NHL Draft 2020: Alexis Lafreniere, Tim Stutzle and the Draft's Top 5 Prospects

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 24, 2020

Canada's Alexis Lafreniere celebrates his sides first goal during the U20 Ice Hockey Worlds match between Canada and the United States in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Petr David Josek/Associated Press

The date of the NHL draft is in limbo with the 2019-20 season suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that a virtual draft held in June is possible. That would presumably occur before the NHL season is ready to resume, leaving questions about the draft order and lottery.

Every question must eventually be answered, but until then, here's a look at a mock draft as well as a closer review of a top-five big board.

                       

Mock Draft

1. Detroit Red Wings: LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

2. Ottawa Senators: C Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks): C Tim Stutzle, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

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4. Los Angeles Kings: C Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

5. Anaheim Ducks: D Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (OHL)

6. New Jersey Devils: C Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

7. Buffalo Sabres: RW Alexander Holtz, Djurgardens IF Hockey (SHL)

8. Montreal Canadiens: LW Lucas Raymond, Frolunda HC (SHL)

9. Chicago Blackhawks: C Anton Lundell, HIFK (Liiga)

10. New Jersey Devils (from Arizona Coyotes): G Yaroslav Askarov, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

11. Minnesota Wild: D Jake Sanderson, United States Under-18 National Team

12. Winnipeg Jets: RW Noel Gunler, Lulea HF (SHL)

13. New York Rangers: RW Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

14. Florida Panthers: F Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA)

15. Columbus Blue Jackets: LW Rodion Amirov, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

16. Calgary Flames: D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

17. New Jersey Devils (from Vancouver Canucks): RW Dawson Mercer, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

18. Nashville Predators: C Connor Zary, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

19. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto Maple Leafs): D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

20. Edmonton Oilers: C Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

21. Ottawa Senators (from New York Islanders): RW Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

22. Dallas Stars: LW Jan Mysak, HC Litvinov (Czech)

23. New York Rangers (from Carolina Hurricanes): C Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

24. Minnesota Wild (from Pittsburgh Penguins): D William Wallinder, MODO Hockey J20 (Allsvenskan)

25. Philadelphia Flyers: D Justin Barron, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

26. San Jose Sharks (from Tampa Bay Lightning): C Jacob Perreault, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

27. Colorado Avalanche: D Jeremie Poirier, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

28. Vegas Golden Knights: F John-Jason Peterka, EHC Munchen (DEL)

29. Washington Capitals: F Lukas Reichel, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)

30. St. Louis Blues: C Thomas Bordeleau, United States Under-18 National Team

31. Anaheim Ducks (from Boston Bruins): F Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Draft order via Tankathon.

        

Top-5 NHL Big Board

1. LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

There's zero debate about the top prospect in this year's draft. The question is simply where he will wind up when the NHL draft lottery occurs.

As Elite Prospects notes, Alexis Lafreniere is the No. 1 player on every major draft prospect board, including NHL Central Scouting's North American skaters list.

A 35-goal, 77-assist performance for the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic only solidified his spot atop the 2020 prospect list.

                  

2. C Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Quinton Byfield may not end up being the No. 1 pick in the draft, but the team that gets him will be picking a player capable of being the top selection in other seasons.

Byfield was a scoring machine for the Sudbury Wolves, averaging nearly two points per game in his 45 contests (32 goals, 50 assists).

Furthermore, the 17-year-old is already 6'4" and 215 pounds. That massive presence at such a young age could mean an early entrance on to the NHL ice.

                 

3. C Tim Stutzle, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

One of the draft's most prominent risers comes in at No. 3 in Adler Mannheim's Tim Stutzle, who is even as high as No. 2 on draft boards (most notably ISS Hockey's March list).

He's No. 3 nearly everywhere else, but NHL Central Scouting has him first on its European skater ledger.

"He's pure excitement and plays the game in a similar fashion to Patrick Kane," TSN's Craig Button said (h/t Darren Yourk 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. Stutzle is a very difficult guy to try to defend."

Like ISS Hockey, Button also ranked Stutzle second overall.

                

4. C Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Cole Perfetti paced the OHL's second-highest scoring team with 37 goals and 74 assists, helping the Saginaw Spirit finished in a second-place tie in the Western Conference.

He had 37 goals last year, too, but that number could have been far greater.

"I think in the first seven games I hit 14 posts and crossbars combined," Perfetti told Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News in December. He continued:

"It was tough going through that; I wasn't producing and it was tough on the mental side of the game. I was changing sticks up, how I came to the rink, changing my routine and it opened up for a bit. But my teammates are scoring when I put the puck on their stick."

Perfetti's scoring prowess is without question, but he's getting praise for his entire game. Of note, Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects said Perfetti has turned into a "more well-rounded threat" and that "his draft stock has continued to rise."

                      

5. D Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (OHL)

Jamie Drysdale is one of a handful of capable two-way defensemen who may find themselves taken in the first round.

In Drysdale's case, the question relates to where he will go in the top 10.

NHL Central Scouting lists Drysdale as the third-best North American skater behind only Lafreniere and Byfield. It's easy to see why. He had nine goals and 38 assists last year for the OHL's Erie Otters, and that's on top of his defensive prowess.

Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects wrote the following on April 1: "A fluid, puck-possessing rearguard who plays with a terrific pace. Has his head up at all times, and can bomb outlets the length of a football field. Uses his brain to get a jump on bigger opponents."

He's the best defenseman in this draft.