2020 NHL Draft Rankings: Forbes’ Top 124 for February

Folks, it’s been a while – and I mean a while – since you were able to last check in with my prospect rankings heading into the 2020 NHL Draft. While I haven’t laid out my rankings for some time, my fellow colleagues – Josh Bell and Larry Fisher have been all over the upcoming draft and which prospects to keep an eye on.

That said, for the first time since October, I’m back with an updated list of prospects from major junior to the NCAA and all the way over to Europe. Some have already made a name for themselves, while others found the spotlight or took a back seat in major tournaments like the World Junior Championships in December.

While the number one spot still seems to be occupied by Alexis Lafreniere on most draft rankings, anything past that is still up for grabs depending on who you talk to. While Quinton Byfield was a shoe-in as my second overall pick in my preseason rankings, his mediocrity in some of the most recent tournaments – the WJC and the Hlinka – have him dropping for some.

Alexis Lafreniere Quinton Byfield Top Prospects Game
Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. (CHL Images)

That said, I haven’t slipped off the Byfield train just yet. In fact, given the opportunity to grow and develop some more, he could live up to the early-season draft hype that had him second on most rankings.

There was, however, a lot of movement outside the top five from my preseason rankings to now, as there should be four months later. Now, while I haven’t had the opportunity to watch each of these players play live, being from southwestern Ontario, I am relying on the few opportunities I have had as well as video and other input in making up these rankings. With that, here’s a look at my top 124 prospects for the upcoming draft.

First Round

1) Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

2) Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

3) Tim Stutzle, C, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

4) Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie Otters (OHL)

5) Lucas Raymond, RW, Frolunda (SHL)

6) Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgarden (SHL)

7) Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

8) Cole Perfetti, LW, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

9) Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (Liiga)

10) Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)

11) Dylan Holloway, C, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

12) Dawson Mercer, RW, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

13) Connor Zary, C, Kamploops Blazers (WHL)

14) Justin Barron, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

15) Rodion Amirov, LW, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

16) Noel Gunler, RW, Lulea HF (SHL)

17) Braden Schneider, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

18) Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

19) Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

20) Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

21) Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan Cataracts (QMJHL)

22) Jake Sanderson, D, U.S. National Development Program U18

23) William Wallinder, D, MODO J20 (SuperElit)

24) Jan Mysak, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)

25) Jeremie Poirier, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

26) Ryan O’Rourke, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

27) Jacob Perreault, RW/C, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

28) Lukas Reichel, LW, Berlin (DEL)

29) Ty Smilanic, C, U.S. National Development Program U18

30) Vasily Ponomarev, C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

31) Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)

Second Round

32) Zion Nybeck, RW, HV71 J20 (SuperElit)

33) Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

34) John-Jason Peterka, LW, Munchen (DEL)

35) Seth Jarvis, RW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

36) Lukas Cormier, D, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)

37) Justin Sourdif, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL)

38) Jean-Luc Foudy, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

39) Emil Andrae, D, HV71 J20 (SuperElit)

40) Jaromir Pytlik, RW, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

41) Roni Hirvonen, LW/C, Assat (Liiga)

42) Tyler Kleven, D, U.S. National Development Program U18

43) Alexander Pashin, RW, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)

44) Antonio Stranges, LW, London Knights (OHL)

45) Helge Grans, D, Malmo Redhawks J20 (SuperElit)

46) Will Cuylle, LW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

47) Luke Tuch, LW, U.S. National Development Program U18

48) Kasper Simontaival, RW, Tappara (Liiga)

49) Brendan Brisson, Chicago Steel (USHL)

50) Daniil Gushchin, RW, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

51) Martin Chromiak, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

52) Ridly Greig, LW/C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

53) Thomas Bordeleau, C, U.S. National Development Program U18

54) Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW/C, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

55) Dylan Peterson, C, U.S. National Development Program U18

56) Connor McClennon, RW, Winnipeg ICE (WHL)

57) Veeti Miettinen, RW, Kiekko-Espoo U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)

58) Michael Benning, D, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)

59) Topi Niemela, D, Karpat (Liiga)

60) Sean Farrell, RW/C, Chicago Steel (USHL)

61) Carter Savoie, LW, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)

62) Samuel Knazko, D, TPS U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)

Third Round

63) Daniel Ljungman, C, Linkoping HC J20 (SuperElit)

64) Daemon Hunt, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

65) Pavel Novak, RW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

66) Marat Khusnutdinov, LW/C, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)

