32. RD Helge Grans
WRITE-UP 1. LW Alexis Lafrenière Rimouski Océanic, QMJHL
[6’1”. 192lbs. Born on October 11, 2001.]
Strong and fast playmaker. Always creating chances whenever he’s on the ice. Lafrenière is a playmaking power forward that plays with grit. He’s not a runaway McDavid level talent, but still worthy of going 1st overall. He’s ready for the NHL. What more needs to be said about him? Lafrenière has been the consensus top pick for quite some time, and I see no reason to dispute it.
2. C Marco Rossi Ottawa 67’s, OHL
[5’9”. 179lbs. Born on September 23, 2001.]
Dynamic shot creator with deadeye passing ability. This two-way playmaker operates similarly to Patrick Kane in the offensive zone with the way he skates and sets himself up. Unlike Kane, he’s willing to work hard at both ends of the ice. Rossi is more of a setup man than he is a goal scorer, but shooting isn’t a weakness. He has the Gretzky ability to read and anticipate where the puck is going to be. This leads to him forcing turnovers and being a key defensive cornerstone.
3. C Quinton Byfield Sudbury Wolves, OHL
[6’4”. 214lbs. Born on August 19, 2002.]
Young and huge are the words to describe Byfield. That gives him tons of upside since there’s a lot to work with. This also means he’s still a very raw player with uncertainty surrounding how he’ll mature. He moves well, but can lack drive especially in his own end where he’s often too passive. There are times where he does show a higher compete level, but the consistency isn’t there yet. Despite being big, he doesn’t play any different than someone who is 5’11” which is disappointing since this combination of size and skill can be uncommon. However he has plenty of time to grow accustomed to his frame and start taking advantage of it. With an even strength shooting percentage of 27%, Byfield was an extremely efficient goal scorer.
4. RW Lucas Raymond Fronlunda HC, SHL
[5’10”. 165lbs. Born on March 28, 2002.]
Perhaps the trickiest player in the draft to judge, Raymond wasn’t put in the best situation to shine this season. In fact he was horribly underutilized. So while that may have masked his talent, the talent is still very much present. Raymond’s upside is extremely high, but unfortunately I have to base this assessment almost entirely on his dominant D-1 year.
5. C/LW Tim Stützle Adler Mannheim, DEL
[6’0”. 187lbs. Born on January 15, 2002.]
Hard to ignore the impact he’s having at such a young age in a men’s league. Stützle is an agile player with good puck control. He’s a hard worker who plays with a high compete level, although he can rely too much on an east-west style of play. If he incorporates some more north-south play into his arsenal he’d be even more dangerous. Stützle is a top tier playmaker.
6. C Marat Khusnutdinov SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, MHLPossesses a stupid amount of skill. Could have the most innate talent in the draft. Khusnutdinov is capable of doing things no other 2020 prospect can. He’s not just a one dimensional offensive player either. He’s willing to compete at both ends of the ice. This is a true 2 way stallion, the kind that would make Marian Hossa proud. By playing mostly a 3rd line role for his team and having limited PP time, he has developed some strong defensive instincts while also contributing minutes to the PK. Very fluid skater who thinks the game at a high level. Positionally, he’s very sound at center and is a wizard at winning faceoffs. I look at Khusnutdinov, and I see a little bit of Pavel Datsyuk in him. He’s got A+ upside. The sky's the limit with Khusnutdinov. I pray he doesn’t get drafted by a team that has poor prospect development. Handle him wisely, and you’ve got the number one steal of the draft.
[5’9”. 165lbs. Born on July 17, 2002.]
7. RD Jamie Drysdale Erie Otters, OHL
[5’11”. 170lbs. Born on April 8, 2002.]
Pretty much the perfect PPQB. Drysdale is a silky smooth skater especially when going backwards. He’s a moonwalker. Overall, he probably moves better than anyone in the draft. He plays a very modern brand of defense. Top D-man in the draft by far. However there are times where Drysdale looks too relaxed. He should look to raise his intensity.
