Our wheelchair GMs make their choice


The 2020 NHL Entry Draft will take place. We just don’t really know when. Or how. But we do know that it will happen at some point … right?

The NHL discussion on the progression of the draft in early June led the media, screening agencies and NHL teams to really improve their content and preparation. We at Hockey writers are no different, as we have published profiles, features, rankings and – (pause for dramatic effect) – fictional versions.

Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide

We have an annual tradition of bringing our writers together for one of the most entertaining times of the year for us internally, the THW Writers’s Mock Draft. Our staff members choose teams and then make their choice for that respective team. Then they explain why they think the team would take this player.

The lottery has not yet taken place, but the most likely scenario at this point seems to be the classification based on the percentage of points at the time of the season break, so this is what we have used here while keeping the existing selections via the trades.

There is only one rule: no trading choice.

We also did something differently this year. Similar to what Corey Pronman does in The AthleticThe authors laugh at the draft, this year, I gave my opinion on the writer’s choices. I’m not giving another selection, just my thoughts on what if this team took on this player. (From: “NHL Mock Draft: Beat writers preview the 2020 draft lottery” – The Athletic – April 9, 2020).

1) Detroit Red Wings: Alexis Lafrenière

THW writer: Tony Wolak

Who else? Alexis Lafrenière is the best real and consensus player available in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He is now ready to join the Detroit Red Wings and will play in his top six next season. Lafrenière’s skating is already explosive, it protects the puck and shoots very well, and has an elite vision to start. In other words, Lafrenière is a key player who will have an immediate impact with the Red Wings.

Alexis Lafreniere Rimouski Oceanic
BOISBRIAND, QC – NOVEMBER 23: Alexis Lafrenière in action in a QMJHL match between the Rimouski Océaniques and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on November 23, 2019, at the Bell Center in Montreal, QC (Photo by Vincent Ethier / CHL)

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Just like Tony says, who else? Lafrenière is the best player in this draft class, and it looks very likely that he will enter the NHL directly next season. It’s a dominant offensive force that will immediately improve the Red Wings. Imagining Lafrenière and Dylan Larkin together should excite Detroit fans.

2) Ottawa Senators: Quinton Byfield

THW Writer: Ben Fraser and Dayton Reimer

With the second choice overall, the Ottawa Senators choose Quinton Byfield. Even if they miss Lafrenière’s draw, they win an excellent consolation prize. He is tall, powerful, can score goals and already has a fine defensive game. He could probably end up in the NHL next season, and with Brady Tkachuk, the Senators’ best unit will be the one to be reckoned with.

Related: Is Quinton Byfield Underrated?

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Byfield is the only player in my mind that I can see overtaking Lafrenière for the first place (he won’t do it). He is a dynamic player who brings speed, strength and one of the best skills in this class. Senators have a number of centers in their system and several very good prospects. Byfield will be the best by far. I don’t think he’ll make the leap into the NHL next season, but he’s not far behind. Fans of the senators, you have your future number one centreman.

3) Ottawa Senators (Via SJ): Jamie Drysdale

THW Writer: Ben Fraser and Dayton Reimer

Although some may see this choice as a litter, Ottawa can acquire the best draft D-man immediately after selecting the best draft center in Byfield. Jamie Drysdale’s skating ability is nothing short of elite. His agility and balance are incredible to watch, and he can instantly resume play using this ability. Even more impressive is his hockey IQ. He is one of the most intelligent defenders I have seen in years. This will help his transition to the NHL, because the decision-making skills are already there.

Jamie Drysdale, OHL, Erie Otters
Erie Otters Jamie Drysdale (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Although he may not be ready in the NHL for 2020-2021, another year with the Erie Otters will only benefit him, especially at 18. The Senators get a legitimate number one defenseman, whose puck skills, hockey IQ and skating will make him a force to be reckoned with upon entering the NHL.

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There are two specific positions that the NHL teams covet the most: a number one center and a number one defender (especially right-handers). With this selection, the Senators have a chance for both of this draft. Drysdale has the skating ability, excellent vision and puck skills that you can only dream of with a defender. Have it on your backend, with Thomas Chabot and Erik Brännström? The points that this defensive unit could set up are terrifying.

4) Los Angeles Kings: Tim Stützle

THW Writer: Nick Abramo

Tim Stützle is creating a ton of offense and is the type of player the Los Angeles Kings could really use, especially with the many threats to the goal that come up in the system. I see his shot is not as deadly as some others, but he can still bury it.

