Rangers hit the jackpot, Caps score big in 2020 NHL Draft

Dylan Callaghan-Croley (@DylanCCSports)

October 7, 2020

In what has been a whirlwind year for the NHL, a little sense of normalcy came on Tuesday night as the first round of the NHL Draft.  Let’s not waste any time, here’s a recap of the first round of the draft and little bit on each draftee.

No. 1 New York Rangers: LW Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski-Oceanic)

The Rangers did exactly what was expected of them coming into the draft by taking Alexis Lafreniere with the first overall pick. Lafreniere is going to be a game changer from day one in the NHL and is going to be a star for the Rangers for years to come. For Rimouski-Oceanic this past season, Lafreniere posted 112 points in 52 games with 35 goals and 77 assists.

No. 2 Los Angeles Kings: C Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves)

Byfield may not be a day one game changer like Lafreniere but once he gets his feet under him he has a chance to be a perennial all-star for the Kings. He’ll have a great player to learn from as well in Anze Kopitar, someone he compares to well. Byfield also became the highest drafted black player in NHL history on Tuesday when he was selected.

No. 3 Ottawa Senators: C/LW Tim Stutzle (Alder Manheim)

Stutzle was the first international prospect to be drafted on Tuesday night when he was selected by the Ottawa Senators. Stutzle played in the DEL this past year with Alder Manheim scoring 34 points (7 goals and 27 assists) in 41 games. Many scouts believe he is NHL ready and could contribute as soon as this upcoming season. All in all, he adds another top end prospect to an already deep system for Ottawa.

No. 4 Detroit Red Wings: RW Lucas Raymond (Frolunda HC)

The Red Wings went slightly off course from what was expected by grabbing Sweden born right winger Lucas Raymond from Frolunda HC in Sweden’s top league, the SHL. The Red Wings have had great success in the past by taking Swedes and they’ll look for Raymond to be the next in that long line of success. All in all, he has the ability to make plays both with hands and moving the puck around but also scoring quite often. He’ll be able to get it done both ways.

No. 5 Ottawa Senators: D Jake Sanderson (University of North Dakota)

With their second pick in the top-five, the Senators took the first American in the draft, defenseman Jake Sanderson from the University of North Dakota. Sanderson, a freshman at the University of North Dakota has all the makings of a two-way defenseman who could be a shutdown defenseman on one end of the ice and can make opposing teams pay on the other end. In 47 games for the U.s national U18 team, Sanderson posted 7 goals and 22 assists.

No. 6 Anaheim Ducks: D Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters)

Drysdale could’ve gone to the Senators at No.5 but fell one spot lower to the Anaheim Ducks who are looking to build their future blue line. Adding Drysdale will certainly do that as the he like Sanderson has the opportunity to be a terrific two-way defenseman. While he is a bit undersize at just 5-foot-11 and 170-pounds, he is fast and full of skill. For Erie this past season, he put up nine goals and 38 assists for 47 points in 49 games.

No. 7 New Jersey Devils: RW Alexander Holtz

The Devils once again added to their arsenal of skilled forwards as they added the second Sweedish born forward of the first round in Alexander Holtz. Holtz has a chance to be an elite goal scorer for the Devils in the future especially when considering he will be playing with the likes of Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.

No. 8 Buffalo Sabers: RW Jack Quinn (Ottawa 67’s)

Trying to add to their offensive arsenal and looking to keep star Jack Eichel happy, the Sabers added arguably the draft’s best goal scorer in Jack Quinn. Quinn is coming off a breakout season for the Ottawa 67’s scoring 52 goals in 62 games while also posting 37 assists for a total of 89 points.

No. 9 Minnesota Wild: C Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)

The Ottawa 67’s had a second player drafted in the top-10 on Tuesday when Austrian born Marco Rossi went ninth overall to the Wild. Rossi led all OHL scorers this season with 120 points in 56 games. He won’t be an elite goal scorer but he’ll be a terrific playmaker for the Wild.

