2020 NHL Draft Top 10 Rundown
On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, the NHL had its first-ever virtual draft. Hopeful players and their family and friends from all over the world logged in via Zoom to hear the National Hockey League’s first-round picks. I’m here to give you a little insight into the top-10, as well as a Puck Bunny opinion from her natural habitat.
#1, New York Rangers, Alexis Lafreniere, Left Wing
At the number one draft pick of 2020, we have Alexis Lafreniere (Alex-EE Lafren-AIR). He comes from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and he led the season last year with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists). Lafreniere is highly decorated in the QMJHL, winning five different awards this past season, including, but not limited to, the Michel Briere Trophy for MVP of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the CHL Player of the year award. Standing at 6’1 and 193 pounds, he likely won’t be physically dominated in New York. Lafreniere is easily the most talented player in the draft this season, and the Rangers would have been lacking extreme intelligence had they not scooped up Alexis Lafreniere right out of French Canada. Now, he’s no Jack Hughes, but he’ll do.
#2, Los Angeles Kings, Quintin Byfield, Center
Next up, we have Quinton Byfield. Not only is he a very talented skater and excellent playmaker, but he’s also making history. On Tuesday night, Quinton made NHL history as the highest-ever black player drafted, surpassing Evander Kane (fourth overall 2009, Atlanta Thrashers) and Seth Jones (fourth overall 2013, Nashville Predators). The 18-year-old from Newmarket, Canada, is about 6’4 and 215, and as soon as he gets with the NHL strength and conditioning coaches, the Kings are going to have a beast on the ice.
#3, Ottawa Senators, Tim Stuetzle, Left Wing
Scouts compare this kid to Kaner, THE Patrick Kane, no. 88 of the Chicago Blackhawks. This winger can play fast and furious in all situations. Stuetzle comes from the Mannheim of Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top tier professional hockey league in Germany, and had 34 points in 41 games this last season (seven goals, 27 assists). He has the experience of playing young in a professional league. Using that knowledge in Ottawa will be to his advantage. Ladies, Gaydies, and Theydies, I have done some extensive scientific research, and from what I gather, he does not have a significant other.
#4, Detroit Red Wings, Lucas Raymond, Left Wing
The 18-year-old played in the Swedish Hockey League and had 10 points (four goals, six assists). He averaged a little over nine minutes of ice time and had 32 SOG in their 33 game season. Lucas has proven to not only his Swedish team but his new team in the red and white that he’s a powerful pair of skates to have on the power play and penalty kill. He creates the play around him rather than waiting and watching. Unfortunate that he has to play for the Wings, though.
#5, Ottawa Senators, Jake Sanderson, Defense
The first American born kiddo of the draft thus far, he averaged .62 points per game with the USA Hockey National Team Development U-18 team this year. Charlie McVoy, Cameron York, Quinn Hughes, and Jack Hughes have all come out of the USA Hockey NTDP. Jake Sanderson is the son of former NHL forward Geoff Sanderson. Jake is a dominant defenseman on the ice and is slowly but surely improving his offensive game. He will attend the University of North Dakota for the 2020-21 season. When he arrives in Ottawa, he’ll be an irreplaceable, versatile player because there is nothing else to do in North Dakota.
#6, Anaheim Ducks, Jamie Drysdale, Defense
He’s played for Team Canada in three World Junior Championships and the Erie Otters in the OHL. In the 2019-20 season, he was named to the OHL First All-Star Team. He scored 47 points in 49 games (nine goals, 38 assists), and drives the puck and makes things happen. Drysdale played for team Canada at the World Junior Championships and scored three points at 11:38 average ice time. He supports the attack being a versatile defender and strong skater. According to Elite Prospects, he’s more of a shooter than a skater but is overall very adaptable in any situation. Don’t you have to be a skater to play hockey?
#7, New Jersey Devils, Alexander Holtz, Right Wing
Holtz is the first right-wing born, raised, and trained in Sweden to be chosen in the top-10 in 27 years. The last Swede selected so high was Niklas Sundstrom to the New York Rangers eighth overall back in 1993. Alexander is a right-hand shooter who led U-18 skaters in the SHL with nine goals and seven assists in 35 games. With foundational lefties already in Jersey, this was a smart move for them as they move forward. Holtz plays technically, skillfully, and tough. He’s not only an effective scorer himself but also a phenomenal playmaker for his teammates. Holtz is a strong shooter and becomes lethal in the offensive zone. His hockey sense and intuition kick into overdrive on the power play, and once he polishes his talent in New Jersey, this kid will be unstoppable.
#8, Buffalo Sabres, Jack Quinn, Right Wing
This offseason has been very generous to Jack. Scouts have noticed that he has become more explosive on the puck, and there’s a crispness to his playing that wasn’t there before. Jack is listed as a right-wing but can play all three forward positions. NHL Analysis says that Jack Quinn needs to be on a line with Jack Eichel or Dylan Cozens to give Buffalo precisely what they need to be the next big thing. He’s a strong puck carrier faking out d-men left and right. He’s adaptable, quick with his hands, and will be a substantial addition to the Sabres. Jack be friendly, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the hockey stick.
#9, Minnesota Wild, Marco Rossi, Center
Rossi led the Continental Hockey League with a massive 120 points consisting of 39 goals and 81 assists in the 56 games of the 2019-2020 season. Even my mom knows that a lot of points, people. This included 34 multi-point games, and he was second in the league for PPG (behind Lafreniere). He’s a tiny guy, only 5’9 and 183, but he plays strong and knows how to use his hands for quick offense and strong face-offs. Wild General Management has high hopes for Marco Rossi, projecting him to be the top center their team needs.
#10, Winnipeg Jets, Cole Perfetti, Center
In the OHL Coaches Poll, he was voted the smartest player, best playmaker, best stick-handler, and best shootout shooter. He finished second in the Ontario Hockey League with 111 points, 37 of which were goals, in 61 games. Where most might lose the puck, Perfetti has it tight on the stick with no intention of letting it go. His high hockey IQ allows him to always be in the right place and the right time, create time and space in all the right areas for himself and his linemates.
All in all, I think the talent in this year’s draft is unmatched thus far. Some of these boys will play a season in the NCAA or their respective countries before suiting up for the National Hockey League. The talent gets greater and greater with every draft, but this one will be hard to beat. Teams that haven’t seen the playoffs in years will be giving the dynasties a run for their money. Teams lower in the draft lottery, like the Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks, had the opportunity for some strong talent as well. This year’s draft class will dominate the league in the coming years.
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