With the 2020 National Hockey League Entry Draft set to take place on October 6th, what better way to get the juices flowing amongst hockey fans than a good old-fashioned mock draft? Without further ado, here is my rendition of picks 11-15 based on talent, upside, and organizational needs.
Nashville Predators: Jack Quinn, Right-Wing, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
With the 11th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators (hypothetically speaking) are proud to select Jack Quinn from the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). When you think of Quinn, one thing comes to mind: goal scoring. As a member of the 67’s this past season, Quinn exploded for 52 goals and 89 points in just 62 games. He’s flashy, skilled, and a better skater than most pro scouts give him credit for. Imagine a forward core in the Music City with the likes of Quinn, Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, and Eeli Tolvanen. Now that’s something Predators’ fans can certainly get behind. Quinn would, without question, be a solid add for the Preds.
Florida Panthers, Connor Zary, Center, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
With the 12th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers (hypothetically speaking) proudly select Connor Zary from the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). After the Panthers traded Vincent Trocheck last February to the Carolina Hurricanes, there’s been a gaping hole at the second-line center position within the organization. Zary fills that role. As a player, Zary is a well-rounded centerman who can change the game with his strong two-way play, vision, and deceptive release. After the brilliance of Aleksander Barkov, Zary would form a super-dynamic one-two punch in Florida down the middle. He can be NHL ready in no time. The Panthers hit the nail on the head with this one, hockey fans.
Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto): Yaroslav Askarov, Goaltender, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)
With the 13th overall selection of the 2020 NHL Draft, the Carolina Hurricanes (hypothetically speaking) are ecstatic to select Yaroslav Askarov from SKA-Neva St. Petersburg. It’s no secret that one of the main organizational needs in Raleigh, North Carolina is a true, bonafide starting goaltender. Well “Caniacs”, that problem is solved with the best goalie in the draft by a country mile in Askarov. Nicknamed “The Dreamkiller”, Askarov is the real deal and another talented Russian netminder making the transition to the NHL after the likes of Ilya Sorokin on Long Island, Ilya Samsonov in Washington, and Igor Shesterkin on Broadway. He is quick, agile, and possesses excellent reflexes and determination between the pipes. Askarov in Carolina would be a match made in heaven. The only question is: will he still be on the board at No. 13 on Draft Day?
Edmonton Oilers: Dawson Mercer, Right Wing, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
With the 14th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers (hypothetically speaking) are happy to select Dawson Mercer from the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. One of the most underrated players at this month’s NHL Draft appears in the Carbonear, Newfoundland native. At 6 feet, 183 pounds, Mercer has good size and continues to grow into his body…imagine the possibilities. He is shifty, plays a simple game, good in the corners and loose puck battles, and really strong on his skates. This past, injury-riddled season in Chicoutimi saw him tally 18 points in just 16 games. He also won a Gold Medal for Team Canada at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships. This kid is ready. He would certainly be a nice fit with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the Oil City now, wouldn’t he?
Toronto Maple Leafs (from Pittsburgh): Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
With the 15th overall selection of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs (hypothetically speaking) proudly select Braden Schneider from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Standing at a whopping 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Schneider would look real good in blue and white now, wouldn’t he, Leaf fans? Blessed with sheer size and silky smooth skating ability, Schneider is just what the doctor ordered in Toronto for a team that is in dire need of help on the blue-line. Schneider has an eye for offense and can throw his weight around with the best of them as exemplified this past season in Brandon. His mobility and confidence in transition and with the puck on his stick is impressive. If he is still available at No. 15, this is a steal for the Maple Leafs.
The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is shaping up to be one for the ages. Talent, elite-skill, and on-ice dominance is quickly becoming a staple amongst this year’s draft class. Hockey fans, including myself, are certainly chomping at the bit to get going. Will you?
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