Every year, a thousand of the best hockey prospects battle to be drafted in the big league. Unfortunately, only 217 players get drafted each year. Above these athletes, we can find elite phenoms, ready to perform with pro’s like Connor McDavid. Some of these are rare exceptions, going to make a huge impact in the league sooner than you might think. In 2020, the draft seems promising. Many players are having success in the Junior. As Lafrenière is qualified to make his entry in the NHL, let’s have a look at the 10 best prospects of 2020.
1. Alexis Lafrenière (LW, Rimouski Océanic, QMJHL)
Alexis Lafrenière is a powerful two-way forward playing for the Rimouski Océanic. Racking 80 points in 60 games on his first season with the Océanic, he proved himself a lot as a future number one pick for the 2020 NHL draft. Considered as an exceptional player, he never stopped surprising us. With 70 points in 32 games, nobody can say the opposite; he is the one you have to glance at. Appearing to be the next Connor McDavid, he makes honor to his small region of Saint-Eustache, where talent is small but making a name for the heart of hockey.
2. Quinton Byfield (C, Sudbury Wolves, OHL)
Quinton Byfield is a phenomenal center playing for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL. Compared to Eric Lindros, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame is making a name for himself. Drafted first overall in the OHL in 2018, he doesn’t come out of anywhere. He is a key player for any team that could be honored to have him in his team. With 61 points in 64 games last year, everybody knew how talented he was; but this season he took another step. He has now 57 points in 30 games and would be part of the World Junior Championship in December.
3. Tim Stützle (C, Adler Mannheim, DEL)
Tim Stützle is an intriguing player, knowing he comes from the league that not many hockey players go in the NHL after; DEL. He has been incredible with the adults, as he is only 17 years old playing with grown men! With 23 points in 25 games, he has the best point average ever registered at his age in his league, with 0,93 points per game, surpassing the well-known Marcel Goc, one of the first German players to reach the NHL.
4. Alexander Holtz (RW, Djurgårdens IF, SHL)
Alexander Holtz is a pure goalscorer. With 30 goals in 38 games in the J20 last year, we can say that he didn’t come out of nowhere. He was a pure beast. Currently, with 8 points in 21 games in the SHL, he is making a name for himself. As a scorer, he could, of course, challenge for the Maurice Richard trophy one day. Often compared to Elias Petterson, let’s hope he doesn’t injure himself and gets the chance to play long minutes in the NHL.
5. Lucas Raymond (RW, Frölunda HC, SHL)
Lucas Raymond is a high-end skillful and speedy guy. He is a dynamic player who is amongst the best skaters in his draft. Playing with Frölunda HC, the 17-year-old kid has now 5 points in 16 games, which is extremely good for someone playing with adults. Often compared with Alexander Holtz, the battle is very intense for who is going to get drafted first, knowing that their stats and play-style are pretty similar. Lucas Raymond is a pure playmaker but has a massive wrist shot which is very important in the NHL, knowing that the goalies are getting spectacular.
6. Marco Rossi (C, Ottawa 67’s, OHL)
Rossi is an extremely talented center performing for the Ottawa 67’s. Last year was a performing season for his rookie year, recording 65 points in 53 games. He was considered as a first-round pick, but he increased his game excessively. Now, he is currently sitting with 56 points in 24 games, which is the best points average in the CHL at only 17 years old! Marco Rossi is the type of player who is always well positioned. He plays along the board and is always working to secure the puck. He has great hands and can be a creative stick-handler.
7. Yaroslav Askarov (G, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg, VHL)
Yaroslav Askarov; remember this name. Compared to Andrei Vasilevskiy, Yaroslav is a future elite goaltender in the NHL. He is considered to be the best goaltender to come out of the NHL draft since Carey Price. At age 16, Askarov played as a starting goalie both for SKA-Varyagi in the MHL and for Russia U18. He was spectacular throughout the season. Askarov has posted a .921 save percentage in 31 games in the MHL, and also .948 and .916 at WJC-U17 and WJC-U18 respectively. With his big 6-foot-3 frame, he covers the net. He has amazing reflexes and is mentally strong. In addition to this, Askarov is right-handed which is rare for NHL goalies.
8. Jamie Drysdale (D, Erie Otters, OHL)
Jamie Drysdale is the best defenseman in the 2020 NHL draft. The assistant captain of the Erie Otters has 31 points in 29 games in the OHL, which is incredibly good for a defenseman, the best in the CHL for an under 18 player. Drysdale is a good right-handed defenseman who is good in the offensive zone. He possesses an amazing passing ability, great hands, and a superb vision. Drysdale has a superb skating in which he uses to tire out his opponents and create space for himself.
9. Anton Lundell (C-LW, HIFK, Liiga)
Anton Lundell is the hope for Finland. He is an amazing skater with a superb vision. He knows where to find his opponents and create space for himself. At age 17, Lundell was able to play a full season at the pro level in the Liiga with HIFK, racking 19 points in 38 games; he was extremely watched. Around a hundred scouts per game, he isn’t ranked ninth for nothing. With 12 points in 20 games, Lundell is for sure going to the World Junior Championship. Lundell is a reliable two-way center with the potential to become an annual Selke Trophy contender. He isn’t a defensive specialist, though, as he loves to create offense as well. He is one of the smartest players in his draft class. He’s more of a playmaker but also owns a great wrist shot. He works hard on and off the ice, and he has good size as well (6–1, 183).
10. Cole Perfetti (C, Saginaw Spirit, WHL)
The fifth-overall selection in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection had a terrific rookie CHL campaign. His 37 goals and 74 points in 63 games led all first-year OHLers. He has an incredible ability to read the play, find the soft areas of the ice, and finish with deadly accuracy. Now with 52 points in 32 games, he is an elite player and destined to be a top 10 pick. Being cut from the World Junior Canadian roster, let’s hope he continues to dominate in the OHL.
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