2020 NHL Draft Ranking: European prospects (November 2019)

by Jokke Nevalainen on November 4, 2019

 

Here is DobberProspects’ second ranking of European prospects for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. This ranking was put together on November 2nd because from November 6th onwards, there will be a U18 Five Nations tournament and a U20 Four Nations tournament, and big international events like those could cause unwanted recency bias.

 

Players eligible for this ranking were those who are potential top 100 picks and playing in Europe for the 2019-2020 season.

 

Because of that second part, these players who were part of our previous ranking two months ago are now excluded because they moved over to play in North America: Jaromir Pytlik, Vasili Ponomaryov, Harijs Brants, Kasper Puutio, Simon Knak, Oliver Suni, Noah Delémont and Adam Raska.

 

Other players who would be included without that rule include Marco Rossi, Daniil Gushchin, Ruben Rafkin, Michal Gut and Pavel Novak. These players are also Europeans with top 100 potential but because they are playing in North America, they are excluded from this ranking – we want to focus on those we get to watch regularly here in Europe.

 

This is not my personal ranking as I received contributions from the following people:

 

We ended up creating a list that includes 40 prospect that we feel have potential to become top 100 picks. Obviously 40 prospects out of Europe won’t be drafted in the top 100 but the rest of this season will show which prospects will slide into the 100-150 range or possibly even beyond that. But right now, these players have shown enough to deserve top 100 consideration.

 

European prospects tend to fall on draft day for one reason or another – just look at Patrik Puistola, Pavel Dorofeyev and Anttoni Honka last year – but maybe that shouldn’t be the case. Maybe more European prospects should be drafted within the top 100. That is the reasoning behind this whole ranking.

 

Now that we’ve gone through those basic details, let’s get to the actual ranking. This time, we have short summaries for each prospect, and at the end of this page we have a table showing the full ranking, everyone’s projected draft range, and how those have changed from August. Enjoy!

 

  1. Lucas Raymond, W – SHL (Frölunda) – 5-10, 165 lbs – Draft Range: 3-10

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Raymond continues to hold the top spot among Europeans because of his high-end potential. His ability to generate speed through the neutral zone is hard to miss but he’s also capable of dancing around opposing players by using his edges very well. His hands are elite and the best among this group of prospects, and it’s difficult to find anyone as creative as him. He hasn’t been given much of a chance with the SHL team but that is mostly because Frölunda has a stacked team and they’d rather use their veterans. I thought Raymond would take a run at first overall but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Nonetheless, he has a firm hold of the top spot among Europeans.

 

  1. Alexander Holtz, W – SHL (Djurgården) – 6-0, 183 lbs – Draft Range: 3-10

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Holtz is the best goal-scorer among this group. He has an elite level shot and he’s excellent at making himself available for a shooting opportunity. He doesn’t need much time or space to get the shot off his stick, and his shots are always hard and accurate. But he’s not a one-dimensional goal-scorer either because he’s also an excellent playmaker who creates scoring chances for his linemates all the time. He has great awareness – he always knows where he should be and where his linemates will be. Holtz has been getting good usage in the SHL and hasn’t looked out of place at all. Both Holtz and Raymond are expected to play for Sweden at the World Juniors.

 

  1. Tim Stützle, C/W – DEL (Mannheim) – 5-11, 165 lbs – Draft Range: 3-10

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Stützle has been excellent this season and he’s making a push towards top five selection. He made the jump from German juniors to DEL, and he was able to continue playing his style even at the top level – although he’s now doing it from the wing. Stützle’s game revolves around his ability to do everything extremely quickly. His hands and feet are both very quick but his brain might be even quicker because he seems to be able to make great decisions no matter the situation and how much pressure he’s getting from opposing players. His hands are very close to Raymond’s level, and one could argue his skating is the best among this group. Stützle is exciting and flashy, and he’ll be a fan favorite wherever he goes. Long-term, he has the tools to move back to center at some point but obviously it would be great to see how he fares there against men before the draft. But at least it’s likely we get to see him down the middle at the World Juniors.

 

Shift Work: Tim Stützle

 

  1. Anton Lundell, C – Liiga (HIFK) – 6-1, 183 lbs – Draft Range: 3-10

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Lundell is the most complete player among this group. He’s an excellent two-way center who excels in reading plays and supporting his teammates in every situation, no matter if they’re trying to make an offensive or a defensive play. Lundell is a coach’s dream because he can be thrown to any situation without any worry of him hurting his team – he can kill penalties, run a power play, and play the last minutes of a game regardless if his team is leading or chasing. His offensive upside is not as good as the three players above him but his defensive game is much more developed. He’s a true team player with great effort level on the ice. He is a playmaker who can control the pace of the game but he also owns a dangerous wrist shot. Skating is his one weakness but even that has been getting better. I believe Lundell is ready to play in the NHL next season.

 

Prospect Deep Dive: Anton Lundell

 

  1. Yaroslav Askarov, G – VHL (SKA-Neva) – 6-3, 176 lbs – Draft Range: 5-15

 

Russian Prospects: Askarov is the top goalie of this draft, it is already clear at the current point, it’s quite self-describing, how talks about him are mostly like “is he in the Vasilevskiy talent tier or “just” as good as Samsonov”.

 

Sergei Kuzin: Askarov shared his starter duties with Nikita Lysenkov in VHL and his stats are decent, not great, but you shouldn’t forget – he is only 17 years old and playing at senior level. Yaroslav is still one of most interesting goalie prospects for the last few years.

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Arguably the best goalie prospect since Carey Price in 2015. Has all the tools to become a franchise goalie at the NHL level. A team desperate for a goalie could draft him really high but a top 10 projection is very realistic at this point.

