It’s NHL Draft day! Last week, Brandon Stanley and I went live on Twitch and did a mock draft for Canes fans. If you couldn’t make it, here are the results!
- New York Rangers (Brandon) – Alexis Lafreniere
At least we start off with an easy one! Lafreniere is a first-rate playmaker, an elite passer and puck handler with next-level vision and hockey sense. Skating is just okay, but has every other tool needed to step into the NHL and be a top six player immediately. Will make the Rangers dangerous next year.
2. Los Angeles (Brandon) – Quinton Byfield
I know there has been talk of Stutzle possibly overtaking Byfield for this spot, but I don’t see it happening. Byfield is the easy pick for me because he’s a big, explosive power forward with elite skating ability and an equally elite shot. He can be dominant at the NHL level, and with a prospect pool that includes Gabe Vilardi and Alex Turcotte, the Kings’ center depth is in a good spot.
3. Ottawa- Lucas Raymond (Matt)
Ottawa misses out on the top two prospects in this draft but are drafting one of the more complete and exciting players in this draft class. I considered Stutzle here, but I believe that Raymond has the potential to be Ottawa’s first line winger in the very near future. He could step into the NHL next season.
4. Detroit (Brandon) – Tim Stutzle
Following what is perhaps a minor surprise, the Wings are thanking their lucky stars that one of the most electric talents in the draft goes to them. Stutzle has a little Nathan MacKinnon in his game. He’s constantly pushing the defense back on their heels with elite speed and edgework. He can make plays at top speed and has some of the fastest hands in the draft.
5. Ottawa (Matt) – Alexander Holtz
Ottawa gets a little cute with this pick but banks on Raymond and Holtz’s chemistry to carry over to the NHL as well. Holtz is arguably the best pure goal scorer in the draft and could give the Senators a deadly top line in two or three years.
6. Anaheim (Matt) – Jamie Drysdale
Anaheim is in desperate need of a defenseman or five. Jamie Drysdale makes the most sense for them since their depth at RD is sparse to say the least. They already have Henry Thrun looking like an NHL prospect on the left side, so this gives them an elite RHD prospect.
7. New Jersey (Matt) – Yaroslav Askarov
This is where Canes fans start to melt their keyboards due to how quickly they’re typing. Yes, I am aware that the Devils already have Blackwood in the NHL. Why stop there, though? When you have a chance to take the best goalie prospect since Carey Price, you have to take the shot.
8. Buffalo (Brandon) – Marco Rossi
Buffalo needs to go best player available here. Don’t get cute.
9. Minnesota (Brandon) – Cole Perfetti
One of my favorites, and in my eyes, a huge steal for the Wild at ninth overall. I could see him going four or five spots higher on Tuesday night. He’s an average skater that makes up for it with his shiftiness and ability to carry the puck into high danger areas. He has elite hockey sense, likely some of the best in the draft, and combines an elite shot and pass to create offense. He should be a dominant offensive player at the NHL level.
10. Winnipeg (Brandon) – Jake Sanderson
It’s debatable as to whether or not he’s the best defenseman in this draft class. He’s an incredible skater in every aspect. Processes and reacts to the play as well as any teenage defenseman I’ve seen. Showed flashes of offensive potential as well. He’s comparable to Jaccob Slavin, but will his offense reach that level?
11. Nashville (Matt) – Seth Jarvis
Jarvis has elite offensive potential and will be a very interesting prospect to follow. There’s no denying the fact that he has game-breaking skill, but his size does hinder him and I’m sure that NHL teams will be wary.
12. Florida (Matt) – Braden Schneider
Florida has a good top six already with a few solid forward prospects as well. The one thing they’re missing is a top four defensive prospect and Schneider fits the bill. His upside isn’t the highest and he likely peaks as your team’s third best defenseman. Florida has a desperate need for RHD, and Schneider will likely be ready for the NHL as soon as his junior career ends.