Related: Tim Stützle, The Best Hope In The European Draft, Talks About His Climb To The Top

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Before the draft, there is no question that the Kings have the best prospect pool in the league. The Senators could challenge this now with Byfield and Drysdale, but the Kings landing Stützle is incredible. He is an excellent playmaker, with a great offensive conscience. It was used in the center and on the wing, so it would be interesting to see how kings use it. With Alex Turcotte in the ranks, and I still think he can be the number one center, I would probably say that Stützle would go to the wing.

5) Anaheim ducks: Alexander Holtz

THW Writer: Anthony Ciardelli & Eddy Jones

There is no doubt that the Anaheim Ducks have many needs to relaunch their reconstruction. There is a gaping hole on the right side of the defense, but the Senators picked up Drysdale to scrape it until later. However, with some exceptionally talented attackers left on the board, it’s time to meet another need: scoring. The Ducks have finished 29th in goals per game this season and what better way to fix it than by arguably picking the best shooter in the draft.

Alexander Holtz Djurgarden
Alexander Holtz, Djurgarden (Photo ERIK SIMANDER / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP via Getty Images)

It was a difficult decision between Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond, and personally I think there is not much difference between the two regarding the best player available. So, we went with the sniper. Holtz fits the mold of what general manager Bob Murray is looking for. At the Ducks Hot Stove event in March, he said, “We will be looking for shooters in the draft. Some of our guys just can’t film it once, it confuses me. ” It seems to me a good choice. Also, how could we pass up a Trevor Zegras / Holtz combo.

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Let this last line penetrate for a minute. Your future is Zegras in the center, arguably the best prospect in the NHL right now, and Holtz on the wing, arguably the best shooter in this draft class. Could this be the second coming of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry? That’s exciting. I wouldn’t say it’s the best player choice available, but it does fill a huge need for the Ducks and he’s one of the best players left on the board.

6) New Jersey Devils: Lucas Raymond

THW Writer: Alex Chauvancy

It was a bit of a surprise to see Raymond available outside the top five. Fortunately, this benefits the New Jersey Devils. He’s a dynamic winger who is an absolute beast on the first test. He is still chasing the puck and wreaking havoc for opposing defenders. And when he has possession of the puck in the attacking zone, he feeds on his game and his ability to establish scoring chances. His shooting might require a little work, but that’s not a drawback. It should also come with age, as it gains mass of 165 pounds. He is arguably Europe’s best hope and perhaps a winger who can carry his own line in the NHL. The Devils are therefore robbed with their first choice.

Related: Lucas Raymond: The Next Swedish Superstar

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Alex says it beautifully. Raymond is still one of the top three players in this draft in my eyes, and the Devils jumping at him at six are like our first draft of the draft (don’t worry, there are more to come). Last year, the Devils won Jack Hughes’ first choice. Say what you want from his 2019-20 season, he’s elite. Now, are you adding an elite wingman to that? Don’t worry about Devils fans, it looks like your time is coming sooner than later.

7) Buffalo sabers: Marco Rossi

THW Writer: Jordan Deshane

The Sabers would be delighted to add the qualified Austrian with the seventh choice. Marco Rossi is a dynamic playmaker with a big shot but also plays with an advantage. Don’t let its small size fool you. He is built like Sidney Crosby from waist to toe. It is hard on the puck and cannot be knocked over easily. In addition to his elite attacking game, Rossi plays hard in the defensive zone and has a solid presence while playing at the limit like the beloved Brad Marchand.

MArco Rossi Ottawa 67s
Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67 (Credit: CHL Images)

A natural center, it can start on the wing in the NHL but has all the tools to be an excellent second line center. In addition, he will not return to the Ottawa 67’s next season and will play in the NHL or abroad. Many experts believe he can play in the NHL next season and have an impact.

Related: Marco Rossi Could Be The Best Austrian Ever

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The Sabers do not have the largest pool of prospects after the first round of 2019 Dylan Cozens. Landing Rossi is an immediate upgrade to this system. It would be very interesting to see how they use it, as Jack Eichel is the undisputed number one in Buffalo, so Cozens and Rossi would fight for this number two spot, but it’s likely one will slip to the wing – I would assume Rossi. That being said, at number seven, it’s a great choice, and it will certainly add to Buffalo’s goal differential in the near future.

8) Montreal Canadiens: Cole Perfetti

THW Writer: Trege Wilson

Cole Perfetti is an excellent puck manager with excellent hockey IQ, level of competition and skill. He finished second in scoring in the Ontario League and had a great Hlinka / Gretzky tournament. It was not only BPA, but it also addresses a need to score among the top six for Canadians.

