While there is still uncertainty about when the NHL draft will take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and when, or if, the NHL season will resume—it will eventually take place.
So, what would the draft order look like if the draft was held today? And who are some of the top prospects worth knowing heading into this year's event?
Let's break it down.
1. Detroit Red Wings
3. Ottawa Senators (via San Jose)
4. Los Angeles Kings
5. Anaheim Ducks
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. Montreal Canadiens
9. Chicago Blackhawks
10. New Jersey Devils (via Arizona)
11. Minnesota Wild
12. Winnipeg Jets
13. New York Rangers
14. Florida Panthers
15. Columbus Blue Jackets
16. Calgary Flames
17. New Jersey Devils (via Vancouver)
18. Nashville Predators
19. Carolina Hurricanes (via Toronto)
20. Edmonton Oilers
21. Ottawa Senators (via New York Islanders)
22. Dallas Stars
23. New York Rangers (via Carolina)
24. Minnesota Wild (via Pittsburgh)
25. Philadelphia Flyers
26. San Jose Sharks (via Tampa Bay)
27. Colorado Avalanche
28. Vegas Golden Knights
29. Washington Capitals
30. St. Louis Blues
31. Anaheim Ducks (via Boston)
Top Prospects to Know
Alexis Lafreniere has been considered the consensus top prospect in the 2020 NHL draft for quite some time now. In October, last year's top overall pick, Jack Hughes, even reached out to Lafreniere to offer him some advice.
"The biggest thing is staying in the moment and keeping your feet on the ground," Hughes said he told Lafreniere, per Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com. "There's going to be a lot of talk when it comes to the draft. No matter how good you're playing there's going to be conversations about who's No. 1, so he's got to stay in the moment and let his play take care of everything."
Lafreniere did just that, notching 112 points in 52 games for Rimouski Oceanic this season in QMJHL play. He's only continued to improve, and it's hard to find many weaknesses in his game.
On April 2, NHL Central Scouting compared him to Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau, offering the following scouting report (h/t Morreale):
"Exceptionally smart player with top-end speed and a pull-away gear. He's great at carrying the puck and leading rushes and executes under pressure, has great vision and anticipation. Lafreniere offers high-end puck skills and vision to create plays, has an impressive compete level every time he's on the ice, and elevates his game in pressure situations while demonstrating leadership skills."
Huberdeau had 78 points through 69 games this year and 92 a year ago. Players who score with the ease and regularity of Lafreniere generally translate into NHL superstars. He'll be the top overall pick, and it shouldn't be a tough decision.
Quinton Byfield, in most years, would merit consideration for the top overall pick. The NHL Central Scouting comparison for him was extremely flattering: Pittsburgh Penguins star forward Evgeni Malkin. In the scouting report, it was noted he has the "potential to be a big, top-line center in the NHL" and showcases "leadership and character."
He'll be quite the consolation prize for a team.
Ditto for blue-liner Jamie Drysdale, the top defenseman in this year's draft, and forwards like Tim Stuetzle, Cole Perfetti and Marco Rosi. It's a solid year for teams looking to add some firepower on offense, but nobody quite compares to Lafreniere.
Finally, don't sleep on the top international goalie, Yaroslav Askarov, who was compared to Pekka Rinne and considered a "technically sound goaltender with good instincts capable of reading the game well. He's good at communicating, can react quickly and offers a very quick (right) glove hand. He's a solid pro prospect."