2020 NHL Draft: Mock Draft V.1

Wow.  I was worried this season would be like the last where I had no time to do a top 32 list, and no time to do any mock drafts which are probably what I do best.  So I have to admit, I’m pretty pumped I managed to get a mid-season one out!

You have to understand one thing when reading this: It’s just for fun.  It’s a fun read, lots of people love the draft and love reading mocks.  It also helps fans who blindly say “trade a pick” to put a face to that pick.  All of a sudden, fans aren’t so eager to “trade a pick”.  This is the perfect time to do one though as we’re a little under a month away from the trade deadline.

Be sure to check out my top 32 rankings that I’m also releasing today to read up more on how I feel about each player.

***Standings as of Jan. 27th, 2020 based off points percentage

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1. Alexis Lafrenière

Team: Rimouski  League: QMJHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 39  G: 24  A: 60  P: 84

Born: 10/11/01, Saint-Eustache, QC

SOH Rank: 1st

There is no other choice at this point.  Others have been intriguing, but Lafrenière is the pick for whoever wins this pick.

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2. Quinton Byfield

Team: Sudbury  League: OHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 214  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 36  G: 29  A: 41  P: 70

Born: 08/19/02, Newmarket, ON

SOH Rank: 2nd

This pick isn’t the slam dunk that Lafrenière is.  The Kings don’t have much in the system on the blueline and took Alex Turcotte last spring, so Jamie Drysdale would get a long look at this point.  Still, I believe if the draft happened today, Byfield would be the pick as that potential is going to be too tough for NHL teams to pass up.

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3. Jamie Drysdale

Team: Erie  League: OHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 165  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 36  G: 7  A: 31  P: 38

Born: 04/08/02, Toronto, ON

SOH Rank: 3rd

This team badly needs to build up their blueline.  Ty Smith is about it.  I know they got Kevin Bahl as well, but I’m not sold on Bahl being a guy to get too excited about.  Drysdale is going to be a stud, you can’t pass him up if you’re the Devils.

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4. Marco Rossi

Team: Ottawa  League: OHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’9  Wt: 179  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 37  G: 28  A: 53  P: 81

Born: 09/23/01, Feldkirch, AUT

SOH Rank: 4th

Not the guy I’m sure they’ll truly desire, but you aren’t going to be upset about getting a high end centre who is already in the market.

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5. Lucas Raymond

Team: Frölunda HC  League: SHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 165  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 21  G: 4  A: 4  P: 8

Born: 03/28/02, Göteborg, SWE

SOH Rank: 5th

This is maybe the biggest need for the Ducks right now, skill up front.  They have some very good young pieces, but more skill is needed and Raymond brings a ton of that.

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6. Tim Stützle

Team: Adler Mannheim  League: DEL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 165  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 30  G: 6  A: 22  P: 28

Born: 01/15/02, Viersen, GER

SOH Rank: 6th

Originally San Jose’s pick, sent to Ottawa in the Erik Karlsson trade.  Again, they will badly want Drysdale in my opinion (outside of Lafrenière), but there is no other D worth taking here (at this point).  The Sens aren’t going to be too upset with a Friday night haul of Rossi and Stützle.

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7. Cole Perfetti

Team: Saginaw  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 185  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 46  G: 28  A: 54  P: 82

Born: 01/01/02, Whitby, ON

SOH Rank: 11th

There are others who I would pick if I were the Habs in this position.  But the Habs have a knack for being poor team builders.  I really like Perfetti, but he wouldn’t be my pick in this spot and for this squad.  This is 100% a gut feeling as to what they’d here.

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8. Yaroslav Askarov

Team: SKA-Neva St. Petersburg  League: VHL

Pos: G  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 163  Glove: R

2020 Stats – GP: 17  G.A.A.: 2.36  Sv%: .923

Born: 06/16/02, Omsk, RUS

SOH Rank: 9th

A perfect pick for a team that has admitted they need to rebuild yet, but will be forced to soon.  When they do, it’ll be a big help to have it started with a stud between the pipes.

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9. Anton Lundell

Team: HIFK  League: Liiga

Pos: C  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 183  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 27  G: 6  A: 13  P: 19

Born: 10/03/01, Espoo, FIN

SOH Rank: 7th

Casey Mittlestadt already looks like a miss (I know it’s super early, I’m not counting him out but it’s how they have to look at it), and they don’t have that guy right now who can help Eichel out with the heavy lifting.  Lundell could fill those shoes.

