NHl Draft 2020: Last Minute Top 10 Mock Draft
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The 2020 NHL Draft will take place Wednesday night, starting at 7 pm ET, and will be broadcasted on NBCSportsnet. Like everything else this year, the draft will have a different feel to it, thanks to COVID-19 and the league will have to adjust to how it conducts the selection process over the next two days.
When it comes down to it, it will be same thing it always is, teams taking turns adding the next generation of talent to their organization. But who will end up where?
I’m no expect in scouting, but thanks for COVID-19 I had a two-month stretch where I had a lot more free time than usual so I was able to do some research on some of the bigger names in this draft.
I took a stab at the top 10
1. New York Rangers: Alexis Lafreniere, LW
This is as easy a pick as they come. Lafreniere has been the consensus number one pick in this draft class for a while now, and should compete for the Calder Trophy next year for Rookie of the Year. The Rangers have plenty of needs elsewhere, but you don’t pass on a talent like this, especially first overall.
2. Los Angeles Kings: Quinton Byfield, C
This just feels right. Byfield screams LA. The Kings have always been known for their style of play, and the big and physical - yet extremely skillful - Byfield fits perfectly. He can learn behind Anze Kopitar and eventually be the face of the franchise.
He has some work to do before his play is NHL ready, but he already has the body of a pro. It won’t be too long before he is making an impact in the NHL.
3. Ottawa Senators: Tim Stutzle, C/W
Between everything I’ve read, and watched, Stutzle may be one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft. Ottawa getting him with the third overall pick would be a steal in most drafts. Stutzle is probably a safer pick than Byfield, but with that being said, his upside is still insanely high.
4. Detroit Red Wings: Marco Rossi, C
I broke down a total of four different options for the Red Wings earlier, leaning towards Rossi by the end of it. At this point penalizing anyone for their size really just hurts your organization in the end. Despite his size, Rossi has it all and can help the Red Wings in all facets of the game.
5. Ottawa Senators: Jamie Drysdale, RHD
I was really close to having the Red Wings take Drysdale before settling on Rossi. If Drysdale does go to Detroit, look for Ottawa to either trade this pick or take someone like Lucas Raymond. For now, the Senators get the defenseman, as well as arguably the second best forward in this year’s draft. What a momentum swinging draft for a flailing franchise like the Senators.
Drysdale gives the Senators a 1-2-3 punch of Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom and eventually Drysdale. A right-handed shot, Drysdale has the speed and stick skills to impact all ends of the ice.
6. Anaheim Ducks - Lucas Raymond, LW/RW
The Ducks find themselves in a rebuild, with needs all over the board. Raymond would be an amazing addition to an organization which is scary close to beginning the post-Ryan Getzlaf era. Raymond can create for himself, as well as others. While he doesn’t have the natural scoring ability that his countryman, Alexander Holtz, does it won’t matter because he get along just fine.
Despite being heavily invested in some of their defensemen, I feel like the Ducks would love to get their hands on Drysdale, especially after seeing how Shea Theodore (who was drafted by Anaheim) played during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But Raymond is also the kind of playmaker you can build around, who is already battle tested against grown men in the Swedish professional league.
7. New Jersey Devils - Alexander Holtz, RW
The Devils get the other half of the ‘Swedish Terror Twins’ in Holtz, who is gaining comparisons to Finish forward Patrick Laine.
Maybe the best pure-goal scorer in the draft, the Devils get a winger for Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier and help an offense that had the eighth lowest goals-per-game last season.
8. Buffalo Sabres - Cole Perfetti, C/LW
The Sabres get the second leading scorer in the OHL from a year ago. There’s some question on whether he plays center or the wing at the next level, either way Jack Eichel gets some help in the goal department.
Perfetti can play the cycle game and create for himself, with great hands and a willingness to play defense.
9. Minnesota Wild - Anton Lundell, C
I said Byfield to the Kings just ‘felt right’, same can be said about Lundell to the Wild. One of the better two-way forwards in the draft, Lundell might make his mark in the NHL for his defensive play before the scoring comes.
Even if it never comes, Lundell will be strong enough in his own end to be a middle-six forward. For the first time since the 2003-2004 season, the Minnesota Wild will before without Mikko Koivu. The Finish forward was a part of the organization’s second ever draft class and has been a mainstay in their roster for over 15 years.
Now the Wild have the chance to draft another pivot from Finland that can impact the game on both ends of the ice.
10. Winnipeg Jets - Dylan Holloway, C
This was a little off board, and more so a bigger picture selection than anything. The Jets wasted away a brilliant season by Connor Hellebuyck, mainly because a lack of blue line help.
Jake Sanderson, son of former NHLer Geoff, would make sense, as he is likely to be the second defenseman off the board at some point throughout the night.
But the University of Wisconsin pivot is a player with the upside to be a number one center, but falls in line more as a 2C behind Mark Scheifele. He was shifted to winger at Wisconsin, but he was also a draft-eligible forward playing college hockey - not the easiest transition.
Most likely to jump into top 10 - Jake Sanderson, LHD
You can almost make a case that the American-born Sanderson could jump all the way to six, and fills a need from there all the way to the tenth pick. It’s probably a safe bet to assume someone 6-10 will pull the trigger on Sanderson, but for now I have him just on the outside looking in.
Wildcard player - Yaroslavl Askarov, Goalie
It’s not often that goalies go in the first round anymore, let alone the top-10. Many thought Askarov could push that envelope and he has done little to make people think otherwise.
Outside of the Jets, Ducks, and potentially the Rangers, every other team is in search for a franchise goalie, you don’t pick in the top ten usually with one. It’s just hard to take a goalie that early knowing how long they take to develop sometimes.
Of the next five picks outside the top 10, four would make sense as landing spots for Askarov.
What do you think? What would you change in my top 10? Which player not listed is most likely to move up and jump into the top 10? Which is most likely to fall out of the top 10? Let me know in the comments below, and leave your own mock draft! Follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy