I’ve had a good long look at the 2020 draft, and if the Oilers can grab a couple of extra picks inside the top 60 there is value (like 2002 and 2013). There’s a fairly long list of real talent this time, plenty of forwards with great hands. A team like Edmonton, desperate for those player types, could improve in a hurry with good scouting and some luck.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, check it out here.
- New Lowetide: Will Oilers drafts be less reliant on the WHL under new management?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Connor McDavid on a ‘fair season’, working out and picking quarantine teammates
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett deploys unproven talent expertly in first Oilers season
- Lowetide, Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers ABC: Picking the best players in franchise history, from Anderson to Zuke
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers need to clear money with a buyout, they have one real option
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The 5 games that define Leon Draisaitl’s Hart Trophy-worthy season
- Lowetide: Final Oilers report cards: Second-half impact defines a successful season
- Jonathan Willis: Does Filip Berglund’s new SHL contract mean he’s done with the Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Evolution of a star: Why Leon Draisaitl was our Hart pick
- Lowetide: Oilers get good news from the farm as second-half performances spike
- Lowetide: Should Oilers prospect Philip Broberg play in North America next year?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Which former Oiler has the best argument to have his jersey number retired?
- Lowetide: Which Oilers veterans are in roster peril?
- Jonathan Willis: How good is Anton Slepyshev and what will an NHL return mean for the Oilers?
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ challenge could be finding relief with a low cap ceiling
1 (1) L Alexis Lafreniere, QMJHL. October 2001. He has insane talent and appears to be as sure a thing as one can get in an NHL draft. NHLE is 50.
2 (2) LC Quinton Byfield, OHL. August 2002, he is 6.04, 215. He skates well, can pass, take a pass and has a dynamic ability to him. Very likely to go here.
3 (3) LC Tim Stuetzle, DEL. Dynamic player, highlight reel offense and dangerous on every rush. His two-way game is good for his age. January 2002. People write about him as if afraid he’ll blow their list up and make them look silly in 2025. A good sign.
4 (4) RHD Jamie Drysdale, OHL. Great speed, passing and instincts, he’s instant offense from the blue. Part of Canada’s WJ Gold winner. April 2002. Not quite Byram but in the range.
5 (5) LC Marco Rossi, OHL. Posting jaw-dropping numbers, he’s a September 2001. Good speed, exciting, range of skills.
6 (6) LC Cole Perfetti, OHL. In a normal year he would be a lock for the top five but this is a strong draft at the top. January 2002. His wrist shot is already a great weapon in the OHL and he’s not fully grown (5.10, 177). NHLE is 48.2. Exceptional.
7 (7) RW Alexander Holtz, SHL. First-shot scorer with a range of skills, he’s an electric player. He’s quality. January 2002. NHLE is 22 but that’s without considering how little he played in the SHL (12:35).
8 (8) LW Lucas Raymond, SHL. Smart player who has ridiculous skill. March 2002. NHLE is 14.8, but he played only 9:48. Note: I don’t think there’s a chance in hell Edmonton gets close to the top eight names. After this, it’s wide open.
9 (9) RC-RW Dawson Mercer, QMJHL. Highly skilled forward who is a plus passer. He emerged a year ago and is taking another step this season (very good sign). October 2001. NHLE is 33.
10 (11) RW Jack Quinn OHL. He is a September 2001 who kept scoring goals all year. NHLE is 38.
11 (10) RC Mavrik Bourque, QMJHL. Creative center with great hands. Great passer, great shot. January 2002. NHLE: 33. I think he might be available when Edmonton chooses in the first round.
12 (13) LC Connor Zary, WHL. Two-way center who is likely to top out as a top-six forward is a good bet by this point in the first round. September 2001. NHLE 37.
13 (14) LC Anton Lundell, Liiga. October 2001 has a nice range of skills and is showing nice growth in his second Liiga season. NHLE 24.
14 (19) LD Jake Sanderson, USHL. This is Geoff Sanderson’s son and he can skate like the wind. Smart player, have drilled down a little on him and expect he’s going to be a top 20 pick on merit. July 2002
15 (16) RW Noel Gunler, SHL. Young winger has a great release and an impressive resume but is only an average scorer in the SHL. However, the points he is gathering are at even strength. October 2001. NHLE 14.
