With attention starting to turn towards phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, I thought it would be time to re-introduce the topic to NHL fans. The first phase of the NHL Entry Draft, as we know, has been completed, however, we won’t know for a while longer who will be picking at first overall. With that in mind, I used a tool at capfriendly.com to determine who will pick get the first overall selection.
So, the following is the first round of my four round NHL Mock Draft. I was going to do a seven round draft, but that would be a crapshoot and it wouldn’t be realistic.
First off, the Arizona Coyotes won the lottery and have the first overall pick. They are on the clock.
First overall (Arizona) – Alexis LaFreniere
The Arizona Coyotes get the generational talent of Alexis Lafrenière. Combine this with superstar Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel along with Barrett Hayton and new general manager Steve Sullivan has a lot to work with to shape his team into a contender for the Stanley Cup.
Second overall (LA) – Quinton Byfield
Even though Quinton Byfield struggled at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship, he still gets picked second overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL Draft. Byfield will come into the NHL with a chip on his shoulder and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was to make it on the team in his rookie season.
Third overall – (Ottawa) Tim Stützle
Although the Ottawa Senators did not get the first overall pick, they still get this creative German forward by the name of Tim Stützle. I was impressed with him when I watched him play at the 2019 World Junior Championship. He will contribute for the Ottawa Senators and will be a rising star on a young team that needs help.
Fourth overall – (Detroit) Jamie Drysdale
This is an obvious pick for the Detroit Red Wings as they need defensive help and this young offensive defensemen will provide that for them. Drysdale has shown that he is capable of quarterbacking a power play given the proper development, but not only that, he also displays a high level hockey IQ. I definitely expect the defensemen to go in the top five of this year’s NHL Draft.
Fifth overall – (Ottawa) Lucas Raymond
With their second pick in the top five of the 2020 NHL Draft, Ottawa selects Swedish forward Lucas Raymond from the SHL. Although he struggled at times this year, only putting up 10 points in 33 games, he has the experience of playing against men at such a young age which will translate well for him. He would also be on a Senators team with a core of young forwards to be reckoned with for years to come. Hopefully by then, the Senators would be able to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Sixth overall – (Anaheim) Marco Rossi
Everybody expects the Senators to take Marco Rossi since he played for the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. I don’t think that happens though and I think the Anaheim ducks take the left-handed shooter at sixth overall. The Austrian born player will translate into a good pick for the Ducks, and if he’s able to stay healthy, will be a productive player for years to come.
Seventh overall – (New Jersey) Yaroslav Askarov
Yaroslav Askarov played lots of hockey this season, whether it was at the IIHF World Juniors, the NHL or the VHL. Playing in the KHL, he played almost all leagues of hockey in Russia this season. The New Jersey Devils may have another Martin Brodeur in this young goaltender if they select him at the draft in October. He showed so much raw skill and putting the work in with an NHL goalie coach, he could only get that much better.
Eighth overall – (Buffalo) Cole Perfetti
The Buffalo Sabres may have another sniper on their hands if they draft this player at eight overall. Originally, it wasn’t a lock that he would show up to the OHL or the Saginaw Spirit, but when he did, he sure made he would make a lasting impact in junior. One of the last cuts from the Canadian World Junior Team, Perfetti would definitely have a chip on his shoulder if he were going to Upstate New York.
Ninth overall – (Chicago) Alexander Holtz
The Chicago Blackhawks have really struggled over the past few years. Getting Holtz would be a big boost to their offence which includes Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and goaltender Corey Crawford. This team would once again become a Stanley Cup contender right after this draft. That of course being the case if Alexander can make the team out of training camp.
10th overall – (New Jersey) Anton Lundell
This player from Espoo, Finland has been a little bit inconsistent. That’s why the left-handed shooter slips to tenth overall in my NHL Mock Draft. Although he is showing signs of offensive brilliance on the international stage, he definitely needs to work on this game his game, but the New Jersey Devils can afford to take this risk. The Devils have a pair of picks in the top 10 of the NHL Entry Draft.
11th overall – (Minnesota) Jake Sanderson
Son of former NHL’er Geoff Sanderson, the captain of the US National Junior Team committed to the University of North North Dakota. He spent the 2019-20 season with the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL. The Minnesota Wild won’t see this player for a while I don’t think, but they are not in desperate need of him and can wait a few years while he develops at school. If that’s the route he chooses, this player will be like another Cale Makar in my opinion.
