Looking at Tonight’s 2020 NHL Draft
The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually over two days, with Round 1 set for 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 6 (NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA). Rounds 2-7 will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 7 (NHLN, SN1).
* This will mark the first time the Draft has been held mid-week (days other than Friday, Saturday or Sunday) since the 1994 NHL Draft at the Hartford Civic Center which took place from Tuesday, June 28 to Wednesday, June 29, 1994.
* Holding a non-weekend Draft was a common occurrence in the early days of the event. The first 21 years of the NHL Draft from 1963 to 1983 saw prospects picked on days outside of the Friday to Sunday window.
* The Order of Selection was announced Sept. 29 upon the conclusion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
RANGERS OWN FIRST OVERALL PICK
The Rangers are slated to select first in 2020 as a result of winning Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery conducted on Aug. 10, 2020 at NHL Network’s Secaucus, N.J., studio.
* The Rangers have made the first overall selection once in NHL Draft history (Andre Veilleux in 1965) but will have the opportunity to do so for the first time since the universal draft was adopted in 1969 (all juniors of qualifying age eligible for selection).
* This marks the second consecutive year that the Rangers have held a top-two selection after drafting forward 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).
SENATORS WITH TWO PICKS AMONG FIRST FIVE SELECTIONS
The Senators enter the 2020 NHL Draft with three picks in the first round, including a pair in the top five (Nos. 3, 5 and 28). It will mark the eighth time since the universal draft was adopted in 1969 that a team has selected twice in the top five:
* Ottawa has selected among the top five on seven occasions, but just twice in the last 20 years: Brady Tkachuk (No. 4 in 2018) and Jason Spezza (No. 2 in 2001).
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP 10 IN 2020
* After selecting Alex Turcotte fifth overall in 2019, the Kings hold a top-10 draft 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 are set to select among the top 10 for the fourth straight year after going 25 years without a top-10 selection between Martin Lapointe in 1991 (No. 10) and Michael Rasmussen in 2017 (No. 9). Their No. 4 slot in 2020 is the highest they will pick since 1990 (Keith Primeau: No. 3).
* The Senators lead all teams with 13 picks, including two in the top five and seven in the opening two rounds (3 in Round 1, 4 in Round 2). The most picks by any team through two rounds of an NHL Draft is seven, by the Avalanche in 1998 (7 of 58 total selections through two rounds) and by the Canadiens in 1974 (7 of 36 total selections through two rounds). Since the NHL Draft went to seven rounds in 2005, only three teams have made 13 selections in the same draft (none have made more); the Panthers were the last to do so in 2010, selecting forward Nick Bjugstad with the second of their 13 picks.
* The Ducks have selected sixth overall or higher only seven times in 27 drafts since entering the League in 1993-94, including only twice since 2005 – they chose Bobby Ryan second overall that year, and Hampus Lindholm at No. 6 in 2012.
* After having only one top-10 pick over an 18-year span from 1997 to 2014 (Adam Larsson: No. 4 in 2011), the Devils are on track to select among the top-10 for the fourth time in six drafts since 2015.
* After choosing no higher than 12th for nine years from 2004 to 2012, the Sabres are on track to select among the top-10 for an eighth consecutive year. Four teams have selected in the top 10 of eight consecutive drafts: the Canadiens (13; 1963-1975), Maple Leafs (10; 1981-1990), Blue Jackets (9; 2000-2008) and Oilers (8; 2009-2016).
* The Wild own a top-10 draft pick for just the ninth time since entering the League in 2000-01 and for the first time since 2012, when they selected Matt Dumba seventh overall.
* The Jets hold a top-10 draft pick for the fifth time since relocating to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season, with each of the previous four playing significant time with the club. Mark Scheifele (No. 7 in 2011), the first draft pick by the Jets after their move, leads the team in goals over the past seven seasons; Jacob Trouba (No. 9 in 2012) played 408 regular-season games with the Jets before being traded at the 2019 NHL Draft; Nikolaj Ehlers (No. 9 in 2014) ranks fourth on the team in goals since 2015-16; and Patrik Laine (No. 2 in 2016) is the team’s top goal-scorer since entering the League in 2016-17.
ALEXIS LAFRENIERE LEADS LIST OF TOP-RANKED PROSPECTS
Left wing Alexis Lafreniere (Saint-Eustache, Que.) of the Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League ranks No. 1 among North American skaters for the 2020 NHL Draft. Lafreniere led all QMJHL skaters in assists and points with 35-77—112 in 52 games in 2019-20.
* Entering the 2020 NHL Draft, the most recent Canadian-born player to be selected first overall was Connor McDavid in 2015 by Edmonton. The four consecutive drafts without a Canadian player selected first overall is the longest such stretch in NHL Draft history.
* Overall, 40 of 57 first-overall picks have been Canadian-born players (70.2%), however that number drops to 50% over the last 10 years (5 of 10).
