Later this month, the NHL will run its draft lottery. Reading the tea leaves, I suspect late September will see the draft, as teams will want to pick these kids before junior games get underway. A high draft pick injured pre-draft isn’t going to help anyone. Today, I’ve decided to do a mock draft. A complete first-round followed by an Oilers mock. Let’s get started.
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 Jonathan Willis: Deadline deal for Andreas Athanasiou looms large in Oilers’ offseason picture
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Does being an NHL hub city really benefit the local economy? Experts weigh in
- New Lowetide: Every prospect in the Oilers system and what’s next for each player
- Lowetide: Oilers minor leaguers over 40 years, and Jay Woodcroft’s current role
- Lowetide: Charting Theodor Lennstrom’s future with the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Projecting the Oilers’ black aces and how much they’ll play
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ lineup for their play-in series versus the Blackhawks
- Lowetide: Could the Oilers draft a defenceman in the first round?
- Lowetide: Why the Oilers should extend Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as soon as possible
- Lowetide: Oilers farmhand Josh Currie’s small window of opportunity
- Jonathan Willis: Misguided priorities helped turn the Oilers’ 2010 rebuild into a debacle
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It’s what’s best for the league’: Oilers accept challenge of play-in series
- Lowetide: Oilers greatest areas of need for the 2020 draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Six bold (and not so bold) predictions as the Oilers prepare for the Blackhawks
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers facing a bonus penalty for 2020-21 but the news isn’t all bad
- Jonathan Willis: Multiple choice: What might an Oilers trade at the 2020 NHL Draft look like?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers return to play guide: How the NHL’s 24-team format impacts Edmonton
- Lowetide: Mike Green’s playoff role and possible future with the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers’ most likely recalls from Bakersfield for the playoff run
No. 1 DETROIT RED WINGS: LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski QMJHL. An easy choice for Steve Yzerman in his second draft as DRW’s general manager. Potential to be a franchise player, NHL ready. I imagine he’ll take a few shifts with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha but it’s anyone’s guess how he is deployed in his first season.
No. 2 OTTAWA SENATORS: LC Quinton Byfield, Sudbury OHL. He’s a big man who has terrific skill, speed and a very bright future. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for goal scoring due to other skills, but he can rip it. Senators are building a fine group of forwards, Byfield and Brady Tkachuk on the same line is a scary thought.
No. 3 OTTAWA SENATORS: LC Tim Stutzle, Mannheim DEL. The Senators take a speedy, brilliant offensive force in Stutzle. Added to the other young forwards, and Byfield, the Sens are building a fantastic team of the future.
No. 4 LOS ANGELES KINGS: RW Alexander Holtz, Djurgardens SHL. He is my favorite player in the draft and represents a perfect fit for the Kings. Tremendous sniper, he joins a growing list (Alex Turcotte, Alex Kaliyev, Gabriel Vilardi) of impressive offensive forwards on the coast.
No. 5 ANAHEIM DUCKS: LC Marco Rossi, Ottawa OHL. Another ridiculous skill forward in a draft that has tremendous promise. His skill set includes stealth thefts via backchecks ala Nuge and intelligent two-way play. This is a fantastic player at this number.
No. 6 NEW JERSEY DEVILS: LC Cole Perfetti, Saginaw OHL. The final high skill OHL forward gives the Devils a future winger for one of Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier. He’s a shooter, great match of player and team.
No. 7 BUFFALO SABRES: LC Anton Lundell, Helsinki Liiga. He’s a big pivot with skill and two-way ability, plus he is a more mature player physically than some of the other players in the draft. Complete player.
NO. 8 MONTREAL CANADIENS: LHD Jake Sanderson, US National Team (USHL). After a long run on skilled forwards, Sanderson is the first defenseman off the board. He is big, strong, fast, and has a great shot.
NO. 9 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: LW Lucas Raymond, Frolunda (SHL). Creative winger is magic on the power play and owns great vision and passing ability. Falls because his SHL season wasn’t grand and he’s undersized, but he could make a lot of teams pay for passing on him.
NO. 10 NEW JERSEY DEVILS: RHD Jamie Drysdale, Erie OHL. Absolute steal at this point in the draft (I have him No. 5) but he’s 5.11, 175 and teams shy away from defenseman that small. I think he’s a home run.
NO. 11 MINNESOTA WILD: RC Seth Jarvis, Portland WHL. Great speed and skill, he also owns an impressive shot. Minnesota badly needs offensive punch, and even though Jarvis is a couple of years away, his potential makes him worth this pick.
