2020 NHL Entry Draft July Ranking

This month my draft ranking expands to two rounds.

We’re now just a couple weeks away from the anticipated return to play of the NHL and with that, we have more certainty about things down the road, including the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The draft - for now - is scheduled for the second weekend in October. This could change in a day, and there is little certainty about the draft should the league not be able to finish the playoffs due to COVID-19. But, for the moment, we have a date.

In April, I released my initial draft ranking with a total of 31 prospects. This month’s ranking expands that list to 62. Normally, I would have a three-round list finalized by now but the suspension of the season afford me time for more viewings of nearly every player on my list. Below you’ll see any movement in the top-31 noted.

2020 NHL Entry Draft April Ranking

Finally, as a reminder, this is not a mock draft but a ranking of which players will become the best NHL players in the future. This year comes with some hurdles: a handful of players have lost significant time to injury, the current pandemic affects how developmental leagues may operate moving forward, college hockey could be severely impacted, etc. With all that taken into account, enjoy.

2020 NHL Entry Draft July Ranking

1 (-)Alexis LafrenièreRimouski OcéanicQMJHLLWCan create a play from nothing with little support and will capitalize on every error or misstep... Has the speed to outskate most opponents and the awareness to out-think them when needed... Is a great shooter and even better playmaker; the definitive top prospect in this class
2 (-)Quinton ByfieldSudbury WolvesOHLCImpressive puck control in tight situations; can drag and stickhandle out of crowded areas with ease... His zone exit and entry success at top speed is an elite-level talent... Combines his puck skills with an often immovable frame and a good accelerating step
3 (-)Tim StützleAdler MannheimDELFOne of the best skaters in this class, Stutzle was dominant as a 17-year old scoring nearly a point per game... Everything he does is at top speed: crossovers, zone entries, turns, passes, set moves on the power play, etc... Remarkably creative and uses a full arsenal of skating talent to maneuver and find space for his effective shot
4 (-)Marco RossiOttawa 67'sOHLCA great skater with a good accelerating gear and stickhandling skills at top speed... Rossi is a cerebral passer who can connect from nearly any spot on the ice with minimal hiccups... An excellent scorer off the rush who uses lateral quickness and excellent edge control to beat defenders
5 (+2)Jamie DrysdaleErie OttersOHLDDrysdale is the best defender in his class by a mile and has puck control skills that rival some of the top forwards above... His skating stride comes with a choppy crossover step that I don't love, but his edge control is a work of art... He is a transition machine using good protection habits, decent passing & often mohawk steps or backwards crossovers
6 (-1)Lucas RaymondFrölunda HCSHLFRaymond is masterful with the puck on his stick, cradling it at absurd speeds to freeze pinching defenders... He's got one of the best, most accurate wrist shots in this class and can launch it even under strong duress... Doesn't limit himself in how he uses his stick to creatively set up plays and capitalize on rush chances
7 (-1)Alexander HoltzDjurgårdens IF SHLRWIf Holtz has one thing on Raymond, it's shooting talent; he can pick corners that you've never even noticed... Has an innate ability to shift his positioning or open up to even the most inaccurate of passes or set-ups... Can be very effective at creating turnovers but doesn't utilize his crossover step or speed enough off the puck
8 (+1)Anton LundellHIFKLiigaFExtremely effective and positionally sound at both ends of the ice with a knack for great puck spport and finding open space... Lundell is a good passer who maps the ice very well and can be key to maintaining possession and a thorough cycle... He isn't an explosive skater or a flashy scorer and his ability to attack open ice could get confused for floating too much
9 (-1)Cole PerfettiSaginaw SpiritOHLCPerfetti's showing at the Hlinka-Gretzky in August opened my eyes a lot more to a skillset equivalent to Byfield in some regards... Has a great shot but is also adept at finishing tight around the net with a beautiful set of hands... Is intentional with his moves and zone entries but keeps his head down too much but still pulls off impressive set-up passes