Related: Cole Perfetti Talks About His Game and His Draft Season

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We’re still dealing with elite leads, and we’re almost out of the top 10. I’m not sure if I’m taking Perfetti over someone above, but it still looks like theft. He has to improve his skating to really make an impact at the next level, but he has the potential to be something big. With him and Cole Caufield earning the nickname “Goal”, it would be an exciting duo to watch. Perfetti has also shown his elite playing ability this season, which makes this duo even more intriguing.

9) Chicago Blackhawks: Yaroslav Askarov

THW Writer: Peter baracchini

Since the Montreal Canadiens drafted Carey Price fifth in 2005, no other goaltender has been selected from the top 10, let alone the top five. There are too many risks, as you will never know how the goalkeeper’s outlook will unfold. In the case of Askarov, he deserves to be among the top 10. With an aging Corey Crawford and his health problems, there is so much uncertainty around the situation of Blackhawks goalkeepers. Askarov will be their starter and the answer this franchise needs. The 18-year-old girl has high-end vision, movement and reflexes, which makes backups the most difficult easy. It meets a potential need, and it’s extremely difficult to find.

Yaroslav Askarov Team Russia
The Russian team Yaroslav Askarov (Hockey Russia / FHR.RU)

Related: A New Era of Guardians Will Be Led By Yaroslav Askarov

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As you see with many simulation projects, Askarov and the Blackhawks seem to be a perfect match. Not only does Askarov become the best goalkeeper hope, but he becomes the best hope in the system and the best goalkeeper hope in the league. The Blackhawks are close to three Stanley Cups, and they have accumulated some incredible prospects in the past two years. Askarov reinforces this considerably.

10) New Jersey Devils (via ARI): Anton Lundell

THW Writer: Alex Chauvancy

The Devils don’t need a center. But with Askarov and Perfetti off the board, Lundell would be the best player available with the 10th pick. He spent this season with HIFK in Liiga and collected 28 points in 44 games. There is nothing flashy about his game, but he excels at both ends of the ice. He is an exceptional defender and has an incredible hockey IQ. His attack may fall behind some of the other top hopefuls in this category. But it has enough offensive potential to be a very effective two-way center in the NHL. And that would leave the Devils in the middle of the years to come with him, Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.

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So the Devils draft Raymond and now Lundell. Wow. It would be another interesting player to see how they could integrate him with Hughes and Hischier because I don’t really see Lundell going to the wing and I think he’s better than a third line center. Lundell is a great two-way player and although he needs to improve his skating, I think he is a very promising player. His vision and skill at both ends of the ice are excellent. It is always said that you should take the best player available in the draft, and Lundell.

11) Minnesota Wild: Hendrix Lapierre

THW Writer: Justin haddad

This can be considered as a “litter” at this stage of the project with health problems concerning the future of Hendrix Lapierre. Before injury, however, he was essentially a lockdown for being in the top 15 as he had just finished a 45 point season and won the title of offensive rookie of the year in the QMJHL. This selection may not have been “Best Player Available,” but he could have the highest cap of almost any first-round pick. That’s exactly the kind of draft pick the Wild need with aging veteran centers and a low forward ceiling on their team (outside of Kevin Fiala). This sets the team up well in the middle with highly touted hopefuls Kirill Kaprizov and Matthew Boldy waiting behind the scenes and ready to join the Wild for the next two seasons.

Hendrix Lapierre Chicoutimi Saguenéens
Hendrix Lapierre, player of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens (Credit: André Emond)

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Our first scope of the project! Where is it? In fact, I really like that choice for the Wild. Justin is right in that I don’t think he’s the best player available based on his history with concussions and neck injury, but depending on the potential, it’s just on the nose. He showed his skills at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and this is the level he reaches when he is healthy. He adds a ton of skill to the Wild’s prospect pool and if he can stay healthy he could turn out to be theft.

12) Winnipeg Jets: Dylan Holloway

THW Writer: Ryan Goethals

Selecting Dylan Holloway for 12th was an easy decision. He is a big two-way striker who will bring grain and alignment resistance. He has dynamism, determination and a will to play in difficult areas of the ice while retrieving pucks and driving the piece. His ability to play both center and left wing will greatly contribute to the development of his career in the NHL and with his size, skating and hands, I do not see why Holloway could not become one of the top six center / winger of the Winnipeg Jets at one point on the road.

