With the 2020 NHL Draft around the corner, we’ve released our final draft ranking of the 2019-20 season. Included inside are our top-62 prospects available, ten honourable mentions and player profiles.
Not only does this year’s class feature a bonafide star in the making in Alexis Lafrenière, but it also boasts a bounty of equally talented players set for NHL stardom in the very near future. In fact, an elite goaltender, two franchise defencemen and a quadruple of future first-line centres stand poised to be selected within the top-ten of the 2020 NHL Draft alone — not to mention the 21 other players poised to comprise the first round of the event. With this being said, depth is the name of the game ahead of this year’s Draft, as all 31 NHL franchises hold the ability to land a future star player — whether it come in the first round or beyond.
As a result of this impressive depth, draft picks held by NHL teams in the second and third rounds will be of immense value — and will be incredibly difficult to attain for franchises without a selection in the top-31. As you will see below, there are many players who feature first-round talent who will undoubtedly fall into the second or third-rounds of the Draft owing to the sheer depth of this year’s class. Of note are the likes of Lukas Reichel, Roni Hirovonen and Jacob Perreault — three explosive young forwards who could rather easily come to be defined as draft-day steals if selected later than 45th overall.
With this being said, let’s jump into our final 2020 NHL Draft ranking of what has been an extremely prolonged 2019-20 NHL season. One benefit of COVID-19, however, is the fact that never has more time or attention been paid to an incoming class of prospects — as each NHL franchise is put on the clock on draft night, odds are every organization will know exactly who they want to select.
As mentioned above, the 31 players projected to be chosen within the second-round of the 2020 NHL Draft are of incredible talent and potential. In a normal year, many if not most of these players would have been selected in the opening round of the event — however, this year’s prospect class is a strong as ever before. With this in mind, don’t be surprised if a number of these prospects rise and are selected within the top-31 of the event come draft night.
Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)
Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)
Kiekko-Espoo U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)
Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
U.S. U18 Team (US NTDP)
MODO J20 (SuperElit)
Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)
London Knights (OHL)
HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
Oshawa Generals (OHL)
U.S U18 Team (US NTDP)
Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
U.S. U18 Team (US NTDP)
U.S. U18 Team (US NTDP)
U.S. U18 Team (US NTDP)
Erie Otters (OHL)
Frolunda HC (SHL)
Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Ten Honourable Mentions
No NHL Draft Ranking would be complete without an additional list of honourable mentions. These ten players listed below just failed to crack the top-62 overall — however, don’t be surprised if a number of these youngsters rise significantly on draft day. While opinions of these prospects varied wildly over the course of the 2019-20 campaign, the fact remains that are boast immense skill and potential.
Brock Faber — D, U.S. U18 Team (US NTDP)
Jean-Luc Foudy — C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Ryan Francis — RW, Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL)
Daemon Hunt — D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Marat Khusnutdinov — C, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
Logan Morrison – C, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Theodor Niederbach — C, Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit)
With the 2020 NHL Draft on the horizon, we’ve profiled five of this year’s most underrated prospects eligible for selection.
The class of prospects eligible for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft is as strong as ever. Whether you look to centre, the wings, the blue line or in between the pipes, there is a high-end prospect waiting eagerly to ascend to the NHL-level in the very near future. The names of most prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft have become commonplace in the world of hockey — Lafreniere, Byfield, Raymond, Stutzle, Drysdale, etc — however, in this article, we are going to focus on a number of wildly skilled prospects whose names and talents have gone unspoken for far too long.
As we approach the 2020 NHL Draft, let’s take a moment to identify and discuss five prospects who — for a number of apparent reasons — have been under-appreciated to this point in their respective careers. While most, if not all, of the players listed below will be chosen in the 2020 NHL Draft, odds are they will be selected far lower than their respective skill-sets would otherwise dictate. And, in a few years time, it goes without saying that NHL franchises will regret not drafting the following players when they had the chance.
With this being said, let’s dive into the list. We’ve also listed five honourable mentions to conclude this article who could have quite easily been analyzed in greater detail as well.