13. Carolina (Matt) – Rodion Amirov
The Carolina Hurricanes select the best prospect available in Rodion Amirov. This is a swing for the fences and you’re betting on Amirov’s upside and hoping that he can become a top line forward. Amirov could have first line potential if he continues this track. He’s looked excellent in the KHL and has elite speed, a great shot, and good hockey sense. He’s a player that could come to North America in the fall of 2021 and make an immediate impact.
14. Edmonton (Brandon) – Dawson Mercer
I’m probably higher on Mercer than some, but I absolutely love his game. There aren’t any holes in his game. He plays a solid two way game, is skilled, and has a high compete level. He’s not an explosive skater but he has excellent hands and the ability to beat defenders with dekes and change of direction. He’s not a sniper, more of a finisher. He’ll be the type of player that helps you win hockey games.
15. Toronto (Brandon) – Anton Lundell
There’s no denying that Lundell is a pro player. He’ll likely be an NHL player for a long time. The biggest question that I have with Lundell is his upside. He does a lot of things well but I don’t see elite skill in any particular area. Toronto could be a nice fit for him, though.
16. Montreal (Matt) – Kaiden Guhle
Montreal picks Guhle and are quite happy with themselves for this pick. He’s essentially the LHD version of Schneider, but I’d argue that he’s a better skater. He has less offensive upside than Schneider, but his skating and defensive zone play will make him a quality shutdown defenseman.
17. Chicago (Matt) – Jack Quinn
The 52 goals are indicative of his great shot and tenacity in the offensive zone. His age may be mildly concerning to some teams, however. If he was born five days earlier, he would have had 32 points in his draft year. The notable improvements in his skating ability and his play away from the puck in the last year should put those teams at ease.
18. New Jersey (Brandon) – Connor Zary
Why not? Zary is a center with NHL skill and work ethic. New Jersey’s center depth is okay right now, but Zary will be NHL ready a few years down the road, giving the Devils time to build a solid roster around their core players.
19. Calgary (Brandon) – Noel Gunler
Gunler is likely the most polarizing player in this draft class. Nobody doubts his natural goal scoring ability or his offensive instincts. They know that he has the skill. He looks lost defensively and away from the puck. He also prefers to play on the perimeter. Questions about his effort level have arisen all season long and I believe that he could fall out of the first round entirely.
20. New Jersey (Matt) – Dylan Holloway
Holloway tore up Junior A two years ago and followed it up with a lackluster freshman season on a dumpster fire of a Wisconsin Badgers team. I don’t think his performance tells the whole story and I believe that Holloway could be an excellent grab for New Jersey. He fits the bill of a middle six center that will make the team harder to play against.
21. Columbus (Matt) – Mavrik Bourque
Bourque is a solid center that some scouts project to go much higher in the draft. He’s a well-rounded player that’ll immediately become the best prospect in Columbus’ pipeline.
22. Rangers (Brandon) – Jan Mysak
The draft gets incredibly difficult to project after the first 15 picks or so. Mysak has offensive potential and broke out in the OHL after the World Juniors. There’s upside there, but are we 100% sure that he can hold his own in the NHL?
23. Philadelphia (Matt) – Jacob Perreault
Philly nabs the best goal scorer in this draft not named Alexander Holtz. So why does Holtz go top five and Perreault falls out of the top 20? It’s because Perreault is still a raw prospect. He can score goals, but that’s about it at this point. His skating is average, he’s only an average playmaker, and his defensive play is shaky.
24. Washington (Brandon) – Lukas Reichel
Reichel looked great in Germany this year and is the second best German prospect in this draft. I’m not sure if he’s going to become a top six NHL player, but I’d be willing to bet on his upside.
25. Colorado (Brandon) – Hendrix Lapierre
Lapierre has looked fantastic in the QMJHL since they started playing, which will likely mean that he’s going higher. Lapierre’s injury history is a concern, but he’s an elite skater and a fantastic offensive talent. Without the injuries, he’s a top 15 prospect.
