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2020 NHL Entry Draft Final Ranking

Draft weekend is finally upon us—four months later.

Drummondville Voltiguers v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Time seems like it’s simultaneously taking forever and flying back. When I released my last 2020 NHL Entry Draft ranking, the NHL playoffs hadn’t returned yet. Now, we’re a week away from the first overall selection.

My scouting process was unique this season; I had significantly more time to take in viewings of these prospects. By the time I crafted my final list, I had enough viewings of enough players to create a five-round list. But I’m not confident those would be the best 155 players in this draft, so I’m sticking with three rounds.

As a reminder, this is not a mock draft. The following list is 93 players in order of who I think has the highest ceiling as an NHLer. For example, I don’t think Martin Chromiak will be taken in the first round next week, but I do think he’ll have a top-31 career out of this draft class; make sense?

Note: The difference noted in the ranking is a prospect’s movement from my July ranking.

2020 NHL Entry Draft Final Ranking

No. Player Team League Pos. Notes
No. Player Team League Pos. Notes
1 (-) Alexis Lafrenière Rimouski Océanic QMJHL LW Can 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 Byfield Sudbury Wolves OHL C Impressive 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 Stützle Adler Mannheim DEL F One 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 Rossi Ottawa 67's OHL C A 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 (-) Jamie Drysdale Erie Otters OHL D Drysdale 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 (-) Lucas Raymond Frölunda HC SHL F Raymond 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 (-) Alexander Holtz Djurgårdens IF SHL RW If 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 (-) Anton Lundell HIFK Liiga F Extremely 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 (-) Cole Perfetti Saginaw Spirit OHL C Perfetti'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 Mercer Chicoutimi Saguenéens QMJHL RW An 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 Askarov SKA-Neva St. Petersburg VHL G The 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 (-) Jake Sanderson U.S. NTDP USHL D A 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 Gunler Luleå HF SHL W Has 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 Jarvis Portland Winterhawks WHL RW One 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 (+3) Rodion Amirov Salavat Yulaev Ufa KHL LW Isn'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
16 (+1) Jack Quinn Ottawa 67's OHL RW 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
17 (-2) Jacob Perreault Sarnia Sting OHL C 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
18 (-2) Mavrik Bourque Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL C Is 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
19 (-) Jérémie Poirier Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL D 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 Holloway Wisconsin NCAA F Has 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 (-) Roni Hirvonen Ässät Liiga C 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 (-) Jan Mysak Hamilton Bulldogs OHL LW 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 (-) Connor Zary Kamloops Blazers WHL C Zary 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 (0) Helge Grans Malmö Redhawks J20 SuperElit D 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 (-) Zion Nybeck HV71 J20 SuperElit W Nybeck 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 (-) Hendrix Lapierre Chicoutimi Saguenéens QMJHL C 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 (-) John-Jason Peterka EHC München DEL F Peterka'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 Chromiak Kingston Frontenacs OHL LW Chromiak 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 (+2) William Wallinder MODO Hockey J20 SuperElit D 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
30 (-1) Thomas Bordeleau U.S. NTDP USHL C Good shooter with 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
31 (+2) Lukas Reichel Eisbären Berlin DEL LW Hard working forward who loves to engage in possession battles; puck skills will flourish with added strength.
No. Player Team League Pos. Notes
32 (-2) Emil Andrae HV71 J20 SuperElit D Andrae is a small defender with a quick stride, good lateral movements and the ability to out-maneuver wingers from the point. Passing seems inaccurate or rushed at times but that shouldn't be a permanent issue.
33 (-1) Topi Niemelä Kärpät Liiga D Smooth skating defender with good pace in transition play, solid defensive awareness and some offensive instinct.
34 (+1) Brendan Brisson Chicago Steel USHL C Highly-skilled forward who has the speed to win puck battles, execute creative offensive plays and find the net regularly.
35 (-1) Kaiden Guhle Prince Albert Raiders WHL D Strong skating defender with good pace in transition play, solid defensive awareness, and good offensive instinct.
