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Highlights from First Round of 2020 NHL Draft

The New York Rangers selected left wing Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic first overall in the 2020 NHL draft. Photo: Tim Jarrold - In Play! magazine

Highlights from the First Round of the 2020 NHL Draft


The New York Rangers selected left wing Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic first overall. Lafreniere (Saint-Eustache, Que.) is the first Quebec-born player selected No. 1 overall since Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003.

The Rangers selected first overall for the second time in franchise history (Andre Veilleux in 1965), and for the first time since the universal draft was adopted in 1969 (all juniors of qualifying age eligible for selection).


The Los Angeles Kings selected forward Quinton Byfield second overall, making the Sudbury Wolves center the highest-selected Black player in NHL history. Seth Jones (2013) and Evander Kane (2009) both went fourth overall.


Two weeks after Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl made history as the first German-born player to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, Adler Mannheim center Tim Stuetzle (3rd overall, Ottawa) matched Draisaitl as the earliest German-born and trained player to be selected in the NHL Draft. Draisaitl was taken third overall by the Oilers in 2014.

Eisbaren Berlin left wing Lukas Reichel (No. 17 by Chicago) later joined Stuetzle as the second German-born player selected in the opening round of the 2020 NHL Draft – the first time two German-born players have ever been selected in the opening round.


Ottawa 67’s center Marco Rossi (No. 9 by Minnesota) became the second-earliest Austrian-born player ever selected and the fifth taken in the first round of the NHL Draft. The Feldkirch native joined Thomas Vanek in 2003 (No. 5 by Buffalo), Michael Grabner in 2006 (No. 14 by Vancouver), and both Andre Burakovsky (No. 23 by Washington) and Marko Dano (No. 27 by Columbus) in 2013.


The 19 Canadian-born players selected in the first round are tied (with 2003) for the most in the past 32 years. The last year with more was in 1987, when all 21 first-round picks hailed from Canada.


* A breakdown of the first 31 picks by birthplace: Canada (19), Russia (4), Germany (2), Sweden (2), USA (2), Austria (1), Finland (1).

* First-round picks by amateur league: OHL (7), WHL (7), QMJHL (5), Germany (2), Russia (2), Sweden (2), BIG10 (1), Finland (1), U.S. NTDP (1), Russia-2 (1), Russia Jr. (1), USHL (1).


The Nashville Predators selected Iaroslav Askarov with the 11th overall pick, making the Omsk, Russia native the earliest goaltender picked since Jack Campbell was taken with the 11th pick by the Dallas Stars in 2010.


Jake Sanderson (No. 5 overall, Ottawa): His father, Geoff, was a second-round pick by the Hartford Whalers in 1990 (36th overall) who recorded 355-345—700 in 1,104 career NHL games with the Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers.

Dylan Holloway (No. 14 overall, Edmonton): His father, Bruce, was a seventh-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 1981 (136th overall) who appeared in two NHL games with the team in 1984-85.

Kaiden Guhle (No. 16 overall, Montreal): His brother, Brendan, was a second-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 2015 (51st overall) who appeared in 30 NHL games for the Anaheim Ducks in 2019-20.

Lukas Reichel (No. 17 overall, Chicago): His father, Martin, is a German Hockey Hall of Fame member who was a second-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992 (37th overall) and played 20 seasons of pro hockey in Germany. His uncle, Robert, was a 4th-round pick by the Calgary Flames in 1989 (70th overall) who skated in 830 career NHL games with the Flames, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs and won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

Yegor Chinakhov (No. 21 overall, Columbus): His father, Vitali, was an 11th-round pick by the New York Rangers in 1991 (235th overall) who spent his entire professional hockey career playing in Russia.

Justin Barron (No. 25 overall, Colorado): His brother, Morgan, was a 6th-round pick by the New York Rangers in 2017 (174th overall) who captained Cornell University in 2019-20, when he was named ECAC Player of the Year.

Jacob Perreault (No. 27 overall, Anaheim): His father, Yanic, was a 3rd-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991 (47th overall) who recorded 247-269—516 in 859 career NHL games with the Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks.

Ridly Greig (No. 28 overall, Ottawa): His father, Mark, was a 1st-round pick by the Hartford Whalers in 1990 (15th overall) who skated in 125 career NHL games with the Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers.

Brendan Brisson (No. 29 overall, Vegas): His father, Pat, is a former QMJHL player and a current player agent whose client list includes Sidney Crosby, John Tavares and Nathan MacKinnon.


Montreal traded C Max Domi and its 3rd-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (78th overall) to Columbus for RW Josh Anderson.

Calgary traded its 1st-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (19th overall) to NY Rangers for Carolina’s 1st-round pick in 2020 (22nd overall, previously acquired) and the Rangers’ 3rd-round pick in 2020 (72nd overall).

Calgary traded Carolina’s 1st-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft (22nd overall, previously acquired) to Washington for Washington’s 1st-round pick in 2020 (24th overall) and Arizona’s 3rd-round pick in in 2020 (80th overall, previously acquired).


* This is the first time the NHL Draft has been held mid-week since the 1994 NHL Draft at the Hartford Civic Center which took place from Tuesday, June 28 to Wednesday, June 29, 1994. The first 21 years of the NHL Draft from 1963 to 1983 saw prospects picked on days outside of the Friday to Sunday window.

* This marked the second consecutive year the Rangers made a top-two selection, having drafted Kaapo Kakko No. 2 overall in 2019. Aside from Kakko, the only other pick the Rangers have made among the top five over the last 50 years was Pavel Brendl (No. 4 in 1999).

* After selecting Alex Turcotte fifth overall in 2019, the Kings made a top-10 pick in consecutive years for the first time since a three-year stretch that saw them select Thomas Hickey in 2007 (No. 4), Drew Doughty in 2008 (No. 2) and Brayden Schenn in 2009 (No. 5).

* The Red Wings made a top 10 selection for the fourth straight year after going 25 years without a top -10 pick between Martin Lapointe in 1991 (No. 10) and Michael Rasmussen in 2017 (No. 9). The pick of Lucas Raymond at No. 4 is Detroit’s highest since 1990 (Keith Primeau: No. 3).

* The Senators became the first time in 20 years to select twice in the top five. In 2000, the New York Islanders took Rick DiPietro (No. 1) and Raffi Torres (No. 5).

* The Senators (Nos. 3, 5 & 28) and Devils (Nos. 7, 18 & 20) led all teams in the first round with three selections apiece.

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