8. RW Jack Quinn Ottawa 67’s, OHL
[5’11”. 176lbs. Born on September 19, 2001.]
He can rifle the puck as good as anyone in the draft. Could actually be the best goal scorer available, and that’s just something you can’t teach. He’s got a very high shot IQ, and his stellar shooting percentage is indicative of that. Holtz is the other player in the draft that rivals Quinn’s goal scoring ability, but I think overall Quinn is more intelligent when it comes to placing shots.
9. RW Dawson Mercer Drummondville Voltigeurs/Chicoutimi Saguenéens, QMJHL
[6’0”. 179lbs. Born on October 27, 2001.]
Brilliant stickhandling and puck control. Mercer is a top tier two way player. Whether he’s firing laser tape to tape passes or blowing out the back of the net, Mercer can do no wrong whenever the puck leaves his stick. His IQ is among the best you’ll find in this year’s draft. I can’t say enough good things about Dawson Mercer. Underrated by most. He’s got some parallels to Mark Stone.
10. RW Alexander Holtz Djurgårdens IF, SHL
[6’0”. 183lbs. Born on January 23, 2002.]
If there’s any criticism for Holtz, it’s that he’s one dimensional. He’s a pure scorer, and can’t be relied on defensively...at all. This is an element of his game that can develop as he matures so it’s not imperative at this point in time, but he’s got a lot of work to do in that department. His offensive upside is that of a 1st liner, and that’s something you want to bet on when with a top pick. He’s a well rounded skater too. His IQ isn’t the best and I think as a result his approach to shooting is quantity over quality. For that reason he’s not as shrewd as someone like Jack Quinn. So between the poor defense and the low shot IQ, there is bust potential to worry about with Holtz, but the risk would be worth it if he booms.
11. C Anton Lundell HIFK, Liiga
[6’1”. 187lbs. Born on October 3, 2001.]
Excellent defensively, but average skating and average passing. I don’t think he has the upside to be a true 1C. The offensive upside isn’t there since his playmaking isn’t up to par. He’s a safe pick because of his floor, but if I’m picking high I want to see more of a ceiling so I don’t think I’d burn a top 10 pick on him.
12. RW Noel Gunler Luleå HF, SHL
[6’2”. 174lbs. Born on October 7, 2001.]
I hate that I’m saying this but the kid is damn good. There were attitude concerns with Gunler, and hopefully it’s not a problem moving forward because he has talent. This ain’t like Ryan Merkley who couldn’t play defense and was uncoachable. Gunler is a complete player. He forechecks hard and he makes you pay for your mistakes.
13. C Cole Perfetti Saginaw Spirit, OHL
[5’10”. 185lbs. Born on January 1, 2002.]
Smart forward whose playmaking and shooting ability are assets. He’s got a powerful release, and his playmaking vision is good, although his skating can be painful at times. His lack of explosivity holds him back. A big weakness is that he doesn’t engage physically, and his lack of speed means he can’t always escape danger which leaves him vulnerable. He gets knocked down a lot by opponents, seemingly more than the average player. During any given game there are numerous times where he can be seen floundering on the ice. It’s hard to imagine how he’d fare in the AHL or NHL without significant improvement to his strength. When he doesn’t have the puck he doesn’t try as hard in the neutral or defensive zone. This makes him look a bit lazy. When he does have the puck, Perfetti has soft hands and can be pretty nifty with his dekes. I’m not entirely convinced he can be a 1C at the NHL level. He could end up a 2C that needs sheltered minutes. He's basically Dylan Strome without size.
14. G Yaroslav Askarov SKA-Neva St. Petersburg, VHL
[6’3”. 176lbs. Born on June 16, 2002.]
I'm not going to pretend like I'm much of a goalie scout, but I have seen Askarov look like a brick wall on a consistent basis. I'm not willing to take him top 10 because I still don't like the risk of using high picks on goalies, but mid 1st round you could start to convince me if he truly is a franchise netminder.
15. LW Dylan Holloway University of Wisconsin, NCAA
[6’0”. 192lbs. Born on September 23, 2001.]