Bell jack

Say what you want from Holloway season, this guy has something. He has the speed and skill to be among the top six players in the NHL. Let’s not forget that the University of Wisconsin has had team challenges this season, the NCAA is one of the toughest leagues in the world and Holloway was one of the youngest players in the league. It’s a great choice for the Jets with Ville Heinola’s first-round defensive pick last season.

13) New York Rangers: Rodion Amirov

THW Writer: Jeb Biggart

I’m not going to beat around the bush, Holloway was my favorite choice in 13th place. The Rangers need centers and it seems to be perfectly suited to the organization. However, when he was going to the Jets at 12, I had to turn. Rodion Amirov is very close to Holloway and fills a big hole in the Rangers perspective system. In addition to Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin, the Rangers have a shallow left, both in the NHL and at the prospect level. Like Vitali Kravtsov in his draft year, Amirov dominated MHL and VHL, but struggled to produce in the KHL regular season due to limited ice time and inexperience.

Rodion Amirov Team Russia
Rodion Amirov of Team Russia (Vincent Ethier / QMJHL)

He showed a lot of promise, playing a 200-foot game despite his small size. It is balanced with and without the puck, has excellent board play in all three areas and is very difficult to reach in tight spaces. With a little development in his shooting and acceleration, Amirov could become everything the Rangers need in a two-way winger. It will be interesting to see what he can do in the KHL next year.

Bell jack

I really like this choice for the Rangers. Amirov is a guy who could honestly be in the top 10, but probably won’t. He has skill at both ends and joins a very good young group that New York has built. The Rangers fill up on skills in each position with the repechage, and Amirov fits in perfectly. I could see him as one of the best two-way attackers out of this project.

14) Florida Panthers: Noel Gunler

THW Writer: Tyler Halsey

The Florida Panthers have shown a willingness to swing for the fences with their first round picks, and Noel Gunler is no exception. The supremely skilled but polarizing forward is a great choice in the Florida prospect pool. An infusion of high-end skills is very necessary on the wings – after Grigori Denisenko and Owen Tippett, there is a crying need for wingers in the organization. Gunler is the most skilled player available at this point and coupled with organizational need, he is perfect for the Panthers.

Related: Noel Gunler Learns From Adversity

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The Panthers draft a guy who was ranked in the top 10 in the second round, but I think it’s a great place for Gunler. He’s a very offensive player, but don’t put too much weight in rumors he can’t defend – he can. He is one of the best shooters in this class, but brings a full arsenal to Florida here. It could end up being theft.

15) Columbus Blue Jackets: Jake Sanderson

THW Writer: Mark scheig

At this stage of the project, the mentality should always be to take the best player available. Sanderson being available here, that’s exactly it. When you are compared to Seth Jones, Zach Werenski and Charlie McAvoy when it comes to your advantage, it shows what many people think of his talents. Sanderson is a great defenseman who has no problem adding offense.

Jake Sanderson USNTDP
Jake Sanderson, United States NTDP (Credit: Rena Laverty)

He would give a much-needed boost to the team’s defensive depth and could potentially open the door for the Blue Jackets to approach the position ahead by reaching an agreement involving a current defender. Sanderson’s father Geoff passed the first hat trick in the history of the CBJ, so there’s an obvious connection here. The Blue Jackets could not be more excited to add a player like Sanderson to the fold.

Related: Jake Sanderson: Playing for More Than His Country

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This could be the biggest flight in our model. The choice before that, I imagine Mark rubbing his hands impatiently to add Sanderson. Mark says it well in his description, that he is an excellent player who will strengthen the Blue Line of the Blue Jackets. Connecting with his dad getting the first hat trick is also a good idea. It’s a big addition to the Blue Jackets, and Mark wasted no time picking it up.

16) Calgary Flames: Jack Quinn

THW Writer: Mathieu Sheridan

Jack Quinn makes sense for the Flames as they could use another high profile player to complete their top six. With likes of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm on one line, Quinn would fit in well on the other wing playing alongside Matthew Tkachuk.

Quinn’s scoring abilities are something any franchise would like to have. Playing for the Ottawa 67’s OHL, Quinn scored 52 goals in 62 games. He can finish anywhere and would easily find success in the Flames power play. With a little more development, I have no doubt that Quinn will have a major impact in the NHL in the future.

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This is roughly where I can see Quinn going, but it’s a little higher than I would take it. Remember that Quinn is one of the oldest players in this class and was part of a stacked team from Ottawa 67. That being said, the step he took when asked gave the opportunity can not be ignored and its high-end shot is real. He could be a great addition to the Flames system as they search for goals.

