2020 NHL Draft: Reviewing Top 10 Mock Scenarios for Prospects

Ten mocks in as many days proved plenty in setting the tone for the top 10 of the 2020 NHL draft.

Those mock scenarios — with the Tankathon simulator producing the draft lottery results — were well received for the most part, but several readers requested that I expand from the top 10 to the top 31, presumably to include their favourite team.

I plan on accommodating — resuming this series with first round scenarios — but, prior to taking that plunge, I wanted to pause and review the top 10 scenarios for the teams as well as the prospects to identify trends and project the most common mock.

Here is how the prospects fared in terms of their highest, lowest and average draft position, plus their most common match and a selection recap.

RELATED: THW’s 2020 NHL Draft Guide

Alexis Lafreniere (LW, Canada, Rimouski QMJHL)





MOST COMMON: Detroit (3)

SELECTION RECAP: Detroit (3), Ottawa (2), Montreal (2), Los Angeles (1), New Jersey (1), Arizona (1)

ANALYSIS: Lafreniere, to no surprise, was selected first overall in all 10 mocks. Detroit, which has the best odds based on individual picks, won the lottery three times, while Ottawa, which has the best chance when combining the percentages of their two picks, won twice. Those teams are more likely to land Lafreniere and did so in five of the 10 mocks — 50 per cent of the time. Montreal was the luckiest team, getting their hometown hero on two occasions in moving up from eighth to first. Los Angeles, with the fourth-best odds, New Jersey, at sixth, and Arizona, at 10th with a top-three protected pick that otherwise belongs to New Jersey, rounded out the winners. Craig Button compared Lafreniere to Jonathan Huberdeau stylistically and suggested he could top 60 points as a rookie in contending for the Calder next season. I fully agree on both fronts.

Rimouski Oceanic Alexis Lafreniere
Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic. (Vincent Ethier/CHL)

Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, Sudbury OHL)





MOST COMMON: Ottawa (3)

SELECTION RECAP: Ottawa (3), Anaheim (2), Detroit (1), Los Angeles (1), New Jersey (1), Buffalo (1), Chicago (1)

ANALYSIS: Byfield went second in all but one scenario — mock 3.0 being the exception, when he fell to fourth — but several teams contemplated other options before taking the tantalizing centre who possesses size and speed, power and playmaking ability while also being one of the youngest prospects in this draft class. Ottawa took Byfield three times — twice at second overall and again when he landed in their lap at fourth — while Anaheim took him twice in moving up from fifth to second through the lottery. Anaheim debated Jamie Drysdale as the draft’s top defenceman, as did Los Angeles in their lone time selecting second. Detroit, Buffalo and Chicago all considered Tim Stutzle at that spot — as would Ottawa, according to a recent source — whereas New Jersey was taking Byfield all the way. Long story short, Byfield is no longer a lock to go second — no longer the consensus No. 2 prospect behind Lafreniere — and although these mocks produced a 90-10 ratio, it is probably closer to 70-30 in reality. That would mean three of the teams picking in the top 10 have somebody other than Byfield at No. 2 on their lists. I do believe that.

Quinton Byfield Sudbury Wolves
Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada, Erie OHL)





MOST COMMON: Los Angeles (6)

SELECTION RECAP: Los Angeles (6), Ottawa (3), Anaheim (1)

ANALYSIS: Drysdale went as high as third in four scenarios and as low as sixth on three occasions. That sounds about right for his range, though some teams could have Drysdale as their No. 2 or in serious consideration to be taken second. It is unlikely he would make it past Los Angeles wherever the Kings are picking — as evidenced by these mock results. Ottawa is another real possibility, while Anaheim could steal Drysdale from Los Angeles if the Ducks were to leap over the Kings in the lottery. At risk of sounding like a broken record, Drysdale could be the second coming of Drew Doughty and has garnered favourable comparisons for his ability to dominate at both ends and his overall competitiveness. Drysdale should go in the top five — if not the top three.

Jamie Drysdale, OHL, Erie Otters
Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

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





MOST COMMON: Detroit (4)

SELECTION RECAP: Detroit (4), Buffalo (3), Ottawa (2), Chicago (1)

ANALYSIS: Stutzle was the biggest wild card in these mocks, but that was before a source tipped me off about Ottawa’s interest. If true, that would increase Stutzle’s chances of cracking the top three and perhaps solidify him in the top five. If Detroit loses the lottery, the Red Wings are a good bet to be targeting Stutzle as a fellow German for last year’s top-10 pick Moritz Seider. Detroit was the team bold enough to take Stutzle over Byfield at second in mock 3.0. But Stutzle also fell to seventh twice and all the way to ninth in mock 5.0. Still, he was a top-five pick in seven of the 10 scenarios and Ottawa passed on him at fourth and fifth in two of the other three, which now sounds unlikely. Stutzle is a tremendous talent and should be an impact player, certainly worthy of a top-five selection even amongst this stacked top 10. Buffalo would love if Stutzle slipped to seventh, but the Sabres may need to trade up or win the lottery — as was the case in mock 4.0. Ditto for Chicago.

