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Mock Draft

NHL Mock Draft: The Top 50

by McKeen's Hockey
Updated On: October 7, 2020, 1:46 pm ET

What has seemed like the longest draft year in NHL history will finally come to an end next Tuesday and Wednesday (October 6 & 7). The 2020 NHL Draft should most certainly be an exciting event, both because of the talent available and because of the unpredictability/volatility of selections due to a lack of consensus on draft rankings. At McKeen’s Hockey, we have been scouting this draft class with a high level of depth with analysts and scouts in rinks around the world. our members of our global scouting team (Brock Otten, Jimmy Hamrin, Vince Gibbons, and Mike Sanderson) are able to provide you with a mock draft for the first 50 selections of the draft.

If you are looking for more depth on the draft and information on more players available, be sure to check out the annual McKeen’s Draft Guide (found here). A subscription to McKeen’s includes full scouting reports on over 200 NHL draft eligible prospects plus all magazine downloads for $12.99 CDN (less than $10 US) for a three-month period ($4.33 CDN per month average). The Draft Guide is a 148-page PDF with feature articles, player profiles and rankings. We have also just published a new magazine, McKeen’s 2020 NHL Prospect Report with a focus on NHL-affiliated prospects. It is 308 pages with feature articles, a top 250 prospect ranking, NHL organization reviews and profiles on their top 15 prospects with analytics (learn more here). Both magazines can be downloaded directly without a subscription as well for $19.99 CDN (Draft Guide) and $22.99 (Prospect Report) respectively.

Now, let’s draft!

1. New York Rangers - Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

By winning the lottery and moving up nine selections, the New York Rangers truly hit the jackpot in 2020. Already a team rich in young talent who looks close to turning the corner, they now add Lafreniere into the fold. A near unanimous choice for the first selection, the Rimouski left winger became only the second player to win the CHL Player of the Year award twice, joining Sidney Crosby, after taking home the 2020 honor. Playing a heavy, pro-style game, armed with high-level skill, and in possession of a high IQ, Lafreniere is not only the complete package, but he should also be an immediate impact player for New York. (Brock Otten)

2. Los Angeles Kings - Tim Stützle, C/W, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

I feel that this is the hardest pick in the draft this year. There are a lot of promising options but that also makes it harder to pick the right guy. You don't want to end up with the 60-point guy if there is a 90-point guy right behind him. The safest bets are either Stützle or Quinton Byfield. I choose to go with Stützle who combines skill, brains and speed in an impressive way. He has shown a bit more to date and still has a lot of room to grow his game. He can step in immediately next season and will be the strongest asset in an organization that has a strong group of prospects. (Jimmy Hamrin)

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks) - Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)

Byfield at three is the ideal start to a big day for the Senators.  Size, skill, mind, all combined with exceptional play making skills. This gives Ottawa one of the hardest pieces to find, a high end first line pivot.  He has come under criticism for his limited impact at the World Juniors but being a center on team Canada at 17 is a huge accomplishment, even if the impact on games were minimal.  He is a puck possession monster who protects the puck with his huge frame.  This enables him to wait out the defense and pick them apart with his precision passing.  He is more than a north south player with size, as he has excellent small ice plays, moving the puck around within his frame, changing attack angles and giving him multiple ways of beating an opponent one on one. (Vince Gibbons)

4. Detroit Red Wings - Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie Otters (OHL)

The Red Wings take the first defenseman off the board and the blueliner with the most superstar potential. His skating and his hockey IQ allow for the Red Wings to play fast and smart with the puck on his stick. With still some growth and maturity, his offensive instincts from the back end remind some of Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes. While he may not be as dynamic offensively as those two, he certainly can put points on the board and play smart without the puck, too. Drysdale separates himself from Sanderson for his potential as a point producer, and the Wings will take the superstar potential over the reliable blueliner here. (Mike Sanderson)

5. Ottawa Senators - Jake Sanderson, D, USA U18 (USHL)

While some question Sanderson’s ceiling as an NHL defender, no one can question the fact that his game improved drastically over the course of the 2019/20 USHL season and that he possesses tantalizing physical tools. An elite skater, Sanderson is suffocating as a defender and profiles as an elite shutdown player at the NHL level. At the University of North Dakota, he will be given the opportunity to expand his skill set as an offensive defender too. By adding Sanderson into the fold, the Senators are working towards making themselves a difficult team to play against, with the vision of Sanderson lining up alongside Thomas Chabot on the team’s top pairing. (Brock Otten)

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6. Anaheim Ducks - Lucas Raymond, LW/RW, Frolunda (SHL)

Raymond will give the future Ducks a dynamic attacker. He drives play with high-level creativity and can be a shooter as well as a playmaker on a power play. There were some good offensive options here, but I see Raymond as the player with the highest ceiling as he reads the game fast and can play different situations in various ways. He can find great chemistry with a player like Trevor Zegras in the future. Raymond has also shown to be a strong gamebreaker and a big game player. He will need one or two years before stepping into the NHL though. (Jimmy Hamrin)

7. New Jersey Devils - Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)

Rossi is one of the most versatile players in this year’s draft.  He is an elite two-way player showing hustle and grind to be an effective third line player, with first penalty kill responsibilities. However, that alone doesn’t get you taken in the top 10.  He combines that with an incredible offensive tool kit where he uses his pace, speed, tenacity and elusiveness to wreak havoc in the offensive zone.  There are concerns about his size and if he can play down the middle at just 5’9”, but his lower body strength provides a solid base for him to continue his style of play at the next level. (Vince Gibbons)