67) Theo Rochette, C, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

68) Ryder Rolston, RW, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

69) Kasper Puutio, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

70) Oliver Suni, RW, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

71) Michal Gut, LW/C, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

72) Adam Raska, LW, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

73) Joel Blomqvist, G, Karpat U20 (Finland)

74) Sam Colangelo, RW, Chicago Steel (USHL)

75) Jan Bednar, G, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic)

76) Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie Colts (OHL)

77) Simon Kubicek, D, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

78) Jack Finley, RW/C, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

79) Lleyton Moore, D, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

80) William Villeneuve, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

81) Eemil Viro, D, TPS (Liiga)

82) Cross Hanas, LW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

83) Matej Kaslik, LW/C, Malmo Redhawks J20 (SuperElit)

84) Donovan Sebrango, D, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

85) Ben Schoen, RW/C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

86) Blake Biondi, C, Hermantown (U.S. High School)

87) Tristen Robins, RW/C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

88) Leo Loof, D, Farjestad BK J20 (SuperElit)

89) Charlie Desroches, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

90) Brock Faber, D, U.S. National Development Program U18

91) Luke Evangelista, RW, London Knights (OHL)

92) Yan Kuznetsov, D, Connecticut (NCAA)

93) Alex Gaffney, LW/C, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

Fourth Round

94) Noah Ellis, D, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)

95) Nick Malik, G, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

96) Christoffer Sedoff, D, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

97) Simon Knak, RW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

98) Ruben Rafkin, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

99) Landon Slaggert, RW/C, U.S. National Development Program U18

100) Kyle Crnkovic, LW, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

101) Noah Delemont, D, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)

102) Vsevolod Skotnikov, G, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)

103) Pavel Tyutnev, LW/C, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)

104) Roby Jarventie, F, Ilves (Liiga)

105) Alexander Nikishin, D, Spartak Moskva (KHL)

106) Maxim Groshev, RW, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk (MHL)

107) Jack Smith, C, St. Cloud Cathedral (U.S. High School)

108) Joona Lehmus, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

109) Eamon Powell, D, U.S. National Development Program U18

110) Ronan Seeley, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

111) Juuso Maenpaa, LW/C, Jokerit U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)

112) Calle Clang, G, Rogle J20 (SuperElit)

113) Marek Blaha, D, Sparta Praha U20 (DHL Cup)

114) Joni Jurmo, D, Jokerit U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)

115) Marko Stacha, D, Dukla Trencin (Slovakia)

116) Ethan Bowen, LW/C, Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)

117) Emil Heineman, LW, Leksands J20 (SuperElit)

118) Ville Ottavainen, D, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

119) Evan Vierling, C, Barrie Colts (OHL)

120) Logan Morrison, RW/C, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)

121) Joona Kiviniemi, LW, Karpat U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)

122) Jake Ratzlaff, D, Rosemount (U.S. High School)

123) Tyler Tullio, RW/C, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

124) Dylan Garand, G, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

Closing Thoughts

He may rank higher on other lists, but for me Brett Berard is sitting just outside the top four rounds for now. I’ve got him ranked 125th on my list and if it weren’t for a couple of big performances at the World Juniors in December and it carrying over into January by a few other prospects, there’s a good chance that Berard would be sitting amongst the top 124 prospects.

Speaking of the World Juniors and draft altering performances, Guelph Storm goalie Nico Daws may have fallen slightly thanks to a rough outing at the tournament that lost him his gig as Canada’s starting goaltender. He finished with a 5.83 goals against average and .840 save percentage in just two games for Canada.

Nico Daws Guelph Storm
Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Still, Daws leads the Ontario Hockey League with a 2.27 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and five shutouts. That’s to go along with his 19-6-2-3 record – impressive numbers for the draft-eligible goalie. With that, I still have the netminder ranked 130th and just outside the top four rounds.

How about James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads? There’s a part of me that truly believes he deserves more recognition than what he’s getting. That said, I’ve still got him ranked all the way down at 179th which would put him near the end of the sixth round.

It may seem somewhat absurd considering he’s scored 57 points in 53 games this season for the Steelheads and is among the top 20 goal scorers in the OHL, but there’s still just something missing with this kid. That said, there is still time and he could climb the ranks even further as we get closer to June’s draft.

For more prospect news and rankings, check out The Hockey Writers’ prospect coverage here.