Despite playing for an underwhelming Steelheads team this past season prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, James Hardie did not hesitate in establishing himself as a premier goal-scorer eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Across his second regular season campaign in the OHL, Hardie potted an impressive 34 tallies — a mark which stood as the OHL’s sixth-best amongst NHL Draft eligible players. However, despite this lethal output, many organizations failed to rank Hardie or projected him to be selected in the sixth-round or beyond. Boasting offensive totals greater than the likes of Will Cuylle, Jean-Luc Foudy and Ty Tullio — three players projected to be chosen in the second or third rounds of the NHL Draft — Hardie’s lack of praise is rather shocking.
What makes Hardie such a valuable and intriguing prospect is his ability to score goals from numerous areas on the ice, as the native of Innisfil, Ontario can bulge the twine in a variety of forms if afforded time and space in the attacking zone. First and foremost there is Hardie’s shot, as the youngster boasts the ability to release the puck on goal in the blink of an eye with not only velocity but accuracy. When given time, Hardie rarely misses his mark. Moreover, Hardie can score goals be deflecting the puck or by cleaning up rebounds in and around the crease — abilities which make him comparable to Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars. These traits in turn allow Hardie to stand as a playmaker as well, as opponents who try to limit his shot make themselves susceptible to his growing on-ice vision.
Noel Gunler is an excellent young player and one who rightfully deserves to be chosen within the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. After scoring at nearly a goal-per-game pace last season in SuperElit, Gunler made the jump to the SHL this campaign and became a full-time player at the age of just 18-years. Although his ice time was limited given his age and lack of experience, Gunler was still able to record 13 points in his 45 games played — an output which stood as the second-best mark in the SHL amongst players eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Yet, despite recording just three fewer points in the SHL than Alexander Holtz this campaign, Gunler finds himself as a prospect projected by many to be selected late in the first round of the upcoming event.
So what traits combine to make Gunler a solid young player and one who should be selected in the 15-20th overall range of the 2020 NHL Draft, you ask? Well, first and foremost, Gunler is a lethal goal-scorer. Whether he is in possession of the puck from a distance or in close to the goal, Gunler boasts the high-end skills necessary to put the puck into the back of the net with authority. His shot is quick and accurate and his release is smooth and direct — an ability which allows Gunler to overpower opposing goaltenders when the puck is on his stick. Moreover, Gunler is a strong skater who can create time and space for himself owing to his agility and willingness to drive the puck towards the goal with confidence. Having already proven his willingness to do so at the SHL-level, Gunler’s abilities should translate well to the NHL-level once he has gained confidence and experience within North America.
Concerns regarding Zion Nybeck’s size have followed him everywhere he has played and have consumed the perceptions of many within the world of hockey. Checking in at 5-foot-8 and 175-pounds, it goes without saying that Zybeck is far from the biggest player on the ice — however, Nybeck’s apparent lack of size has not infringed upon his ability to play a dominant offensive role each and every time he takes to the ice. In fact, Nybeck blasted home 27 goals and 66 points in his 42 games played with HV71 J20 of the SuperElit League this past season. If that level of production comes across as quite significant, well, that’s because it was — Nybeck’s 66 points were the highest total the SuperElit League had seen since the 2010-11 season nearly a decade ago.
So, why is it that some scouting organizations and individuals within the world of hockey view Nybeck as a likely third-to-fourth round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft? Well, that’s a question which we may never know the answer to. Despite his lack of stature, Nybeck has long been spoken of with high regard when it comes to his ability to handle physical play at high levels of competition. Well built and strong on his skates, Nybeck can sustain the pressure forced upon him by his much larger competition and does not shy away from physical play. In fact, on most nights this challenge seems to fuel his fire, as the youngster loves to drive the puck hard to the net as well as push the pace of play. Boasting a strong shot, excellent on-ice instincts and a high level of intelligence, Nybeck regularly controls the play and forces his opponents to respond to his actions. In short, there are many reasons as to why we view Nybeck as a first-round talent — heck, if Nick Robertson can play for the Toronto Maple Leafs standing two inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter, Nybeck will do just fine at the NHL-level.
It was a tale of two seasons for Jan Mysak during the 2019-20 campaign, as the highly touted 2020 NHL Draft prospect hopped across the pond to play hockey in North America for the first time. Mysak’s most recent campaign began in his native country of the Czech Republic, where he skated at the highest level for HC Litvinov. In his 26 games played with HC Litvinov, Mysak had tallied five goals and nine points before deciding that the time was right to make the transition to the Ontario Hockey League and the Hamilton Bulldogs. Once acclimated, Mysak had an immediate impact with the Bulldogs — blasting home 15 goals and 25 points in a mere 22 games played before COVID-19 forced the season to come to an end.