No. 10 Winnipeg Jets: C/LW Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)

With a ton of uncertainty surrounding star scorer Patrik Laine this offseason, the Jets went and picked up another player who will be able to replace Laine possibly sooner than later. Cole Perfetti from the Saginaw Spirit fell to the Jets at No.10. Perfetti is a highly skillful forward who has the opportunity to just not be a tremendous playmaker but a top goal scorer for the Jets in the future.

No. 11 Nashville Predators: G Yaroslav Askarov (SKA St. Petersburg)

Askarov is considered the top goalie prospect since Carey Price and could’ve really gone as high as the top-five in this year’s draft. Askarov fell just outside the top-10, however, landing with the Predators. He’ll most likely spend a few years in Russia before eventually coming over to the NHL but when he does, the Predators will have a top flight goalie and one who could be a Vezina candidate for years to come.

No. 12 Florida Panthers - C Anton Lundell (HIFK)

A talented center out of Finland, Lundell was the first Finnish player to be selected on Tuesday. In the future, he’ll be a strong top-6 forward for the Panthers who has the ability to be a consistent contributor. He probably won’t develop into a player that blows your socks off but he’ll be a safe and consistent player for years to come.

No. 13 Carolina Hurricanes - C Seth Jarvis (Portland Winterhawks)

Jarvis was the first WHL prospect taken in the draft and is someone with more development both on the ice and physically could end up being a steal for the Hurricanes at No.13. This past season with the Winterhawks, Jarvis had 98 points in 58 games.

No. 14 Edmonton Oilers - C/LW Dylan Holloway (University of Wisconsin)

The Oilers love their offensive skill players and added another one in Dylan Holloway with the 14th overall pick. Holloway is coming off his first college season with the Wisconsin Badgers, where he performed well with 17 points in 35 games, playing in the extremely talented and tough Big Ten conference.

No. 15 Toronto Maple Leafs - LW Rodion Amirov (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)

Another player out of the KHL, Amirov is a player who is likely to spend a few more seasons in the KHL before he eventually comes over to play for Toronto. He needs time to develop but once he does he could end up being an exciting piece for the Maple Leafs in the future.

No. 16 Montreal Canadiens - D Kaiden Guhle (Prince Albert Raiders)

The first defenseman taken outside the top-10, Guhle has a lot to like including his 6-foot-3 frame. While he only weighs 187-pounds right now, he’ll continue to add weight and muscle to his frame, making him even more intimidating on the ice. While he’s very strong on the defensive side of the ice, he has the abilities to be a quality contributor on the offensive side of the ice as well.

No. 17 Chicago Blackhawks - LW Lukas Reichel (Elsbaren Berlin)

The second German born player selected in the draft was Lukas Riechel who had 24 points in 42 games this past season for Elsbaren Berlin in the DEL. He has the hockey pedigree with his dad being a German HOF and his uncle Robert playing over 800 games in the NHL. Lukas is good two-way forward who probably won’t be a star for the Blackhawks but could develop into a contributor on both ends of the ice.

No. 18 New Jersey Devils - C/RW Dawson Mercer (Chiocoutimi Sagueneens)

The Devils used their second of three first round picks on QMJHL forward Dawson Mercer who is a strong two-way forward for Chiocoutimi. He won’t be a star at the NHL level but he has the ability to develop into a player who play a full 200 foot game and make plays on both ends of the ice.

No. 19 New York Rangers - D Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings) - FROM CALGARY

A 6-foot-2, 203-pound defenseman, Schneider is your traditional defenseman who is very much defensive first and will look to intimidate the opposition. He has a good slapshot which could allow him to be a powerplay threat down the road but he’ll always be defensive first and is where he’ll be contributing most.

No. 20 New Jersey Devils - D Shakir Mukhamadullin (Tolpar UFA)

With their final pick of the first round, the New Jersey Devils added possibly the best name of the entire draft in Mukhamadullin. The Russian born defenseman will most likely play a few more years in Russia before he comes over North America where he may need seasoning in the AHL before making it to the NHL. He has limited offensive upside but has the ability to become a quality defenseman in the future.

