Gary Bettman held a draw on Friday to determine the order of the next NHL draft. In this unprecedented season, the league had chosen a complex system, and the result was undoubtedly the least readable possible.
The first NHL draft pick will belong to… “to be determined” – to be determined. The result of the draw gave birth to a mouse: it will take a second draw to find out, which will involve the eight losers of the preliminary round of the playoffs – if the season resumes …
If it does not resume, the teams with the lowest winning percentages (8th-15th) will have a 12.5% chance of hitting the jackpot.
This is only if there is no 19-20 return to play. The eight teams that would go into Phase 2 of the lottery, with equal 12.5% chance to win, would be: 8. MTL (.500), 9. CHI (.514), 10. ARI (.529), 11. MIN (.558), 12. WPG (.563), 13. NYR (.564), 14. FLA (.565), 15. CBJ (.579).
– Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 27, 2020
The big losers are therefore the worst teams of the season, who see the gift of consolation escaping: the Quebecer Alexis Lafrénière, consensual best hope 2020.
Detroit, dead last in the league with just 17 wins in 71 games, is the farce. The team had an 18.5% chance of winning the lottery, and will ultimately draw only fourth.
Ottawa, which had two chances – its first choice and that of San José acquired in the Karlsson trade – compiled 13.5 and 11.5% chances of winning … and finally draw 3rd and 5th.
In short, the two worst teams in the league will assist helplessly to the happiness of a team at the gates of the playoffs.
Eight teams, baptized from « Team A » to « Team H », indeed represented the eight future defeats of the preliminary round. It is « Team E » and its 2.5% chance that will draw first. The draw will be made as soon as the known eliminated.
Los Angeles is the other winner with a comeback from 4th to 2nd place.
Ottawa will then pick in 3rd, ahead of Detroit (4th), Ottawa again (5th), Anaheim (6th), New Jersey (7th) and Buffalo (8th) followed by the seven other eliminated teams to come.
First overall pick odds (lmao) pic.twitter.com/ucUsKW8z4Z
– dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) June 27, 2020
Lafrénière will therefore join one of the sixteen teams above, as many teams that did not necessarily need such a windfall to be competitive.
In short, it is undoubtedly the worst scenario for the NHL, which hoped to allow Detroit or Ottawa to go up the slope in order to propose an adversity worthy of the name …
Here is the top ten draft order for the NHL. pic.twitter.com/7fYFqrKQYS
– Sam McGinnis (@ Samuelmcg22) June 27, 2020
Lafrénière, the best youngster
Quebecer Alexis Lafrénière is therefore unanimously the best youngster available and the probable No. 1. The Rimouski striker splashed his talent on the Quebec league as well as the World Juniors, where he finished best player and was decisive throughout the tournament, especially in the elimination rounds.
With an exceptional vision of the game, he is able to score and make score. He may not be a McDavid, but a decisive future first line winger at key moments is already a scarce commodity. When you score 35 goals and 112 pts in 52 games and have been voted player of the year twice already, that puts your man …
Behind, uncertainty looms. It must be said that the 2019-2020 season did not help the scouting services, which were deprived:
– the playoffs of the junior or university leagues, an interesting moment to study the degree of involvement of the players in key matches,
– the U18 Worlds, the best opportunity to see the best hopes against each other,
– the « scouting combines », meeting of the hopefuls who practice there physical tests and psychological interviews.
The strengths and weaknesses of all applicants are therefore less well known than usual. Luckily, the draft won’t really take place until October or November, and a good chunk of the Championships should have resumed the 2020-21 season by then. There will therefore be a few more matches to add to the recruiters’ summary sheets.
The evening was the occasion of a small tackle from Steve Yzerman. The leader of Detroit, who was preparing to see the first choice escape him, recalled that no one had been able to test the players except … a team. A spade to the Arizona Coyotes, accused last January of having tested eligible players illegally. No sanction has yet been announced …
Behind Lafrénière, doubt
After the Quebecer, uncertainty hovers. Half a dozen players are among the contenders for second place.
- Quinton Byfield has long been second on most lists. The tall Ontarian has the potential to be a frontline center, thanks to his puck protection ability and quality shooting. A physical monster, whose vision of the game has however been criticized. He scored 32 goals and 82 pts in 45 games, but was less prominent on the Canadian team at the World Juniors.
- German Tim stützle has grown throughout the year to the point of appearing on some lists in second. Able to play left or center winger, the Mannheim player exploded at the World Juniors and had an excellent professional season. Its primary quality? high level skating. Fast and explosive, his vision of the game and his technical skill make him an intriguing profile. A genius passer, he scored 7 goals and 34 pts in 41 DEL games, numbers that are more than rare at this age.
- Cole perfetti has fallen into the shadow of its rivals a bit, but has settled into the top-5 on many lists. The Saginaw striker in OHL is a small size (1m78) who does not have an extraordinary skating, but knows how to do an important thing: to score. His ability to find weak areas, to identify decisive games make him a pure and promising attacker. His record of 37 goals and 111 pts in 61 games is quite exceptional at 17.
To close the top-6, the scouts position two defenders, Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson.
Drysdale, of the Erie Otters, impresses with its skating quality and mobility, worthy of modern defenders. He displays a superb vision of the game and valuable offensive assets, while playing on his positioning and his management of spaces to defend well. His offensive qualities are well established, with 9 goals and 47 pts in 49 games.
Sanderson for his part has climbed the lists throughout the season to the point of competing with Drysdale for the title of first defenseman chosen. The son of former NHLer Geoff Sanderson plays in the American U18 team and relies on a solid template. Over the course of the matches, he has gained spectacular offensive progress. He is without a doubt the player who has evolved the most over the year, and he finished with 7 goals and 29 pts in 47 games.
Behind these players, a second quality group, among which:
– The Austrian Marco rossi, 39 goals and 120 pts in 56 games with the Ottawa 67’s. His teammate Jack Quinn figure for his part in a potential top-10 with him also a breathtaking record of 52 goals and 89 pts in just 38 games. Quinn is probably one of the two best pure scorers available. It should be noted that Quinn and Rossi were on the same team, but not on the same line: they did not “inflate” their statistics on each other.
– The Swedish Alexander holtz, installed with Djurgården in the Swedish elite, where he has already scored 9 goals and 16 pts in 35 games at 17. A profile of pure scorer in shooting considered the best of the draft.
– His friend Lucas Raymond – whose father is French -, a small size playing in Frölunda in the Swedish elite, where he scored 4 goals and 10 pts in 33 matches. He has the profile of a pure passer.
– The best goalie available, the Russian Yaroslav Askarov.
-The best Finn is, finally, Anton Lundell, 10 goals and 28 pts with HIFK in Liiga.
Note that two other Germans, Lukas Reichel and John-Jason Peterka, could appear in the top-31, testimony of the “golden generation” of Germany. Conversely, no Czech or Slovak is expected very early. Jan Mysak, who plays in OHL where his season was truncated by a serious injury suffered at the World Juniors, should be the first name called, late in the first round or early in the second.
Find the traditional analysis of Bob McKenzie (TSN) who compiled the interviews of a dozen scouts to come out with a top-93.