NHL Mock Draft 2020: Latest Predicted Landing Spots for Byfield, Top Prospects

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2020

OSHAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 7: Quinton Byfield #55 of the Sudbury Wolves skates during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on February 7, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

The NHL draft lottery and the draft itself may be indefinitely postponed, with the league on hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn't mean we can't have some fun projecting how it might play out.

Below, we'll make predictions for every first-round pick and break down the early selections.  

                       

1. Detroit Red Wings: Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski

2. Ottawa Senators: Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury

3. Ottawa Senators (via San Jose): Tim Stutzle, LW, Mannheim

4. Los Angeles Kings: Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie

5. Anaheim Ducks: Lucas Raymond, RW, Frolunda

6. New Jersey Devils: Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa

7. Buffalo Sabres: Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens

8. Montreal Canadiens: Cole Perfetti, LW, Saginaw

9. Chicago Blackhawks: Anton Lundell, C, HIFK

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10. New Jersey Devils (via Arizona): Yaroslav Askarov, G, Ska-Varyagi

11. Minnesota Wild: Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa

12. Winnipeg Jets: Jake Sanderson, D, NDTP 

13. New York Rangers: Dylan Holloway, C, Wisconsin

14. Florida Panthers: Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert

15. Columbus Blue Jackets: Braden Schneider, D, Brandon

16. Calgary Flames: Connor Zary, C, Kamloops

17. New Jersey Devils (via Vancouver): Noel Gunler, LW, Lulea

18. Nashville Predators: Dawson Mercer, RW, Drummondville

19. Carolina Hurricanes (via Toronto): Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan

20. Edmonton Oilers: Jan Mysak, C, Litvinov

21. Ottawa Senators (via New York Islanders): Ryan O'Rourke, D, Sault Ste. Marie

22. Dallas Stars: Lukas Cormier, D, Charlottetown

23. New York Rangers (via Carolina): Rodion Amirov, LW, Tolpar Ufa

24. Minnesota Wild (via Pittsburgh): Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi

25. Philadelphia Flyers: Justin Barron, D, Halifax

26. San Jose Sharks (via Tampa Bay): Seth Jarvis, C, Portland

27. Colorado Avalanche: William Wallinder, D, Modo Jr

28. Vegas Golden Knights: Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia

29. Washington Capitals: Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago

30. St. Louis Blues: Jeremie Poirier, D, Saint John

31. Anaheim Ducks (via Boston): Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie

                                 

Let's be honest, the first two picks in this year's draft are likely written in stone: Alexis Lafreniere is the consensus top player in this draft, while Quinton Byfield is an excellent consolation prize.

If Detroit and Ottawa end up with those picks as projected, they likely won't have to think too hard.

So the draft really is going to begin at No. 3. In this case, Ottawa holds that pick, and the question for them will be whether they go with a dynamic winger such as Tim Stutzle or the top defenseman on the board in Jamie Drysdale.

Talent wins out. Stutzle could even be a consideration at No. 2, though with the Senators holding both picks in this scenario, it's a moot point. 

"He's pure excitement an​d plays the game in a similar fashion to Patrick Kane," TSN director of scouting Craig Button told Mark Masters of TSN. "He's quick on his skates and has a fast mind. He's extremely confident and manages to do things in the game offensively that are completely unexpected."

It's the comparison Stutzle also uses when NHL teams ask him to make one, though he doesn't enjoy the exercise "because I think another person needs to say it."

"My teammates always tell me Patrick Kane, but I don't really like to say that about myself, because he's such a great player," he said. "I think other people should make an opinion about that." 

That means Ottawa could come out of this draft with a player like Byfield, who projects similarly to Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, and Stutzle, who has some Kane in his game. Not too shabby.

The Los Angeles Kings won't be sad to see Jamie Drysdale fall to them at No. 4. Upgrading the blue line should be a priority for the Kings, who have addressed the forward position but need to add even more talent on defense.

The team's top four prospectsAlex Turcotte, Rasmus Kupari, Carl Grundstrom and Akil Thomas—are all forwards. Adding Drysdale to young blueliners such as Tobias Bjornfot and Kale Clague would give them plenty to be excited about in Los Angeles.

                  

Note: Draft order via Tankathon.