The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is set up to be the best draft since 2015 which saw the likes of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and Mitch Marner get selected very early on, end they’ve lived up to the high expectations. Alexis Lafreniere is the best draft eligble foraward prospect since Connor McDavid in 2015 and he is the consensus best prospect in this draft class. He has had a phenomenal junior career in Rimouski of the QMJHL and is having a great start to the season as well. Lafreniere will be a force for team Canada at the World Junior Championship this year along with Quinton Byfield who is expected to go number two this year.
Byfield was the first overall pick in the OHL priority selection a couple years ago for the Sudbury Wolves and had a great rookie season where he won OHL rookie of the year. Not that it would happen, but Byfield is the only prospect in this draft class who is even capable of potentially challenging Lafreniere for the top pick in the draft. Byfield is having an unreal start to the season, as he currently is leading the OHL in points with 31 points in 16 games.
It’s a down year for American prospects this year after a good few years in a row where the draft was absolutely dominated by Americans who played for the U.S. Development Team. There isn’t a single American born player in my top 15, but that could obviously change as the season goes on.
The 2020 Draft is also well stocked with some high quality European prospects, including a pair of super skilled Swedes in Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz. Another European to keep an eye on is Russian goaltender, Yaroslav Askarov. Askarov is arguably the best goaltender prospect since Carey Price in 2005. Askarov has a great chance to be drafted in the top ten this year and maybe the stigma of drafting goalies high could be starting to die, especially after Spencer Knight was drafted in the top 15 by the Florida Panthers in 2019.
2019 was a good year for Canadian prospects, but 2020 is even better. This is the first year since 2015 where a Canadian prospect will go number one and the first year since 2014 where Canadians will be selected in the top two. There are five Canadians in my top 15 and one of them to keep an eye on as someone who could challenge to be a top five pick later on is Erie Otters defenseman, Jamie Drysdale. Drysdale is a right shot defenseman who may be a little undersized but he’s undoubtedly the best defenseman in the draft class and from a Sabres persepctive, he’d look great on a pair with Rasmus Dahlin but with Buffalo’s early success this season, that may not even be attainable.
1 Alexis Lafrenière, LW, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Rimouski, QMJHL)
2018-19 Stats: 61GP 37G 68A 105PTS
2 Quinton Byfield, C, 6’4″ 214 lbs (Sudbury, OHL)
2018-19 Stats: 64GP 29G 32A 61PTS
3 Lucas Raymond, RW, 5’10” 165 lbs (Frolunda, SHL)
2018-19 Stats: 37GP 13G 35A 48PTS (SuperElit League)
4 Anton Lundell, C, 6’1″ 183 lbs (HIFK, Liiga)
2018-19 Stats: 38GP 9G 10A 19PTS
5 Hendrix Lapierre, C, 5’11” 172 lbs (Chicoutimi, QMJHL)
2018-19 Stats: 48GP 13G 32A 48PTS
6 Alexander Holtz, RW, 6’0″ 183 lbs (Djurgardens IF, SHL)
2018-19 Stats: 38GP 30G 17A 47PTS (SuperElit League)
7 Cole Perfetti, C, 5’10” 185 lbs (Saginaw, OHL)
2018-19 Stats 63GP 37G 37A 74PTS
8 Jamie Drysdale, D, 5’11” 165 lbs (Erie, OHL)
2018-19 Stats: 63GP 7G 33A 40PTS
9 Tim Stützle, LW, 5’11” 165 lbs (Mannheim, DEL)
2018-19 Stats: 21GP 23G 32A 55PTS (GER U20)
10 Yaroslav Askarov, G, 6’3″ 176 (SKA St. Petersburg, VHL)
2018-19 Stats: 31GP .921SV% 2.37GAA (MHL)
11 Noel Gunler, RW, 6’1″ 176 lbs (Lulea, SHL)
2018-19 Stats: 31GP 27G 19A 46PTS (SuperElit League)
12 Marco Rossi, C, 5’9″ 179 lbs (Ottawa, OHL)
2018-19 Stats: 53GP 29G 36A 65PTS
13 Justin Barron, D, 6’2″ 187 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)
2018-19 Stats: 68GP 9G 32A 41PTS
14 Dylan Holloway, LW, 6’0″ 192 lbs (Wisconsin, NCAA)
2018-19 Stats: 53GP 40G 48A 88PTS (AJHL)
15 Antonio Stranges, LW, 5’10” 170 lbs (London, OHL)
2018-19 Stats: 66GP 13G 21A 34PTS
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