Power forward who can charge down the ice with control. If he’s lagging behind the play, he’s got the speed to catch up. Holloway is not a player that will back down from contact. He likes to assert his dominance and play a physical game.
16. C Jacob Perreault Sarnia Sting, OHL
[5’11”. 198lbs. Born on April 15, 2002.]
Solid IQ player who always puts himself in the right position to score. He’s got a killer shot. Likes to operate in high danger areas. Tough to knock him off the puck. Pearreault has the benefit of having NHL prowess in his blood.
17. LD William Wallinder MODO Hockey, Allsvenskan
[6’4”. 192lbs. Born on July 28, 2002.]
Big, mobile, offensively inclined defender that can be reminiscent of Victor Hedman. He lacks much of a slap shot, and his positioning isn’t the best since he can be trying to do too much in the offensive end. However he has a really great set of tools and natural size so you’ve got a lot to work with here. I think there’s boom or bust potential here, but the upside is worth betting on.
18. C Thomas Bordeleau U18's, USNTDP
[5’9”. 179lbs. Born on January 3, 2002.]
There is a lot of talent with Bordeleau. He’s an efficient skater, with a lot of moves that constantly keep defenders on their toes. A great shooter too. He’s a sneakily good 200 foot player that can force turnovers with his stick. He can play in any situation you put him in. Coaches will love the fact that he’s a swiss army knife.
19. LW Rodion Amirov Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL
[6’0”. 168lbs. Born on October 2, 2001.]
He needs to be more consistent with the pace of his play if he wants to succeed at the NHL level. There are times where he can coast around a bit, but when he increases his intensity he’s very good. There’s some great tools here, but he’s gonna need to put the effort in and become a tougher player to face. He’s a very effective puck carrier, but I just feel like there are times when he slows down too much and allows himself to get outworked.
20. LW Lukas Reichel Eisbären Berlin, DEL
[6’0”. 172lbs. Born on May 17, 2002.]
His hockey IQ is his best attribute. I don’t know if the rest of his tools match his brain power, but IQ is something you can’t teach. Physically he doesn’t get involved very much, and I personally think it wouldn’t hurt for him to add a bit more grit to his play. With more time to develop his kit, Reichel could be a solid and responsible complimentary piece to an NHL roster.
21. LW Emil Heineman Leksands IF, SHL
[6’1”. 185lbs. Born on November 16, 2001.]
I really dig the way he plays. His style is surprisingly similar to Matthew Tkachuk which is a rare blend of skills you don’t see too often. High motor, high intensity, high energy. Likes to be very aggressive and assertive, and this is playing against men in Sweden. Physically he’ll likely be ready for the NHL much sooner than his peers. His offensive tools like his shooting and playmaking aren’t elite level, but they are good. His defensive game is really polished for someone his age. Overall he just seems like a player who will effortlessly make the jump to the NHL.
22. RW Seth Jarvis Portland Winterhawks, WHL
[5’10”. 172lbs. Born on February 1, 2002.]
A little undersized, but has a nice set of wheels. Good stickhandler too. Though overall I think he’s been overhyped. He’s closer to a Michael Grabner level player than the Mitch Marner comps I’ve seen him given. So while I’m not as high on him as others, his speed can be tantalizing and not many players can keep control of the puck when they’re barreling down the ice that fast.
23. LD Jake Sanderson U18's, USNTDP
[6’1”. 185lbs. Born on July 8, 2002.]
A smart blueliner with good playmaking instincts. He’s got a muffin shot, so don’t expect him to score many goals at the NHL level. Lacks any sort of physical game. Has some similarities to Jonas Brodin.
24. LW/RW Zion Nybeck HV71, SHL
[5’8”. 176lbs. Born on May 12, 2002.]
Speedy winger that makes intelligent plays. Anticipates on-ice action well with his situational awareness. He has the ability to read goalies and pick them apart. He’s not a big player, but he does have that bulldog mentality and has a lot of energy.
25. RW John-Jason Peterka EHC München, DEL
[5’11”. 192lbs. Born on January 14, 2002.]
