Alexis Lafreniere is a virtual lock to become the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft regardless of which franchise wins the lottery.
There are no certainties beyond the top spot, though. The difference between the next six or seven prospects is small, leaving room for movement in the coming months. And those changes could have a trickle-down effect throughout the opening round based on each team's organizational needs.
It makes for an interesting discussion with the 2019-20 season suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Let's check out a complete mock draft for Round 1 based on Tankathon's projected order and break down some names to watch leading up to the event, which has been postponed indefinitely.
2020 1st-Round NHL Mock Draft
1. Detroit Red Wings: Alexis Lafreniere, F, Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Ottawa Senators: Quinton Byfield, F, Sudbury (OHL)
3. Ottawa Senators (via SJ): Lucas Raymond, F, Frolunda (SHL)
4. Los Angeles Kings: Tim Stutzle, F, Adler Mannheim (DEL)
5. Anaheim Ducks: Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
6. New Jersey Devils: Alexander Holtz, F, Djurgardens (SHL)
7. Buffalo Sabres: Marco Rossi, F, Ottawa (OHL)
8. Montreal Canadiens: Anton Lundell, F, HIFK (FEL)
9. Chicago Blackhawks: Jake Sanderson, D, USNTDP (USHL)
10. New Jersey Devils (via ARZ): Cole Perfetti, F, Saginaw (OHL)
11. Minnesota Wild: Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA-1946 (MHL)
12. Winnipeg Jets: Dylan Holloway, F, Wisconsin (NCAA)
13. New York Rangers: Dawson Mercer, F, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
14. Florida Panthers: Jack Quinn, F, Ottawa (OHL)
15. Columbus Blue Jackets: Connor Zary, F, Kamloops (WHL)
16. Calgary Flames: Hendrix Lapierre, F, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
17. New Jersey Devils (via VAN): Noel Gunler, F, Lulea (SHL)
18. Nashville Predators: Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (WHL)
19. Carolina Hurricanes (via TOR): Mavrik Bourque, F, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
20. Edmonton Oilers: Jan Mysak, F, Hamilton (OHL)
21. Ottawa Senators (via NYI): Jeremie Poirier, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
22. Dallas Stars: Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
23. New York Rangers (via CAR): Rodion Amirov, F, Salavat (KHL)
24. Minnesota Wild (via PIT): Tyson Foerster, F, Barrie (OHL)
25. Philadelphia Flyers: Emil Andrae, D, HV71 (SHL)
26. San Jose Sharks (via TB): Jacob Perreault, C, Sarnia (OHL)
27. Colorado Avalanche: Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
28. Vegas Golden Knights: Lukas Cormier, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
29. Washington Capitals: Ryan O'Rourke, D, Soo (OHL)
30. St. Louis Blues: Roni Hirvonen, F, Assat (FEL)
31. Anaheim Ducks (via BOS): Ridly Greig, F, Brandon (WHL)
Analyzing Prospects Who Could Rise
Marco Rossi, F, Ottawa (OHL)
Marco Rossi lands at No. 7 in the mock draft, but he's still got a chance to go as high as the second overall pick after a tremendous breakout campaign for the Ottawa 67's. After recording 65 points (29 goals and 36 assists) last year, he tallied 120 points (39 goals and 81 assists) in 56 games during the 2019-20 season.
What the 18-year-old center lacks in size (5'9'', 187 pounds), he more than makes up for with vision, high-end hands and touch around the net. It's a makeup that could make him a better fit on the wing over the long haul, but teams usually give prospects a chance to stick in the middle first.
In March, he told Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com he was trying to stay in shape amid the uncertainty about the next steps:
"I'm doing a little bit of everything every day since you're not going on the ice, so you have to maybe eat a little less because if you eat the same amount, you may be gaining weight since there's no on-ice training. It's just a matter of being smart. I have good personal coaches in Austria and in Ottawa, so it's a good mix."
The other key factor in when he comes off the board is whether the team is seeking an instant-impact player. The OHL standout will likely need another year of development at the CHL level in order to bulk up and improve his defensive game.
Rossi can match the long-term upside of any prospect in the class outside of Lafreniere, though.
Hendrix Lapierre, F, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Hendrix Lapierre's stock has been suppressed because he's not a natural goal-scorer. He found the net just 15 times in 67 games in the QMJHL, an exceedingly low rate for a top forward prospect, and his injury history could also cause some interested teams to go in a different direction.
That said, his all-around talent is hard to ignore. He's a terrific pivot, tallying 15 assists in 19 appearances during the 2019-20 campaign, and can be trusted in any situation. It will make him an archetypal second-line center with power-play and penalty-killing duties at his peak.
Lapierre, who ranked second to fellow draft prospect Cole Perfetti in scoring with 11 points in five games at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, has one of the most complete skill sets among the 2020 group. If he can avoid further injury setbacks, he should emerge as a top-10 player from this class.
Ryan O'Rourke, D, Soo (OHL)
Ryan O'Rourke made significant strides over the past year as a playmaker. His progress, both at end strength and on special teams, allowed him to more than double his assist total from the 2018-19 season (14 to 30) and pushed him to the fringes of the first round.
The Greyhounds blueliner also brings the physical edge teams like to see on the back end. He's racked up 143 penalty minutes over the past two OHL seasons, though he will need to add more weight to his 6'0" frame in order to bring the same style to the NHL in a few years.
It's probably too late for O'Rourke to push his way into the top 10, but his significant progress, paired with the limited number of top-tier defensive prospects in the year's class, could send him toward the middle portion of the first round by the time the draft takes place.