 

  1. Noel Gunler, W – SHL (Luleå) – 6-1, 176 lbs – Draft Range: 5-15

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Gunler’s biggest strengths are related to his ability to score goals. He has an elite release, excellent ability to shoot the puck at different ways, and high-end scoring instincts. He’s also a great playmaker who can regularly create scoring chances for his linemates. At times, he’s too passive on the ice which could make it seem like he’s lazy or disinterested. But he thinks the game at a high level and seems to think he can be effective with limited effort. When that changes (and I’m confident it will), we’ll start to see his high-end offensive tools more regularly. Right now, his usage in the SHL is not good – and you can’t put up points without proper usage.

 

  1. Jan Mysak, C/W – CZE Extraliga (Litvinov) – 6-0, 176 lbs – Draft Range: 15-30

 

Czech Prospects: Mysak had a slow start to the season and he was demoted to the 4th line, but he has found his game and started to produce points and he is now usually used as a 3th line winger. He has solid ice time (13 minutes per game), playing on power plays. He’s a player with a good shot and vision and he has improved his skating.

 

Samuel Tirpák: Myšák is extremely interesting prospect. He has a great shot and great playmaking abilities. He is also very good puck-handler. He uses these offensive abilities to create as many offensive chances as possible and to execute them as effective as possible within his limited ice-time. He needs to work on his skating a bit, but he has improved a lot in that area. He is very versatile player that can play center and wing as well as all situations. There is a room for improvement in few areas though.

 

  1. Rodion Amirov, W – KHL (Tolpar) – 6-0, 168 lbs – Draft Range: 15-30

 

Russian Prospects: Amirov is a very well-rounded player with a long list of strengths, search for weaknesses is still in progress and not sure if it will result in anything.

 

Sergei Kuzin: Amirov posted only one point at KHL level, but was looking great – amazingly skilled player with great flair. Lack of points was just a bad luck for him. Amirov likely would perform at WJC, where he is going to remind about himself.

 

  1. Kasper Simontaival, W – Jr. SM-liiga (Tappara) – 5-9, 172 lbs – Draft Range: 15-30

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Simontaival is one of the most naturally gifted players in this draft class but he’s faced a lot of injuries over the past two years which has caused some issues in his development and may end up limiting his upside. He’s a great skater, and despite his small frame, he’s great at protecting the puck. He owns high-end hands which allow him to be an excellent playmaker from the wing but he also owns a very dangerous wrist shot. He hasn’t dominated in the junior league as much as expected but it’s a good sign that he’s managed to stay healthy this season.

 

  1. Zion Nybeck, W – SuperElit (HV71) – 5-8, 176 lbs – Draft Range: 15-30

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Nybeck has great speed and he’s excellent at creating offense from the wing. He has been incredible in SuperElit and even got to make his SHL debut lately. A quick thinker with great hands. He might be small but he does a great job escaping from dangerous situations by the boards – often times with the puck.

 

  1. Emil Andrae, D – SuperElit (HV71) – 5-9, 183 lbs – Draft Range: 25-45

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Andrae is an extremely smart offensive defenseman with a left-handed shot. He is very creative and can create offense in different ways. He has great patience with the puck and he doesn’t get rushed to bad decisions. He also owns good understanding of the defensive side of the game. He’s not going to win a lot of puck-battles with his size but his stick-on-stick defense is very good.

 

  1. Helge Grans, D – SuperElit (Malmö) – 6-3, 192 lbs – Draft Range: 25-45

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Grans is an offensive defenseman who loves to join the rush and has the hands and skating ability needed to play that type of role. He is prone to bad decisions with the puck at times and isn’t as smart as someone like Andrae but his excellent size and right-handed shot are valuable features that Andrae doesn’t have.

 

  1. Topi Niemelä, D – Liiga (Kärpät) – 6-0, 163 lbs – Draft Range: 25-45

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Niemelä surprised pretty much everyone when he cracked Kärpät’s Liiga roster to start the season, and he hasn’t looked out of place at all. He’s a smooth skater who isn’t afraid to join the rush but his biggest strengths are reading the play and making good, smart decisions with and without the puck. He isn’t afraid to make mistakes and he learns from those. Niemelä doesn’t have high-end offensive tools but projects to become a minute-muncher at the NHL level.

 

  1. Roni Hirvonen, C/W – Liiga (Ässät) – 5-8, 154 lbs – Draft Range: 30-50

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Hirvonen is a natural center but has been playing at wing this season at the men’s level in the Liiga. He’s been playing middle-six minutes with time on the power play, so he’s getting great usage even though his results haven’t been all that great. He’s a skilled forward with excellent effort level. Projects to become a middle-six forward – likely at wing because of his size.

 

Interview: 2020 NHL Draft prospect Roni Hirvonen

 

  1. Veeti Miettinen, W – Jr. SM-liiga (K-Espoo) – 5-9, 159 lbs – Draft Range: 30-50

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Miettinen is too good for the junior league but he has no choice but to play there because he’s going to NCAA next season. He has excellent goal-scoring abilities, especially his wrist shot which is deadly, but he’s also a good playmaker. He’s good at stealing pucks but is too passive at times. He can kill penalties at the junior level but likely won’t be doing that against men.

 

  1. William Wallinder, D – SuperElit (MODO) – 6-4, 192 lbs – Draft Range: 40-60

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Wallinder is a big offensive defenseman with a left-handed shot. He loves to join the rush and get involved offensively. He’s an effortless skater with great speed and good hands which allows him to dangle through opposing players. His defensive effort and understanding is questionable which is why he isn’t ranked higher. He’s sort of like a poor man’s Philip Broberg.

 

  1. Joel Blomqvist, G – Jr. SM-liiga (Kärpät) – 6-1, 183 lbs – