Senators fans have been simulating the lottery ever since the Covid-19 lockout started. The team here at CoastersCorner decided to make a mock draft of one of these simulations…sadly the Sens did not get first pick. We had 8 experts get assigned either 3-4 picks for the 1st round of the draft. Here is a very early look at what you can expect to see if and when we have an NHL Draft in 2020:
1. Los Angeles Kings: Alexis Lafreniere (F), Rimouski
This year’s first overall pick should be no surprise, likely to be the second Quebec-born player selected first overall since Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003, Lafreniere is a bonafide superstar. Chipping in with 35 goals and 77 assists in 52 games the Rimouski winger led all CHL players with a whopping 2.15 points per game average. If that wasn’t enough, the 18 year old Canadian winger had 10 points (4 G, 6 A) and was named MVP and top forward while helping his country bring home the gold at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championships (despite missing two games in the preliminary round). LA gets lucky winning the lottery and is rewarded with no doubt the best player of the draft.
2. Ottawa Senators (SJ): Quinton Byfield (F), Sudbury
Sens take the safer projection in Byfield over Stutzle. Byfield racked up 32 goals and 50 assists for 82 points in 45 games for Sudbury. There are scouts comparing him to Evgeni Malkin. At 6’5 he skates very well, with most scouts rating his skating as above average, some saying its elite level. Byfield was days away from being eligible for the 2021 entry draft, making him one of the youngest players in this class. It’s imperative the Sens land a top center in this draft and they get the best one available in Byfield.
3. Anaheim Ducks (DET) *Trade Alert* : Tim Stützle (F), Mannheim
Simply put, when you have the opportunity to acquire high end skill, speed and high ceiling potential, you take it. With an already deep prospect pool, ANA has the luxury of being able to trade away some prospect depth in picks #5 & #31, for a bonafide blue-chip prospect in Stutzle. Touted as a Patrick Kane comparable, Stutzle’s combination of speed, vision, and puck handling is the perfect tool set to thrive in the new era NHL as an elite play-maker. Already producing at a 0.83 PPG pace against men in the DEL, Stutzle will have every opportunity to crack Anaheim’s lineup in the fall. Slated as a centre, Tim projects to slot in behind Getzlaf early on, providing ANA with a lethal 1-2 punch as they attempt to infuse their lineup with young talent for a quick retooling instead of a full blown rebuild.
4. Ottawa Senators: Jamie Drysdale (D), Erie
Sens take the best available Defenseman in the class. To play at age 17 in a regular role in Canada’s top 6 defense at the World Juniors, you’ve got to be a special player. Drysdale’s best two attributes are his skating and his hockey sense, both considered elite level. This works well for the Senators as Drysdale is the best available player and fills a positional need as Thomas Chabot’s long-term defense partner.
5. Detroit Red Wings (ANA) *Trade Alert*: Lucas Raymond (F), Frolunda
Once the Wings lost the lottery, it was apparent for them to drop down a few picks and gain a late first. Most have Stutzle or Byfield in 2/3 spot but Raymond has been rising into the category for some scouts. He played sparingly in the SHL but was over 1.5 pts/game in their junior league. He has NHL level speed and will likely crack the Wings opening day roster.
6. New Jersey Devils: Marco Rossi (F), Ottawa
With two young centermans in Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier on the roster, the Devils could target a winger or defenseman with this pick, but decide to go with the BPA in Rossi. Rossi absolutely dominated the OHL in 2019-20 with 120 point in 56 games on a elite Ottawa 67’s team. Rossi’s point total becomes more impressive when you delve into it, as he averaged 1.03 primary points/game (goals or first assists). He is an extremely skilled two-way centerman that possesses elite puck skills, passing ability and a defensive game that is polished. Despite what he lacks in size (5’9 179 lbs.) he still has the ability to win 50/50 battles and is strong in the faceoff circle. A monster on the man-advantage, Rossi’s skill will be a welcomed addition to the Devils in the near future.
7. Buffalo Sabres: Anton Lundell (F), Hifk
Lundell is a smooth skating Finn, with the upside potential of a lesser Aleksander Barkov. Most are comparing Anton as the “second coming of Mikko Koivu”. To paint the picture more clearly, Lundell carries two-way prowess with top-line ceiling, coupled with an ever evolving tool-set of offensive skills. His talent has led scouts to believe he is “one of the most NHL-ready prospects of the class.” The smart play for the Sabres is to lock him up now, but let him develop his game further in his native land of Finland. Kaapo Kakko, a new name will be competing with him soon.
8. Montreal Canadiens: Alexander Holtz (F) , DIF
Montreal finally shies away from taking the smaller forward and takes big bodied Alexander Holtz. This Swedish prospect has all the tools to become a good player in the NHL but his ability to score is what separates him. He has yet to start playing top 6 forward minutes in the SHL but was too skilled to be playing in the U20 league where he racked up 37 goals in 41 games. He’s got some swagger to him and has that innate ability to be in the right spot at the right time, and gets praised for his offensive awareness. Canadiens probably need a centre more so than anything, but Holtz is at a great value at pick 8.
9. Chicago Blackhawks: Yaroslav Askarov (G), SKA
With the expiring contracts of both Corey Crawford (UFA) and Malcolm Subban (RFA) heading into the 20/21 season, Chicago needs to bolster their goal-tending depth with a high-ceiling goaltender prospect in Yaroslav Askarov. The uncertainty surrounding Crawford’s injury history and him heading into the season at the age of 35, time is running short on his time as an NHL-tier goaltender, as well as his time as a Blackhawk. I can see him being re-signed for a season or two, giving time for Askarov to marinate back in Russia for one more season and then brought into the AHL the following season. If they re-sign Crawford, I dont see them qualifying Subban in this situation and replacing him with Colin Delia, who currently splits time with 2020 AHL All-Star Kevin Lankinen down in Rockford. This pick will strengthen Chicago’s goal-tending depth, while also optimizing where each goaltender plays in the organization for the foreseen future.
10. New Jersey Devils: Jake Sanderson (D), USNTDP
Tempted with the likes of offensive talents, Jack Quinn and Cole Perfetti, the Devils opt for the second ranked defenseman in the draft in Sanderson. An effortless skater, Sanderson is committed to a strong North Dakota team in 2020-21. His strength is largely in his defensive game, with solid puck-moving ability and a very strong stick. However, he does have an improving offensive game (29 points in 47 games in 2019-20), and there’s a sense building around many scouts that he has untapped offensive potential. Jersey’s defensive prospect pool needs a stud prospect along with Ty Smith, and they get their guy with Sanderson at #10.