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10. Dylan Holloway

Team: Wisconsin  League: NCAA

Pos: C  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 23  G: 3  A: 5  P: 8

Born: 09/23/01, Calgary, AB

SOH Rank: 10th

This team really needs to upgrade down the middle, but the question here would be whether or not they’d see Holloway as a centre?  They’d get to see him a lot this season though being the teammate of 2018 1st rounder K’Andre Miller.

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11. Alexander Holtz

Team: Djurgårdens IF  League: SHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 183  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 25  G: 7  A: 5  P: 12

Born: 01/23/02, Saltsjö-Boo, SWE

SOH Rank: 8th

The Jets big need is on D, but Holtz would be too big of a talent to pass on.  Add to that, the Jets would then be able to afford shipping out a guy like Ehlers or Connor for the D-man they so badly need.

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12. Noel Gunler 

Team: Luleå HF  League: SHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 176  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 34  G: 2  A: 7  P: 9

Born: 10/07/01, Luleå, SWE

SOH Rank: 12th

They’re all about just taking what they view as the most skilled guy on the board.  It seems in the last few years they’ve gone all in on that philosophy, so Gunler fits them perfectly.

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13. William Wallinder

Team: MODO J-20  League: SuperElit

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 29  G: 5  A: 16  P: 21

Born: 07/28/02, Sollefteå, SWE

SOH Rank: 13th

Their blueline is now getting old.  They aren’t old yet, but by the time the 13th pick arrives no matter who it would be, they’ll be pretty hard up for someone to emerge and they don’t have a sure thing in the system at the moment.

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14. Braden Schneider

Team: Brandon Wheat Kings

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 209  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 43  G: 5  A: 25  P: 30

Born: 09/20/01, Prince Albert, SK

SOH Rank: 31st

Not a doubt in my mind here.  Kelly McCrimmon will know Schneider better than most and there is a massive hole in the Golden Knights organization at the moment on the right side of the blueline.

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15. Kaiden Guhle

Team: Prince Albert  League: WHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 187  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 47  G: 8  A: 20  P: 28

Born: 01/18/02, Sherwood Park, AB

SOH Rank: 14th

Originally Arizona’s pick sent to New Jersey in the Taylor Hall trade.  I’m a massive fan of Guhle’s and can’t wait for others to catch up.  If the Devils walk out of this draft with Dyrsdale and Guhle to join Ty Smith in the system, there we go.  Now the Devils rebuild would be going somewhere.

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16. Seth Jarvis

Team: Portland  League: WHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 172  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 41  G: 26  A: 37  P: 63

Born: 02/01/02, Winnipeg, MB

SOH Rank: 15th

At the moment, they really crave talent on the right side.  I might look to the blueline here as they don’t have anyone coming, two UFA’s, an ageing star, and then Valimaki’s injuries are concerning too.  But, they seem hell-bent on addressing the right side up front and Jarvis would do that.

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17. John-Jason Peterka

Team: EHC München  League: DEL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 31  G: 6  A: 4  P: 10

Born: 01/14/02, München, GER

SOH Rank: 19th

Originally Toronto’s pick sent to Carolina in the Patrick Marleau trade.  Much like the Blackhawks, the Canes just love to go after skill and Peterka fits the bill here.

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18. Connor Zary

Team: Kamloops Blazers

Pos: C  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 180  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 40  G: 28  A: 31  P: 59

Born: 09/25/01, Saskatoon, SK

SOH Rank: 26th

It’s maybe not the centre out of the dub who I would select here (at this time), but I have Zary right behind Finley and would have no issue with the pick.  The Oilers badly need to address the middle in their system, which is what I’ve been screaming for them to do for a few years now.  It’s enhanced now with RNH going into the final year of his deal next season.

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19. Jake Sanderson

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 185  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 49  G: 6  A: 22  P: 28

Born: 07/08/02, Whitefish, MT

SOH Rank: 23rd

From 2013-15 they aggressively looked to address their blueline.  Last year, they went back to that and I don’t believe they should be done or will be done.  He was only there for one season, but Jake’s dad Geoff did spend a season in Philly.

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20. Dawson Mercer

Team: Chicoutimi  League: QMJHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 170  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 31  G: 18  A: 29  P: 47

Born: 10/27/01, Bay Roberts, NL

SOH Rank: 17th

A lot of different ways the Stars could go with their 1st rounder, but the big thing I wonder is if they’ll own it come February 25th.  I doubt it.  But if they do, I’d just take the top skill on the board which I believe Mercer would be.

