Top 5 NHL Draft 2020 Projections
1: New York Rangers: Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski
Lafreniere,a skillful and marvelous left-winger with world-class hockey senses, elevates his game when the situation calls for it. However, what makes Lafreniére exceptional is his selflessness, killer instinct, physicality and a non-stop drive to compete.
The bright lights of New York City will be no issue for Lafreniere. At the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, Lafreniere recorded 10 points (four goals and six assists) in five games, earning him the most valuable player award of the tournament and assisting in Canada’s gold medal win.
In addition, Lafreniere joined Sidney Crosby as the only other back-to-back winner of the CHL’s David Branch Player of the Year Award.
Lafreniere should fit like a glove with the Rangers’ offensive nucleus of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko and Pavel Buchnevich.
2: Los Angeles Kings: Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury
Byfield might have the most upside in the 2020 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old enters the draft at 6-foot-4 and 214-pounds. With lots of room to grow, Byfield is an intriguing option for the Kings.
Byfield is a true hockey specimen, with his rare package of size, strength, speed and hockey sense. But, what makes Byfield so appealing is his craftiness with the puck and “200-foot game.”
Byfield’s 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship was a mere disappointment, recording just one point (one assist) in seven games played. However, Byfield’s resume of 143 points (61 goals and 82 assists) in 109 games for Sudbury speaks for itself.
Byfield could learn a lot from Kings centerman Anze Kopitar, due to their similar stature.
3: Ottawa Senators: Tim Stützle, C/LW, Alder
Stützle is the latest German superstar looking to make a name for himself in the NHL, following in the footsteps of Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl.
Stützle is truly a magician, with his toolbox of dekes, speed, stick handling and hockey IQ. But, what makes Stützle such a dynamic forward is how he uses his edge work and soft hands to expose defenders.
The 18-year-old flourished playing against grown men in Germany’s professional league, the DEL. Stützle produced 34 points (seven goals and 27 assists) in 41 games for Mannheim, earning him the DEL’s Rookie of the Year Award.
At the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, Stützle impressed scouts with his passing ability and IQ, recording five assists in five games played.
Stützle would become a pivotal player in the Senator's rebuilding process.
4: Detroit Red Wings: Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa
Rossi might have the best scoring touch in the 2020 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old Austrian center has the potential to be a franchise player.
Rossi is an offensive juggernaut, with his playmaking ability, hand-eye coordination, tenacity and hockey instincts. However, what makes Rossi an intriguing prospect is how he uses his low center of gravity to burn defenders.
The Austrian scoring machine dominated the 2019-2020 OHL season, recording 120 points (39 goals and 81 assists) in 56 games played. Rossi earned the Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player and the Eddie Powers Trophy as the top scorer.
Rossi would solidify the Red Wings' need for a second-line center behind Dylan Larkin.
5: Ottawa Senators: Lucas Raymond, LW/RW, Frölunda
Raymond is one of the two highly-touted Swedish 18-year-olds in the 2020 NHL Draft, along with Alexander Holtz. At 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, Raymond is a project pick, but the potential is there.
Raymond doesn’t have the flashy statistics. However, when Raymond is on the ice, he is a game-changer.
Raymond is a well-rounded, play-making winger who has work ethic, soft hands, accelerating speed and a desire to dominate both ends of the ice.
The young Swede only recorded 10 points ( four goals and six assists) in 33 games against grown men in Sweden’s professional league. However, at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, Raymond impressed scouts with four points (two goals and two assists) in seven games.
Raymond would definitely help the lack of talent and scoring on the Senators.
Jordan Hession is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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