NHL Draft 2020: Start Time, Order, Prospects Guide and Mock Draft Predictions

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 5, 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 2020 NHL draft will take place virtually Tuesday and Wednesday, with television studio coverage occurring out of Secaucus, New Jersey.

NBC Sports Network will be the television home for the first round, which begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. NHL Network will televise the second through seventh rounds, starting 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

There shouldn't be too much suspense at the top of the draft, with forward Alexis Lafreniere widely assumed to go first overall to the New York Rangers. The remainder of the first round should be interesting, though, with a host of talented forwards and defensemen standing as strong top-five or top-10 draft prospects.

Here's a look at the NHL draft order, first-round predictions and quick biographical guides to the top eight prospects.


2020 1st-Round NHL Draft Order and Predictions

1. New York Rangers: LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

2. Los Angeles Kings: C Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

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

4. Detroit Red Wings: C Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

5. Ottawa Senators: D Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (OHL)

6. Anaheim Ducks: C Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

7. New Jersey Devils: RW Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

8. Buffalo Sabres: D Jake Sanderson, United States Under-18 National Team

9. Minnesota Wild: RW Alexander Holtz, Djurgardens IF Hockey (SHL)

10. Winnipeg Jets: C Anton Lundell, HIFK (Liiga)

11. Nashville Predators: LW Lucas Raymond, Frolunda HC (SHL)

12. Florida Panthers: LW Rodion Amirov, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

13. Carolina Hurricanes (via Maple Leafs): D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

14. Edmonton Oilers: D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

15. Toronto Maple Leafs: RW Dawson Mercer, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

16. Montreal Canadiens: RW Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

17. Chicago Blackhawks: F Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA)

18. New Jersey Devils (via Arizona Coyotes): G Yaroslav Askarov, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)

19. Calgary Flames: D Helge Grans, Malmo Redhawks (SHL)

20. New Jersey Devils (via Vancouver Canucks): D Justin Barron, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

21. Columbus Blue Jackets: C Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

22. New York Rangers (via Hurricanes): C Connor Zary, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

23. Philadelphia Flyers: C Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

24. Colorado Avalanche: C Jacob Perreault, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

25. Washington Capitals: F John-Jason Peterka, EHC Munchen (DEL)

26. St. Louis Blues: F Noah Gunler, Lulea (SHL)

27. Anaheim Ducks (via Bruins): D Jeremie Poirier, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

28. Ottawa Senators (via Islanders): RW Ozzy Wiesblatt, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

29. Vegas Golden Knights: C Brendon Bisson, Chicago Steel (USHL)

30. Dallas Stars: F Lukas Reichel, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)

31. Tampa Bay Lightning: D Topi Niemela, Oulun Karpat (Finnish Liiga)

Draft order is via ESPN.


LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

All eight of the rankings that Elite Prospects includes in each player's site page have Lafreniere ranked first. The Athletic's NHL mock draft, ESPN's mock and NHL.com's three mock draft authors have him going at the top of the board.

The 18-year-old posted 297 points in three years with the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic and won gold with Team Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championship, scoring four goals and six assists in five games.

The bottom line is that the 6'1", 192-pound forward is headed to the New York Rangers.


C Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

There's little reason to believe Quinton Byfield will be anything but a perennial NHL All-Star.

For starters, he's 6'4" and 215 pounds despite being just 18. That's tremendous size for a forward, let alone one at such a young age.

Byfield will be near impossible to push around, and his OHL numbers (32 goals and 50 assists in 45 games) are impressive. Expect him to head to the Los Angeles Kings, who could use an heir apparent to franchise legend Anze Kopitar.


C Tim Stuetzle, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

The positive press for Tim Stuetzle hasn't stopped for quite some time, and he's vaulted up rankings and mock drafts over the course of the season.

The 18-year-old is a near-consensus top-three choice, with Elite Prospects, HockeyProspect.com and Future Considerations all placing him there. Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com moved him from ninth to No. 2.

In short, don't expect him to fall below No. 3 to the Ottawa Senators, who should happily take the player left over from a group consisting of Lafreniere, Byfield and Stutzle.


C Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Top OHL scorers can be found in this class in bunches, and Cole Perfetti is among them. He had 37 goals and 74 assists in 61 games, good enough for the second-most points in the league.

He also had 26 points in his final 12 games, and one has to wonder whether he would have been considered a top-three prospect if he rode that momentum into the postseason in a non-coronavirus world where the end of the season isn't canceled.

Alas, Perfetti never got that chance, but he's a prime candidate to land in the top five anyway.


D Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (OHL)

The Erie Otters' Jamie Drysdale, who is ranked as NHL Central Scouting's third-best North American skater, should be the first defenseman off the board. 

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News notably wrote that the 18-year-old "looks like the uncontested top defenseman in the NHL draft this summer."

The 5'11", 175-pound Drysdale also posted nine goals and 38 assists last year. He has All-Star capabilities at the next level thanks to his two-way skills.


C Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

The OHL is arguably the top junior hockey league in the world. The Ottawa 67's were the league's best team, and Marco Rossi was the top point scorer on the team.

You can put those three facts together and draw a simple conclusion: Rossi is one of the draft's top prospects after the presumed big three, to the point where seeing him go No. 4 overall wouldn't be shocking. 

The 19-year-old had 39 goals and 81 assists for 120 points. Gaudy junior hockey numbers don't always translate to the NHL, but he should enjoy a long and fruitful NHL career thanks to his scoring prowess.


RW Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

There's no shortage of dominant Canadian junior hockey scorers this year, with Jack Quinn of the OHL's Ottawa 67's another.

The right wing poured in points with 52 goals and 37 assists in 62 games, helping the offense score 296 goals and earn a league-best 50 victories. His stock is also clearly on the rise after posting 12 goals and 20 assists the year before.

Like his teammate Rossi, Quinn gets bonus points for starring on a great team in a top junior league.


D Jake Sanderson, United States Under-18 National Team

NHL Central Scouting ranks Jake Sanderson as its second-best North American skater in the defenseman position group. He's also risen the most among any top-10 prospect, jumping from 11th during the midterm period to fourth on the final list.

The 6'2", 185-pounder has committed to the University of North Dakota, per Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald.

Sanderson should star there before making a name for himself in the pros, with Tony Ferrari of Dobber Prospects noting that he "flashes everything you want to see in a modern-day blueliner." Expect that to be the case in the NHL.