NHL Mock Draft 2020: Initial Post-Lottery Predictions

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJune 27, 2020

Canada's Alexis Lafreniere celebrates after winning the U20 Ice Hockey Worlds gold medal match between Canada and Russia in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Petr David Josek/Associated Press

The first eight picks in the NHL draft were set Friday, but the team selecting No. 1 overall remained a mystery following the first phase of the draft lottery.

The team with the No. 1 pick will be determined by a second lottery made up of the eight teams that are eliminated from postseason play following the NHL's restart.

That means super-prospect Alexis Lafreniere will have to wait a bit longer to find out where he's headed. The left winger out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has cemented himself as this year's can't-miss player, following Jack Hughes, Rasmus Dahlin, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid before him.

The No. 2 pick went to the Los Angeles Kings, while the Ottawa Senators will pick third and fifth after acquiring the San Jose Sharks' first-round pick in the Erik Karlsson trade.


2020 NHL Draft Order and Mock

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1. TBD: Alexis Lafreniere, LW, QMJHL

2. Los Angeles Kings: Quinton Byfield, C, OHL

3. Ottawa Senators: Tim Stutzle, LW, DEL

4. Detroit Red Wings: Cole Perfetti, C, OHL

5. Ottawa Senators: Jamie Drysdale, D, OHL

6. Anaheim Ducks: Lucas Raymond, LW, SHL

7. New Jersey Devils: Alexander Holtz, RW, SHL

8. Buffalo Sabres: Yaroslav Askarov, G, VHL


Phase 1 of the lottery included the seven teams that will not be part of the league's restart along with eight placeholders to signify the clubs that could capture lottery picks once the season has concluded.

Because a placeholder team nabbed the top pick, a second phase will be held after eight clubs have been eliminated from postseason contention.

The full lottery process was announced May 26 and contained contingencies for this scenario.

In addition to Lafreniere as the no-brainer pick at No. 1, the next two selections seem pretty much set. The decision between Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle will likely come down to team fit, but for now they are penciled in for the Kings and Senators.

Given Byfield is 6'4", 214 pounds and brings two-way playmaking as a 17-year-old, he got the nod over Stutzle.

Even still, Corey Pronman of The Athletic expects Stutzle will be the first European player off the board.

Further down the draft board, goalie Yaroslav Askarov makes plenty of sense for the Buffalo Sabres. The team has many problems that need fixing right away, and netminders typically need longer stints in the minors before finding NHL success—especially those coming from Europe, where the rinks are larger—but Buffalo has struggled to find consistency in the crease since it traded Ryan Miller in 2014.

The Sabres' Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton rank 29th and 63rd in goals-against average.

At 6'3", 176 pounds, Askarov has the size and athleticism to develop into the team's backstop of the future, and he only recently turned 18.

Another name to watch is Jamie Drysdale, who is likely to be the first defenseman off the board. Pronman noted Drysdale is among the best skaters in the draft and could be a power-play quarterback but also said he doesn't have much flash to his game.

While finding the next Karlsson is no small task, Drysdale may be able to develop into a similar player and give the Senators some back-end depth at No. 5.