36 (-) Lukas Cormier Charlottetown Islanders QMJHL D Moves the puck well at top speeds in transition; offensively gifted; better defensive awareness than given credit for.
37 (-) Marat Khusnutdinov SKA-1946 St. Petersburg MHL C Great accelerating speed playing a strong north-south game; tenacious forechecker; can beat defenders with speed.
38 (-) Ozzy Wiesblatt Prince Albert Raiders WHL RW Fantastic transition player and creative puck handler and distributor who combines skill with a great skating stride.
39 (-) Kasper Simontaival Tappara U20 U20 SM-sarja F Smaller player that uses a strong crossover step and good puck skills; speed could improve along with defensive play.
40 (-) Joni Jurmo Jokerit U20 U20 SM-sarja D Excellent skating defender with great size; great ability to maintain puck position; pushes play up ice well with strong passing.
41 (+1) Anton Johannesson HV71 J20 SuperElit D Intelligent player limited by injuries; creative with the puck and committed in transition; great skater with good edge control.
42 (+4) Vasili Ponomaryov Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL C Plays with high-end pace and positions/ angles himself very well on the forecheck; never backs down from forcing a turnover.
43 (-2) Daniil Guschin Muskegon Lumberjacks USHL RW Good skater in any direction; excellent passer especially when moving at high speed in transition; pure goal scorer.
44 (-1) Ridly Greig Brandon Wheat Kings WHL LW Solid forechecker and backchecker that delivers excellent puck support in all three zones; good shooting skill too.
45 (-1) Brock Faber U.S. NTDP USHL D Makes decisive passes when exiting the zone; excellent skater especially when pivoting and mainting gap control.
46 (-1) Justin Barron Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL D Nearly impossible to project but reacts well with the puck on his stick and can push good pace for his team up ice.
47 (-) Roby Järventie KOOVEE Mestis LW Good possession player with his puck protection; constantly moving to find open space for himself or the puck (to teammates).
48 (-) Jean-Luc Foudy Windsor Spitfires OHL C Mesmerizing skater with elite-level control of his edges; accurate, fast shot and remarkable hands - still drives everyone crazy.
49 (-) Ty Smilanic U.S. NTDP USHL C Bigger frame but decent skater with strong base that translates power into his shooting arsenal; pushes puck well up the ice.
50 (-) Sean Farrell Chicago Steel USHL F Diminuitve player with great foot speed; stickhandles the puck well at top speed through the neutral zone; needs better execution.
51 (-) Braden Schneider Brandon Wheat Kings WHL D A sound defender but too stagnant offensively and panics with the puck; decent gap control but looks rough when exposed with speed.
52 (-) Emil Heineman Leksands IF J20 SuperElit LW Good strength on the puck especially in battles along the borders; understands forechecking tools very well; decent speed.
53 (-) Ryan O'Rourke Soo Greyounds OHL D Can win puck battles or make plays even when out-positioned; delivers pucks out the zone with good speed; great gap transition timing.
54 (-) Jaromir Pytlik Soo Greyounds OHL C Maddening 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.
55 (-) Veeti Miettinen Kiekko-Espoo U20 U20 SM-sarja RW Smaller, older player with a forceful skating stride - good speed at his size; great stop and start skater but strength will need to improve.
56 (+1) Alexander Pashin Tolpar Ufa MHL F Tiny forward with very quick crossover step to generate speed; size and lack of strength could scare teams away but I'm intrigued.
57 (+1) Tyler Tullio Oshawa Generals OHL C Not the fastest skater in the world but capitalizes on forcing himself into space where the puck is going; good puck protector.
58 (+1) Brett Berard U.S. NTDP USHL F Solid skating stride and good speed; decent shooter but not his best asset; creates new space from defenders by always moving his feet.
59 (+1) Samuel Knazko TPS U20 U20 SM-sarja D A sleeper for sure; modern-day defender who is confident in transition, great skater and lateral mover; plays net-front on the power play.
60 Tristen Robins Saskatoon Blades WHL C Hard-worker who is tenacious in puck pursuit, has an impressive shooting arsenal, and good physical side to his game.
61 Theodor Niederbach Frölunda HC J20 SuperElit F Concerns about skating could be outweighed by strong puck support, good two-way game, and top-end finishing skill.
62 (-) Tyson Foerster Barrie Colts OHL C Accelerating step concerns me; slashes with his stick too much; moves breakout well and is elite-level shooter
No. Player Team League Pos. Notes
63 (-7) Sam Colangelo Chicago Steel USHL RW Prototypical power forward who can succeed in the NHL but may be more of a project for me; skilled but too stagnant at times.
64 (-3) Daniel Torgersson Frölunda HC J20 SuperElit W Bigger forwad with decent speed for his side; provides good puck support and okay defensive positioning; net front is his home.
