2020 NHL Draft Rankings: Fisher’s Top 124 for October

The 2020 draft year is now in full swing across the hockey world. It started, in earnest, with the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August — after which I published my preseason rankings — but most the top prospects have since played around 10 league games to provide a sample size worth evaluating.

The European leagues have been running a little longer, but the CHL and other North American junior leagues are catching up in total games played. There have been some early surprises and a few new names getting off to hot starts, forcing their way into my updated rankings for October.

For the most part, though, I’m still satisfied with my preseason rankings — especially my top seven, which remain exactly the same. There has been a bit of movement throughout the rest of the first round, with more shuffling outside the top 31 as per usual.

Alexis Lafreniere Rimouski Oceanic
Spoiler alert, Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic is still my top-ranked prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft — to no surprise. (Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)

The plan is to continue with mid-month rankings through April, then publish my final two rankings at the start of May and June. Each monthly ranking will be followed by my risers and fallers from the previous month.

My rankings will gradually expand from 124 to 350, following the same trajectory as last year when I stuck with 124 for August and October before increasing to 186 for November and December, then 217 for January and February, 300 for March and April, and 350 for May and June. As was the case last year, I will start listing the other prospects “on my radar” in November.

My rankings won’t include any overagers until the New Year — likely until March, again sticking to last year’s script — but I do plan on publishing a separate series tracking the undrafted prospects from my 2019 rankings and mocks. That series will start later this month. I avoid the overagers in my monthly rankings for the first half of the season because I want to keep my focus on the first-time eligibles and getting to know the new draft class — the late-2001 and 2002-born prospects — in relation to their peers.

Without further ado, I give to you my October rankings — my updated top 124:

First Round

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

2) Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, Frolunda J20)

3) Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, Sudbury OHL)

4) Anton Lundell (LC, Finland, HIFK Liiga)

5) Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden, Djurgardens J20)

6) Yaroslav Askarov (G, Russia, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg MHL)

7) Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada, Saginaw OHL)

8) Tim Stutzle (LW/LC, Germany, Adler Mannheim DEL)

9) Hendrix Lapierre (LC, Canada, Chicoutimi QMJHL)

10) Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada, Erie OHL)

11) Dylan Holloway (LC, Canada, Wisconsin NCAA)

12) Rodion Amirov (LW, Russia, Tolpar Ufa MHL)

13) Noel Gunler (RW/LW, Sweden, Lulea SHL)

14) Justin Barron (RD, Canada, Halifax QMJHL)

15) Marco Rossi (LC, Austria/Switzerland, Ottawa OHL)

16) Antonio Stranges (LC/LW, USA, London OHL)

17) Zion Nybeck (RW, Sweden, HV71 J20)

18) Alexander Pashin (F, Russia, Tolpar Ufa MHL)

19) Vasili Ponomarev (LC, Russia, Shawinigan QMJHL)

20) Jaromir Pytlik (RC, Czech Republic, Sault Ste. Marie OHL)

21) Connor Zary (LC, Canada, Kamloops WHL)

22) Braden Schneider (RD, Canada, Brandon WHL)

23) Kaiden Guhle (LD, Canada, Prince Albert WHL)

24) Jake Sanderson (LD, USA, NTDP U18)

25) Kasper Simontaival (F, Finland, Tappara Liiga)

26) Roni Hirvonen (LC, Finland, Assat Liiga)

27) Jan Mysak (LW, Czech Republic, Litvinov Czech)

28) Martin Chromiak (LW, Slovakia, Dukla Trencin)

29) Ty Smilanic (F, USA, NTDP U18)

30) Lukas Cormier (LD, Canada, Charlottetown QMJHL)

31) Jeremie Poirier (LD, Canada, Saint John QMJHL)

Second Round

32) Jake Neighbours (LW, Canada, Edmonton WHL)

33) Justin Sourdif (RC, Canada, Vancouver WHL)

34) Connor McClennon (RW, Canada, Winnipeg WHL)

35) Dawson Mercer (RW, Canada, Drummondville QMJHL)

36) Luke Tuch (LW, USA, NTDP U18)

37) Helge Grans (RD, Sweden, Malmo J20)

38) Shakir Mukhamadullin (LD, Russia, Tolpar Ufa MHL)

39) Topi Niemela (RD, Finland, Karpat Liiga)

40) Jean-Luc Foudy (RC, Canada, Windsor OHL)

41) Will Cuylle (LW, Canada, Windsor OHL)

42) Veeti Miettinen (RW, Finland, Blues U20)

43) Daniel Ljungman (LC, Sweden, Linkoping J20)

44) William Wallinder (LD, Sweden, MODO J20)

45) Emil Andrae (LD, Sweden, HV71 J20)

46) Samuel Knazko (LD, Slovakia, TPS U20)

47) Carter Savoie (LW, Canada, Sherwood Park AJHL)

48) Seth Jarvis (RW, Canada, Portland WHL)

