, and when he is, he doesn’t flail or flop desperately. His adjustments are very precise for such a young goalie.
Askarov is most certainly a student of the game. He plays an intelligent game and he is very vocal in communicating with his teammates.
Many scouts have used the term “athleticism” when discussing Askarov’s talents. For the casual viewer, it means that Askarov sets himself up well to make the first save, but if he needs to adjust, he has the strength, agility, and positioning to do so.
What might initially stand out about Lundell’s career statistics is his 25 points in the Finnish Liiga this year, but his impressive offensive production hasn’t been mitigated at any level. As a 16-year old, Lundell scored eight goals and 20 points in 22 Jr. A SM-liiga games - a league dominated by 18+ skaters. He also finished tied for fifth in tournament scoring that year at the World U17 Hockey Challenge with seven points in five games.
Jarvis has spent parts of the past three seasons playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 2019-20 season was a tale of two seasons for Jarvis. In his first 32 games, he recorded 35 points, but he increased his production significantly across the last 26 games, recording a ridiculous 63 points. Overall, this gave him 98 points (42 goals and 56 assists) over 58 games. That total was good for second in the entire WHL, behind only Minnesota Wild prospect Adam Beckman, who paced the entire league with 107. This was a far step ahead of the 39 points he recorded in 61 games during the 2018-19 season.
Part of the reason why Holloway is effective at sliding from one play to another is due to the fact he is a strong and quick skater. His ability to cut away at the last second while muscling through traffic helps both Holloway and his team maintain momentum of a good number of the plays they draw up.
Another plus to Holloway is his tremendous work ethic. In most scenarios, Holloway is first on the ice and last to leave. Also, he’s willing to fill whatever role his coach needs at the time.
If a team is looking for a prolific scorer, Holloway is not your man. However, if they are looking for a player who can elevate his teammates to the next level, Holloway is hands down the player you want to take in the draft.
He’s a big Russian winger who does a bit of everything well, including defense. In that sense he seems to make perfect sense for what the Leafs need, especially after some better options were off the board at that point.
Guhle is noted for his shutdown style of play, with excellent gap control to limit the space of the opposing forwards. He upped his offensive totals this season, though play with the puck is not his main strength.
The 18-year-old Reichel scored 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 42 games last season. He also had five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games for Germany at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Reichel is 6-feet, 170 pounds and has a left-handed shot. He was ranked No. 11 on the NHL’s Central Scouting Rankings among European skaters.
Despite playing in the Q, Dawson is one of the few players in the league who were born elsewhere, hailing from Carbonear, Newfoundland. He is a winger, and will slot in as right wing in the Devils’ system. Standing at 6 foot even and weighing 179 lbs according to Elite Prospects, he is one of the oldest prospects in this draft, with a October 2001 birthday. He will be 19 already in just a few short weeks. That is good in a way, as it has provided Tom Fitzgerald and the Devils scouting department with three full seasons of Q experience to look at.
Calgary Flames trade the 19th pick to the New York Rangers for the 22nd and 72nd picks.
19. New York Rangers - Braden Schneider
With the 19th overall pick the Rangers selected defender Brayden Schneider from the Brandon Wheat Kings out of the WHL. Schneider is a 6’2, 209lb right handed defenseman and he put up 42 points in 60 games with the Wheat Kings.
20. New Jersey Devils - Shakir Mukhamadullin
Shakir Mukhamadullin is 6‘4“, weighs 179 pounds, shoots left handed and plays defense. He most recently played for Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League. He was born on January 10, 2002. This is his second season in the KHL, and has become a solid player for his team.
Chinakhov, a 19-year-old and right-wing, is 5’11, 179 pounds, and features a left-handed shot.
The Calgary Flames make another trade, the 22nd pick to the Washington Capitals for 24th and 80th picks.
