There continues to be uncertainty surrounding whether the 2019-20 NHL season will resume and when the draft will take place.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the draft could still take place in late June, even if the league is still suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The draft was originally scheduled to take place June 26-27, and perhaps it still will.
The top prospects in this year's draft class haven't changed, although they didn't have their final opportunities to impress NHL scouts. Still, it's been clear who the top players are in the group, led by talented left winger Alexis Lafreniere.
Here are predictions for how the first round of this year's NHL draft could unfold.
NHL Mock Draft, 1st Round
1. Detroit: Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
2. Ottawa: Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)
3. Ottawa (via San Jose): Tim Stutzle, C/LW, Adler Mannheim (DNL U20)
4. Los Angeles: Jamie Drysdale, RHD, Erie (OHL)
5. Anaheim: Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)
6. New Jersey: Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens (SHL)
7. Buffalo: Cole Perfetti, C/LW, Saginaw (OHL)
8. Montreal: Lucas Raymond, RW, Frolunda (SHL)
9. Chicago: Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (Liiga)
10. New Jersey (via Arizona): Yaroslav Askarov, G, Ska-Varyagi (MHL)
11. Minnesota: Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)
12. Winnipeg: Jake Sanderson, LHD, USA U18 (NTDP)
13. N.Y. Rangers: Dylan Holloway, C, University of Wisconsin
14. Florida: Noel Gunler, LW, Lulea (SHL)
15. Columbus: Lukas Cormier, LHD, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
16. Calgary: Dawson Mercer, RW, Drummondville (QMJHL)
17. New Jersey (via Vancouver): Jeremie Poirier, LHD, Saint John (QMJHL)
18. Nashville: Jack Quinn, RW/LW, Ottawa (OHL)
19. Carolina (via Toronto): Rodion Amirov, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
20. Edmonton: Jacob Perreault, C, Sarnia (OHL)
21. Ottawa (via N.Y. Islanders): Braden Schneider, RHD, Brandon (WHL)
22. Dallas: Jan Mysak, C, Hamilton (OHL)
23. N.Y. Rangers (via Carolina): Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
24. Minnesota (via Pittsburgh): Emil Andrae, LHD, HV71 J20 (SHL)
25. Philadelphia: Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
26. San Jose (via Tampa Bay): Roni Hirvonen, C, Assat (SM-Liiga)
27. Colorado: Zion Nybeck, RW, HV71 J20 (SHL)
28. Vegas: Antonio Stranges, C/LW, London (OHL)
29. Washington: Vasili Ponomaryov, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
30. St. Louis: Thomas Bordeleau, C, USA U18 (NTDP)
31. Anaheim (via Boston): Kaiden Guhle, LHD, Prince Albert (WHL)
Lafreniere likely to be No. 1 overall pick
Alexis Lafreniere should be the No. 1 overall pick, regardless of which team owns that selection. He's a talented 18-year-old Canadian left winger who has the potential to turn into a star in the NHL.
The Athletic's Corey Pronman wrote a scouting report of Lafreniere last month, detailing why this year's top draft prospect is a special player.
"He has elite skill and elite vision," Pronman wrote. "He can make incredible plays, and if given space he can beat goalies from a distance. He competes his tail off, he's physical and he can play off the puck. His skating isn't high-end, but it's good."
The Detroit Red Wings have the worst record in the NHL and could land the No. 1 pick, and it would be an easy decision for them to take Lafreniere with the selection. It should be the same for teams like the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings if they end up with the top pick, as Lafreniere is the best prospect and has a high ceiling for his NHL career.
Senators have opportunity to add pair of top scorers
There's a chance that the NHL draft lottery will give the Senators the first two picks in this year's draft. And while that may not happen, they'll at least have two early selections, likely both to be at some point in the first five picks.
While Ottawa will miss out on Lafreniere unless it gets the No. 1 pick, it will still have an opportunity to land two talented players, potentially both on the offensive end. Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle are both players who the Senators should consider, and if they can get both, then it will certainly be a successful draft for the future of the franchise.
The Athletic's Hailey Salvian wrote that she believes Ottawa would take Byfield and Stutzle if it owns the Nos. 2 and 3 picks, and it would make a lot of sense for it to do so. Byfield is a 6'4" center with great scoring ability, while Stutzle is 5'11", can play at either center or on the wing and has tremendous speed.
This is obviously a huge draft for the Senators, as they have three first-round picks and can build a great foundation for their future. When the season was suspended, Ottawa was on its way to missing the playoffs for the third straight year. But perhaps it will soon end that drought with the valuable pieces it could acquire this offseason.
Drysdale set to be first defenseman drafted
Jamie Drysdale is the best defenseman in this year's draft class. And because of that, he should be the first player at the position to come off the board. However, it's not clear just how early that might happen.
NHL teams don't always draft the best available talent and instead look to add to a position where it's lacking depth.
Regardless of where is drafted, Drysdale is poised to become a solid NHL defenseman, as he has the potential to quickly make an impact for a team. NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale called Drysdale "a right-shot defenseman capable of running a power play while driving offense with his skating and elite hockey sense."
Don't be surprised if the Kings, who will likely have a top-five pick, use their selection on Drysdale. Los Angeles could use a talented defenseman to anchor its unit for years to come, and Drysdale has the potential to do just that moving into the future.