26. St. Louis (Matt) – Tyson Foerster
Foerster without a doubt has offensive talent. The problem is that it was hard for me to tell whether or not he’s actually this good or if he’s more of a complementary player.
27. Anaheim (Matt) – Brendan Brisson
Brisson seems to be the player that scouts think will surprise people at the draft. I don’t know a ton about him, but I do know he’s coming from the USHL’s Chicago Steel. That’s a program known for developing NHL-level players year in and year out.
28. Ottawa (Brandon) – Helge Grans
Grans is a player that you’re taking a chance on hoping that he can become a top offensive defenseman at the NHL level. Ottawa has wiggle room here and goes with three Swedes in the first round.
29. Vegas (Brandon) – John-Jason Peterka
Peterka is a risk but I like his game and I think that he could be an NHL player. He’s not the best of the German draft eligible players but there’s a chance he turns out alright.
30. Dallas (Matt) – William Wallinder
Wallinder has NHL upside as a second pairing defenseman and allows for Dallas’ blue line to get a little younger. They could have one of the best blue lines in the league in a few years.
31. San Jose (Brandon) – Jake Neighbours
Rounding out the first round is Jake Neighbours. A tenacious, physical forward who finishes every check in sight, Neighbours plays the type of game that often gets you bumped up draft boards a bit. Though he’s incredibly tough to play against, his skating is mediocre and his skill level may not allow him to be more than a third liner. He does show flashes of solid playmaking, though, and possesses a solid release that he should use more than he does. It isn’t hard to see him carving out a long career in the NHL.
32. Detroit (Matt) – Roni Hirvonen
I like Hirvonen’s game. He’ll take a while to develop due to his defensive inconsistencies, but he has the ability to take over the game in the offensive zone.
33. Ottawa (Brandon) – Thomas Bordeleau
Bordeleau has middle six upside and is the second NTDP player off the board in 2020.
34. San Jose (Brandon) – Lucas Cormier
Scouts are high on Cormier and he might be the best defenseman available if injuries don’t get in the way.
35. Los Angeles (Brandon) – Justin Barron
Barron was considered a top 15 pick in preseason rankings and has fallen due to injuries and a disappointing season overall. LA is banking on Barron’s season being a one-off and him returning to form next year.
36. Anaheim (Matt) – Topi Niemela
Niemela was playing for Karpat at the Liiga level this past year, a feat that’s nearly impossible for any U18 skater, much less a defenseman. His season was average but there’s legitimate upside.
37. Nashville (Brandon) – Ryan O’Rourke
O’Rourke has NHL upside but he’s a little inconsistent. If there’s one thing that Nashville does right, it’s developing defenseman. I mostly know O’Rourke for getting embarrassed by Jamieson Rees earlier this year.
38. Buffalo (Brandon) – Ozzy Weisblatt
Buffalo goes for upside here, grabbing an undersized yet gritty forward that can chip in offense.
39. Minnesota (Matt) – Marat Khusnutdinov
Minnesota struck gold with Kaprizov and they’ll do it again with a guy whose name is harder to pronounce. Pure offensive skill here.
40. Winnipeg (Matt) – Kasper Simontaival
Winnipeg grabs a solid two way forward with offensive upside. He’s not on the ideal team for development, but Simontaival has shown flashes of skill at the Liiga level.
41. Carolina (Matt) – Jaromir Pytlik
Pytlik is a wild card. He had a hot start and cooled off, so I’m a little worried that he might not be worth a second round pick. If it was just a slump, however, the Canes could land a solid center here.
42. Nashville (Brandon) – Sam Colangelo
The dude can score goals and is the best goal scorer left in the draft. Pure offense with solid size and skill.
43. Florida (Matt) – Ridly Greig
Greig isn’t the best player in any area, but he’s gritty and has some solid offensive skills. There’s middle six upside if he can see enough improvement in the offensive zone. Otherwise, he might just be a checking forward.
44. Toronto (Brandon) – Jeremie Poirier
This pick could work out well for Toronto. They take a raw defensive prospect and can give him an ideal environment to develop in.
