Today’s feature, Part I, will provide a quick draft overview on four Canadian teams (alphabetically below). Part II will cover the remaining three Canadian teams. Specifically, this feature will provide an outline of what each team’s draft looks like – number of selections in each round, total selections, where picks went or where they were acquired from, etc. Additionally, each team’s current top 10 prospects will be listed courtesy of TSN.
For each Canadian team with a first round selection, I will even take a stab at predicting a player or two that could be options with the corresponding pick.
The Flames have one selection in all seven rounds. All of the Flames picks are their own with the exception of the 3rd and 4th round selections. The 3rd rounder is a conditional pick from the Edmonton Oilers stemming from the James Neal/Milan Lucic trade last summer. The 4th rounder was acquired in January when the Flames sent Michael Frolik to the Buffalo Sabres.
In the first round, the Flames have the 19th overall selection. As deep as the 2020 NHL Draft is, the Flames will get a good player in this spot. With such a top-heavy, dynamic forward group available in the 2020 NHL draft, defenceman might be at a premium. Based on the Flames top prospect group they may decide to go with a defender. If this holds true then a good option for the Flames, if he is still available, would be Braden Schneider from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The other alternative for the Flames at pick 19 could be right-handed defenceman, Justin Barron, who plays for his hometown Halifax Mooseheads.
Fact: the Edmonton Oilers are short on picks this year with only four total selections. The Oilers have a first round pick, 14th overall, but will then wait until the 5th round to make a second selection – they also have their 6th & 7th round picks. The 2nd & 4th round picks went to the Detroit Red Wings in the Andreas Athanasiou (2nd) and Mike Green (4th) deals, while the 3rd was the conditional pick for Neal.
According to TSN, two of the top Oiler prospects are defensemen – Philip Broberg and Evan Bouchard. Will this mean the Oilers take a crack at one of the dynamic forwards available at pick #14. If they are lucky, Finnish centerman Anton Lundell or Chicoutimi Saguenéens Dawson Mercer would be ideal options.
The Montreal Canadiens are stacked with 2020 draft picks with a total of 11 selections. At this stage, the Canadiens have at least one pick in each round, but also have three selections in each of the 2nd and 4th rounds. Maybe the Oilers and the Canadiens have some deals in the next 10 days?
In the first round, the Canadiens have the 16th overall selection. Interestingly, the 16th selection is preceded by Toronto and Edmonton so the 2020 draft will have three consecutive Canadian teams selecting 14 through 16. The Canadiens have a well-balanced top prospect pool, but with a deep 2020 class of forward prospects they may end up leaning in that direction. One player of interest is Hendrix Lapierre from the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. Lapierre was injured most of the past season, but is supposed to have a really high ceiling in terms of future potential.
An earlier draft feature covered the Ottawa Senators top two picks, the 3rd and 5th overall selections. The Senators also have the 28th overall pick in round one. In addition to the three first round picks, Ottawa also has four 2nd round picks, two 3rd rounders, a 4th & 5th, along with two more in the 6th. 13 picks spread over six rounds in 2020! Pierre Dorion’s phone must never stop ringing.
In my last draft feature on the Sens, I predicted Ottawa will be left with Tim Stützle as the 3rd pick – it is not like Stützle is a bad prospect, but rather I am convinced that the LA Kings will take Quinton Byfield. The 5th overall selection could be Lucas Raymond or Cole Perfetti or perhaps they take top-rated defender, Jamie Drysdale. Again, in the last feature, I suggested that maybe Ottawa takes Russian star goaltender Yaroslav Askarov with the fifth selection.
Ottawa’s 28th overall selection will likely depend on what they do with the first two selections at three and five. One name that keeps coming up in that area on several draft rankings is Swedish right winger Noel Gunler. Ottawa has had a long history of developing top talent from Sweden so this could be a name they target if Gunler is still available toward the end of the round one.
Stay tuned for more Part II that will cover the 2020 draft outlook for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets.
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