What makes Mysak such a unique prospect is the fact that he is capable of excelling in all three zones of the ice. Unlike many 2020 NHL Draft prospects, Mysak is a multi-faceted player who can log significant minutes on both the penalty kill and power play in addition to his efforts at even strength. When shorthanded, Mysak loves to pester his attacking opponents and will frequently steal the puck and create offensive chances for his team owing to his work ethic and high rate of speed. Moreover, on the power play, Mysak’s quick release and accurate shot allow him to bulge the twine with an impressive level of consistency. While he may not feature the skill-set to become a first-line player at the NHL-level, Mysak’s wide-ranging set of tools should allow him to develop into a top-nine player at hockey’s highest level with ease.
To say that Carter Savoie dismantled his competition in the AJHL this past season would be a significant understatement. In his 54 games played with the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Savoie tallied 53 goals and a jaw-dropping 99 points — the highest total of a U18 player in the league since 2000-01. However, despite this immense offensive output, Savoie still finds himself projected by many to be chosen outside of the second-round of the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft — a reality which unquestionably makes him one of the most underrated prospects available. One interesting cross-comparison which can be made is between Savoie’s game and that of Dylan Holloway’s — Holloway is one of the University of Wisconsin’s best young players and a prospect projected to be chosen in the top-20 of this year’s Draft. Last season, Holloway recorded 88 points in the AJHL, 11 less than Savoie collected this season. So, why is it that Holloway is projected to be drafted roughly two rounds higher than Savoie?
Well, this question is an incredibly difficult one to answer. While Holloway plays a more physical game and is surely perceived to be more NHL-ready than Savoie, Savoie’s game arguably contains far more upside owing to his abilities at both ends of the ice. First and foremost, Savoie is a tremendous skater and features the acceleration and agility necessary to create time and space from his opponents. This speed when paired with his tenacity makes him difficult to handle on the forecheck, as he bears down on opposing defenders and often forces them into turnovers. When the puck is on Savoie’s stick is when he is most dangerous, as the youngster boasts great vision, intelligence and a deceptive shot. As a multi-faceted offensive threat, Savoie can keep his opponents on their heels and control the game at his pace. The older brother of highly touted 2022 NHL Draft prospect Matthew Savoie, Savoie will take his talents to the University of Denver for the 2020-21 campaign, where he will surely force 30 NHL franchises to regret failing to draft him.
Five Honourable Mentions:
Michael Benning – D – Sherwood Park Crusaders, AJHL (54GP – 12G, 75PTS)
A good friend of Savoie’s, Benning is an incredibly gifted offensive defenceman who is also set to play for the University of Denver this coming campaign. Boasting incredible hockey IQ and innate instincts with the puck, there is no way Benning should be chosen outside of the third-round like many are predicting.
A late 2001-born centre, Fowler became one of the Erie Otters’ go-to players at both ends of the ice this past season. A natural leader, Fowler features tremendous poise and plays a professional style of game. Set to play for the Oshawa Generals this coming season, expect Fowler to log significant minutes for his new club.
Roni Hirvonen – C – Assat, Liiga (52GP – 5G, 16PTS)
Projected by many within the hockey world to be chosen in the late-second to early-third round of the 2020 NHL Draft, Hirvonen played a full season in Liiga this past season despite his young age of 17-years and collected points. While he isn’t the biggest player on the ice, Hirovonen is incredibly smart and can create plays as well as any prospect eligible for the Draft.
Yevgeni Oksentyuk was a relative unknown in the 2019 NHL Draft, however, odds are he won’t last long come the 2020 NHL Draft. As a 2001-born prospect, Oksentyuk exploded for the Flint Firebirds in his first OHL season in 2019-20 — collecting a team-best 78 points in 58 games played. With tremendous speed and the ability to finish, it will be a massive oversight if Oksentyuk isn”t chosen within the first three rounds of the Draft.
Justin Sourdif – C – Vancouver Giants, WHL (57GP – 26G, 54PTS)
Opinions regarding Justin Sourdif’s game waned greatly throughout the 2019-20 WHL season. Initially perceived as a potential first-round talent, many hockey scouting organizations have come to view Sourdif as a late-second or third round talent eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. While his offensive output didn’t explode this past season, Sourdif does far too many things well to fall in the upcoming Draft — once he gains greater size he could become one of the best 2002-born two-way forwards in the nation.