16 (18) RC Jacob Perreault, OHL. Skates well, great shot, great numbers. His numbers earn Perreault this spot. April 2002
17 (17) LD Jérémie Poirier, QMJHL. Smart two-way defender who may rise on my list. Solid from the Hlinka forward, he’s a gathering storm and could slide up several spots. June 2002
18 (20) RD Braden Schneider, WHL. Fine skater who has a range of skills, owns a fairly complete game. Schneider’s offense is comparable to most of the defenseman I have in the first round. Sept 2001
19 (24) RC Seth Jarvis, WHL. Jarvis is a fantastic player, undersized and skilled. He might end up in my top 15.
20 (12) G Yaroslav Askarov, VHL. He plays an unusual style. June 2002, has a .923 VHL save percentage. He could go anywhere 8-25 in the first round.
21 (29) LC Jan Mysak, OHL. A late breaker and someone who has quite a lot of buzz around him all of a sudden. He’s a June 2002, very skilled and is effective in all three disciplines. He’s going to land in a good spot on the final list.
22 (15) LW Dylan Holloway, Big 10. Big power forward. He has a great shot and makes good passes, strong skater, nice range of skills. Offense never arrived, so I faded him. NHLE: 13.
23 (22) LC Hendrix Lapierre, QMJHL. Skill center who projects as a playmaker. The buzz on him entering the season was far more pronounced than it is now, so the second half of his season will be vital. Feb 2002.
24 (32) LW Lukas Reichel, DEL. One of the mid-season risers from Europe, his totals in the DEL (32, 10-11-21) are promising. He has skill, speed and plays with abandon. I like him better than Peterka but we have some distance to go.
25 (26) LW Rodion Amirov, KHL. His offensive potential is high, although the KHL numbers (21, 0-2-2) are shy. Scouts love the tools and he’s a fast train in a draft season with slow boats. October 2001.
26 (23) RHD Justin Barron, QMJHL. Mobile defenseman who can defend. Lacks top-end offensive ability so is shy of the top-10 overall, but a team who likes him might jump up. November 2001.
27 (30) RC Tyson Foerster, OHL. Great offensive weapon, quick release and accurate. His NHLE is very strong (34).
28 (21) RC Jean-Luc Foudy, OHL. Speedy center with plus skill, he’s a May 2002 and has 61 assists in 99 junior games. His brother is a famous prospect, not certain how he compares but in this year’s draft looks like mid to late first round.
29 (31) LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL. Big defenseman has good foot speed and appears to have something resembling an ideal skill set. In a large group of blue who appear to be two-way types but don’t bring big offensive numbers. Jan 2002
30 (25) LW Jake Neighbours WHL I was surprised math liked him so much compared to his draft rivals. I have spoken to scouts who have him as an early second round pick, but he’s here on math. He’s skilled, gritty and plays a strong two-way game. March 2002
31 (38) LW Ridly Greig, WHL. Smart offensive winger with good instincts, he isn’t a fast train so gets nicked a little. August 2002 so there’s still room to grow.
32 (27) LC Ty Smilanic, USHL. Lean two-way center with enough skill to project into the top six based on math. Scouting report talks about plus skating and finding another gear. Promising resume. January 2002
33 (28) RW Luke Evangelista, OHL. I don’t trust London Knights numbers but this young man looks like a hit. Spiked in a big way this year, I like his scouting reports. Feb 2002
34 (33) LD William Wallinder, Superelite. He’s a big (6.04, 195) defenseman with great speed and the scouting reports suggest offensive potential. His numbers in the Swedish SuperElite don’t scream offense.
35 (40) LW John-Jason Peterka, DEL. A speedy winger with skill, and not yet the sum of his parts. Is scoring well (33, 6-4-10) in a men’s league, the question pertains to the quality of the league. I have faded him.
36 (50) LW Martin Chromiak, OHL. I like his scouting report and his OHL scoring numbers, not certain if he’s getting zoomed by Shane Wright. He looks substantial.
37 (34) RW Ozzy Wiesblatt, WHL. Skill winger lacks size but plays with great determination. Scoring at a point per game rate, and has already reached 20-goal plateau. March 2002.
38 (35) LC Vasili Ponomaryov, QMJHL. Great hands and good speed, he’s a little under the radar but rates well with other skill forwards I have ranked in the bottom half of the first round. March 2002
39 (37) LD Ryan O’Rourke, OHL. Good size (6.02, 181) and growing offensive ability have him here. Foot speed improving as he matures, projects as a top-four defenseman. May 2002.
40 (43) LC Thomas Bordeleau, USHL. Owns a great shot and is highly skilled with the puck. First shot scorer, year over year improvement looks substantial. Jan 2002
41 (44) LD Emil Andrae, SuperElite. Fast defenseman with offensive potential. Plus passer. Feb 2002.