17) New Jersey Devils (via VAN): Seth Jarvis

THW Writer: Alex Chauvancy

One of my favorite players in this class is Seth Jarvis, and I even considered taking him to Lundell with the 10th pick. He finished with 98 points in 58 games in the Western League, ranked second in the league and first among players eligible for the draft. There are a few things that stand out in his game. For starters, he is a flawless skater and is generally the fastest guy on the ice. The second is his ability to play, which is elite and among the best in this class. He has scored 42 goals this season, so his shot is also correct. It is only 5 feet 10 inches and 172 pounds, but it has ample space to inflate. It was tempting to take a defender with this choice. But Jarvis was too good to pass up because he has the potential to be a front-line right winger for the Devils.

Seth Jarvis Portland Winterhawks
Portland Winterhawks Seth Jarvis. (Megan Connelly / Portland Winterhawks)

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Raymond, Lundell and now Jarvis for the Devils. It should be considered a robbery there – I was very surprised to see it fall. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it among the top 12 or 13 choices. The Devils leave like bandits, completely filling the cupboard in terms of before. It would be difficult not to add a defender with a third first round, but in terms of the best player available, New Jersey succeeded. With Hughes last year and those three this year, the Devils have a very significant trend.

18) Nashville Predators: Connor Zary

THW Writer: Justin haddad

The Nashville Predators would love Connor Zary to fall to them at 18, as it would be perfect for their system. He has been remarkable in the Western League this season with 38 goals, 48 ​​assists and 86 points. Zary compares himself to Bo Horvat stylistically because he plays a 200-foot game, plays in special teams and can be a great presence in front of the net. The Predators seem to be in an endless search for the top six centers, and with Philip Tomasino and Zary in the pipeline, they could be safe in the middle of the next few years.

Bell jack

Another player who could very well be in the top 15 is a great addition to the Predators. Zary doesn’t always seem to get the love he deserves, but Nashville is able to take advantage of that. He was one of the most attacking players in the Western League and for a team that had midfield goals per game, the attack is a welcome addition.

19) Carolina Hurricanes (via TOR): Dawson Mercer

THW Writer: Matthew Zator

The Carolina Hurricanes will need someone to succeed Justin Williams because he is not getting any younger. The Canes also need more skills on the right wing to potentially align with dynamic Andrei Svechnikov. Dawson Mercer does the job because he has a high engine, great puck recovery and great play ability. He can also play in the center of the ice, which will make him even more valuable on the road. Adding the fact that it can have an impact on programming even without producing is a skill in itself, as evidenced by his performance at the World Junior 2020. Canes fans will be very satisfied with this choice.

Dawson Mercer Drummondville Voltigeurs
Dawson Mercer of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

Related: Dawson Mercer: Family, Hockey and the Draft

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My honest opinion is that Dawson Mercer is one of the most underrated prospects that will be taken in the first round. Let’s not forget that he teamed Canada for the 2020 Junior Worlds and it’s not an easy task in a player’s draft year for the Canadian team. He’s one of those guys who never gives up and always fights for the puck. He looks like he could be one of the top six, and this choice continues the Hurricanes’ tendency to grab very good players, as evidenced by 2019.

20) Edmonton Oilers: Jacob Perrault

THW Writer: Kevin Armstrong

It is very unlikely that the Oilers will have the 20th choice overall. Ken Holland will be busy at the draft. He talked a lot about creating a program through cartoonists. But he was stuck in the paradox of winning now to continue building when he traded a few choices on the trade deadline. Expect him to negotiate to acquire later choices.

However, if the Oilers won the 20th selection, they would be delighted to land Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. The son of longtime NHL player Yanic Perreault, Jacob is an offensive threat who, during his rookie year, was up there with Byfield, Rossi and Perfetti. He was stuck in a horrible Sting team, but always managed to shine without much help around him. Imagine if he had a Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl in a hurry with him.

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Perrault had a very quiet 70 point season in the OHL. I think it could be a very welcome addition to the Oilers top six. He would probably go to the wing for this group, but to imagine him with McDavid, Draisital or even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is very exciting. He has a great attacking instinct that should suit the Oilers. I could see him racking up goals in Edmonton, being a welcome addition to this group. Après avoir pris deux défenseurs au cours des deux derniers tours, un attaquant semble probable en 2020.

21) Sénateurs d’Ottawa (via NYI): Jan Myšák

THW Writer: Ben Fraser et Dayton Reimer

À la 21e sélection, les Sénateurs ont saisi l’ailier gauche Jan Myšák des Bulldogs de Hamilton. Pour moi, il était le meilleur joueur disponible, et avec la franchise toujours dans la douleur croissante d’une reconstruction, c’était le choix clair. Il a une expérience internationale et a passé un certain temps dans la ligue tchèque pour hommes avant de rejoindre l’OHL. Il n’y a vraiment pas grand-chose à dire contre lui, et le voir tomber à 21 ans pourrait être un vol pour les Sens.

