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2020 NHL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for All 1st-Round Prospects

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 2, 2020

Canada's Alexis Lafreniere celebrates after scoring his sides fifth 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 New York Rangers are a few days away from adding one of the best young players in hockey to their roster.

The Rangers are widely expected to land Canadian left winger Alexis Lafreniere with the No. 1 overall pick of this year's NHL draft, which gets underway Tuesday.

Lafreniere headlines a short list of top prospects who could make impacts throughout the next NHL season. Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle should follow Lafreniere off the board in some order to the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators.

The majority of the top 10 selections are likely be centers or wingers, but a defenseman or two could be mixed toward the bottom of those spots.

                 

2020 NHL 1st-Round Mock Draft

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

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

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose): Tim Stutzle, C, Mannheim (Germany)

4. Detroit Red Wings: Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (Sweden)

5. Ottawa Senators: Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw (OHL)

6. Anaheim Ducks: Jake Sanderson, D, USA U-18

7. New Jersey Devils: Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa

8. Buffalo Sabres: Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgarden (Sweden)

9. Minnesota Wild: Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL) 

10. Winnipeg Jets: Seth Jarvis, C, Portland (WHL) 

11. Nashville Predators: Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (Finland)

12. Florida Panthers: Dylan Holloway, C, Wisconsin

13. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto): Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)

14. Edmonton Oilers: Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA-1946 (Russia)

15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Pittsburgh): Rodion Amirov, LW, Ufa (Russia)

16. Montreal Canadiens: Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (OHL)

17. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)

18. New Jersey Devils (from Arizona): Dawson Mercer, RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

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

20. New Jersey Devils (from Vancouver): Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

21. Columbus Blue Jackets: Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)

22. New York Rangers (from Carolina): Lukas Reichel, LW, Berlin (Germany)

23. Philadelphia Flyers: Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawnigan (OHL)

24. Washington Capitals: Ryan O'Rourke, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

25. Colorado Avalanche: Justin Barron, D, Halifax (QMJHL)

26. St. Louis Blues: Ridly Greig, C, Brandon (WHL)

27. Anaheim Ducks (from Boston): John-Jason Peterka, LW, Munich (Germany)

28. Ottawa Senators (from New York Islanders): William Wallinder, D, MODO (Sweden)

29. Vegas Golden Knights: Noel Gunler, RW, Lulea (Sweden)

30. Dallas Stars: Jan Mysak, LW, Hamilton (OHL)

31. San Jose Sharks (from Tampa Bay): Tyson Foerster, C, Barrie (OHL)

             

Lafreniere is expected to make the Rangers a stronger Stanley Cup contender in the future.

All of the buzz surrounding the winger and his game-changing ability has been positive from draft analysts.

Sportsnet's Sam Cosentino said: "Believe all the hype from the past three years. His creativity and competitiveness will make teammates and coaches take notice right away."

The Rangers should add Lafreniere to an offensive core that they improved recently through signing Artemi Panarin, extending Chris Kreider and drafting Kaapo Kakko.

New York still has to get through a tough division that includes the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Islanders.

But Lafreniere's selection should move them in the right direction as they build up to a championship quest over the next few years.

Once Lafreniere goes off the board, the Los Angeles Kings face a difficult decision between Byfield and Stutzle.

According to The Athletic's Corey Pronman, there is a "65-35 split" across the league from personnel who believe Stutzle will be the choice over Byfield at No. 2.

Stutzle carries a bit more versatility than Byfield since he can line up at all three forward positions. There is also intrigue in him since he comes from Adler Mannheim in Germany, which helped develop Leon Draisaitl and had Moritz Seider selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL draft.

The other edge the German holds over Byfield is the experience he gained playing at the professional level in his native country.

Byfield played in the Ontario Hockey League last season and was overshadowed by Lafreniere when they both played for Canada at the World Junior Championship. Lafreniere was the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

At worst, the towering center will slide to the Ottawa Senators at No. 3. Ottawa could gain the most from the draft since it has a pair of top-five picks, one of which is its own and the other came from the San Jose Sharks.

After the top three prospects are gone, the Detroit Red Wings will pick one of the best stars from the second tier of future NHL players.

The Red Wings had the worst regular-season record in the NHL, but they were the biggest losers of the lottery in dropping down to No. 4.

                

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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