The 2019-20 season finally came to an end with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup, but just a few days later, the entire league has to focus on the future.
After several changes to its schedule, the 2020 NHL draft is finally set to begin Tuesday with the New York Rangers first on the clock. There is likely little drama at the top with Alexis Lafreniere expected to go No. 1, although the remaining picks could feature plenty of surprises.
Here is what you need to know about the upcoming event.
NHL Draft Schedule
- Date: Tuesday, Oct. 6
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports
- Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
- Date: Wednesday, Oct. 7
- Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
- TV: NHL Network
1st Round Order and Mock Draft
1. New York Rangers: Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski
2. Los Angeles Kings: Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJ): Tim Stutzle, LW, Mannheim
4. Detroit Red Wings: Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw
5. Ottawa Senators: Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa
6. Anaheim Ducks: Jake Sanderson, D, USA U-18
7. New Jersey Devils: Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie
8. Buffalo Sabres: Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda
9. Minnesota Wild: Yaroslav Askarov, G, Neva St. Petersburg
10. Winnipeg Jets: Braden Schneider, D, Brandon
11. Nashville Predators: Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgarden
12. Florida Panthers: Anton Lundell, C, HIFK
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR): Dawson Mercer, C, Chicoutimi
14. Edmonton Oilers: Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT): Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert
16. Montreal Canadiens: Seth Jarvis, C, Portland
17. Chicago Blackhawks: Dylan Holloway, C, Wisconsin
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARI): Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi
19. Calgary Flames: Lukas Reichel, LW, Eisbaren Berlin
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN-TB): Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia
21. Columbus Blue Jackets: Connor Zary, C, Kamloops
22. New York Rangers (from CAR): Noel Gunler, RW, Lulea
23. Philadelphia Flyers: Rodion Amirov, LW, Ufa
24. Colorado Avalanche: Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan
25. Washington Capitals: Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie
26. St. Louis Blues: Justin Barron, D, Halifax
27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS): John-Jason Peterka, RW, Munchen
28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI): Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago
29. Vegas Golden Knights: William Wallinder, D, Modo Jr.
30. Dallas Stars: Ridly Greig, C, Brandon
31. San Jose Sharks (from TB): Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton
Full order available at ESPN.com.
Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski
There hasn't been much movement for the top spot in the rankings since scouting began for the 2020 class.
Alexis Lafreniere has dominated the QMJHL over the past three seasons, totaling over 100 points in each of the past two. He had 35 goals and 77 assists in 52 games last year for Rimouski Oceanic.
The forward also showed what he could do as captain of Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships, leading his team to a gold medal while winning the MVP award.
New York Rangers team president John Davidson already likes what he has seen from the player:
Lafreniere should be the top pick before making an impact in the NHL during the 2020-21 season.
Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury
In other years, Quinton Byfield could be an easy option for the No. 1 overall selection, and he clearly has a bright future ahead of him.
The 6'4", 215-pound center was one of the most exciting players in the OHL last season, scoring 32 goals with 50 assists in just 45 games. The 18-year-old possesses sky-high potential with exactly what teams look for in a prospect.
"He's a guy that's so young, he's got so much upside with his combination of size and strength," Joey Tenute of NHL Central Scouting said, per Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com. "The work habits he possesses, the 200-foot game he plays, his compete level. He's 6'4" and not even finished growing. He's an exciting player to follow for the future."
ESPN's Chris Peters boldly predicted: "Quinton Byfield will have the kind of career that will make us wonder in hindsight whether he was actually the best player in this draft."
Unlike some other high-upside prospects, the Canadian has also proved himself against quality competition and should be able to make a quick transition to the NHL.
There could be a debate at No. 2 between Byfield and Tim Stutzle, but the Los Angeles Kings should grab the center and develop him as a key piece to the future core.
Tim Stutzle, LW, Mannheim
The No. 1 European skater in the NHL Central Scouting's final ranking, Stutzle won't wait long to hear his name called.
The left wing has challenged himself against tough competition in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany, tallying seven goals and 27 assists in 41 games last season on the way to winning Rookie of the Year.
Considering he doesn't turn 19 until January, the German still has a lot of room to grow.
The physical tools are there for Stutzle, including excellent speed on the ice, although he might be a bit more raw than other top prospects. This could mean it takes longer for him to make an impact in the NHL, but the Senators can be patient considering they are far away from playoff contention.
Adding him to a young core that already includes Brady Tkachuk could help turn things around in Ottawa.
Jake Sanderson, D, USA U18
The battle to be the first defender off the board will likely come down to Jake Sanderson and Jamie Drysdale.
Drysdale is the better offensive weapon, but Sanderson has more upside with the ability to contribute in more areas on the ice, including defensively. His speed could also be an asset as he progresses to the higher levels.
"I think skating is definitely my strongest asset as a player," he said, per Peters. "I use it not just to jump in the rush and create offense, but in the D zone—closing gaps, gapping up fast and closing efficiently on angles, like sweeping into guys down the wall."
Adding in his size at 6'2", 185 pounds, Sanders has the physical tools needed to be a star in the NHL.
The Anaheim Ducks need help defensively and would love to get one of these prospects with the No. 6 overall pick, although they might need to be patient developing the American to allow him to reach his potential.