On Monday night, the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery yielded an unfortunate result for Predators fans. With equal odds among the eight eligible teams (Nashville, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, New York Rangers, and Winnipeg), the Rangers were awarded the top pick in the draft come October.
That relegates Nashville to 11th overall—a position where they have previously drafted Kevin Fiala and Ryan Ellis. As we get closer to the actual NHL Entry Draft, I’ll provide a more thorough video breakdown of first-round options for Nashville. In the meantime, see below for notes on the prospects I ranked near 11 in my latest ranking.
Anton Lundell - C - HIFK (Liiga)
The Finnish center should be a top-ten pick but may slide in favor of a scorer like Cole Perfetti. He recorded 10 goals and 28 points in 44 games for HIFK in his 18-year old season in Finland’s top professional league.
- Effective and sound in positioning at both ends of the ice with great puck support skill
- Good passer who maps the ice well and is key at maintaining possession
- Not a flashy or explosive player but is loaded with offensive talent and has a strong two-way game
Dawson Mercer - F - Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
Mercer is an electrifying talent with the puck on his stick who totaled 24 goals and 60 points in 42 games for the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Chicoutimi Saguenéens this season.
- Elite-level player with the puck on his stick who can out-maneuver nearly any defender
- Above-average intelligence in all three zones as he’s able to think three or four strides ahead of the play
- His skating is a concern (but fixable), but his offensive skill is top-five in this draft class
Yaroslav Askarov - G - SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
Long heralded as the next top goalie prospect, Askarov is in a league of his own with this draft class and the only goalie with legitimate first-round talent. Regardless, it would be unwise for Nashville to go this route with the skater talent available at 11.
- Tracks the puck well through traffic and in high-danger situations
- Effective cross-crease pushes, but can get stronger
- Strong reflexes with glove and blocker sides; simply hard to get the puck past him
Jake Sanderson - D - U.S. National Team Development Program (USHL)
Despite the constant jokes about David Poile’s preference for American defenders, Sanderson is a legitimate top-15 player in this draft. Some have inflated his ceiling a little too high lately, but that may result in him not even being available at 11.
- Effective at forcing opponents to the perimeter and pinning plays along the boards
- Solid skater who covers large areas of ice well with good gap control and stick placement
- Talented at creating lateral space from the blue line and getting pucks into useful high-danger areas
Noel Gunler - F - Luleå HF (SHL)
A big-bodied winger who started 45 games in Sweden’s top professional league this season (13 points in 45 games), Gunler projects to be a top-tier scoring threat at the NHL level.
- An excellent shooter with a world-class wrist shot and deceptive skill in his release
- Doesn’t have elite level speed but his skating stride develops from incredible leg strength
- Isn’t a typical puck handler in tight spaces but can open up lanes in the offensive zone with great passing ability
Seth Jarvis - F - Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Jarvis has been a fast-riser on draft boards all season as he exploded for 42 goals and 98 points for Portland as a 17-year old this season. Despite his 5’10” stature, he could be an excellent complement on the wing in Nashville.
- Strong skating mechanics that translate into a good accelerating step and great speed
- Works hard to find his way to the net every time he has the puck, either through or around defenders
- Should easily top 50 goals in a full season of junior hockey next year
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.