With the 2019-20 regular season coming to an end and playoff hockey glistening on horizon, we’ve released our latest 2020 NHL Draft ranking — March’s edition features an updated ranking of our top 62 prospects.
With regular season action coming to a close and the postseason glistening on the horizon, the time has come to unveil our latest NHL Draft ranking of the 2019-20 season. Although the 2020 NHL Draft remains more than three months away, each and every prospect eligible for selection has continued to work tirelessly in order to bolster their respective stocks. And, while some players have stumbled of late, others have risen dramatically owing to their productive and — most importantly — consistent play throughout one of the most exhausting stretches of the season.
With this being said, there is a great deal of change within our 2020 NHL Draft ranking for the month of March. Three players — all of which competing within the OHL — have been ranked for the first time this season in this issue, while a handful of others saw their standings shift as a direct result of their high-end play throughout the past two months. Of note were European imports Jan Mysak and Martin Chromiak — two players who arrived in North America mid-way through the current campaign and have made an immediate impact at the OHL-level. Further, there has been the stellar play of Kaiden Guhle — a strong and steady defender who has continued to make waves for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL.
Now, let’s dive into our 2020 NHL Draft ranking for the month of March. As mentioned earlier, there has been a great deal of change within our standings since we last convened in January, so be sure to pull up our New Year’s ranking in order to determine which players have progressed and which have stumbled.
With the 2020 NHL Draft now less than six months away, we’ve released our first NHL Draft ranking of the New Year. Inside, we’ve ranked our top-62 prospects and included prospect profiles as well.
It’s 2020 — a fact which means that the upcoming NHL Entry Draft is now less than six months away. Truthfully, it’s hard to believe that we’re more than half way through the 2019-20 season, as a number of the campaign’s major international tournaments and prospect games have been completed. With this being said, however, we’ve begun to reach the point where prospects and their respective stocks are becoming increasingly set in stone. Sure, plenty of time remains for each and every young player eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft to influence the perception of scouts and management alike, yet, many of which have already developed a strong sense of the players which these prospects may one day become at the NHL-level.
With this in mind, we’ve assembled our latest ranking ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft. In this month’s edition, there was a great deal of change throughout our top-62 board, as a number of players have continued to impress while others seem to have become stagnant within what is an incredibly stressful season of hockey. Of note within this month’s ranking is the ascension of Germany’s trio of elite young prospects — Tim Stutzle has climbed to fourth-overall, while John-Jason Paterka and Lukas Reichel have both risen dramatically owing to their impressive play of late. And, speaking of high-flying international prospects, Jan Mysak has burst into the late first-round of our January NHL Draft Ranking — his play at the recent 2020 World Junior Championship and impending move to the OHL will have scouts drooling.
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into January’s 2020 NHL Draft ranking. As always, be sure to follow the links below if you’d like to view our past NHL Draft rankings!
We’ve flown through the opening quarter of the 2019-20 hockey season, as the month of November is quickly dwindling. Yet, before it comes to an end, we’re releasing our 2020 NHL Draft Ranking for the month — an article which highlights the top-62 prospect eligible for selection.
Yes, the month of November is quickly dwindling, however, we’re attempting to inject life into the stanza by releasing our fourth 2020 NHL Draft Ranking of the 2019-20 season. In our latest ranking, we’ve once again rated 62 prospects to provide you with more information as well as a greater understanding of this campaign’s incredibly deep and talented crop of young players.
One aspect which you will surely identify within this month’s ranking is that fact that there was a great deal of change since our October ranking was released. Now, this change isn’t found deep in the second round or even the first round alone, but as high as the top-10 overall. With more than a month’s time having passed since our October 2020 NHL Draft Ranking was released, we were afforded with ample time to evaluate and rank each and every prospect prior to publishing this month’s edition.
For example, two stunning Swedish defenders in Emil Andrae and Helge Grans jumped considerably within our November ranking, and so too did a trio of OHLers by the names of Ryan O’Rourke, Tyson Foerster, and Rory Kerins. On the other hand, a number of prospects whose stocks were soaring early on during the 2019-20 season have begun to fall back to Earth. Namely there are Antonio Stranges, Will Cuylle and Daniel Ljungman — three excellent young players who have been somewhat slow out of the gate yet boast the abilities necessary to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft come draft day.