NO. 12 WINNIPEG JETS: RW Jack Quinn, Ottawa OHL. He spiked at the right time and at this point has enough positive indicators to go inside the top 10 overall. One of the best scorers in the draft, good speed and he’s a little bigger than some of the smaller wingers ahead of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went top-10 overall.
NO. 13 NY RANGERS: LD Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert WHL. One of the players I’m sure will go higher than I have him, Guhle is a mobile defender who can defend and play a complementary offensive role. His combination of speed, size (6.02, 186) and coverage makes him attractive to a team like New York. I bet Edmonton likes him, too.
NO. 14 FLORIDA PANTHERS: LW Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin NCAA. Big winger is a September 2001 who played college hockey and delivered enough offense to be considered here. It’s more likely he’ll have a career as a two-way winger, but he was 17 when he went to camp and scored 8 goals as a freshman. Intriguing player.
NO. 15: COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: RC Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan QMJHL. I’d love to see him fall to Edmonton but creative righty centers are always in vogue. He’s a smart player and has the range of skills.
NO. 16 CALGARY FLAMES: RW Noel Gunler, Lulea (SHL). Another scoring winger and another good match if he falls to Edmonton. The Flames used to be miserable at the draft, now they’re brilliant. One of the best shots in the draft.
NO. 17 NEW JERSEY DEVILS: G Yaroslav Askarov, St. Petersburg VHL. The Devils have chosen a goalie in the first round three times, and I believe Askarov will represent too much value to pass on at this point.
NO. 18 NASHVILLE PREDATORS: LC Connor Zary, Kamloops WHL. A friend to his coach, Zary manages to deliver offense via creativity while also making safe plays with the puck consistently. He’s less dynamic than the other forwards in the top 20 but deadly effective.
NO. 19 CAROLINA HURRICANES: LHD Jeremie Poirer, Saint John QMJHL. A brilliant offensive defenseman with perhaps the most dynamic skill set among blue liners in this draft. His coverage and attention to defensive detail are the reason he isn’t a top-10 pick.
NO. 20 EDMONTON OILERS: RW Dawson Mercer, Chicoutimi QMJHL. Grabbing Mercer in the first round of the 2020 draft will give Edmonton three legit scoring prospects on RW (Kailer Yamamoto, Raphael Lavoie). Mercer’s draft year NHLE (31.8) is between Yamamoto’s (37.7) and Lavoie’s (27.4) in their respective draft seasons, and that seems right in terms of projection.
- No. 21: Ottawa Senators: RHD Braden Schneider, Brandon WHL.
- No. 22: Dallas Stars: LHD Ryan O’Rourke, SS Marie OHL.
- No. 23: NY Rangers: LW Ridly Greig, Brandon WHL.
- No. 24: Minnesota Wild: LC Marat Khusnutdinov, St. Petersburg MHL.
- No. 25: Philadelphia Flyers: RW John Peterka, Munich DEL
- No. 26: San Jose Sharks: LC Jan Mysak, Hamilton OHL
- No. 27: Colorado Avalanche: LW Rodion Amirov, Ufa KHL
- No. 28: Vegas Golden Knights: RW Jacob Perreault, Sarnia OHL.
- No. 29: Washington Capitals: LHD Shakir Mukhamadullin, Ufa KHL
- No. 30: St. Louis Blues: LW Brendan Brisson, Chicago USHL
- No. 31: Anaheim Ducks: LW Lukas Reichel, Berlin DEL
No. 20: RW Dawson Mercer. Similar to Yamamoto in that Mercer should develop into a legit offensive threat if everything works out. He’s 6.0, 181, aggressive in puck pursuit and has a great release. Oilers fans should be thrilled if Mercer falls to Edmonton. He did have a wrist injury that ended his season but is a fantastic young player.
No. 82: RC Justin Sourdif. I don’t know when he’ll go but if he can play center in the NHL getting him at 82 would be a home run. Great skater, NHLE (23.5) suggests he might score enough to make the NHL and he’s got a great motor.
No. 144: LC Jakob Konecny. Last year’s draft put a great emphasis on speed and skill, and Konecny is a similar talent to Maxim Denezhkin a year ago. Undersized, fast and skilled.
No. 175 LC Elliot Ekmark. Great skater, skilled and can score off the rush with a quality shot. He’s 5.09, that’s the drag, but at No. 144 he’s good value.
No. 208 LW Pavel Gogolev. I have a good memory and have valued Gogolev since his first draft eligible season (2018) when he scored 30 in the OHL and slipped through. He is not fast but can score goals.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we talk hockey, soccer and more. At 10:20, Bruce McCurdy will swing by to discuss Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and James Neal. At 11, Joe Osborne from OddsShark will give his picks for the Blue-Emu 500 (Nascar) race tonight and we’ll chat about UFC Fight Island. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!