_________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. Alexis Lafreniere - The easiest ranking in my list. His blend of smarts, skill, speed, shot, and work-ethic is very rare. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Tim Stutzle - The gap between the players in this tier are razor-thin. That said, Stutzle's skating and vision along with the fact that he's proven himself against men is why he leads this tier. 3. Quinton Byfield - For the first time, I do not have Byfield ranked 2nd. He had an impressive season, but he doesn't have the consistent shift-to-shift impact that some of the others do. He is young, however, and has lots of untapped potential as he still hasn't figured out how to use his size. 4. Marco Rossi - Rossi is right up there with Lafreniere for most complete player in the draft. He is an incredible passer and playmaker and is also a workhorse that is great in his own end. Brayden Point is a comparable. 5. Jamie Drysdale - Smooth is the word to describe Drysdale. His skating and smarts are both elite, and his defensive ability is great for his age. If he manages to bulk up, he's a good bet to become a franchise defenseman. 6. Lukas Raymond - I really want to rank Raymond higher than 6th. He's got a similar skillset to Stutzle plus a better shot. Yes, he hasn't had much opportunity in the SHL, but he's had the least impressive season out of the players in this tier which is why I have him here. Again, there is very little separating him — and the rest of the players in this tier — from the number two spot. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 7. Cole Perfetti - This is where things get a bit riskier. All the players in the previous tier are ones that I see as safe bets to be 1st-line forwards or #1 defenseman. Perfetti has that similar offensive upside but his skating could limit him in the NHL. He also isn't as engaged defensively as I'd like and I'd bet he becomes a winger in the NHL. 8. Alexander Holtz - Similar to Perfetti, Holtz has top-line potential but also has some question marks. His best asset is his shot but he leaves something to be desired in other facets of the game. 9. Jack Quinn - I'm a huge fan of Quinn, as the ranking might suggest. His skill, shot, and offensive instincts are all incredible, he's a good 2-way player, and he's got no glaring weaknesses. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10. Noel Gunler - One of the best pure goal-scorers in the draft. He's got to keep his feet moving at times but I do like his level of hustle and commitment. He's decent defensively, a good skater, and an underrated passer. Consistency is his biggest challenge. 11. Connor Zary - Nothing elite about his game but no clear weaknesses either. Motor, hands, shot, and passing are all very good. He also comes in clutch when it matters. He can also be a bit of a pest which I love. 12. Anton Lundell - Very efficient player with good defensive ability but I don't see the offensive upside to justify a top-10 pick. Numbers are impressive in the Liiga though. 13. Rodion Amirov - He's agile, deceptive, owns a good shot, and is one of the top players in the draft at driving possession. He could use to improve his speed, but he is a good overall skater. 14. Mavrik Bourque - Bourque plays the game at his own pace, which is a very slow one. That isn't a bad thing; players like Leon Draisaitl excel at driving the play by slowing it down. Bourque is a good skater with excellent passing, shooting, and smarts. His point totals are crazy good led by a 7-point night. 15. Dawson Mercer - It is quite rare to see players of his age play in the WJC, and Mercer managed to hold his own. No stand-out qualities but he is skilled and fun to watch. Probably one of the more NHL-ready players in the draft. 16. Jan Mysak - Mysak is a bit more of a north-south player than I'd like, but I really like his blend of skill, speed, and shot. One of the more complete players in the draft despite being one of youngest. 17. Jacob Perreault - Perrault is an interesting one. His shot is among the best in the draft class and I could see him becoming a dangerous forward, but I have doubts about his ability to be a center in the NHL. Perreault tested incredibly well at the Top-Prospects Game in terms of skating. He was faster than Foudy, who I consider to be the best skater in the draft. However, he appears to be an average skater during games. Is this a bad thing, or does it suggest that there's room to improve? I don't know. 18. Braden Schneider - I think Schneider might be able to step into the NHL in a 3rd pairing role next year. His defensive instincts are elite, and combine that with his reach, skating, and physicality, you get a great defensive player. I like his shot and while he isn't a flashy offensive player, he's a very smart and efficient passer. 19. Jake Sanderson - Like Schneider, Sanderson is a defenseman who excels in his own end. Right now he is probably worse than Schneider defensively and lacks the physical element but he is younger and might have more offensive upside. Real solid payer but I don't think he's a top-10 pick like others do. 20. Seth Jarvis - I don't think he's quite as good as his numbers suggest, but he's very skilled and his skating is great to watch. I like his hustle and two-way play as well. This tier is also a tough one where the players are separated by very little. 21. Dylan Holloway - Slightly disappointing season on a very disappointing Wisconsin team. His speed, hands, and work-ethic are his calling traits. While he may not possess top-line offensive upside, he could become a dependable two-way top-6 winger. 22. William Wallinder - Very, very raw, but his skating and puck-handling are insane for a guy his size. One of the younger players in the draft so there is lots of room to improve. 23. Yaroslav Askarov - I'm going mostly on hype and numbers here as I am not a great judge of goalie's talent. He was incredible when I saw him at the U18s though. 24. Hendrix Lapierre - His concussion issues are the only reason he's in this tier. I love the way he plays the game offensively and defensively but he has more 3x more concussions than goals this year and that's very concerning. 25. Marat Khusnutdinov - I'm higher on Khusnutdinov than most. He's very fun to watch and it's even more fun listening to others try to pronounce his last name. Skilled, dynamic center with great skating, passing, and hands while being a very dependable two-way player. Lack of size and "The Russian Factor" are working against him. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 26. Jeremie Poirier - Perhaps the most polarizing player in the draft class. His skating and hands are unreal, but his defensive play is a very real concern. His shot is great, his shot selection is not so great. Passing is nothing special. Huge upside, huge risk. 27. Tyson Foerster - One of the best goal-scorers in the draft. He's got a great release on his wrist shot and has a killer one-timer on the left half-wall. Skating is a weakness but he's got plenty of time to work on that. Foerster was a top-3 player at the Top-Prospects Game. 28. Kaiden Guhle - Great skater, good defensively, decent offensively. I like his physicality but don't see anything more than a #3/4D, which would still be a great outcome at 28th overall. 29. Lucas Reichel - He has a real knack for getting in high-danger scoring areas. It is remarkable how many shots he gets from the slot despite playing in a men's league. He's a very smart player and a good passer. Needs to get stronger. 30. John-Jason Peterka - The 3rd German in my 1st round has speed, a heavy shot, and good two-way ability. He had a very impressive showing at the World Juniors 31. Roni Hirvonen - Just 5'9, but he's got the passing, hands, and anticipation to make up for it. One of the higher-upside picks in this range. 32. Jake Neighbours 33. Justin Barron 34. Lucas Cormier 35. Zion Nybeck 36. Helge Grans 37. Martin Chromiak 38. Emil Andrae 39. Dimitri Ovchinnikov 40. Kasper Simontival 41. Alexander Pashin 42. Jean-Luc Foudy _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 43. William Villeneuve 44. Ryan O'Rourke 45. Thomas Bordeleau 46. Robbie Jarventie 47. Brett Berard 48. Luke Evangelista 49. Daniil Gushchin 50. Evan Vierling _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Just missed the cut: Theodor Niederbach, Nico Daws, Topi Niemela, Zayde Wisdom, Joni Jurmo, Ridley Greg, Ozzy Wiesblatt, Drew Commesso, Vasili Ponomaryov Thoughts?