In addition to these notable ascensions and dips were a plethora of other movements, all of which you will find in our top-62 ranking for the month of November below. As always, be sure to cross-reference this month’s ranking with those released in the past to see how your favourite prospect’s status has changed over time.
With the 2020 NHL Draft approaching, Anton Lundell of HIFK continues to establish himself as one of the top prospects eligible for selection. A crafty centre who plays a responsible game, Lundell could be made a top-five pick come the 2020 NHL Draft.
– Anton Lundell –
HIFK (Liiga) | C/LW | 2020 NHL Draft Eligible
Espoo, Finland | 6-foot-1, 185-pounds | October 3rd, 2001
Unquestionably the top Finnish-born prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, Anton Lundell is a versatile centre-man who can do seemingly everything well each and every time he takes to the ice. With great size, Lundell is a force who is hard to handle in the offensive zone — moreover, he plays a responsible two-way game and can be counted upon to produce or defend regardless of the situation on the ice.
However, at the end of the day Lundell’s calling card is his offensive prowess, as the native of Espoo, Finland features lightning-quick hands, impeccable vision and an extremely high level of on-ice intelligence and awareness. Whether he be attacking on the rush or anchored in front of his opposition’s goal, Lundell has the skill set necessary to excel in multiple situations and, as a result, stands as one of the top prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.
With this being said, let’s take a more refined look at Lundell’s numerous strengths on the ice.
Skating Speed and Acceleration
Shot Release and Velocity
Offensive Awareness and Intelligence
Vision and Playmaking Ability
Strength, Stability, and Positioning
The foundation of Lundell’s game — like many great players — is his ability to navigate the ice with both purpose and confidence. When leading an offensive rush, Lundell displays his steady and fluid stride — one which allows him to create and maintain a high-level of speed with little issue. Further, Lundell is remarkably strong on his skates and difficult to knock off of the puck, a reality which allows Lundell to drive puck possession for his team. Since he is so fast, agile, and strong on his skates, Lundell has little issue creating time and space for himself and comes to stand as a lethal offensive threat as a direct result.
If opposing defenders afford Lundell with too much time and space in the attacking zone, he will routinely find an open shooting lane before unleashing his deceptive on goal. Defined by its unique release, Lundell’s shot is extremely difficult for opposing goaltenders to read and often finds the back of the net before they can read it’s direction and speed. However, if pressured, Lundell also features the vision and offensive awareness necessary to fire crisp and creative passes to his fellow teammates in high percentage scoring situations.
Areas of Improvement:
First Step Acceleration
In terms of areas in need of improvement within Lundell’s game, there aren’t many. So, if we were to nitpick, we’d identify Lundell’s first step acceleration as well as his offensive versatility as two areas that are strong yet could be improved in the years ahead.
While his acceleration is strong, Lundell would do well to become a more explosive skater who can turn around and disorient his defenders in all three zones of the ice. As Lundell continues to mature physically this skill will surely develop, and so too will Lundell’s offensive versatility. In the future, we’d like to see Lundell fully utilize his skating abilities, strength, and instincts to become a player who can drive the puck wide and hard to the goal on the rush — if able to do so, Lundell could stand as a combination of Aleksander Barkov and Sebastian Aho at the NHL-level.
In short, Lundell is a decisive offensive player who can also play a responsible 200-foot game. Not afraid to park himself in front of his opponent’s and ever creative, it’s rather easy to see why Lundell is skating and producing at the Liiga-level in the season preceding his first NHL Draft. If he can continue to produce offensively at the Liiga-level throughout the 2019-20 season, Lundell will unquestionably be selected within the top-10 overall come the 2020 NHL Draft, if not higher.
In the years ahead, Lundell boasts the skill set and intelligence level necessary to become a first line player at the NHL-level. Lethal offensively and reliable in all three zones of the ice, Lundell has the tools to become a modern-day NHL star.
We’re already a month into the 2019-20 season, which means that it is time to unveil our 2020 NHL Draft Ranking for the month of October. In this edition, we’ve expanded our ranking to include a whopping 62 players!