22. Washington Capitals - Hendrix Lapierre
Last summer, Lapierre was pegged as a top five pick in this upcoming draft. But multiple concussions and a neck injury kept Lapierre to just 19 games this past season. Just as he was about to come back the league was cancelled due to the pandemic so no one could see how he recovered from injury. What made Lapierre a potential top five pick? He’s one of the best playmakers in the draft. This kid can dish the puck and his vision is top end. He also skates extremely well and just has the brain of a NHLr. It’s funny he wears 92, because his biggest flaw is he doesn’t shoot, much like our own Evgney Kuznetsov. There’s multiple examples of having the puck in the slot and trying to pass it off to a teammate. Lapierre will need to shoot more so opponents respect the shot leaving his teammates open back door.
In 62 games for Barrie, Foerster compiled 36 goals and 80 points in 62 games. The initial read on him seems to be that he has impressive offensive talents and a high-end shot, but has some flaws in his skating that are going to have to be sorted out if he’s going to make an impact at the NHL level.
24. Calgary Flames - Connor Zary
Zary is one of the older players in the 2020 NHL Draft, so 2019-20 was actually already his third full season in the Western Hockey League. And after having a very good season in 2018-19 for the Kamloops Blazers, in which he recorded 67 points (24 goals, 43 assists) in 63 games, Zary burst onto the scene in 2019-20 with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 games played, ranking fifth in the league points, goals, and points-per-game. Zary wasn’t really thought of as one of the very top prospects available in 2020 at the beginning of the season, and while there are still valid concerns over his age and upside, his breakout season offensively in the WHL, combined with his versatility as a player and ability to effectively play the center position, have caused him to rise up draft boards to the point where he seems to be a surefire top 20 pick in the draft.
Barron is a big defender who skates really well and has a great first pass. That said, scouts have some concerns when it comes to his decision making. He doesn’t show the type of instincts with the puck that you want from a high-end puck mover.
On the defensive side of the puck, he is one of the best in the draft class. He is very good at denying forwards at the blue line, and he uses an active stick to stop plays in front of the net. There are few players in his class better at defending one on one against puck carriers.
Neighbours isn’t bad. Let me get that out of the way. He has amazing skating; with great speed, agility, and edgework making him a fun player to watch. He’s also very strong on the puck, which helps him truck up the ice.
But once he gets up the ice... well... he doesn’t do much. Neighbours scored 70 points in 64 WHL games this year, not even good enough for most on his team. He is an aggressive forechecker — thanks to his skating — and loves having the puck on his stick but his pass and shot definitely need work. He has good stickhandling and loves corner battles, which does help his stock. But his offensive role is as a pest, not a scorer.
Neighbours’ amazing aggression and work ethic translates beautifully to the defensive zone, though. He’s a gritty, dirty forward who will throw the body, go into the corners, and block shots. Again, his role as a grinder is very solidified. And that’s exactly what he is. That’s why NBC compared him to Lucic. Neighbours is a grinder.
27. Anaheim Ducks - Jacob Perreault
He is known as a goal-scorer who knows how to manipulate opposing goaltenders by using different angles to get his shot off. He’s 5’11, 192 pounds and should spend another year developing his game. Sportsnet Canada compares the 18-year-old’s game to Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat.
28. Ottawa Senators - Ridly Greig
Heralded as the buzzsaw player of the draft, Ridly Greig packs a tremendous amount of energy every time he steps on the ice. He’s a bit slight at 5’11”, but he plays with the confidence of a 6’4” giant with his physicality. He has some good playmaking abilities too and is confident with his stickhandling. He’s also one of the draft’s youngest players, but the million dollar question is whether his ceiling is higher than a bottom-six winger.
Brisson (5-foot-10, 179 pounds from Manhattan Beach, California) is a center with solid skating ability and is strong on the forecheck. NHL Central Scouting says Brisson is a terrific playmaker who “can thread a pass in traffic to the open man, has elite hockey sense that makes him a dynamic playmaker.”
30. Dallas Stars - Mavrik Bourque
The appeal of Bourque here is obvious: he’s a forward with very high-end playmaking, puck skill and offensive creativity, which is the exact type of player that the Stars have needed to add to their organization for a long time.
The Calgary, Alberta native tallied 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists) for the Raiders over 64 games in the shortened 2019-20 season, ranking second on the team to Alexei Protas, a 19-year-old forward drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2019. He ranked 17th in points among all skaters in the WHL.