42 (39) RW Sam Colangelo, USHL. Big power winger with skill, he has scored 20 goals in the USHL already. December 2001
43 (36) LC Antonio Stranges, OHL Terrific speed and skill, and delivers solid offense but the math doesn’t match the verbal. We wait. Feb 2002
44 (41) RW Zion Nybeck, SuperElite. Undersized playmaker, creative, great passer. Impressive speed. Smooth. May 2002.
45 (42) LW Brendan Brisson, USHL. Undersized speedster has a late 2001 birthday and lots of talent. His skating is good.
46 (45) LW Luke Tuch, USHL. Alex Tuch’s brother, he plays a similar style. Tuch’s USHL numbers are good not great. March 2002
47 (49) RC Justin Sourdif, WHL. Two-way winger gained notice at the Hlinka and has scored well on an average offensive team (Vancouver Giants). March 2002
48 (46) RC Jaromir Pytlik, OHL. He’s a fine skater and has two-way skills, meaning he’ll probably land in the top 50 on my list. Sept 2001
49 (47) RW Daniil Gushchin, USHL. Small, speedy playmaking forward. Good numbers. Feb 2002.
50 (56) LC Jack Finley, WHL. An August 2002 and a big pivot, he plays a fairly complete game and scouting reports have him as a good skater but without a strong first step.
51 (48) LW Will Cuylle, OHL. Lots of positives about Cuylle, I have him here because I don’t think his offense makes him a likely top-six forward. Has a great shot.
52 (57) LC Roni Hirvonen, Liiga. Undersized two-way forward, he can play center or wing. Known more for playmaking but he scored four times in three games at the Hlinka. January 2002.
53 (51) RW Connor McClennon, WHL. His offensive numbers are solid to excellent and he’s a June 2002 so there’s room to grow. He’s undersized but drives to the net. Range of skills.
54 (52) RD Topi Niemela, Liiga. I’ve faded a couple of Finnish defensemen this year because of foot speed. Niemela skates well but has some chaos. March 2002.
55 (53) LW Daniel Torgersson, SuperElite. He has size and good speed, plus his numbers at lower levels are impressive. A January 2002, we’ll know more about him by April.
56 (62) RW Kasper Simontaival, Koovee (Mestis). Unusual skating style but he’s quick and has high-end skill. I’m uncertain of the league quality offered by Mestis, but he has posted impressive numbers all the way through his career.
57 (54) RW Alexander Pashin, MHL. He won’t be the first Russian chosen but he’s very interesting. Small winger with impressive skill who gives effort across 200 feet. He can score and pass.
58 (55) LW Roby Jarventie, Mestis. He’s an August 2002 and a nice size and speed combination. Has a good shot. Has played five Liiga games (scored a goal) and could spike.
59 (NR) RW Dylan Peterson, US National Development Program. Big winger with skill and speed, he was a little shy offensively this season. That’s the problem with the U18 national team, real talent is often obscured.
60 (NR) LW Veeti Miettinen, Jr Liiga. Undersized and not a great skater, how does he make the list? Miettinen fills the net with pucks, 42 in 52 Jr. Liiga games.
61 (58) LW Sean Farrell, USHL. A good skater with plus skills, he is posting strong numbers this season. November 2001
62 (59) RD William Villeneuve, QMJHL. Tall, thin two-way defenseman is spiking offensively this season (51 points in 56 games). Great passer, March 2002.
63 (60) LD Tyler Kleven, USHL. A big shutdown defenseman (6.04, 201) with good speed and a scouting report that says he has ‘offensive tools’ but his USHL numbers are shy. January 2002.
64 (61) G Nico Daws, OHL. Hard to know where the goalies land, but his numbers in a good league have him here.
65 (NR) RD Helge Grans, Malmo (SHL). Solid two-way defenseman with good size and speed. Offense may be underrated, he was point per game in SuperElite this year.
66 (NR) LW Carter Savoie, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL). Small, fleet skill winger delivered 99 points in 54 games this season. Might be badly undervalued, led his league with 53 goals.
67 (NR) LD Lukas Cormier, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL). Undersized skill defender with good speed and skill. He’s a smart player, lack of size for his position will hurt draft number. NHLE is 19, if he’s hanging around in round three a team should take Cormier.
68 (NR) LC Marat Khusnutdinov (MHL). Small (5.09, 165) two-way center with great wheels. NHLE is 13. Offense is the worry.
69 (NR) RC Theodor Niederbach (SuperElite). Skill center is a late breaker this draft, partly because he missed last season entirely. A bit of a wild card but the numbers are impressive.