45. Detroit (Brandon) – Vasily Ponomarev
Great two way forward with an excellent motor. Could be Detroit’s penalty killing third line center of the future.
46. Chicago (Matt) – Joni Jurmo
He struggles defensively but there’s NHL upside. His size is going to get him drafted much higher than he probably should.
47. Montreal (Matt) – Shakir Mukhamadullin
Montreal takes a chance on one of the most polarizing players of the draft class. He struggles with decision making and his food speed is barely average. There’s offensive upside, and he hasn’t looked bad in the KHL. Montreal hopes he won’t become a “useless yeti,” as I’ve heard one scout describe him.
48. Montreal (Matt) – Daniil Gushchin
With back to back second round picks, you can afford to take a risk. Gushchin has top six upside if he’s allowed to develop for a while.
49. Arizona – Forfeited pick due to NHL sanctions
50. Calgary (Brandon) – William Villeneuve
Calgary is drafting long term here. This is a project that could pay off if they’re willing to wait 4-5 years.
51. Los Angeles (Brandon) – Zion Nybeck
Nybeck’s size can get in the way of his effectiveness as a player but there’s raw offensive potential. Based on skills alone, he’s a top six forward prospect. Size and defensive issues make it tough for Nybeck to compete against men.
52. Ottawa (Brandon) – Tristen Robins
The dude popped off for 50+ points in the second half of the season and rose from obscurity this year. This is a great pick for the Senators.
53. Carolina (Matt) – Jean-Luc Foudy
Foudy has offensive potential out the wazoo but hasn’t figured out how to put it together yet. He’s a fast skater with elusive elements of his game. Foudy could be a top six forward if he gets everything together. It’s a risky pick, but the Hurricanes showed us last year that they’re not afraid to bet on upside.
54. Philadelphia (Matt) – Emil Andrae
Andrae is a little ball of fun in the offensive zone that has looked great in the SHL. It’s a fantastic pick for Philly, who already has a great defensive core.
55. Detroit (Brandon) – Sean Farrell
Three Chicago Steel players drafted in the first two rounds. Farrell has offensive upside but I’m not sure how good he’ll be. I don’t know a ton about him.
56. San Jose (Brandon) – Tyler Tullio
I don’t know a ton about Tullio, so perhaps the Sharks will know more about him at the draft. His numbers looked alright in the OHL, though.
57. Montreal (Matt) – Luke Tuch
Tuch can be a checking forward at the NHL level, similar to his brother, Alex. He’s been able to physically dominate the USHL ranks so I’m curious to see if that carries over to the NCAA.
58. Boston (Brandon) – Justin Sourdif
Sourdif may not be the best offensive forward ever but he’s going to have a decent career due to his work ethic and hard-nosed style of play.
59. Ottawa (Matt) – Theodor Niederbach
Eliteprospects’ scouting staff loves this player and the Sens take their fourth Swede of the draft. This would be a steal for them if he ends up working out for them.
60. Los Angeles (Brandon) – Ruben Rafkin
Rafkin has looked alright in Liiga and was solid on a bad Windsor team in the OHL. I like this pick for Los Angeles as they add a potential NHL defenseman to their pool.
61. Ottawa (Matt) – Joel Blomqvist
Ottawa could use a goalie, and Blomqvist might be the best one available. You could argue that Nico Daws is better but I don’t know if the Senators want to take a 20-year-old goalie.
62. Tampa Bay (Brandon) – Antonio Stranges
The defending Stanley Cup champs have their first pick of the draft and go with a risk. Stranges has skill and can be elite at times, but we keep waiting for him to break out and it’s just not happening. If there’s a team that can bring Stranges to greatness, it’s Tampa.
And that’s it for the two-round mock draft! I hope this was a good tool for you to prepare for the draft! I’ll be tweeting the Canes’ picks over the next two days and providing insights on each pick that the team makes. Be sure to follow @bwstanley26 on twitter for more prospect content!