Alexis Lafreniere is the consensus top overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, but this class' value stretches far beyond the 18-year-old left wing.
Lafreniere, a Rimouski product, cemented his stock as the NHL Central Scouting's final rankings as the No. 1 North American skater in this draft class while German left wing Tim Stutzle finished as the top-ranked European skater.
Experts have projected a consistent mixture of the same prospects as lottery picks: Lafreniere, Stutzle, Quinton Byfield, Jamie Drysdale, Marco Rossi, Alexander Holtz, and so on.
Prospects such as center Jan Mysak, left wing William Cuylle and goaltender Yaroslav Askarov have flown under the radar in their shadows. However, each one could provide the perfect antidote to a team's troubles.
Below is a glance at these three prospects as well as the draft order if the 2019-20 standings stay the same as when league action stopped on March 12.
2020 Draft Order
1. Detroit Red Wings (17-49-5)
2. Ottawa Senators (25-34-12)
3. Ottawa Senators (via 29-36-5 San Jose Sharks)
4. Los Angeles Kings (29-35-6)
5. Anaheim Ducks (29-33-9)
6. New Jersey Devils (28-29-12)
7. Buffalo Sabres (30-31-8)
8. Montreal Canadiens (31-31-9)
9. Chicago Blackhawks (32-30-8)
10. New Jersey Devils (via 33-29-8 Arizona Coyotes)
11. Minnesota Wild (35-27-7)
12. Winnipeg Jets (37-28-6)
13. New York Rangers (37-28-5)
14. Florida Panthers (35-26-8)
15. Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15)
16. Calgary Flames (36-27-7)
17. New Jersey Devils (via 36-27-6 Vancouver Canucks)
18. Nashville Predators (35-26-8)
19. Carolina Hurricanes (via 36-25-9 Toronto Maple Leafs)
20. Edmonton Oilers (37-25-9)
21. Ottawa Senators (via 35-23-10 New York Islanders)
22. Dallas Stars (37-24-8)
23. New York Rangers (via 38-25-5 Carolina Hurricanes)
24. Minnesota Wild (via 40-23-6 Pittsburgh Penguins)
25. Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7)
26. San Jose Sharks (via 43-21-6 Tampa Bay Lightning)
27. Colorado Avalanche (42-20-8)
28. Vegas Golden Knights (39-24-8)
29. Washington Capitals (41-20-8)
30. St. Louis Blues (42-19-10)
31. Anaheim Ducks (via 44-14-12 Boston Bruins)
Order courtesy of Tankathon.com
Yaroslav Askarov, G, Neva St. Petersburg (Russia-2)
Askarov is NHL.com's top European goaltender, but nobody would know it based on the coverage of this draft.
The 17-year-old Russian has been called the best goalie prospect since Carey Price was taken fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005:
Craig Button @CraigJButton
Thoughts on Yaroslav Askarov. Definitely in mix for 1st overall. Best goalie I’ve seen entering a draft since Carey Price in 2005. Skill, technique & IQ++ Last 12 months medal count: 2️⃣🥇(Hlinka’19 & U17) 2️⃣🥈(WJAC & U18) 1️⃣ 🥉(Hlinka ‘18) @russiahockey_en #2020NHLDraft 5/6
Price has gone on to win the 2014-15 Vezina Trophy and 2014-15 Hart Memorial Trophy, among other honors. The 32-year-old is also the most recent goaltender to go in the top 10.
Jonathan Bernier came closest by going at No. 11 overall to the Los Angeles Kings in 2006. More recently, the Florida Panthers took Spencer Knight at No. 13 last year. Askarov is viewed in a similar vein.
In NHL.com's latest mock draft from April 12, Askarov is projected to go at No. 10 overall to Arizona by Guillaume Lepage, while Mike Morreale and Adam Kimelman see him going at No. 11 to the Minnesota Wild.
Morreale highlighted Askarov's "intimidating presence in net with great poise," while Kimelman provided a more in-depth evaluation:
"Askarov had a mixed performance for Russia at the World Juniors, but it's the lone blip during his outstanding development path. He has the size NHL teams look for in goalies, and scouts like his strength in the crease, his quickness and the way he reads plays. With Devan Dubnyk turning 34 on May 4, it's time for the Wild to start looking to the future in goal, and that could be by selecting the best goalie in the draft."
The 6'3", 176-pounder notched a .920 save percentage across 18 games with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg in 2019-20, per Elite Prospects, and played up with the Russia U20 national team.
Will Cuylle, LW, Windsor (Ontario Hockey League)
Cuylle slid from a No. 21 midterm assessment to No. 34 in NHL.com's final rankings of North American skaters in this draft.
The 6'3", 204-pound left wing has spent the last two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL with five games on the Canada Black U17 in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge are sprinkled between. He earned OHL Cup All-Star honors and scored the most OHL Cup points (12) in 2017-18, per Elite Prospects.
The Toronto native has 48 goals and 35 assists across 125 games with Windsor, including 22 goals and 20 assists in 2019-20.
NHL.com's Adam Kimelman profiled Cuylle in March and noted that the 18-year-old models his game after "physical power forwards" like Washington's Tom Wilson, Dallas' Jamie Benn and Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk.
"I think it's just hitting guys the right way," Cuylle told Kimelman of his physicality. "I never try to take liberties or take runs at guys, but if a guy has the puck and he makes a pass, I'm going to finish my hit every time. That's my game. I think that's what makes me successful, always getting involved in the play."
Cuylle is not widely seen as a first-round prospect, but he has at the very least provides low-risk upside.
Jan Mysak, C, Hamilton (Ontario Hockey League)
Mysak, like Cuylle, dropped from a No. 9 midterm rank to No. 28 final rank among North American skaters in the NHL's 2020 prospect rankings.
The 5'10", 175-pound center began his 2019-20 campaign in the Czech Republic with HC Litvinov but was signed by the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL on Jan. 13.
Mysak had five goals and four assists across 26 Czech Extraliga games with Litvinov before moving to Hamilton, who had picked him 20th overall in the 2019 CHL Import draft.
Once with the Bulldogs, he excelled with 15 goals and 10 assists across 22 league games.
The Athletic's Allan Mitchell took a closer look at Mysak this week:
"Since arriving in the OHL, Mysak’s skating has received excellent grades and his on-ice vision and passing are also singled out for attention. Add those things to his impressive goal scoring run and we’re looking at a meaningful resume.
"The issue? Sample size. If you’re an NHL scout, how many times did you see Mysak? Are you willing to go all-in and recommend him as a first-round option?
"I think his offensive surge in the OHL may have fans believing Mysak is a scoring forward. The fact that almost half of his goals came on special teams (including three shorthanded goals) tells us there is some range to this player."
Lepage projected Mysak going at No. 20 overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs, citing "he showed no problems adjusting to the North American style of play" with Hamilton, but he was the only one in NHL.com's latest mock to place him in the first round.
NBC Sports' Joe Haggerty projected Mysak to go to the reigning champion St. Louis Blues at No. 30 overall this week, though. "A Blues team full of size, heaviness and grit could do worse than adding a little more skill in this lefty shooter," he wrote.
At just 17 years old, a loaded contender like St. Louis could benefit the most from continuing to bring Mysak's natural skill set along.