70 (NR) LD Eemil Viro (Sm-Liiga). Small and fast offensive defender, lots of opinions on him. Has some two-way ability but lacks a dominant skill.
71 LD Shakir Mukhamadullin, UFA (KHL). He’s 6.04, 178 and raw as a prospect. Good speed, talent, hasn’t yet found success in the offensive zone.
72 (NR) RD Michael Benning, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL). Impressive skills (fine skater, excellent passer) lend themselves to the offensive side of the game, and he can transition well. Undersized, he may fall on draft day but it worth a third-round pick based on puck-moving ability.
73 (NR) G Calle Clang, Rogle (SuperElite). Good size, a .913 SP and stellar work at the Hlinka.
74 (NR) LW Oskar Magnusson, Malmo (SuperElite). Smaller winger with good speed and two-way acumen. Plays in all disciplines, can play center, has goal-scoring ability.
75 (NR) RW Ryan Francis, Cape Breton (QMJHL). Playmaking winger who plays a smart game. A December 2001, his NHLE is 27. He could be a steal.
76 (NR) LW Owen Pederson, Winning (WHL). There’s no doubt he was getting zoomed by substantial linemates, but Pederson scored 28 goals in 61 games. He’s worth drafting, question is where.
77 (NR) LC Elliot Ekmark, Linkoping (SuperElite). High skill, elusive, great speed, undersized. Steve Kournianos says he plays “inside” meaning he can play in traffic.
78 (NR) RW Pavel Novak, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Speedster with skill, he’s a scorer who can also make plays with the puck. NHLE is 26, he’s an April 2002. Lots to like this late.
79 (NR) RD Luke Prokop, Calgary Hitmen (WHL). A giant (6.04, 218) already (May 2002), scouting reports have him able to gaps and suppress offense. Has some offensive flair, including a good shot.
80 (NR) G Sam Hlavaj, Sherbrooke (QMJHL). Boasts a .915 save percentage and stands 6.04, 218. Has drawn comparisons to Devan Dubnyk.
81 (NR) RW Brandon Coe, North Bay (OHL). Power forward scored 25 goals in the OHL this season. A December 2001, he owns a plus wrist shot and has good speed.
82 (NR) LW Brett Berard, US National Development Team (USHL). Small skill winger with good hands, he scored seven goals in 13 USHL games this season.
83 (NR) G Joel Blomquist, Karpat (Jr Liiga). Strong numbers (.929) he’s a confident goaltender who has a good glove.
84 (NR) LC Daniel Ljungman, Linkoping (SuperElite). Emerged from nowhere at the Hlinka Gretzky, he had a solid year. Great release.
85 (NR) RW Wiljami Myllylä, HIFK (Jr Sm-Liiga). Speed demon, has been posting gaudy scoring numbers for several years. Also made my list a year ago.
86 (NR) G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers (WHL). Eye popping SP (.921) for June 2002, but he’s only 6.0 in height so won’t go high. Born in the wrong era, he’s talented. Good numbers down the line.
87 (NR) LD Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Big defender with good wheels, he is an effective player without the puck and will earn his money as a shutdown defenseman should he make the NHL. Suffered an injury that robbed him of much of the season.
88 (NR) LW Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm (OHL). I had him No. 85 in 2018 and he was injured last year. Now 20, he is fast and has a great shot.
89 (NR) LC Juuso Mäenpää, Jokerit (Jr Liiga). Very small but highly skilled playmaker who didn’t get a lot of looks at the Hlinka but impressed in limited minutes.
90 (NR) LW Maxim Groshev, Nizhnekamsk (KHL). A December 2001, he’s 6.02, 187, he’s skilled and determined with the puck on his stick.
91 (NR) RD Kasper Puutio, Everett Silvertips (WHL). Skill defender had a good Hlinka and then a strong late push after being dealt. Could be underrated here.
92 (NR) LD Leo Loof, Farjestads (SuperElite). Smooth skating defender who can move the puck efficiently. Calm feet.
93 (NR) RD Billy Constantinou, Soo Greyhounds (OHL). Fast as lightning, high risk and reward defender. I had him No. 57 last year.
- No. 23 overall: LC Jan Mysak
- No. 85 overall: LC Daniel Ljungman
- No. 147 overall: LW Pavel Gogolev
- No. 178 overall: RC Ben King
- No. 209 overall: G Hugo Ollas
There are some good forwards in this draft, and the Oilers can get one in the first round. As I mentioned above, trading for a couple of second rounders would help, but I say that every year.