The date of the 2020 NHL Draft might be uncertain but the talent of the players available is not.
On Wednesday, the NHL Central Scouting Bureau released its final rankings, with Rimouski Océanic forward Alexis Lafreniere taking the top spot for North American skaters as expected. The Saint-Eustache, Que., native is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick.
"Obviously, Alexis is quite the player when you look at every aspect of his game," noted J-F Damphousse, regional scout for Quebec and the Maritimes on a video call with reporters. "I think you could consider every aspect as elite when you look at his skating, his puck skills, obviously it's above average. He's been excellent for his three years with Rimouski."
Following close behind him are two of his teammates from the gold-medal winning Canadian team at this year's World Junior Championships: Quinton Byfield and Jamie Drysdale. Byfield is a 6-4, 215-pound center who has been playing with the Sudbury Wolves (OHL), putting up 82 points (32 goals, 50 assists) in just 45 games this season, while Drysdale is an offensively skilled defenseman with the Erie Otters (OHL).
"They were on that gold medal team at such a young age and not just on it but able to contribute," NHL Central Scouting's senior manager David Gregory said. "Watching both these players develop over the year and get put into high-end situations and then be able to adapt and contribute just shows you how special they are."
The ranking also listed the top International skaters, North American goaltenders and International goaltenders. German forward Tim Stuetzle took the top spot in the ranking for international skaters, with Canada's Nicolas Daws and Russia's Iaroslav Askarov ranked first among North American goaltenders and International goaltenders, respectively.
Below are the top 10 players in each category.
NHL Central Scouting Bureau's final draft rankings
North American Skaters
|4||Jake Sanderson||D||USA||U.S. U18|
|8||Kaiden Guhle||D||CAN||Prince Albert|
|6||Helge Grans||D||SWE||Malmo Jr.|
KOURNIANOS: Mock draft 2020 gives Lafreniere to Detroit
North American goaltenders
|2||Drew Commesso||USA||U.S. U18|
|5||Garin Bjorklund||CAN||Medicine Hat|
|8||Devon Levi||CAN||Carleton Place|
|9||Brock Gould||USA||Moose Jaw|
|10||Nick Malik||CZE||Sault Ste. Marie|
|1||Iaroslav Askarov||RUS||Neva. Saint Petersburg|
|3||Joel Blomqvist||FIN||Karpat Jr.|
|4||Calle Clang||SWE||Rogle Jr.|
|5||Amir Miftakhov||RUS||Bars Kazan|
|6||Juho Markkanen||FIN||Saipa Jr.|
|7||Hugo Ollas||SWE||Linkoping Jr.|
|8||Jesper Vikman||SWE||AIK Jr.|
|9||Davide Fadani||ITA||Lugano Jr.|
|10||Jakub Malek||CZE||Vsetin Jr.|