* Lafreniere can become the first Quebec-born player selected No. 1 overall since Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003 (PIT) and the first skater from Quebec to be taken with the first pick since Vincent Lecavalier in 1998 (TBL).
* Lafreniere was named CHL and QMJHL Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season – the first back-to-back winner of each award since Sidney Crosby (2003-04 to 2004-05). Crosby also did so while representing the Oceanic.
* Should Lafreniere be selected first overall, he would be the third player taken in the top spot out of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. The others: Vincent Lecavalier (1998 by TBL) and Sidney Crosby (2005 by PIT).
* Rimouski and the Halifax Mooseheads (Nathan MacKinnon: 2013 by COL, Nico Hischier: 2017 by NJD) are the only QMJHL teams to have multiple players selected first overall in the NHL Draft.
* In total, 10 first overall picks have been selected out of the QMJHL entering 2020 – only the OHL/OHA (20) has produced more No. 1 selections.
MORE TOP PROSPECT QUICK HITS
* No. 1-ranked international skater Tim Stuetzle, who was named Rookie of the Year in Germany’s top pro league with 7-27—34 in 41 games in 2019-20, looks to become the third German-born and trained player taken in the top 10 of the NHL Draft. The previous two have both been selected within the last six years: Leon Draisaitl in 2014 (No. 3 by EDM) and Moritz Seider in 2019 (No. 6 by DET).
* No. 2-ranked North American skater Quinton Byfield can become the third Sudbury Wolves player to be selected among the top five of the NHL Draft, following Mike Foligno in 1979 (No. 3 by DET) and Benoit Pouliot in 2005 (No. 4 by MIN).
* No. 3-ranked North American skater Jamie Drysdale can become the third Erie Otters player in the last five years to be selected in the first round – Erie teammates Connor McDavid (No. 1 by EDM) and Dylan Strome (No. 3 by ARI) were selected among the top three picks in 2015.
* No. 4-ranked North American skater Jake Sanderson led all defensemen in the USA Hockey Under-18 National Team Development Program with 7-22—29 in 47 games in 2019-20. His father, Geoff Sanderson, was a second-round selection of the Hartford Whalers in 1990 (No. 36) and recorded 355-345—700 in 1,104 career NHL games.
* No. 5-ranked North American skater Cole Perfetti ranked second in OHL scoring with 37-74—111 in 61 games in 2019-20. Only one player in Saginaw Spirit history has been taken in the first round of the NHL Draft since the team relocated there prior to the 2002-03 season: Matt Corrente in 2006 (No. 30 by NJD).
* No. 6-ranked North American skater Marco Rossi (Feldkirch, Austria) of the Ottawa 67’s led all players in the Canadian Hockey League (OHL, QMJHL and WHL) in assists and points with 39-81—120 in 56 games in 2019-20. Rossi can become the fifth Austrian-born player selected in the first round of the NHL Draft; he would join Thomas Vanek in 2003 (No. 5 by BUF), Michael Grabner in 2006 (No. 14 by VAN), and both Andre Burakovsky (No. 23 by WSH) and Marko Dano (No. 27 by CBJ) in 2013.
* Rossi’s teammate in Ottawa is No. 7-ranked North American skater Jack Quinn (52-37—89 in 62 GP), one of two OHL players to score 50 goals in 2019-20. The other was Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson (55 w/ Peterborough Petes).
* Rossi and Quinn can become the third set of 67’s teammates to be taken among the top 10 in the same NHL Draft. They would join Michel Larocque (No. 6 by MTL) and Wayne Merrick (No. 9 by STL) in 1972, along with Bobby Smith (No. 1 by MNS) and Tim Higgins (No. 10 by CHI) in 1978.
* No. 1-ranked international goaltender Iaroslav Askarov, who plays for Neva St. Petersburg in Russia’s second division, can become the fifth Russian-born goaltender to be selected in the first round. He would join Yevgeni Ryabchikov in 1994 (No. 21 by BOS), Semyon Varlamov in 2006 (No. 23 by WSH), Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2012 (No. 19 by TBL) and Ilya Samsonov in 2015 (No. 22 by WSH).
* No. 1-ranked North American goaltender Nicolas Daws of the Guelph Storm was the winner of the Jim Rutherford Trophy in 2019-20, awarded annually to the OHL Goaltender of the Year. He led OHL goaltenders in save percentage (.924) and shutouts (5) in 2019-20 (38 GP).
* Only four OHL goaltenders over the last 20 years have been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft: Adam Munro of the Erie Otters in 2001 (No. 29 by CHI), Tom McCollum of the Guelph Storm in 2008 (No. 30 by DET), Mark Visentin of the Niagara IceDogs in 2010 (No. 27 by PHX) and Malcolm Subban of the Belleville Bulls in 2012 (No. 24 by BOS).