Really great top end speed. His shot is solid and he can definitely wire the puck. His playmaking is just as good too. He has the problem that most kids his age playing in a men’s league have, which is he needs to get stronger. His defensive play needs work.
26. C Roni Hirvonen Ässät, Liiga
[5’9”. 163lbs. Born on January 10, 2002.]
Operates in the dirty areas around the paint. That makes him more projectable than a floating perimeter type, but he needs to bulk up if he wants to hang around there at the NHL level. As it stands he is very undersized.
27. C Connor Zary Kamloops Blazers, WHL
[6’0”. 181lbs. Born on September 25, 2001.]
I was high on Zary coming into the season, but I ended the season underwhelmed. He was a passenger on his line and never felt like he was the one driving the play. However Zary is still a talented stickhandler. There’s a decent framework for a middle six player here. I prefer players with high upside, but I do like the safety of Zary’s floor.
28. C Mavrik Bourque Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
[5’10”. 165lbs. Born on January 8, 2002.]
One of the better shooters in the draft. Bourque’s problem is his speed. He often looks very sluggish when he skates. However I still think he’s a smart player.
29. LW Jan Mysak Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL
[6’0”. 181lbs. Born on June 24, 2002.]
Good puck skills and above average IQ, but skating may hold him back a bit. He struggles with consistency but when you see those flashes of brilliance, it really makes you wonder what he could become with the right development.
30. LD Lukas Cormier Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL
[5’10”. 179lbs. Born on March 27, 2002.]
He is THE powerplay guy. This is a good and bad thing. He’s an absolute weapon on the man advantage and he’ll make sure you score, but he leaves a bit to be desired at even strength. However Cormier can certainly develop his play at even strength. He’s a crisp passer and that’s certainly his best asset. He has a quick release with his shot, but it’s not very accurate. His speed is not up to par for a guy his size.
31. RD Braden Schneider Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
[6’2”. 209lbs. Born on September 20, 2001.]
Your prototypical Canadian defender. Schneider is reliable and would be a safe pick for any team. He won’t have the ceiling that Drysdale or Wallinder have, but he still projects as an NHL defenseman even if his style has fallen out of fashion in recent years. He has some similarities to Brent Seabrook.
33. LD Kaiden Guhle
34. LD Ryan O’Rourke
35. RW Brandon Coe
36. C Tristen Robins
37. RW Ozzy Wiesblatt
38. LW Brett Berard
39. C Hendrix Lapierre
40. LW Roby Jarventie
41. RW Kasper Simontaival
42. LD Emil Andrae
43. LD Jeremie Poirier
44. C Brendan Brisson
45. RW Danill Gushchin
46. RD Topi Niemela
47. LW Alexander Pashin
48. C Dmitri Ovchinnikov
49. RW Veeti Miettinen
50. C Jaromir Pytlik
51. LW Carter Savoie
52. RW Yevgeni Oksentyuk (OA)
53. LW Jake Neighbours
54. LD Joni Jurmo
55. LD Yan Kuznetsov
56. LW Sean Farrell
57. C Tyson Foerster
58. LW Martin Chromiak
59. LW Dmitri Sheshin (OA)
60. C Justin Sourdiff
61. RD William Villeneuve
62. C Artyom Galimov (OA)
Eemil Viro, Artem Shlaine, Jack Thompson, Luke Evangelista, Maxim Groshev, Samuel Knazko, Brady Burns, Sam Colangelo, Alexander Nikishin, Christoffer Sedoff, Rory Kerins, Ian Moore, Michael Benning, Ethan Cardwell, Colby Ambrosio, Theodore Niederbach, Zayde Wisdom, James Hardie, Vasili Ponomaryov, Justin Barron, Pavel Novak, William Dufour, Jack Finley, Antonio Stranges, Victor Mancini, Mitchell Miller, Ty Smilanic, Tyler Tullio, Anton Johannesson, Daniel Torgersson, Maxim Beryozkin, Ridly Greig, Jean-Luc Foudy, Benjamin Baumgartner (OA)