The first round of the 2020 NHL Draft commences on Tuesday, October 6th, and we surely have some highly touted prospects in this year's draft. I haven't been this excited about a draft in a long time, and that's not all due to the fact that my team has the first overall pick; it's because there still isn't a clear answer as to who will go first, second, and third. We all know that Alexis Lafrenière is most likely going to go first overall to the New York Rangers, but I wouldn't bet my bottom dollar on that just yet. Here are my top ten picks for the 2020 NHL Draft:
The 2020 NHL Draft Order:
New York Rangers
Los Angeles Kings
Ottawa Senators (San Jose Sharks)
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
Carolina Hurricanes (Toronto Maples Leafs)
Toronto Maples Leafs (Pittsburgh Penguins)
New Jersey Devils (Arizona Coyotes)
New Jersey Devils (Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks)
Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers (Carolina Hurricanes)
St. Louis Blues
Anaheim Ducks (Boston Bruins)
Ottawa Senators (New York Islanders)
Vegas Golden Knights
San Jose Sharks (Tampa Bay Lightning)
1) The New York Rangers Select: Alexis Lafrenière - LW - Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
2) The Los Angeles Kings Select: Quinton Byfield - C - Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
3) The Ottawa Senators Select: Tim Stützle - C - Mannheim (DEL)
4) The Detroit Red Wings Select: Cole Perfetti - C - Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
5) The Ottawa Senators Select: Jamie Drysdale - D - Erie Otters (OHL)
6) The Anaheim Ducks Select: Lucas Raymond - LW - Frölunda HC (SHL)
7) The New Jersey Devils Select: Marco Rossi - C - Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
8) The Buffalo Sabres Select: Alexander Holtz - RW- Djugårdens (SHL)
9) The Minnesota Wild Select: Yaroslav Askarov - G - SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
10) The Winnipeg Jets Select: Seth Jarvis - RW - Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Why You Can't be Absolutely Sure About the Top Three Yet...
Alexis Lafrenière, Quinton Byfield, and Tim Stützle - All three guys are sure to be off the board within the first three picks. I have been acting like an insane person the last few days, using most of my free time to scour the internet looking for mock drafts, and trying to learn anything I can about these three guys. From huge sports media outlets like Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, to small independent freelance writers like myself, I have come across dozens and dozens of articles with different information coming from all different directions. Most mock drafts that I found have the same top three. Lafrenière to New York, Byfield to Los Angeles, and Stützle to Ottawa. But that's not always the case. In a lot of instances, even the industry professionals are speaking out over how this draft could completely blindside us all.
Take Cam Robinson for example. Director of film scouting for Elite Prospects, and managing editor of Dobber Hockey, Robinson knows all there is to know about the future of the NHL. Cam was a guest on the New Ice City podcast on October 1st, where he admitted that in his personal mock draft, he has Byfield going first overall. Taking Byfield first overall makes total sense when you look at what the Rangers needs are. New York is crowded on the left side of the ice. Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider both play left wing, and so does Lafrenière. New York drafting Alexis would surely complicate things for head coach David Quinn. Albeit, having Panarin, Kreider and Lafrenière on the same team is a great type of problem to have - and I probably sound like a spoiled baby right now - but it would still be a logistical issue nonetheless.
Where the Rangers roster falls short is at their center position. While Mika Zibanejad is a star center, New York is desperate for a second line centerman. Both Byfield and Stützle are centers; which is why there are people out there who believe that the Rangers might benefit more from drafting Byfield first overall. With all this being said, I still believe Lafrenière to be the first overall pick, and I do think that the Rangers are going to take Lafrenière first overall no matter what. Alexis' puck handling, his shot, his passing, his whole entire skill set is just otherworldly, and that is talent that you just can't pass up.
The true debate lies behind who is going to go second overall. Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and The Score all have Los Angeles taking Byfield with the second pick. While Yahoo Sports, Tankathon, and Sportsnet all have the Kings taking Stützle with the no. 2 pick. As you saw above, I also have Byfield going second. What I think sets Byfield apart from Stützle is his size, and his style of play. Byfield is 6'4", 214 pounds; a monster on the ice. But it's not just his size that makes him a great hockey player, it's his skill set. His skating is impeccable, his handles are insane, and his on-ice vision are what make him an anomaly in the hockey world. You just don't see too many players of his size play with such style and grace the way the Byfield does.
In reality, any one of these 31 potential first round picks could wind up anywhere. If you feel that there is a player I may have left off of the list that you think belongs in the top ten, let me know! I am always open to a hockey discussion. Also, let me know who you hope to see get drafted by your team! It's sure to be a wild ride. Enjoy the first round of the draft, and cheers to the future of the game.
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