65 Maxim Groshev Reaktor Nizhnekamsk MHL RW Held his own at KHL level with disciplined two-way play. Won't be a high-end player but complements well with support and forechecking.
66 Thimo Nickl Drummondville Voltigeurs QMJHL D Underrated defender who is dynamite at holding up zone entries and springing breakouts. Smooth skater, too.
67 Yevgeni Oksentyuk Flint Firebirds OHL W Smaller forward with loads of puck skill and a high-end motor. Creative in shooting and passing ability but could work on north/south speed.
68 Justin Sourdif Vancouver Giants WHL C Rarely makes rash decisions with the puck and delivers passes well. Great puck protector and off-puck positioning.
69 Joel Blomqvist Kärpät U20 Jr. A SM-liiga G Good agiility and cross-crease movements that don't overreach. Glove side is excellent; angling could improve.
70 Eemil Viro TPS Liiga D Fluid skater with good leg extension. Like his gap control and use of body but decision-making speed needs to improve.
71 Antonio Stranges London Knights OHL F Mesmerizing skater that doesn't overuse his 10-2 stance. Skating pulls defenders out of position but unsure how high his offensive ceiling is.
72 Michael Benning Sherwood Park Crusaders AJHL D Good accelerating step and loves to jump deep into the play. Creative with the puck but could improve gap control and pinch decisions.
73 Luke Evangelista London Knights OHL RW Fine skater who uses good balance to win puck battles. Solid at most things (underrated passer) but won't while you with skill.
74 Jake Neighbours Edmonton Oil Kings WHL LW Good shooter who is tenacious on the forecheck but needs to match his three-zone positioning to his heightened awareness.
75 Théo Rochette Québec Remparts QMJHL C Excellent passer who maps the ice very well. Can be pushed off the puck too often and isn't always dynamic in transition.
76 Daemon Hunt Moose Jaw Warriors WHL D Good skater who doesn't just stop rushes but pushes them back up ice. Limited offensive ceiling.
77 Shakir Mukhamadullin Tolpar Ufa MHL D Long wingspan that helps on defense and winning tight battles for the puck. Reckless in his decision-making.
78 Luke Tuch U.S. NTDP USHL LW Quick pace player and good shooter. Like his offensive instincts but want to seem him penetrate high-danger areas more.
79 Alex Laferriere Des Moines Buccaneers USHL RW Good puck mover up ice with head up and patience in decision-making. Want to see more speed in transition.
80 Oskar Magnusson Malmö Redhawks J20 SuperElit F Good speed moving north/south but not elite acceleration. Nifty set of hands that helps in tight spaces and with making creative plays.
81 Eamon Powell U.S. NTDP USHL D Concerns about his hockey position but his pivoting is solid and defensive positioning lets him turn plays up ice quickly.
82 Hugo Styf MODO Hockey J20 SuperElit D Fluid skating stride that could use a few tweaks. Good edge work and power helps with positioning but anticipation could be better.
83 Nico Daws Guelph Storm OHL G Fills the net and stays deep taking away many options for shooters. Can struggle with rebounds and top shelf of net.
84 William Dufour Drummondville Voltigeurs QMJHL RW Excellent at pulling puck from breakout into transition with zone entry. Underrated shooter but more limited ceiling with foot speed.
85 Bogden Trineyev MHK Dynamo Moskva MHL F Skating concerns are overrated. Good shooter off the rush who stays in position to make things happen.
86 Ryan Francis Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL W Great set of hands and can deliver passes and create cycles from tight spaces. Defensive positioning needs some work.
87 Carter Savoie Sherwood Park Crusaders AJHL LW Highly skilled player with the puck but want to see better recovery skills and acceleration to unlock his shooting skill more.
88 Donovan Sebrango Kitchener Rangers OHL D Aggressive defender who closes gaps with his shoulder and is solid in transition. Pivoting speed concerns me.
89 Gage Goncalves Everett Silvertips WHL C Perfect fit for a bottom-six role. Solid all around and dynamite in high-danger areas. Good positioning in all three zones.
90 Kasper Puutio Swift Current Broncos WHL D Well-controlled shooter and skater. Doesn't overreact but can be beat with speed or by dynamic playmakers.
91 Leo Lööf Färjestad BK J20 SuperElit D Doesn't remain stagnant in either zone. Has good instinct to breakup passing and shooting lanes but awareness could improve.
92 Yan Kuznetsov Connecticut NCAA D Cautious defender who keeps play in front of him and smothers puck carriers. Limited upside on the other end.
93 Billy Constantinou Soo Greyhounds OHL D Smooth skater and has tightened up those mechanics. Floating is a concern in D-zone but dynamic player in the O-zone every shift.

Just Missed the Cut: Oliver Suni (F, Oshawa Generals); Will Cuylle (F, Windsor Spitfires); Jacob Dion (D, Drummondville Voltigeurs); Evan Vierling (C, Barrie Colts); Zayde Wisdom (F, Kingston Frontenacs); Cross Hanas (LW, Portland Winterhawks); Wyatt Kaiser (D, Andover Huskies); Pavel Gogolev (LW, Guelph Storm); Jan Bednar (G, Acadie-Bathurst Titan).