10 (-)Dawson MercerDrummondville VoltigeursQMJHLRWAn elite-level player with the puck on the stick who can out-maneuver nearly any defender with a unique set of hands... May get caught being pushed off the puck more than others in this ranking but has above-average intelligence in all three zones... There are legitimate concerns about his skating but he can power through defenders when intentional with his entries
11 (-)Yaroslav AskarovSKA-Neva St. PetersburgVHLGThe runaway top prospect in net in this class, Askarov plays with very solid on-ice coverage from post to post... Tracks the puck well through traffic and in high-danger situations and is properly reactive with his glove and blocker... He has an effective cross-crease shuffle but sometimes it seems like he's not getting enough out of each push
12 (+4)Jake SandersonU.S. NTDPUSHLDA different style defender than Poirier, Sanderson is effective a pinning plays to the outside and blocking passing or skating lanes... Sanderson is a good, not great skater, who can cover large areas well while maintaining good gap and stick placement... His transition skating and pivots can be burned sometimes and he won't lead the rush as often as Drysdale or Poirier
13 (-1)Noel GunlerLuleå HFSHLWHas an excellent wrist shot and, more importantly, gives no favors for goalies by being intentionally deceptive with his stick... His skating stride is defined by an elongated crossover step that he derives good power from but not excessive speed... Is good at finding passing lanes but can hold onto the puck too long and isn't the best pcuk handler in tight spots
14 (-1)Seth JarvisPortland WinterhawksWHLRWOne of the highest risers of the year as he wasn't near my top-31 in October; Jarvis did it all for Portland this season... He skates with a well-defined and technically sound stride that's fast but not overly explosive... Determined anytime he has the puck on this stick to move north and toward the net either through or around defenders
15 (-1)Jacob PerreaultSarnia StingOHLCI'm likely higher on Perreault than most, but he's such an effective player at each level of the offsensive zone... Perreault is a good shooter with an elusive launch and creative with his passes to navigate the most minimal of openings or lanes... He'll need to get better at his transition from zone entry to high-danger areas to score as much at the next level
16 (+1)Mavrik BourqueShawinigan CataractesQMJHLCIs an effective shooter both in tight and from higher in the slot or zone; packs a good one-timer too... He may not wow many with his speed but his smooth crossover steps and how he transfers leg weight leads to a good stride... I'm most impressed by his puck recovery skills and ability to bouce off defenders who gap up or play the body
17 (+2)Jack QuinnOttawa 67'sOHLRWSome may criticize being so low on a 50-goal scorer as a Kaliyev-like mistake but Quinn is old for this class playing on a stacked team... Quinn capitilizes on his finishing ability both when crossing into the slot and on rebounds or in open ice for tips or tap-ins... I think he's a fine skater but relies on quick steps and doesn't skate to shoot but glides into his releases
18 (-)Rodion AmirovSalavat Yulaev UfaKHLLWIsn't always an overly explosive skater but has a well-developed skating stride that doesn't waste movement or energy... His forechecking ability is very good as he strikes a meaningful balance between his stick positioning and angle of attack... Is a good scorer and playmaker but finds open time and space better than most to capitalize on chances
19 (-4)Jérémie PoirierSaint John Sea DogsQMJHLDI'm almost certain I'll shift these defenders late in the first before the draft but Poirier is #2 off the board for me right now... He may be just as good a puck handler as Drysdale is and has a beautiful crossover that gives him great lateral quickness... Isn't the fastest to return to good defensive position but has a nice touch with the puck when he can create a turnover
20 (-)Dylan HollowayUniversity of WisconsinNCAAFHas the speed and north-south game to often be the first forward back disrupting an opponent's attempted zone entry... Controls the puck well at top speeds and has a good touch pass or stretch pass he can connect on in most scenarios... Utilizies an interesting half step to pump his skating stride and can transition well from takeaways without elite speed
21 (+1)Roni HirvonenÄssätLiigaCI'm a huge fan of Hirvonen's game that's built on creativity with the puck and astute decision-making in the offensive zone... He plays with a relentless drive but isn't rash to attack a clogged passing/shooting lane & has the skill to regroup before committing to a play... Can be an excellent asset in attacking the net off set plays or below the hashmarks but can shoot from a distance, too