No. 21 Columbus Blue Jackets - RW Yegor Chinakhov (Avangard Omsk)

After acquiring Max Domi earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets added another offensive piece in Chinakhov. That being said, Chinakhov is a surprise pick here by the Blue Jackets. He wasn’t expected to go in the first round to say the least. We’ll have to see how he develops and if this ends up being a steal for the Blue Jackets. Perhaps the Blue Jackets know something that everyone else doesn’t?

No. 22 Washington Capitals - C Hendrix Lapierre (Chiocoutimi Sagueneens) - FROM CALGARY VIA NEW YORK

After moving up on the board, the Capitals grabbed a former top prospect in the draft in Hendrix Lapierre. The center has the ability to be a huge playmaker at the NHL level but there are a lot of injury concerns with Lapierre especially with concussions. It’s a risky pick when it comes to if he’ll be able to stay healthy but if he does, Lapierre could develop into an elite player for the Capitals.

No. 23 Philadelphia Flyers - RW Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts)

There’s two things we know about Foester, he has one heck of a shot (36 goals in 62 games this season) and his skating needs work. Ultimately, his success at the next level will depend on if he can fix his skating issues, he could be an impact player when he reaches the NHL.

No. 24 Calgary Flames - C Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers)

Another strong goal scorer, Zary has a good shot and has a knack for finding the back of the net. He won’t be an elite goal scorer but he has the potential to post upwards of 20-goals per season once he reaches the NHL level.

No. 25 Colorado Avalanche - D Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads)

There are some health concerns about Barron after having a blood clot issue in the past but Barron has the size (6-foot-2, 198-pounds) and speed to be a solid contributor at the NHL level. A lot to like about Barron as long as he can stay healthy.

No. 26 St.Louis Blues - LW Jake Neighbours (Edmonton Oil Kings)

Neighbours will fit in well with the St. Louis Blues, he’s not a flashy player but he likes to be physical and plays a 200-foot game. Offensively, he’ll contribute more in moving around the puck than putting the puck in the back of the net. That being said, it will be a few years at least until he gets to the NHL.

No. 27 Anaheim Ducks - RW Jacob Perrault (Sarnia Sting)

The Ducks second and final pick of the first round was Jacob Perreault from the Sarnia Sting who has the ability to be an exciting player in the future but he must improve on his consistency. That all being said, he posted 39 goals and 31 assists for 70 points in 57 games for Sarnia.

No. 28 - Ottawa Senators - C Ridley Greig (Brandon Wheat Kings)

The Senators final pick of the first round was Ridley Greig who is a physical winger who can be a playmaker but is not afraid to get in the faces of opponents. While he racked up 60 points in 56 games with 26 goals and 34 assists, he also had 83 penalty minutes.

No. 29 - Vegas Golden Knights - C Brendan Brisson (University of Michigan)

Brisson will be playing his college hockey at the University of Michigan and will most likely spend a few years there but the former USHL standout had 59 points in 45 games last season for the Chicago Steel. A product of the American development program, Brissson is a creative playmaker with a good shot and overall is an intriguing prospect

No. 30 - Dallas Stars - C Mavrik Bourque (Shawinigan Cataractes)

A great player in the open ice, Bourque is a high skill player who has the ability to create room for himself and find ways to get shots off and into the back of the net. There’s a lot to work on in his game and at 5-foot-11 and 185-pounds, he’ll need sometime to develop physically going forward.

No. 31 - San Jose Sharks - RW Ozzy Wiesblatt - Prince Albert Raiders

The Sharks with their pick took a high hockey IQ prospect in Ozzy Wiesblatt. To go along with his high hockey IQ, Wieslbatt is a strong skater, has good playmaking abilities and can find the back of the net when the puck is on his stick. He’s never been an elite goal scorer and that won’t change but he’ll have the ability to top-9 forward at the very least and could end up being a high-quality top-6 forward.

Biggest Potential Steal: Hendrix Lapierre - The Capitals got an elite talent in Lapierre at No.22 overall and if he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be a tremendous talent for years to come.

Biggest Reach: Yegor Chinakov - This is one pick where if you’re a Blue Jackets fan, you have to trust your front office. Chinakov was truly an off the board pick that nobody expected but he’s coming off a strong year and is off to another good start this season in the KHL. Perhaps they struck gold but until shown otherwise, this is quite the reach.

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