Jan Mysak HC VERVA Litinov
Jan Mysak de HC VERVA Litinov (HC VERVA Litinov)

Prise de Bell

Ce n’est un secret pour personne que Myšák est l’un de mes espoirs préférés dans ce repêchage, et je l’ai parmi les 15 meilleurs. Les Sénateurs ont déjà ajouté Byfield et Drysdale, saisissant maintenant Myšák avec le choix des Islanders? Oh mec. Le bassin de prospects déjà formidable reçoit un coup de pouce massif au premier tour du repêchage de la LNH 2020. Les partisans des Sénateurs seront très satisfaits de cette première ronde, et ils ont encore quatre choix dans la seconde.

22) Stars de Dallas: Mavrik Bourque

THW Writer: Matthew Zator

Les Stars de Dallas ont besoin de plus de compétences d’élite tout au long de leur formation, et Mavrik Bourque apporte cela à la pelle. Bien qu’il soit un homme du centre dans un bassin de prospects fort au milieu, vous ne pouvez jamais avoir trop d’attaquants droitiers qualifiés dans votre système. C’est un joueur sournois et créatif avec le potentiel d’être quelqu’un qui peut faire sortir les fans de leurs sièges avec un jeu flashy. Malgré sa taille insuffisante, il ira dans les zones difficiles et créera le chaos le long des planches. S’il peut consolider certaines incohérences dans son jeu, il pourrait devenir un joueur très productif pour les Stars à l’avenir.

Prise de Bell

Bourque est un joueur parmi les 20 premiers dans ce repêchage dans mon esprit, et les Stars l’atterrissant au 22e rang sont une grande victoire pour l’organisation. Il entrerait parmi les meilleures perspectives du système, rejoignant Ty Dellandrea et Thomas Harley très prometteurs. C’est un joueur qui peut conduire l’offensive, créer des opportunités et les fans des Stars vont l’aimer.

23) Rangers de New York (via la RCA): Justin Barron

Écrivain THW: Jeb Biggart

Initialement projeté comme un choix de repêchage parmi les 10 premiers, Justin Barron possède la boîte à outils pour devenir un défenseur d’arrêt au niveau de la LNH, mais la chance n’a pas été de son côté. Son impressionnante deuxième saison de 41 points en 68 matchs semblait être le début d’une perspective de haut niveau en préparation, mais sa saison 2019-2020 a déraillé avant de pouvoir recommencer. Des caillots de sang l’ont tenu à l’écart pendant trois mois et ses Mooseheads de Halifax étaient l’une des pires équipes de la LHJMQ.

Justin Barron Halifax Mooseheads
Justin Barron des Mooseheads de Halifax (Photo: Halifax Mooseheads)

Malgré les blessures et le manque d’aide, Barron a réussi 19 points en 34 matchs. Cependant, son attaque n’est pas le facteur «wow» du jeu de Barron. Il ne sautera pas de la page avec sa manipulation de bâton ou sa créativité, mais fera toujours le jeu sûr et intelligent. Il bat rarement devant le filet et apporte une tonne de physique. Il n’y a aucune raison pour que Barron ne puisse pas se racheter et retourner à son ancien pedigree. Sans oublier, il aura de l’aide en cours de route de la perspective actuelle du Ranger et de son frère aîné, Morgan Barron.

Prise de Bell

Il semble fou que ce ne soit que le troisième défenseur du plateau et que nous soyons au milieu des années 20. C’est certainement intéressant. Le plafond de Barron semble très prometteur, mais avant d’être retiré de la programmation, je voulais en voir plus. Cela étant dit, il est possible que le caillot de sang ait pris en compte ses difficultés de début de saison. Il fut un temps où Barron était largement considéré comme l’un des meilleurs défenseurs de cette catégorie, et cela pourrait très bien être le cas. Les Rangers pourraient ressembler à des génies ici si Barron atteint ce potentiel.