The 2019-20 hockey season is in full swing, which means that the time has come to reveal our second 2020 NHL Draft Ranking of the campaign. Although it’s been a mere month since we last convened, there has been a great deal of change within our ranking — particularly in the 11-25th overall range. While some prospects have slipped slightly, others have risen owing to their red-hot starts or consistency at both ends of the ice.
At the top of the board, however, there was no change since our September Ranking was released. For the time being, Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic holds down the top spot — although Quinton Byfield of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves doesn’t trail far behind. Following Lafreniere and Byfield are a pair of lethal Swedish forwards in Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz — one a playmaker and the other a pure sniper who can both change the course of any given game. Seizing the fifth-overall spot in the month’s ranking is Anton Lundell, a fiery Finnish forward whose strength lies in his on-ice versatility.
New to October’s Ranking is the introduction of an additionally ranked 32 prospects — each of which coming together to form our projected second-round of the 2020 NHL Draft at this point of the season. Continuing on with the trend set by those ranked in the top-31, you’ll find that a large number of prospects ranked in the 31-62nd overall range compete in the CHL’s Quebec Major Junior League. With this being said, the 2020 NHL Draft could come to be regarded as one of the QMJHL’s strongest prospect classes in recent history, as the league will put forth a deep arsenal of players home to different positions and potentials on the ice.
In all, the 2020 NHL Draft remains poised to present one of the deepest and most highly skilled classes of prospects that we have seen in quite some time. With players of first-round talent surely to be selected in the second-round and beyond, each and every NHL organization will truly hold the ability to acquire a game-changing player when they take to the stage on draft night in Montreal, Quebec.
The Top-62 Prospects
As mentioned above, we’ve expanded our top-31 ranking into a top-62 version, as we are now incorporating the players we’re projecting to be chosen in the second-round of the 2020 NHL Draft. For ease of reading, we’ve separated the first and second rounds into two separate tables. If you’d like to cross-reference October’s Draft Ranking with our initial top-32 ranking released in September, be sure to follow the link below.
Alexander Holtz of the SHL’s Djurgårdens IF is a deadly goal-scoring machine eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. A versatile threat and incredibly passionate prospect, Holtz could be chosen within the top-five overall come the NHL Draft in June.
– Alexander Holtz –
Djurgårdens IF (SHL) | LW/RW | 2020 NHL Draft Eligible
Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden | 6-foot, 185lbs | Jan. 23rd, 2002
The upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft will be well-represented by Sweden, as Alexander Holtz and Lucas Raymond stand as two of the top prospects eligible for selection by patiently waiting NHL organizations. While Raymond is widely regarded as a pass-first style of player, Holtz has come to be defined by his ability to blast the puck into the back of the net and has proven his ability to do such with remarkable consistency in league play as well as on the international stage.
When it comes to Holtz’s strengths, there are many. First and foremost there is Holtz’s skating speed — an ability which stands as the foundation of his game. Capable of eluding his defenders with relative ease, Holtz features the straight-line speed necessary to force his opposition onto their heels and can create a great deal of time and space for himself in the process. What’s more is that Holtz isn’t afraid to drive hard to the net — he can combine his speed and growing agility to change directions and discombobulate his defenders.
Having flown into the attacking zone, it is quite common to see Holtz unleash his sizzling shot — an ability which makes him one of the top goal-scorers eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Defined by its Auston Matthews-like release, Holtz’s shot has the accuracy and velocity necessary to beat opposing goaltenders cleanly with impressive consistency. In addition to his lethal wrist-shot, Holtz also boasts an impressive slapper and the unique ability to score goals on one-timers taken from a distance.
However, Holtz is more than just a goal-scorer, as the youngster features incredible puck-handling abilities and the on-ice vision necessary to create and implement high-quality scoring chances in combination with his teammates. What’s more is that Holtz features a tremendous feel for the game — an innate ability which allows him to sense the positioning of his teammates or slide into open ice in order to receive the puck and fire it on-goal. It is these abilities which allow Holtz to stand as a dynamic and versatile two-threat capable of producing offence in a wide variety of forms.
Skating Agility and Acceleration
Given Holtz’s projection as a likely top-five talent in the 2020 NHL Draft, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are a slim few areas in need of improvement with respect his game.