22 (+1)Jan MysakHamilton BulldogsOHLLWIt seems like a common theme as kids are developing their shooting talent better than ever, but Mysak is dynamite with his wrist shot off the rush... He's a quick skater but has a really extraneous skating motion at times that has to slow him down to an extent... His on-ice awareness is certainly more raw than some but it's just a matter of executing his play off the puck better
23 (+2)Connor ZaryKamloops BlazersWHLCZary has the puck skills to rival some other forwards higher in this list, but I'm concerned at how he steps out of moves with less quickness... I have little doubt Zary will be a solid pro hockey player but nothing blows me away in his skillset like others in this class... I do like how he processes the game on and off the puck; he's got a good sense of where his teammates/opponents are headed
24 (-3)Helge GransMalmö Redhawks J20SuperElitDA managers dream: big, good puck handler and a right-shot blueliner; Grans is a unique talent in this class... One of the best controlled transition players but can be prone to turnovers or silly pass attempts in the middle of the ice... Has a good shot but is very effective joining the rush as forward #3 or even crashing the net before pivoting back to the point
25 (+2)Zion NybeckHV71 J20SuperElitWNybeck possesses a great wrist shot that's accurate at beating goalies in lower weak spots and not always up high... I like how he turns into transition when exiting the zone but wish he would use other tools more (the wall, touch passes, etc.)... He's an excellent stop and start skater than can accelerate well out of dekes or being pushed out to the boards by defenders
26 (+3)Hendrix LapierreChicoutimi SaguenéensQMJHLCI wish I could rank Lapierre higher but a shortened season and concussion concerns are serious factors to consider ahead of the 2020 Entry Draft... Is one of the most effortless passers I've seen in some time; he hits every seam in transition, any moving target and can needle it through defenders... He's a powerful skater too who relies on strong edges to out-position defenders rather than always blow past them
27 (+3)John-Jason PeterkaEHC MünchenDELFPeterka's puck protection skills stand out to me; he excels at using his stick and frame to provide two layers of protection from defenders... He's a good perimeter skater who can shift well around the zone to find shooting or passing lanes but can get held up attacking the slot at times... Does drive to the net well and finds good time and space for rebounds as he's often been without the necessary room to shoot at even-strength
28 (-)Martin ChromiakKingston FrontenacsOHLLWChromiak may be my reach pick as of now, but he's one of the youngest players in the class with skill and creativity in the offensive zone to burn... His hands and shot are well-developed and he isn't overly reliant on perimeter shooting; in fact, he can be a great low-slot player too... Sometimes can be caught thinking the game ahead of his feet which lack an elite-level gear
29 (-3)Thomas BordeleauU.S. NTDPUSHLCBordeleau is a good shooter and has a great ability to adjust his shot intentions off the rush or out of turns to fool goalies... Is an elite-level cross-ice passer who can weave through various obstacles and pull defenders out of position before getting with a teammate... He can be a great pace player when entering the zone but sometime eases up into a glide and loses control of the play to disciplined defenders
30 (-6)Emil AndraeHV71 J20SuperElitDAndrae is a small defender with a quick stride, good lateral movements and the ability to out-maneuver wingers from the point... His passing seems inaccurate or rushed at times but that shouldn't be a permanent issue... Andrae has a good wrist shot that makes rebounds manageable but can really uncork a good one-timer from the circles, too
31 (-)William WallinderMODO Hockey J20SuperElitDWallinder is a more raw talent who snuck into my top-31 with an impressive SuperElit season... Utilizes a good mix of an accurate wrist shot and hard slap shot to create offense from the point but can dart into the slot at times and attack the net... Much like Grans, he's a naturally good transition player but won't always joine the rush as quickly or exit the zone with possession himself
32Topi NiemeläKärpätLiigaDSmooth skating defender with good pace in transition play, solid defensive awareness and some offensive instinct.
33Lukas ReichelEisbären BerlinDELLWHard working forward who loves to engage in possession battles; puck skills will flourish with added strength.