24) Vegas Golden Knights: Braden Schneider

THW Writer: Devin Little

Je veux commencer par dire que ma préférence pour les Golden Knights à cet endroit serait d’échanger. Étant donné qu’ils n’ont pas de choix de deuxième tour et qu’il y avait encore beaucoup de joueurs de qualité sur le plateau, je pense que les Golden Knights ont une excellente occasion de récupérer certains actifs de draft tout en ajoutant des joueurs de qualité. In the case of Schneider, I see a defenseman who could make a realistic push for an NHL roster spot starting next season. By my estimation, he still needs another year to marinate in the CHL, but the opportunity to snag a two-way, impact defenseman at 24 was too good to refuse. He could potentially make a great partner for Shea Theodore in the future.

Bell’s Take

Now the defenders start to roll and the Golden Knights land a guy that many believe could step right into the NHL. After stealing Peyton Krebs in the first round last season, the Golden Knights turn their attention back to the blue line and land one of the better two-way defenders in this class. He can throw his body around and provide some offence. He could be a great fit with Vegas.

25) Minnesota Wild (Via PIT): Marat Khusnutdinov

THW Writer: Justin Haddad

The name of the game for the Minnesota Wild is upside. This team is in dire need of high ceiling centers and Marat Khusnutdinov fits the bill. There will be a lot of teams that will shy away from him because of his small 5-foot-9, 165-pound frame, but his stature is deceptive on tape because of his highly competitive nature and aggressive style of play on both ends of the ice. He has an air of confidence about him which is evident on film with his high hockey IQ, fantastic vision, and creativeness. The Wild need to replenish their depth at center in the prospect pool and they do just that with both Lapierre and Khusnutdinov in the first round.

Marat Khusnutdinov Team Russia
Marat Khusnutdinov of Team Russia (Russia Hockey/FHR.RU)

Bell’s Take

The Wild take another great forward here with Khusnutdinov and add to an incredibly growing forward corps in Kirill Kaprizov, Matthew Boldy, Adam Beckman, and Lapierre from the 11th pick. Marat brings in an extremely high compete level that he brings every shift. He’s a very in-your-face player that I’m convinced will be a fan favourite. He’ll likely take some time to reach the NHL, but this is a great pickup by Minnesota.

26) Philadelphia Flyers: Ridley Greig

THW Writer: Johnny Berman

With Nolan Patrick’s future uncertain and a need to add more depth at center, the Flyers reach for Ridley Greig. The 17-year old is coming off a strong season of 26 goals and 34 assists with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. His 1.07 points per game rate were highest on the team. Interestingly, the last Wheat King to be drafted by the Flyers was Nolan Patrick in 2017. This time, they will hope for better luck. Greig has also represented Team Canada on the international stage during the 2018 U-17 World Hockey Challenge. He is the son of former NHL player, Mark Greig, who is now a scout for… the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bell’s Take

This might be one of biggest surprises of our first round, but you know what? It works. As Johnny points out, Greig’s dad is a scout for the Flyers and I think it’s safe to say that he would have seen his son play. I see him more of a second-round pick, but he’s definitely the type of player that could sneak into the first. He’s a guy that does it all, working the power play, the penalty kill, scoring, and defending. I really don’t think he’s that far off from making an NHL roster.

27) Washington Capitals: Martin Chromiak

THW Writer: Jack Dawkins

Martin Chromiak really sticks out as a potential top-six complementary forward. It’s hard to deny that Shane Wright’s production improved once Chromiak was added to his wing. If that’s a thing that Chromiak is able to do, it makes his value to an organization like the Caps higher than it might be to another team. In a few years, both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana will still be in their primes while Connor McMichael will be up and coming. Chromiak is a good enough player in his own right, but as a cog in Washington’s machine, I think he’s more valuable than he might be elsewhere.

Martin Chromiak Kingston Frontenacs
Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs (Kingston Frontenacs)

Bell’s Take

For the majority of the season, Chromiak was underrated. But similar to Myšák, he came over from Europe and excelled in the OHL. He put his high hockey IQ on display and became one of the most productive players in the league before the season was cancelled. Keep in mind that he’s one of the younger guys in this class. This is a very promising young player.

28) San Jose Sharks (Via TB): Vasili Ponomaryov

THW Writer: Peter Baracchini

While the San Jose Sharks could use a defenseman to increase their prospect depth, adding a strong, two-way player like Vasili Ponomaryov will bolster their centre position. He plays with a high level of intensity, plus his drive and attitude are what make him a great prospect to have. It’ll be great for him to learn under captain Logan Couture and Joe Thornton who possess the same qualities as he does. He’s a complete-package player you want in a centre.

Bell’s Take

Ponomaryov is another guy that brings a high compete level to his play. He never gives up and the team that lands him will be very happy that they did. The Sharks prospect pool is in need of a boost in offensive potential and this selection does that with a player that also brings a strong defensive game. He’s a well-rounded prospect that will likely slide into the top-six. After Ryan Merkley, Ponomaryov likely comes in as the next best prospect.