8. Buffalo Sabres - Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

It seems fitting that as Rossi and Perfetti went one-and-two in OHL scoring this season, they would also go back-to-back in the draft. Perfetti’s 111 points are the result of an elite offensive ability paired with elite hockey sense, and his character is top-notch. On top of that, Perfetti is a true student-of-the-game, constantly living and breathing the sport to improve. The Sabres could not only use his top-line superstar potential, but also his character, to improve their lineup as early as next season. Whether paired with captain Jack Eichel or on his own line, Perfetti is on track to be a superstar forward. (Mike Sanderson)

9. Minnesota Wild - Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

The true wild card of the draft, Askarov seems to be locked in as a lottery selection. It is just a matter of where and by whom. If it is inside the top 10 (like we are predicting here), he would be the first goaltender taken inside that range since Carey Price in 2005 (when he went fifth to Montreal). Askarov’s fantastic international record speaks for itself (outside of a tough performance at this year’s U20’s) and he has been fantastic in limited KHL action to start the 2020/21 season. The Wild are bringing in another potential Russian superstar next year in Kirill Kaprizov, so they feel confident rolling the dice on Askarov to be their goaltender of the future. (Brock Otten)

10. Winnipeg Jets - Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgarden (SHL)

A scoring winger might not be the biggest need for the Jets, but this is a best player available pick. Holtz has 40 goal potential and those usually get picked top five and if that kind of elite talent is left at 10, you have to take him. Holtz shoots the puck with precision and velocity from various ranges and is very strong in the left circle as well as on the rush. Holtz is not only the best shooter in the draft, but he plays a strong two-way game as well. Holtz is a humble kid that works hard for the team and has the ability to adapt to different levels and surroundings. He will probably be ready to step into a top six forward role as soon as the 21/22 season. (Jimmy Hamrin)

11. Nashville Predators - Seth Jarvis C/RW, Portland (WHL)

Jarvis finished the WHL season on an impressive run. His 63 points in the 26 games leading to the stoppage was a pace that few have ever matched. That production is a direct result of playing the game with pace. An explosive transition player, he attacks the offensive zone with purpose. His hands are as quick as his feet which enables him to attack the zone. He forces opponents to make quick decisions which he can then exploit, pushing wide, driving the net or making a play to open ice for a teammate. Another sub 6’ forward Jarvis plays an aggressive physical game that is about puck pursuit, generating turnovers and attacking the net with the puck. (Vince Gibbons)

12. Florida Panthers - Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (Liiga)

Scouts rave about Lundell in many different ways, but the biggest highlight is his two-way game. The Panthers have the Finnish master of that craft in Aleksander Barkov, and now a protege in Lundell. The 6’1” Finn has played against men for the last two seasons, playing a regular shift with HIFK in the top-level Finnish league, and impressing scouts with his elite shot and his defensive work. If there is a prospect outside the top few who could take a regular shift in the NHL next season, it’s Lundell. If there is a prospect with the lowest risk in the draft, it could be Lundell, too. (Mike Sanderson)

13. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto Maple Leafs) - Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)

One of the draft’s best goal scorers, Quinn rocketed up the draft board this year with his 52 goal performance for the Ottawa 67’s. A late bloomer, Quinn has impressed with his dedication to improving his game and profiles as the kind of goal scorer whose minutes and zone starts do not have to be sheltered because he is such a complete and competitive player. The Carolina Hurricanes have apparently been in discussion with NHL teams this offseason to bring a proven goal scorer into the fold (like Patrik Laine from Winnipeg), so if Quinn is available at this selection, it would appear to be a no brainer for them as this is clearly an area they feel is an organizational weakness. (Brock Otten)

14. Edmonton Oilers - Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)

The Oilers need offense to complement their superstars and will have some good options at this spot in the draft. In this mock many of the strong options are gone but there are still some strong future top six forward options remaining. The Oilers choose to go with Connor Zary who had a strong 38 goal and 86-point campaign in 57 games with Kamloops. Zary may not be the fastest player but he is strong on the puck and has a good hockey IQ. He may even fit well as a winger to McDavid, as he thinks the game fast, is defensively sound and can create offense for himself and others. Zary could distribute the puck to McDavid, get open for a pass in a dangerous area and can cover up defensively and create turnovers with his smarts. (Jimmy Hamrin)

15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Pittsburgh Penguins) - Braden Schneider D, Brandon (WHL)

Schneider may not be the sexy pick after drafting Matthews, Nylander, and Marner in previous years but he is the type of player all good teams have. He is a highly mobile defender with good size and presence on the ice. He is a solid puck mover who excels at moving the puck into the neutral zone where he can hit a home run pass or carry the puck until the pressure comes. On the rush he keeps a loose gap but with his size, range and speed can close quickly. He is an excellent defender along the wall where he can pin, strip and move the puck in quick succession.  He will kill penalties and may find a role on a second powerplay unit but he will be a 20+ minute eating defender that teams covet. (Vince Gibbons)

McKeen's Hockey

McKeen’s Hockey has been writing about NHL hockey and covering prospects for 25 years. Our team of scouts and analysts are in rinks around the world providing insight into the NHL’s future at mckeenshockey.com.