After a very eventful evening with the announcement of a mystery team to be determined, there were two winners from the original top Draft Lottery, those teams amongst a list of seven that were eligible. This includes L.A. and Ottawa (via San Jose) that won the top three spots. There’s a lot of reasoning in which players belong in my mock draft before the league hosts phase 2.
- (Mystery Team) Alexis Lafreniere is gonna be a super star left-wing the NHL hasn’t seen in awhile with the smarts and skills that make me think of a young Vincent Lecavalier. The Rimouski Oceanic winger outside of Montreal, Quebec would be a real treat to have in any team’s top line once he eases in the NHL. Alexis isn’t just a playmaking forward that not only shined offensively, however, he can back-check and play very gritty when he doesn’t have the puck on his stick.
- (LA Kings) Quinton Byfield fits the bill of a prototypical, if not, more physical and very dynamic skilled dynamo of a big bodied centre. With Slovenian centre Anze Kopitar starting to age now at 32, it would a very prudent pick to have. His speedy build and his set of hands are very similar physical traits to Evegeni Malkin.
- (Ottawa Senators) via San Jose trade this third overall pick to acquire Tim Stutzle out of Mannheim in the DEL. It’s also the same team Mortiz Seider was drafted out of. What is to really like about Stutzle going to Ottawa is that he’ll bring a more skilled, speedy and very dynamic game and will be his own breed of winger having been developed in the Deutsch Elite League (German Elite League) in a very competitive environment where he absolutely thrived.
- (Detroit Red Wings) After examining what the Red Wings have done in the past two drafts, they aren’t shy picking a Swede in the first two rounds of the NHL Draft. That being said, they do need a really solid forward available. I can see them getting Lucas Raymond, an absolutely dynamic winger from Göteborg, Sweden. Raymond is a young 18-year-old for this NHL Draft and he has a tremendous hockey IQ, his hockey sense is what got him the year before to help Sweden become the player he is today. Having seen Raymond live on TV playing with fellow draft prospect Alexander Holtz, Lucas knows how to work with a sniper of a teammate. Not only is he able at creating offence, but he can start it by being a solid player in the take-away category. Detroit doesn’t need to rush him to the NHL while he can get another year in the Swedish Elite League.
- (Ottawa Senators) The Ottawa Senators select centreman Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s. Having Rossi in their own backyard and having listened to Pierre Dorion on the 31 Thoughts Podcast, he recently mentioned that Rossi has a really great work ethic along the boards and in the “dirty areas.” I can see Ottawa utilizing his Hischier type of hockey game to help down the centre position. Rossi is the kind of guy that brings speed, skill, energy and Dorion mentioned that Rossi does command the “low center of gravity” being a smaller player, but it helps him control the way he stick handles and is able to be very shifty.
- (Anaheim Ducks) Jamie Drysdale and the Ducks make a whole lot of sense with Anaheim having a slowly aging defence corps, plus there are only two right-handed defensemen available for them. Drysdale joining in a year or two, if he is proven to not need anymore seasoning in the OHL, brings a very maneuverable, puck carrying defensemen that would bring a very refreshing look to the Anaheim blue line. Drysdale makes things look so easy with his hockey IQ and his hockey sense is the best amongst defensemen in this class. He did perform very well for Team Canada, gaining a lot of big important minutes and that matter a lot. His stick handling and his lateral movement is astounding and his ability to put pucks on net also helps him to create more scoring chances.
- (Alexander Holtz) The New Jersey Devils, in my eyes, seem to have found their man at seventh overall and are very high on drafting Swedes and European players and this kid is a prime time sniper with an elite shot. He brings a very high energy game and finds ways to score, not only from high and mid-danger areas, but he loves taking low-dangers scoring shots too. He skates better than Patrik Laine, is a little more fluid and the shot is absolutely lethal. If Jack Hughes is telling Tom Fitzgerald to “get me a sniper,” it’s Alexander Holtz. Holtz has similar shooting behaviour in a way that is similar to Ovechkin. This pick in Alexander Holtz would be the fine blend mixed in with Jack Hughes on a top pairing line for many years to come.
- (Buffalo Sabres) Cole Perfetti would be a really good left-shooting centerman with a sneaky quick shot like Elias Petersson’s. He is great on odd-man rushes and he is a very great stickhandler who can score on mid-to-high danger areas. Buffalo adding him to the Eichel-Cozens-Mittelstadt centre depth chart would be ideal in Buffalo if things go well with Jack Eichel anchoring the first line centre role.
- (Chicago Blackhawks) Yaroslav Askarov is a very thrilling to watch type of goaltender coming up from the MHL which is where he’s developed the past several seasons. Askarov loves to play the puck, he is very sound laterally on his skates and he is square to the shooter. He had a solid campaign in the World Juniors despite a few let downs, but hey, he’s only gonna develop to be an ace goaltender that will bring a lot of dynamic to Chicago. The Blackhawks will savour his good graces once he replaces Crawford between the pipes. I love this pick because Chicago can’t turn down this opportunity to have an elite level goalie that will be a 1A type starter.
- (New Jersey Devils via Arizona) As described by @FINjrhockey, “Anton Lundell is a highly intelligent and well-rounded center with excellent attention to detail. His anticipation is an important attribute to his two-way game. Anton is a very effective puck distributor and has a very solid wrist shot. He has a very precise wrist shot as well and is a pretty good finisher. Lundell does very well in the face-off circle. He is known to be a great person off the ice. Lundell can be a solid top 10-15 pick.” Anton Lundell is a Finnish centerman that plays a well thought out two-way game. He thrives and drives in offensive zone entries, being supportive on odd-man rushes. He can shoot and distribute the puck from mid and high danger areas. Lundell is a very prudent center, making great heads up plays around an opponent’s net. He is a really solid skater, he’s fast, attacking and supportive. The Devils scouts, having seen Eetu Pakkila and Aarne Talvitie hit the ice in Finland, should be familiar with Anton Lundell’s game. Despite Kakko getting drafted by the Rangers, the Devils had their Finnish scouting staff on hand to keep track of other Finnish players to keep their eyes peeled for in near term drafts. Lundell’s off ice personality is something to match in the day-to-day operations, alongside having Talvitie and Kuokkanen as possibilities to be teammates in New Jersey.
Honourable mentions that fans and readers should be aware of include Jack Quinn from the Ottawa 67’s and Seth Jarvis from the Portland Winterhawks. These two individuals are further names we all should be excited for.