12th overall – (Winnipeg) Jack Quinn
Don’t get me wrong, I like queen a lot, but I am a little weary to say that Quinn would go in the top 10. Like most experts are predicting, I believe this will be the case because I believe Rossi really helped Quinn excel in the OHL this season. I don’t know how well he will perform on an NHL team, but Quinn seems like the type of player that needs a great support system in order to let his skill shine through.
13th overall – (NY Rangers) Dylan Holloway
Dylan Holloway is my surprise of the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. Most people don’t have him going this early in round one. I believe consideration needs to be made for Holloway in this spot as he has played in the NCAA against older players and his fit right in. I believe this would be a great pick up for the New York Rangers at thirteenth overall.
14th overall – (Florida) Noel Gunler
I was surprised how low many people had forward Noel Gunler going in the draft’s first round. I believe, in some ways, that he is better than Lucas Raymond and will contribute to the NHL once he has developed in a year or two. Her will enter the league as an impact player when he does make his professional debut.
I think the trade from Drummondville to Chicoutimi hurt Dawson Mercer’s draft stock. I probably would’ve had him in the top 10 if we were doing this in November before World Junior camps. Not only that, but before trades happened in the CHL. Although I believe in Mercer’s potential, it is going to be hard for Mercer to stick with an NHL team in his first year. That’s why I have him in the middle of the draft’s first round.
I have to believe TSN’s Bob McKenzie hit the nail on the heads with this one. I believe the Portland Winterhawks’ star winger will go 18th overall to the Calgary Flames. This forward had a breakout year, putting up 98 points before the season was cancelled.
17th overall – (New Jersey) Connor Zary
I may have had this forward higher up if I’d seen him play more with games carried on Sportsnet. While with the Kamloops Blazers, Zary put up 86 points and looked really impressive in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that was hosted in Hamilton on January 23rd.
18th overall – (Nashville) Jan Mysak
This latecomer to the Hamilton Bulldogs impressed me when he came over late from the Czech republic after the World Junior Championship. Nashville is known for taking OHL players such as Philip Tomasino and left-winger Jan Mysak, so he would fit right into this category.
19th overall – (Carolina) Kaiden Guhle
I don’t know much about this player which is why I have him ranked a little bit lower. What I do know is that he put up 40 points in a tougher league in the WHL. It’s not like the OHL where goals flow all the time, so for this defensemen to put up that number of points I think is pretty impressive. I think he fits in Carolina’s systems and would work out perfectly for the hockey club’s future.
20th overall – (Edmonton) William Wallinder
At this point in the first round, you may start to see risks being taken and I think this is one of them. Edmonton has some young defensemen in their system, such as former OHL’er Evan Bouchard. Adding this defensemen who can shoot the puck hard and has played against men before would be a great asset for the Oilers going forward.
21st overall – (Ottawa) Rodion Amirov
Right now, this selection belongs to the Ottawa Senators. I believe they may trade it to get a veteran piece in their NHL lineup. However, if they don’t, Rodin Amirov is the right choice to take with the 21st pick. This player had 22 points in the time he spent in the MHL. He also played a couple games in the KHL, the highest league in Russia, This Russian forward displays raw skill that the Senators could either trade, or if not, could eventually factor into their NHL lineup.
22nd overall – (Dallas) Marat Khusnutdinov
Marat Khusnutdinov is another forward that impressed me out of the Russian under 17 and under 18 groups. I believe this centreman should go out in the first round’s bottom half of the NHL Entry Draft.
23rd overall – (New York Rangers) John-Jason Peterka
This standout on Germany’s World Junior team this past season also goes late in the draft’s first round. I believe New York is the spot for him to find himself headed in the NHL Entry Draft.
The rest of the first round will just be the names and destinations of the players where I think they will go with no further explanations.
24th overall Minnesota Zion Nybeck
25th overall Philadelphia Lukas Reichel
26th overall San Jose Emil Andrae
27th overall Colorado Helge Grans
28th overall Vegas Shakir Mukhamadullin
29th overall Washington Kasper Simontaival
30th overall St. Louis Daniel Torgersson
31st overall Anaheim Alexander Pashin