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21. Jack Finley

Team: Spokane  League: WHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’5  Wt: 207  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 43  G: 10  A: 26  P: 36

Born: 09/02/02, Kelowna, BC

SOH Ranking: 25th

They drafted Ryan Johansen, and the more this season rolls on the more Finley’s draft year reminds me of Johansen’s.  The size, the skating, the ascension, the production, and I just wonder if their scouts would see it the same way.

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22. Vasili Ponomaryov 

Team: Shawinigan  League: QMJHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 176  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 39  G: 15  A: 22  P: 37

Born: 03/13/02, Zelenograd, RUS

SOH Ranking: 20th

Again, the Hurricanes love to take skill and Ponomaryov has a lot of skill, but also has a lot of the intangibles too.  Feels to me like the Canes wouldn’t pass on him.

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23. Tyson Foerster

Team: Barrie  League: OHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 194  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 43  G: 26  A: 30  P: 56

Born: 01/18/02, Alliston, ON

SOH Ranking: 21st

This organization loves their skilled size, and they have gone heavy on OHL kids over the years.  So Foerster really fits the bill nicely for the Panthers.

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24. Jacob Perreault

Team: Sarnia  League: OHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 198  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 43  G: 28  A: 27  P: 55

Born: 04/15/02, Montreal, QC

SOH Ranking: 18th

The Avs are in a great spot.  That blueline is loaded moving forward, they are great up front, I’d probably look to stockpile forwards for the next few drafts.  Jacob Perreault is a forward, so take him!

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25. Justin Barron

Team: Halifax  League: QMJHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 187  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 27  G: 4  A: 13  P: 17

Born: 11/15/01, Halifax, NS

SOH Ranking: 28th

They took a right shot D out of the Q in 2018, and I could see them going back to that well here.  Barron has had a tough season, but he could end up being a steal for someone because of it.

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26. Rodion Amirov

Team: Salavat Yulaev Ufa  League: KHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 168  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 21  G: 0  A: 2  P: 2

Born: 10/02/01, Salavat, RUS

SOH Ranking: 32nd

With no Foote children on the board, the Lightning go back to the Russian well that has served them well over the years.

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27. Brendan Brisson

Team: Chicago  League: USHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 179  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 30  G: 17  A: 19  P: 36

Born: 10/22/01, Manhattan Beach, CA

SOH Ranking: 27th

If you’re thinking to yourself “Soups, you’re just saying this because his dad is Crosby’s agent”…you are correct.  Well, that’s not the only reason, the Pens need to put as much talent in the bank as they can, but there is no doubt that this would make a ton of sense because of the Crosby-Brisson connection.  Having said this…I would guess the Pens won’t own this pick come late June.

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28. Michael Benning

Team: Sherwood Park  League: AJHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 174  Shot: R

2020 Stats – GP: 42  G: 8  A: 49  P: 57

Born: 01/05/02, St. Albert, AB

SOH Ranking: 24th

Originally Vancouver’s pick sent to Tampa Bay in the J.T. Miller trade.  Some might be asking why the Canucks pick would be 28th rather than 19th?  Because the four division champs (in the playoffs) will have the final four picks.  Since I’m not doing this based off my own projections, this is where they land.  I truly believe Benning is going in the 1st round, and the Lightning have had a strong presence in the West of late.

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29. Hendrix Lapierre

Team: Chicoutimi  League: QMJHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 181  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 19  G: 2  A: 15  P: 17

Born: 02/09/02, Gatineau, QC

SOH Ranking: 16th

I’ve said for years that the Bruins need to get ready for the decline of Bergeron and Krejci, and while they’ve somewhat looked to address it, they need to stockpile guys in my opinion until it looks as though a few of them may pop.  Lapierre has a ton of Bergeron in his game and only would fall to this point because of his injury issues.

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30. Jake Neighbours 

Team: Edmonton  League: WHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 196  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 49  G: 16  A: 35  P: 51

Born: 03/29/02, Airdrie, AB

SOH Ranking: NR

They’ve had a lot of success with skilled size, and while every team is going to be big on IQ, they seem to perhaps value it more than most do with the kids they take.  Neighbours fits both bills.

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31. Antonio Stranges

Team: London  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 170  Shot: L

2020 Stats – GP: 44  G: 17  A: 18  P: 35

Born: 02/05/02, Plymouth, MI

SOH Ranking: NR

They’ll know him very well.  Dale Hunter is still close with a lot of people in the Caps organization, plus they already have Connor McMichael there who they’ll be watching closely.  Stranges isn’t knocking it out of the park this season, but the skill is ridiculous with this kid.

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