The 2020 NHL entry draft appears to offer a top-heavy collection of forwards available on October 6th. It is entirely possible that only one defender (D) will be a top-10 selection. While that is not a huge anomaly, the top-10 choices normally include approximately three future blueliner selections. Today will organize the top three defensemen available.
Drysdale: Best of the Best on Defense
Jamie Drysdale has been recognized by several analysts as the top defenseman available in the 2020 draft. Drysdale was nearly a point per game (9G, 38A – 47pts) player with the Erie Otter’s during the Covid shortened 49 game season. The right-shot defender likely solidified his claim to the top D spot as a member of Canada’s Gold medal squad during the 2020 World Junior Championships – Drysdale showed continuous improvement during each game of the tournament.
Considered a new age ‘rover’ type of defenceman with excellent hockey sense, Drysdale readily creates offensive opportunities and quickly transitions pucks out of his own end. Could he be Ottawa’s 2nd choice in the 1st round at pick #5?
Rounding Out the Top 3
After Drysdale, there are two prime candidates to be taken as the second defensive selection this October. However, the leading candidate of the two might well be Jake Sanderson who played within the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) during the last two seasons.
A Little About Sanderson
Born in Whitefish, Montana, Sanderson played his formative minor hockey years with the Northwest Calgary Athletic Flames association before transitioning into the NTDP program stateside. Jake, the son of former long time NHL forward Geoff Sanderson, has continuously improved upon his game and could be the first ‘American’ born player selected in this entry draft.
Sanderson is a University of North Dakota NCAA commit, while his junior rights are held by the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice.
No. 3: Kaiden Guhle
Closely behind Sanderson is another player with NHL ties – Kaiden Guhle of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. Older brother, Brendan, a 2nd round NHL pick who split his 2019/20 season between the Anaheim Ducks and San Diego Gulls, was also a member of the Raiders during his junior career.
As fate would have it, Kaiden was chosen as the 1st overall pick during the 2017 WHL bantam draft and his subsequent transition into the WHL seemed effortless! In his first season, Kaiden helped the ‘Raids’ capture a WHL title, and then managed an 11 goal 29 assist effort in his sophomore campaign. A great combination of size, smooth skating ability, offensive prowess, and some bite will make the younger Guhle an attractive asset for a team hoping to add a long-term addition to their blue line.
Also high on the list, according to the NHL.com rankings:
North American Skaters:
- Braden Schneider
- Justin Barron
- Jeremie Poirier
- Daemon Hunt
- Ryan O’Rourke
- Helge Grans
- Topi Niemela
- William Wallinder
- Emil Andrae
- Eemil Viro
- Shakir Mukhamadullin
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