We don’t yet know when, where, or how the 2020 NHL Draft will be conducted, but we know it will take place.
The NHL Central Scouting Bureau released its final prospect rankings today, with consensus No. 1 pick Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski, QMJHL) finishing first among North American skaters.
The Saint-Eustache, Quebec, native led the QMJHL in assists (35) and points (112) in 52 games. His list of accomplishments includes being named the MVP and Best Forward at the World Juniors, and being named CHL Player of the Year and QMJHL MVP in 2018-19.
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“Lafreniere has exceptional skills and attributes which make him a scoring threat every time he steps onto the ice,” said NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr. “Whether it’s with Rimouski in the QMJHL or on the world stage he has continually shown that he is a force that can impact and be a difference maker in games. What sets him above in this draft class is the natural compete and battle traits that are ingrained in his game, allowing Alexis to lead the way and make others around him better.”
The left winger is followed by a pair of teammates from the gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior team, in centre Quinton Byfield (Sudbury, OHL) and defenceman Jamie Drysdale (Erie, OHL).
German left winger Tim Stuetzle (Manheim, DEL) finished at the top-ranked international skater, followed by Swedish right winger Alexander Holtz (Djurgarden, SHL), and Finnish centre Anton Lundell (HIFK, Liiga).
“Stuetzle is a smart, creative, playmaking forward,” said Goran Stubb, Director of NHL Central Scouting’s European Services. “He has an exceptional combination of skating and puck skills that are at an elite level and he’s capable of making precision plays at top speed with a wicked finishing shot.”
Originally scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Montreal, the NHL officially postponed the draft on March 25. The league is still holding out hope that it can complete its season sometime this summer, putting the draft in limbo.
The draft lottery can’t be held until the regular season is completed or cancelled. The teams with the best odds of securing the No. 1 pick, if the current standings are used, are the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks.
Players selection, meanwhile, has to wait until after the completion or cancellation of the playoffs. The NHL could hold its draft remotely, Yahoo Fantasy League style, as the NFL will do later this month.
Here’s the complete list of player rankings, which includes 217 skaters and 31 goaltenders from North America, as well as 140 skaters and 10 goaltenders internationally:
North American skaters
North American goalies