After being locked away for several months due to Covid, NHL hockey fans have been afforded a rare opportunity to watch the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup during the summer! Now that we are into September, the original 24-team re-start has been dwindled down to four teams (Stars v. Knights in the West, and Lightning v. Islanders in the East) vying for their claim as Conference champions.
With only four teams, and one game a night, the schedule has provided an opportunity for everyone to pause, and look ahead – including the NHL, which has now confirmed that the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft will take place on Tuesday, October 6th (rounds 2 through 7 will be held the next day, 10/7). The NHL Final Four also gives fans a near complete picture of the 2020 order of selections during the first round depending on who wins each conference championships.
What Can Draft Enthusiasts Expect?
Unless something untoward happens over the next several weeks, the general consensus is that Jeff Gorton, GM of the New York Rangers, and his staff have an easy decision in selecting the highly coveted Alex Lafreniere from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Lafreniere, a 6’1 left-winger hailing from Saint-Eustache, Quebec has an October birth date, meaning he has played three full seasons for the Rimouski Océanic. After being chosen as the first overall selection in 2017, Lafreniere was named to the QMJHL first-all star team and was also honored as a the 2018 QMJHL Rookie of the Year. In 2020 he not only helped Canada capture gold at the World Junior Championships, but was also named the tournament MVP and hence the consensus 1/1 choice.
While the order of the next two selections will likely be a debate until the 6th of October, the draft experts are clear on who those picks will be: Quinton Byfield of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and German Tim Stützle who played professionally (DEL) for Adler Mannheim last season. Both left-shot Centers are highly intriguing young prospects that the LA Kings will decided upon on October 6th.
Lead up Coverage
With an exact date, a near complete draft order, and consensus top 3 selections, we will collectively refine the focus on other draft features including but not limited to prospect profiles, potential movement of draft picks or free agents, the Covid impact of a shortened season, having a virtual draft (instead of the Bell Centre in Montreal), and any other items that pop-up over the next 28 days. Stay tuned for a daily draft item on nhltradetalk.com.
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