34Kaiden GuhlePrince Albert RaidersWHLDStrong skater who is thoughtful in transition, creates space for his team & likes to engage physically in gap control.
35Brendan BrissonChicago SteelUSHLCHighly-skilled forward who has the speed to win puck battles, execute creative offensive plays and find the net regularly.
36Lukas CormierCharlottetown IslandersQMJHLDMoves the puck well at top speeds in transition; offensively gifted; better defensive awareness than given credit for.
37Marat KhusnutdinovSKA-1946 St. PetersburgMHLCGreat accelerating speed playing a strong north-south game; tenacious forechecker; can beat defenders with speed.
38Ozzy WiesblattPrince Albert RaidersWHLRWFantastic transition player and creative puck handler and distributor who combines skill with a great skating stride.
39Kasper SimontaivalTappara U20U20 SM-sarjaFSmaller player that uses a strong crossover step and good puck skills; speed could improve along with defensive play.
40Joni JurmoJokerit U20U20 SM-sarjaDExcellent skating defender with great size; great ability to maintain puck position; pushes play up ice well with strong passing.
41Daniil GuschinMuskegon LumberjacksUSHLRWGood skater in any direction; excellent passer especially when moving at high speed in transition; pure goal scorer.
42Anton JohannessonHV71 J20SuperElitDIntelligent player limited by injuries; creative with the puck and committed in transition; great skater with good edge control.
43Ridly GreigBrandon Wheat KingsWHLLWSolid forechecker and backchecker that delivers excellent puck support in all three zones; good shooting skill too.
44Brock FaberU.S. NTDPUSHLDMakes decisive passes when exiting the zone; excellent skater especially when pivoting and mainting gap control.
45Justin BarronHalifax MooseheadsQMJHLDNearly impossible to project but reacts well with the puck on his stick and can push good pace for his team up ice.
46Vasili PonomaryovShawinigan CataractesQMJHLCPlays with high-end pace and positions/ angles himself very well on the forecheck; never backs down from forcing a turnover.
47Roby JärventieKOOVEEMestisLWGood possession player with his puck protection; constantly moving to find open space for himself or the puck (to teammates).
48Jean-Luc FoudyWindsor SpitfiresOHLCMesmerizing skater with elite-level control of his edges; accurate, fast shot and remarkable hands - still drives everyone crazy.
49Ty SmilanicU.S. NTDPUSHLCBigger frame but decent skater with strong base that translates power into his shooting arsenal; pushes puck well up the ice.
50Sean FarrellChicago SteelUSHLFDiminuitve player with great foot speed; stickhandles the puck well at top speed through the neutral zone; needs better execution.
51Braden SchneiderBrandon Wheat KingsWHLDA sound defender but too stagnant offensively and panics with the puck; decent gap control but looks rough when exposed with speed.
52Emil HeinemanLeksands IF J20SuperElitLWGood strength on the puck especially in battles along the borders; understands forechecking tools very well; decent speed.
53Ryan O'RourkeSoo GreyoundsOHLDCan win puck battles or make plays even when out-positioned; delivers pucks out the zone with good speed; great gap transition timing.
54Jaromir PytlikSoo GreyoundsOHLCMaddening how often he didn't execute this season but good shooting skill, big body, can be very effective with a head of steam up ice.
55Veeti MiettinenKiekko-Espoo U20U20 SM-sarjaRWSmaller, older player with a forceful skating stride - good speed at his size; great stop and start skater but strength will need to improve.
56Sam ColangeloChicago SteelUSHLRWPrototypical power forward who can succeed in the NHL but may be more of a project for me; skilled but too stagnant at times.
57Alexander PashinTolpar UfaMHLFAnother tiny forward with a very quick crossover step to generate speed; size and lack of strength will scare teams away but I'm intrigued.
58Tyler TullioOshawa GeneralsOHLCNot the fastest skater in the world but capitalizes on forcing himself into space where the puck is going; good puck protector.
59Brett BerardU.S. NTDPUSHLFSolid skating stride and good speed; decent shooter but not his best asset; creates new space from defenders by always moving his feet.
60Samuel KnazkoTPS U20U20 SM-sarjaDA sleeper for sure; modern-day defender who is confident in transition, great skater and lateral mover; plays net-front on the power play.
61Daniel TorgerssonFrölunda HC J20SuperElitWBigger forwad with decent speed for his side; provides good puck support and okay defensive positioning; net front is his home.
62Tyson FoersterBarrie ColtsOHLCAccelerating step concerns me; slashes with his stick too much; moves with breakout well and can capitilize on a great shooting arsenal.