The 2020 NHL Draft may be four (or more) months away, but the prospect media world has generally stuck to the traditional schedule. That means Bob McKenzie’s final 2020 draft ranking, which is something of a standard-bearer each year, came out ‘on time’ this June. Here are the top prospects as well as the American and D1 recruits included in his ranking, which goes up to 100.
Alexis Lafrenière, star winger from QMJHL-Rimouski, was ranked #1, which seems to be the consensus opinion. In a small surprise, German scorer Tim Stützle was ranked second. He played in the German pro league for Mannheim. Predictably, big OHL-Sudbury center Quinton Byfield was ranked third after posting 82 points in 45 games. Rounding out the top five were two OHLers, Erie defenseman Jamie Drysdale and Saginaw forward Cole Perfetti.
Americans and Division 1-linked prospects
It’s a light year for Americans and D1 recruits – especially after a dominant 2019. There could be a top ten pick, though, as the scouting world appears to have coalesced around North Dakota-bound defenseman Jake Sanderson as not only the top American in the draft but potentially the top defenseman available. A 6’1 athlete with upside at both ends of the sheet, McKenzie has projected Sanderson to go in the top 10, as has been suggested by many observers over the last few months. Prior to the season, Sanderson had been rated anywhere from the second round to mid-first.
The next D1-linked player showed up at #16: Wisconsin freshman Dylan Holloway, a 6’0, 203 Canadian forward who posted 17 points in 35 games this year. Holloway is an aggressive athlete with offensive upside who asserts himself all over the offensive zone and could be a center or wing in the NHL. He’s been considered a potential first rounder since last season and appears to have basically maintained his draft stock – despite playing for a Wisconsin team that did finished last in the Big Ten and did not meet the expectations that many observers had for them.
The third and final player listed in the first round projection is Michigan commit Brendan Brisson from USHL-Chicago, at 31. The son of super-agent Pat Brisson has rocketed up the rankings this season after thriving as a rookie on a great Chicago Steel team. The 5’11 forward had 59 points in 45 games this season after starring for Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota. Anyone who watched Shattuck’s prep team last year knew that he would figure into this draft mix, but he has to be the biggest riser among the entire Division 1-linked crop of players eligible this year.
Here are the other D1-linked players and Americans included:
- 36. D Tyler Kleven – USA U-18 – North Dakota
- 39. F Ty Smilanic – USA U-18 – Quinnipiac
- 41. F Sam Colangelo – Chicago (USHL) – Northeastern
- 43. F Luke Tuch – USA U-18 – Boston University
- 47. F Dylan Peterson – USA U-18 – Boston University
- 51. F Thomas Bordeleau – USA U-18 – Michigan
- 56. D Brock Faber – USA U-18 – Minnesota
- 62. D Yan Kuznetsov – UConn
- 68. F Brett Berard – USA U-18 – Providence
- 70. D Eamon Powell – USA U-18 – Boston College
- 72. D Ian Moore – St. Mark’s (to USHL-Chicago ’20-21) – Harvard
- 76. F Antonio Stranges – London (OHL)
- 81. D Wyatt Kaiser – Andover (MN-HS) – Minnesota-Duluth
- 84. F Carter Savoie – Sherwood Park (AJHL) – Denver
- 85. F Sean Farrell – Chicago (USHL) – Harvard
- 86. F Landon Slaggert – USA U-18 – Notre Dame
- 87. G Drew Commesso – USA U-18 – Boston University
- 88. F Cross Hanas – Portland (WHL)
- 93. F Blake Biondi – Hermantown (MN-HS) – Minnesota-Duluth
- Honorable Mention: F Ryder Rolston (Notre Dame)