49) Mavrik Bourque (RC, Canada, Shawinigan QMJHL)

50) Jacob Perreault (RC, Canada/USA, Sarnia OHL)

51) Oliver Suni (RW, Finland, Oshawa OHL)

52) Pavel Novak (RW, Czech Republic, Kelowna WHL)

53) Daniil Gushchin (RW, Russia, Muskegon USHL)

54) Michael Benning (RD, Canada, Sherwood Park AJHL)

55) Tyler Kleven (LD, USA, NTDP U18)

56) Sean Farrell (F, USA, Chicago USHL)

57) Ryder Rolston (F, USA, Waterloo USHL)

58) Dylan Peterson (RC, USA/Canada, NTDP U18)

59) Michal Gut (LC, Czech Republic, Everett WHL)

60) Adam Raska (LW, Czech Republic, Rimouski QMJHL)

61) Leo Loof (LD, Sweden, Farjestad J20)

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

Third Round

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

64) Theo Rochette (LC, Canada/Switzerland, Chicoutimi QMJHL)

65) Cross Hanas (LW, USA/Canada, Portland WHL)

66) Ridly Greig (LC/LW, Canada, Brandon WHL)

67) Ozzy Wiesblatt (RW, Canada, Prince Albert WHL)

68) Daemon Hunt (LD, Canada, Moose Jaw WHL)

69) Kasper Puutio (RD, Finland, Swift Current WHL)

70) Donovan Sebrango (LD, Canada, Kitchener OHL)

71) Lleyton Moore (LD, Canada, Oshawa OHL)

72) Ryan O’Rourke (LD, Canada, Sault Ste. Marie OHL)

73) William Villeneuve (RD, Canada, Saint John QMJHL)

74) Charlie Desroches (RD, Canada, Saint John QMJHL)

75) Thomas Bordeleau (F, USA/Canada, NTDP U18)

76) Landon Slaggert (LC, USA, NTDP U18)

77) Ben Schoen (F, USA, Youngstown USHL)

78) Ethan Bowen (LC, Canada, Chilliwack BCHL)

79) Jack Finley (RC, Canada, Spokane WHL)

80) Ronan Seeley (LD, Canada, Everett WHL)

81) Blake Biondi (F, USA, Sioux City USHL)

82) Alex Gaffney (LC, USA, Muskegon USHL)

83) Noah Ellis (RD, USA, Des Moines USHL)

84) Calle Clang (G, Sweden, Rogle SHL)

85) Nick Malik (G, Czech Republic, Ocelari Trinec Czech)

86) John-Jason Peterka (F, Germany, EHC Munchen DEL)

87) Matej Kaslik (LC, Slovakia, Malmo J20)

88) Marat Khusnutdinov (LC, Russia, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg MHL)

89) Pavel Tyutnev (LC, Russia, Loko Yaroslavl MHL)

90) Kyle Crnkovic (LW, Canada, Saskatoon WHL)

91) Tristen Robins (RC, Canada, Saskatoon WHL)

92) Joona Kiviniemi (LW, Finland, Swift Current WHL)

93) Simon Knak (RW, Switzerland, Portland WHL)

Fourth Round

94) Simon Kubicek (RD, Czech Republic, Seattle WHL)

95) Christoffer Sedoff (LD, Finland, Red Deer WHL)

96) Noah Delemont (LD, Switzerland, Acadie-Bathurst QMJHL)

97) Joona Lehmus (LD, Finland, Saint John QMJHL)

98) Ruben Rafkin (RD, Finland, Windsor OHL)

99) Ville Ottavainen (RD, Finland, Kitchener OHL)

100) Evan Vierling (LC, Canada, Flint OHL)

101) Logan Morrison (RC, Canada, Hamilton OHL)

102) Alexander Nikishin (D, Russia, Krylia Sovetov Moskva MHL)

103) Vsevolod Skotnikov (G, Russia, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva MHL)

104) Roby Jarventie (F, Finland, Ilves Liiga)

105) Juuso Maenpaa (LC, Finland, Jokerit U20)

106) Jesse Seppala (LW, Finland, Edmonton WHL)

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

108) Brendan Brisson (F, USA/Canada, Chicago USHL)

109) Sam Colangelo (F, USA, Chicago USHL)

110) Mark Estapa (F, USA, Tri-City USHL)

111) Jack Williams (F, USA, Muskegon USHL)

112) Brock Faber (RD, USA, NTDP U18)

113) Ben King (RW, Canada, Swift Current WHL)

114) Keanu Derungs (LW, Switzerland, Victoria WHL)

115) Ivan Ivan (LC, Czech Republic, Cape Breton QMJHL)

116) Senna Peeters (RC, Belgium, Halifax QMJHL)

117) Maxim Groshev (RW, Russia, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk MHL)

118) Stanislav Rangayev (F, Russia, Ladia Togliatti MHL)

119) Isak Garfve (RC/LW, Sweden, Mora J20)

120) Emil Heineman (LW, Sweden, Leksands J20)

