It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! With the 2020 NHL Entry Draft set to take place in one days’ time, 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 the highly-anticipated first five picks based on talent, upside, and organizational needs.
1. New York Rangers: Alexis Lafreniere, Left-Wing, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
With the number one overall selection at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft (hypothetically speaking), the New York Rangers are ecstatic to select Alexis Lafreniere from the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The cream of the crop and undisputed number one overall selection appears in the form of the electrifying presence of Alexis Lafreniere in the heart of New York City.
Blessed with skill, vision, skating ability, and the propensity for the “big moment”, Lafreniere is coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons in “The Q” and will step right into the Rangers opening day lineup in 2020-21. When you watch Lafreniere perform, there’s really nothing he can’t do. He’s creative, dominant, and just loves to attack and possess the puck and make (highlight-reel) plays. Oh, and by the way, he was also the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at last winter’s 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships as his native country of Canada took home a Gold Medal. Eat your heart out, hockey fans, Lafreniere is about to enter the fray under the bright lights on Broadway.
2. Los Angeles Kings, Quinton Byfield, Center, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
With the number two overall selection at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft (hypothetically speaking), the Los Angeles Kings are proud to select Quinton Byfield from the Sudbury Wolves. One of the major questions leading up to the Draft has been who the Kings will select at two. Well, hockey fans, in the ongoing debate of Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle, its Byfield who gets the edge.
At 6’4, 215 pounds, Byfield is an absolute force on the ice and is projected to be one of the most dynamic and powerful centers in the game. This past season in Sudbury, Byfield was a mammoth for the wolves tallying 82 points (32 goals, 50 assists) in just 45 games played. He’ll be a wonderful addition to an up-and-coming Kings team that already owns a deep prospect pool with the likes of Gabe Vilardi, Arthur Kaliyev, and Alex Turcotte). This is a massive win for general manager Rob Blake and the L.A. Kings.
3. Ottawa Senators, Tim Stutzle, Center/Left Wing, Alder Mannheim (Deutsche Eishockey Liga)
With the third overall pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators are happy to selected Tim Stutzle. Over the past few months, Stutzle has become one of the most intriguing names in his draft class. A slick offensive forward with a ferocious skill-set, Stutzle should change the fortune of the Sens almost seamlessly. As a comparable, the dynamic German can be compared to the Islanders standout forward, Matt Barzal. As a player, Stutzle can think the game at a high level. He possesses excellent hands and is a real strong skater with solid edge-work. He’s energetic, strong on the puck, and loves to make a difference each and every shift. Senators fans from far and wide should be ecstatic with Stutzle at 3.
4. Detroit Red Wings: Cole Perfetti, Center, Saginaw Spirit (OHL):
With the fourth overall pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Detroit Red Wings (hypothetically speaking) are proud to select Cole Perfetti from the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Over the past few months leading up to the Draft, many “in the know” across the junior hockey landscape kept seeing a candid connection with Perfetti and the Detroit Red Wings, and for good reason.
For one, geographically speaking, Perfetti is one player that Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman and his scouting staff would have had a close eye on given the close proximity from Saginaw, Michigan, where Perfetti plies his trade to Detroit. Secondly, this kid is just oozing with raw talent. As a player, Perfetti is skilled, intelligent, quick, and has a real nose for the net. His skating has improved by leaps and bounds over the past six months as has his two-way play. Add that to his lethal instincts in the offensive zone and you have yourself a real talent in Hockeytown. Do the Wings pull the trigger on “Goal Perfetti?” I say they do!
5. Ottawa Senators: Alexander Holtz, Right-Wing, Djurgardens IF (SHL)
With the fifth overall pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators (hypothetically speaking) are proud to select Alexander Holtz from Djurgardens IF. The Senators find themselves in a unique situation heading into the Draft owning two, top-five picks (3 and 5). After selecting Stutzle two picks earlier, Swedish-born winger Alexander Holtz would be a wonderful addition to the Sens. Blessed with a heavy shot and strong powerful strides. Holtz is one of those players who can score just about anywhere on the ice.
He’s a shoo-in top-six talent and a pure a sniper as you’ll see in the Draft. He’ll also add a much-needed scoring punch to the young Senators and fit in like a new glove for a club certainly on the rise. I also like the two-forward combination (Stutzle and Holtz) to compliment the likes of Thomas Chabot on defense in Canada’s capital city. Although a complex choice, Holtz at 5 would be a big win for Dorion and the Sens scouting staff.
By tomorrow evening, the first round of the much-anticipated NHL Entry Draft will have come and gone. How exactly do all the dominos fall as the Draft progresses? We’ll just have to wait and see!
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