The most notable of which, however, is surely Holtz’s skating acceleration as well as his agility while moving at top speed. Although he features high-end speed and the ability to create separation between himself and his opposition, Holtz boasts average acceleration and can therefore be caught by defenders if he receives the puck from a standstill. Moreover, once he has reached top speed, Holtz’s agility is fairly average — while he can change direction while maintaining his speed fairly well, Holtz is slightly predictable in doing so and can be thwarted somewhat easily at times.
Now, this not to say that Holtz is a poor skater by any means, but rather that room for improvement does exist within this particular facet of his game — especially so if he wishes to enjoy a seamless transition to the NHL-level in the near future.
At the end of the day, Holtz is a high-end talent eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft and arguably its most lethal goal-scorer. Capable of traversing the ice with relative ease and decisive in his ability to do so, Holtz places overwhelming pressure on opposing defenders and stands as an unpredictable threat owing to his ability to shoot and pass the puck with absolute authority.
While room for improvement does exist within his game, Holtz should be able to eliminate any deficiencies with ease as he continues to strengthen his already intimidating frame. In short, Holtz is an excellent offensive player who should develop into a persistent threat at the NHL-level in little to no time whatsoever. Once his skating matches his puck-handling skills and shot, he should grow into a top-six forward with little issue.
Lucas Raymond of the SHL’s Frolunda HC is one of the most talented players eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. A lethal playmaker and confident goal scorer, it’s easy to see why Raymond is regarded as a top prospect throughout the hockey world. Read his full profile, here.
– Lucas Raymond –
Frölunda HC (SHL) | Right Wing | 2020 NHL Draft Eligible
Göteborg, Sweden | 5-foot-11, 170lbs | Mar. 28th, 2002
The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is loaded with players of elite talent, however, arguably none are more capable than Lucas Raymond — a Swedish winger defined by his elusive nature and unparalleled offensive abilities. Regardless of the situation or score, Raymond is as dangerous as they come — routinely dangling his way through opposing defenders before dishing the puck to a teammate or concluding the play himself.
Raymond is so lethal, in fact, that he is skating for Frölunda HC at the SHL-level in 2019-20 as a 17-year-old. Slated to turn 18 years-of-age in March of 2020, Raymond was one of just three players under the age of 18 to begin the current campaign at the SHL-level — joining fellow Swedish prospects Alexander Holtz and Lucas Ramberg in doing so. With this being said, it should come as no surprise to learn that Raymond has been routinely discussed as a top-five prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, he is simply that good.
On-Ice Vision and Playmaking Abilities
Skating Speed and Agility
When it comes to Raymond’s strengths, there are plenty. Above all else, however, is Raymond’s raw creativity when in possession of the puck. Completely unpredictable and willing to take risks in order to generate scoring opportunities, Raymond can execute high-risk passes with relative ease and is more than willing to experiment new plays on the fly and regardless of the on-ice situation. Yet, with this being said, every risk which Raymond takes is calculated.
This innate creativity leads directly to a wealth of offensive opportunities for Raymond and his team, as the native of Göteborg, Sweden is a pass-first player who consistently improves the play of those around him. Of stellar vision, Raymond has no trouble identifying players in his peripherals and can hit teammates with passes they — let alone Raymond’s opponents — weren’t expecting.
However, Raymond is far more than an elite playmaker, as the youngster has the ability to score goals too. This offensive versatility is driven by Raymond’s skating, as he features great foot speed and the agility required to change directions in a split second while retaining a high rate of speed. When combined with his elite puck-handling abilities, Raymond stands as a truly unpredictable offensive force capable of generating offence by any means necessary.
General Strength and Skating Stability
There’s a reason why Raymond is perceived as a top-five talent eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft — there aren’t any significant areas of weakness present within his game. In the years ahead, however, Raymond would do well to continue adding greater strength to his 5-foot-11 frame.
While his strength will surely increase with age, more muscle will aid Raymond’s ability to protect the puck as well as the velocity of his shot. While accurate and defined by its quick release, greater power will allow Raymond’s shot to consistently bulge the twine once he reaches the NHL-level.
Once in the midst of his NHL career, Raymond will undoubtedly stand as a first-line winger capable of sustaining his team’s offensive attack on a nightly basis. Incredibly shifty and remarkably diverse, Raymond will come to pick apart opposing defenders at the NHL-level while rounding into a strong two-way player in the process. Come the 2020 NHL Draft, expect Raymond to be chosen within the first five picks — he could be nabbed as high as second overall in our opinion.