121) Marek Blaha (RD, Czech Republic, Sparta Praha U19)

122) Marko Stacha (LD, Slovakia, Dukla Trencin)

123) Eemil Viro (LD, Finland, TPS U20)

124) Lucas Ramberg (LD, Sweden, Lulea SHL)

October Swaps

Added (10)

44) William Wallinder (LD, Sweden, MODO J20)

80) Ronan Seeley (LD, Canada, Everett WHL)

100) Evan Vierling (LC, Canada, Flint OHL)

102) Alexander Nikishin (D, Russia, Krylia Sovetov Moskva MHL)

112) Brock Faber (RD, USA, NTDP U18)

116) Senna Peeters (RC, Belgium, Halifax QMJHL)

118) Stanislav Rangayev (F, Russia, Ladia Togliatti MHL)

120) Emil Heineman (LW, Sweden, Leksands J20)

123) Eemil Viro (LD, Finland, TPS U20)

124) Lucas Ramberg (LD, Sweden, Lulea SHL)

Removed (10)

87) Josh Pillar (RC, Canada, Kamloops WHL)

90) Jakob Brook (LW, Canada, Prince Albert WHL)

107) Gerard Keane (RD, USA, London OHL)

114) Dylan Garand (G, Canada, Kamloops WHL)

116) Hugo Styf (LD, Sweden, MODO J20)

119) Veeti Korkalainen (RW, Finland, KooKoo U20)

120) Ilya Rychkov (F, Russia, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg MHL)

121) Bogdan Trineyev (F, Russia, Dynamo Moskva MHL)

122) Wyatt Schingoethe (LC, USA, Waterloo USHL)

123) Primo Self (F, USA, Tri-City USHL)

Final Thoughts

A couple things to note this month, starting with my tiers since everyone loves tiers.

I now see it as 1-3, 4-6 and 7-10 at the top of the first round. I’ve got another smaller tier from 11-14 as potential top-10 picks, followed by a bigger tier from 15-27, then a massive tier from 28-50 as candidates to crack my first round in the months to come. There isn’t much separating those prospects, but if that latter tier is too large for your liking, I’d split it at 28-41 and 42-50.

The other thing that I wanted to address is the glaring lack of North American goaltenders. There are none in my top 124 for October. I have six goaltenders ranked in my top four rounds right now — which sounds about right for the average number — but they are all Europeans, with two Russians, two Czechs, a Finn and a Swede.

There is a good chance that could change for November, with a few CHLers capable of cracking the top 100 in 2020 — namely, Aidan Campbell from OHL Erie, Antoine Coulombe from QMJHL Shawinigan and Dylan Garand from WHL Kamloops. They just missed the cut this month, with Garand slipping out of my preseason rankings prior to an impressive live viewing on Saturday that could put him back into my fourth-round range.

Coulombe’s early numbers are hard to ignore and Campbell has received rave reviews from my THW colleague Mark Scheig, who is credentialed in Erie. He believes Campbell could become a top-90 talent.

I’ll admit that I struggle with ranking goalies despite being a former goalie. But, as they say, goalies are voodoo when it comes to the draft. A crapshoot, really, outside of the top one or two.

That was the case again in 2019, especially with the WHL goalies that I watched closest. I thought that was a strong class and I never would have guessed Roddy Ross would go ahead of Dustin Wolf or that Nolan Maier and Taylor Gauthier would go undrafted.

Dustin Wolf Everett Silvertips
Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. (Christopher Mast/Everett Silvertips)

Looking back at my final rankings for 2019, I had Wolf as the top WHL goalie at No. 75 just ahead of Mads Sogaard at No. 76, followed by Maier (113), Gauthier (114), Trent Miner (136), new Spokane import Lukas Parik (140), Roman Basran (233), Ethan Anders (260) and, lastly, Ross (344) in my top 350.

That draft played out as follows: Sogaard (second round, 37th), Parik (third round, 87th), Ross (sixth round, 169th), Miner (seventh round, 202nd) and Wolf (seventh round, 214th).

Notably, Wolf, Maier, Miner and Gauthier are all “short(er)” by today’s goaltending standards. Wolf and Maier are listed as being six-feet tall — perhaps generously for Wolf — with Miner at 6-1 and Gauthier at 6-2. Anders is also 6-1 and Basran is 6-2. As for the three highest picks? Sogaard is a towering 6-7, Parik is 6-4 and Ross is 6-3.

Height is definitely a factor when drafting goaltenders, which could work against Coulombe at 6-0 and Garand at 6-1. Campbell is 6-5, so he might wind up as the highest-drafted CHL goaltender in 2020.

Don’t put too much stock in my goaltender rankings — aside from Askarov in the top 10, that’s a good bet — but I’ll be working in some North American goalies for November when my rankings expand from 124 (four rounds) to 186 (six rounds). With another month to evaluate, there could also be some USHL, NTDP and U.S. high school netminders of note by November. Stay tuned!