Tim Stützle Adler Mannheim
Tim Stutzle of Adler Mannheim. (Simon Hastegård/Bildbyrån)

Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, Frolunda SHL)





MOST COMMON: Ottawa (5)

SELECTION RECAP: Ottawa (5), Detroit (2), New Jersey (1), Buffalo (1), Montreal (1)

ANALYSIS: Raymond may still be on Ottawa’s radar — given the Frolunda connection that gave the Senators two of their franchise players in Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson — but he was taken by the Sens ahead of Stutzle in three scenarios. Four if counting mock 6.0 when Ottawa took them both, Raymond at fourth and Stutzle at fifth. If Ottawa prefers Stutzle over Raymond, as I’m now led to believe, then that would obviously bump Raymond down. My personal bias towards Raymond might also have come into play, considering Raymond has been No. 2 in my rankings from wire to wire — through all seven monthly editions to date. Yes, ahead of Byfield, who has more recently been overtaken by Stutzle for No. 3. If not Ottawa, Detroit has always done well with their Swedes should the Red Wings lose the lottery and wind up picking fourth. New Jersey, Buffalo and Montreal could also be fits should Raymond slide out of the top five. Worth noting, Colin Cudmore’s consolidated rankings have Raymond fourth as of today.

Lucas Raymond Frolunda Indians
Lucas Raymond of the Frolunda Indians. (Photo: Tommy Holl TT)

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





MOST COMMON: New Jersey (5)

SELECTION RECAP: New Jersey (5), Ottawa (4), Arizona (1)

ANALYSIS: Rossi was New Jersey’s top target — with four of his junior teammates already being Devils’ prospects — but Ottawa also made a lot of sense with Rossi already playing in Canada’s capital city. Rossi thrived there, leading the entire CHL in scoring and averaging more than two points per game during his draft year. Those are the two most logical landing spots for Rossi, with Arizona more of a shocker at third overall in mock 9.0. A surprise lottery winner could reach for Rossi as an offensive catalyst, but New Jersey will be in prime position to take him if Ottawa passes — assuming the California teams have other targets.

MArco Rossi Ottawa 67s
Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s. (Credit: CHL Images)

Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden, Djurgardens SHL)





MOST COMMON: Anaheim (4)

SELECTION RECAP: Anaheim (4), Chicago (2), Ottawa (1), New Jersey (1), Buffalo (1), Montreal (1)

ANALYSIS: Holtz only cracked the top five once — when Ottawa took him fifth in mock 5.0, to pair with Raymond at fourth — so these scenarios suggest he is more likely to go in the latter half of the top 10. Anaheim had eyes for Holtz, envisioning him as a sniper for Trevor Zegras on their future top line, with Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg serving as mentors in the meantime. Chicago would presumably take Holtz if he is still there at ninth — as he was in two of the 10 mocks — but New Jersey, Buffalo and Montreal might snag him depending who else is available at those spots.

Alexander Holtz Djurgarden
Alexander Holtz of Djurgarden. (Erik Simander/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images)

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





MOST COMMON: Montreal (4)

SELECTION RECAP: Montreal (4), Anaheim (3), Los Angeles (1), Chicago (1), New Jersey (1)

ANALYSIS: Perfetti ranks right up there with Holtz among the best snipers in this draft class, with Anaheim taking Perfetti as high as fifth in two scenarios, while Montreal was more than happy to take him at eighth. The Canadiens were planning to pair Perfetti with 2019 first-rounder Cole Caufield, who shares the same first name as an even more accomplished sniper. Chicago and New Jersey weren’t as passionate about Perfetti but could see him as a value pick, while Los Angeles might view Perfetti as a fallback option if Drysdale isn’t available. Perfetti is the last of eight prospects taken in all 10 mocks.

Cole Perfetti, OHL, Saginaw Spirit
Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit. (Photo courtesy CHL Images)

Anton Lundell (LC, Finland, HIFK Liiga)





MOST COMMON: Buffalo (3)

SELECTION RECAP: Buffalo (3), Montreal (2)

ANALYSIS: Lundell has become iffy for the top 10 — only selected in five of the 10 mocks, thus a 50-50 scenario — with Buffalo and Montreal being the two teams most likely to take him that high. Montreal took Lundell as high as third in mock 5.0 — a reach reminiscent of Jesperi Kotkaniemi going third overall in 2018 — but that wasn’t a popular pick among the fan base. Buffalo liked Lundell’s ties to Henri Jokiharju and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen from winning world junior gold with Finland and felt Lundell could add to their centre depth that is presently lacking. But the Sabres’ supporters weren’t sold on that selection either, which could contribute to Lundell falling out of the top 10 since he isn’t the sexiest prospect.