All in all, a devastating and consistent offensive force who will command attention at the NHL-level for years to come.
Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves is one of the top prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Learn about what skills make Byfield such a dominant young force by reading his prospect profile, here.
– Quinton Byfield –
Sudbury Wolves (OHL) | Centre | 2020 NHL Draft Eligible
Newmarket, Ontario | Aug. 19th, 2002 | 6-foot-4, 215-pounds
Since ascending to the OHL-level, Byfield has become a dominant force for the Sudbury Wolves. In fact, in his rookie season of 2018-19, Byfield became a driving force within the Wolves’ offence as well as a responsible two-way centre to boot. In the attacking zone, Byfield collected 29 goals and 61 points en route to the Emms Family Award as the OHL’s Rookie of the Year. Further, in his defensive end, Byfield routinely used his towering frame to dispossess opposing forwards while also enjoying significant time on the penalty kill too.
In short, there are many reasons why Byfield was chosen first overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, and a great many reasons more as to why he will be seriously considered by the NHL franchise who holds the first overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Skating Speed and Strength
Shot Strength, Release, and Accuracy
Special Teams Abilities
As mentioned above, the true strength of Byfield’s game lies in his well-rounded skill set and versatility on the ice. As a tremendous skater known for his smooth stride and incredible acceleration, Byfield can create separation between himself and the fastest of opponents and features the agility necessary to change direction without losing his momentum. This foundational skill allows Byfield to protect the puck with ease when combined with his size — a mixture which makes Byfield virtually unstoppable once he hits full speed.
Having rushed into the opposing zone and created time and space for himself, Byfield stands as a versatile and unpredictable offensive threat. Owing to the strength of his shot and its lightning-quick release, Byfield can pound the puck on goal in the blink-of-an-eye and is remarkably consistent in his accuracy. Even if unable to beat an opposing goaltender cleanly, Byfield’s heavy shot can generate a slew of rebounds for his teammates to pounce upon. Further, there are Byfield’s playmaking abilities — his on-ice vision and creativity stand at an elite level and make him unpredictable given the fact that opposing defenders must respect both his ability to pass the puck as well as shoot it.
Perhaps the most impressive facet of Byfield’s game is his ability to play in all situations with relative ease. As a rookie in Sudbury, Byfield routinely killed penalties as well as saw time on the Wolves’ top power play unit and was remarkably effective in doing so. Actively being coached to become a well-rounded and capable player in al three zones of the ice, Byfield’s on-ice maturity in addition to his intimidating size will make him a wildly attractive prospect ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Given his towering 6-foot-4 and 215-pound frame, it may come as somewhat of a surprise to see “physical play” listed as Byfield’s area for improvement. However, while Byfeild certainly uses his size well when it comes to protecting the puck, he would do well to use his incredible strength on a more frequent basis on the defensive side of the puck. Quick to use his stick to poke the puck free — a tactic which works quite well, mind you — Byfield would benefit if willing to throw his weight around on a more frequent basis.
“He can control a game now, at 16, at both ends.”
Quinton Byfield is the real deal, and it won’t be long before he departs the major junior ranks, never to return. @THNKenCampbell with more on the Sudbury Wolves’ young star:https://t.co/T9ebcRuinw
Once he reaches the NHL-level in a few years’ time, Byfield will need to rely on his size on a consistent basis in addition to his elite-level skill set if he wishes to enjoy persistent success. So, why not begin to play and perfect an NHL-style of hockey at the OHL-level — doing so will surely allow Byfield to enjoy a much smoother transition to hockey’s highest level.
Once he reaches the NHL-level and is a few seasons into his career, Byfield will stand eerily reminiscent to a smooth-skating version of Evgeni Malkin. Blessed with incredible size and strength, Byfield will likely come to be referred to as the next generation’s power-forward — a player known for his size but one who also features soft hands, on-ice versatility, and the confidence necessary to thrive regardless of the situation of pressure placed upon him.
So, although Alexis Lafrenière of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic will receive considerable consideration by the franchise which holds the first overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft, so too will Byfield. And, given Byfield’s significant growth as a player this past season, it appears as though the choice between Lafrenière and Byfield on draft day will be much more difficult than originally thought.