29) Colorado Avalanche: William Wallinder

THW Writer: Chris Haddad

William Wallinder’s a puck-moving defenseman with plus size who was the third-highest under-18 scoring defenseman in the Swedish Elite Under 20 League (U-20 SuperElit) in 2019-20 (21 points in 25 games). He’s a strong first-round talent in a weak defensive class with a good shot at making the NHL and could replace Erik Johnson with the Avalanche as a middle-tier defender. Ranked as the 14th top European skater, Wallinder could be gone by the time the Avalanche draft, but I suspect that he’s on Sakic’s short-list.

Bell’s Take

This first round has not been kind to defenders not named Drysdale and it continues here. Wallinder could very well be a top-20 or 25 pick in this draft. While the Avalanche are likely going to lean towards a forward with this pick with Cale Makar and Bowen Byram leading the defensive prospects, if Wallinder fell to them, this might be a player Sakic can’t say no to. He’s a great skater, that will still take some time to develop but has a great deal of potential. I think the Avs would likely go forward here, but Wallinder is a great young prospect and the team could have a very dangerous defence in a few years.

30) St. Louis Blues: Ryan O’Rourke

THW Writer: Ethan Carter, Colleen Flynn, and Stephen Ground

The St. Louis Blues have both big, powerful defensemen as well as playmakers, but a solid two-way, gritty D-man like Ryan O’Rourke is just what they need. O’Rourke’s bulldog style and modeling of Duncan Keith will play heavily in favor for the Blues to stir up the opposing teams. He’s ahead of his game and will develop quickly to be at the NHL level sooner than later.

Ryan O'Rourke Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Ryan O’Rourke of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Related: Meet the Steal of the 2020 NHL Draft

Bell’s Take

As Mark Scheig would say, this could be the steal of the 2020 NHL Draft. O’Rourke is a very mature defender, playing well above his age. He’s able to be used in all situations, shutting down opponents top lines or chipping in offence. For a Blues prospect pool dwindling from trades and calls to the big club, O’Rourke could be the club’s top prospect immediately.

31) Anaheim Ducks (Via BOS): Shakir Mukhamadullin

THW Writer: Anthony Ciardelli & Eddy Jones

Defense is still a significant position of need for the Anaheim Ducks. Eddy and I had settled on Swede William Wallinder before the Avalanche took him at No. 29. We decided to go with a defender that had a similar style of play and body type but was a bit more of a risk. According to scouts, Shakir Mukhamadullin has a strong all-around game. He’s a good skater with great size and physicality. He’s got a rocket shot from the point which the Ducks need. He has poise with the puck and makes smart passes out of his zone. He’s also been described as a “crease clearer,” which is something the Ducks need badly.

When COVID-19 paused the 2019-20 season, the Ducks ranked No. 28 in high-danger chances against, one spot better than they finished last season. Mukhamadullin has the potential to finally keep opposing forwards from sitting directly on top of John Gibson and steer high-danger chances away from goal. Though Mukhamadullin isn’t particularly offensive-minded right now, he’s got the tools to develop a good offensive game while his strong in-zone play will be important for the Ducks.

Bell’s Take

Ah, Mukhamadullin. I’ve talked about how he’s not my favourite prospect, but I know that some are fairly high on him. His potential comes largely in the back end right now, but he did win the gold medal for Team Russia at the World Junior A Challenge with a goal in double overtime. There are mixed feelings toward him. Some cite the fact that he’s playing in the KHL already, is a versatile defender and can read the play well, while others say that he struggles in his own end and with the puck. The Ducks are drafting for upside, of course, but we’ll see what happens with Mukhamadullin.

Final thoughts

There were definitely a few surprises in The Hockey Writers’ first-round Mock Draft, and there’s a ton of high-end talent left on the board. At both forward and defence, the top of the second round looks set for some potential steals, just like it was in 2019.

The fact that the Senators are walking away from night one with Byfield, Drysdale, and Myšák while the Devils land Raymond, Lundell, and Jarvis likely make them the big winners early on. I’m not sure which trio I like more – it’s too hard.

It’s also interesting that two teams with multiple picks in this round took chances on the players who suffered from injuries this season. The Wild scooped up Lapierre, and the Rangers nabbed Barron. That might very well be the case for these two players that are first-round talents but have had their stock affected by their injured seasons.

What do you think about THW team’s picks? Let us know in the comments!

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