Anton Lundell IFK Helsinki
Anton Lundell of IFK Helsinki. (Samuli Seila/IFK Helsinki)

Jack Quinn (RW, Canada, Ottawa OHL)





MOST COMMON: New Jersey (5)


ANALYSIS: Quinn’s stock is on the rise following a 52-goal campaign in the OHL, but New Jersey was the only team willing to take him in the top 10. The Devils were attracted to Quinn for the same reason as Rossi — that being familiarity, from watching him develop alongside four of their prospects on the same junior team. Craig Button has Quinn ranked sixth on his latest list — ahead of Rossi at eighth — so some scouts are comfortable with Quinn in the top 10. Time will tell, but he was another 50-50 candidate in this series.

Jack Quinn Ottawa 67's
Jack Quinn of the Ottawa 67’s. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

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





MOST COMMON: New Jersey (2)

SELECTION RECAP: New Jersey (2), Los Angeles (1), Chicago (1)

ANALYSIS: Askarov’s stock is trending down after a couple less than stellar international showings — at the World Juniors in January and the Four Nations in February — so he is now questionable for the top 10. Askarov and Lundell were projected top-10 picks for much of the draft year, but that status is on thin ice these days. New Jersey holds a second selection at 10th overall, which could be earmarked for Askarov if the Devils aren’t ready to declare Mackenzie Blackwood as their goaltender of the future. Chicago needs a successor for Corey Crawford, as does Los Angeles for Jonathan Quick. The Kings reached for Askarov at fourth overall in mock 8.0 when Drysdale went third, though the possibility of L.A. trading down was also presented.

Yaroslav Askarov Team Russia
Yaroslav Askarov representing Russia. (Russia Hockey/FHR.RU)

Jake Sanderson (LD, USA, NTDP U18)





MOST COMMON: Chicago (3)


ANALYSIS: Sanderson is emerging as a riser and a strong bet to be the second defenceman drafted in 2020. He could crack the top 10 for a team drafting by need or positional preference, with Chicago knowing Duncan Keith’s days are numbered. There are shades of Keith in Sanderson’s game, so that could be a nice fit for the Blackhawks.

Jake Sanderson USNTDP
Jake Sanderson of the U.S. National Team Development Program. (Credit: Rena Laverty)

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





MOST COMMON: Buffalo (1), New Jersey (1)

SELECTION RECAP: Buffalo (1), New Jersey (1)

ANALYSIS: Gunler has been overshadowed by Raymond and Holtz — particularly Holtz, as a fellow sniper — among the top Swedes for 2020 but could still find his way into the top 10 in certain scenarios. Gunler can score with the best of them in this draft class but comes with some red flags — or at least question marks — regarding his character and pace of play, which may or may not translate to North America and the NHL. Buffalo and New Jersey could be willing to take that risk in hopes of a high reward.

Noel Gunler Lulea HF
Noel Gunler of Lulea HF. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)

Seth Jarvis (RW, Canada, Portland WHL)





MOST COMMON: Chicago (1)


ANALYSIS: Jarvis is another riser after racking up 75 points over 37 games in the second half of the WHL season — he had 23 points in his first 21 games — and that surge has him knocking on the door of the top 10. Jarvis is, at least, in the conversation. That is a hard door to kick down, but Jarvis put his best foot forward and some team may take a swing on his trajectory. With Chicago, Jarvis would continue donning the same logo in going from the Winterhawks to the Blackhawks.

Seth Jarvis Portland Winterhawks
Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks. (Keith Dwiggins/Portland Winterhawks)

Most Common Mock for Prospects

1) Alexis Lafreniere — Detroit Red Wings

2) Quinton Byfield — Ottawa Senators

3) Jamie Drysdale — Los Angeles Kings

4) Tim Stutzle — To Be Determined

5) Lucas Raymond — Ottawa Senators

6) Marco Rossi — New Jersey Devils

7) Alexander Holtz — Anaheim Ducks

8) Cole Perfetti — Montreal Canadiens

9) Anton Lundell — Buffalo Sabres

10) Jack Quinn — New Jersey Devils

Honourable Mentions

11) Yaroslav Askarov — To Be Determined

12) Jake Sanderson — Chicago Blackhawks

13) Noel Gunler — To Be Determined

14) Seth Jarvis — To Be Determined

ANALYSIS: Stutzle’s status is to be determined by whether Detroit loses the lottery and whether Ottawa’s interest is legitimate. Those factors will alter almost every scenario. Askarov is the other wild card — to be determined by whether any team wants to risk a top-10 pick on a goaltender — with the likes of Lundell, Quinn, Sanderson, Gunler and perhaps even Jarvis as potential alternatives. Regardless, there is a very good chance those 14 prospects will comprise the top 10 for the 2020 NHL draft.

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