Quenton Byfield (left) and Alexis Lafreniere (right) are expected to go in the top three tomorrow in the first round of the NHL Draft. Lafreniere will go number one to the Rangers.
Tomorrow night is the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. It’ll air on NBCSN at 7 PM EST.
Unlike previous years due to extreme circumstances, it won’t be in person. That’s the new abnormal. The whole seven round draft, which includes Rounds 2-7 on Wednesday, will be done virtually via Zoom.
This is a strong draft that will feature the world’s best prospects in the first round. Not only is it about consensus top pick Alexis Lafreniere going to the Rangers at number one. But also where such good young talent such as Quenton Byfield, Tim Stuetzle, Jamie Drysdale, Alexander Holtz, Jake Sanderson, Lucas Raymond, Cole Perfetti, Marco Rossi, Anton Lundell, Seth Jarvis and Yaroslav Askarov could wind up.
Former contributor Brian Sanborn took a shot at a mock draft of the Top 10. Take a look:
1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere – LW – Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Los Angeles Kings – Tim Stützle – C/LW – Adler Mannheim (DEL)
3. Ottawa Senators – Quinton Byfield – C – Sudbury (OHL)
4. Detroit Red Wings – Marco Rossi – C – Ottawa (OHL)
5. Ottawa Senators – Lucas Raymond – RW – Frolunda (SHL)
6. Anaheim Ducks – Alexander Holtz RW Djurgardens IF
7. New Jersey Devils – Cole Perfetti – C – Saginaw (OHL)
8.Buffalo Sabres -Seth Jarvis – RW – Portland (WHL)
9. Minnesota Wild – Anton Lundell – C – HIFK (Liiga)
10. Toronto Maple Leafs (TRADE) – Yaroslav Askarov, G, St. Petersburg (VHL)
His mock is definitely intriguing. He has the Kings passing on Byfield for European forward Stuetzle. A possibility given that Byfield looks to be a more overall two-way center while Stuetzle is expected to be a big scorer.
Sanborn is very high on both Rossi, who he likes for the Red Wings at number four, and Raymond at number five for the Senators. With the Sabres selecting eighth, he likes Jarvis. It’ll be interesting to see what they also do in the offseason after adding veteran center Eric Staal to help Jack Eichel.
Askarov is the top goalie prospect in the draft. He’s off to a quick start with St. Petersburg SKA. In three games, he’s 2-1-0 with a 0.74 GAA, .974 save percentage and a shutout. That translates to two goals allowed in 163 minutes. Last season, he debuted for SKA winning his only start by making 23 saves. So, the 18-year old Russian netminder is 3-1-0 in his KHL career allowing just four goals on 103 shots.
There are a few NHL teams who could have interest including the Sabres, Red Wings, Devils, Oilers and Leafs, who Brian projected to trade to the number 10 pick and grab Askarov for the future. It might make sense. They do have former 2016 third round pick Joseph Woll in the system. He just completed his first pro year after spending three seasons at Boston College.
Here is the official Draft Order for the first round barring any trades:
3. Senators (San Jose)
4. Red Wings
13. Hurricanes (Toronto)
15. Maple Leafs (Pittsburgh)
18. Devils (Arizona)
20. Devils (Vancouver/Tampa Bay)
21. Blue Jackets
22. Rangers (Carolina)
27. Ducks (Boston)
28. Senators (Islanders)
29. Golden Knights
31. Sharks (Tampa)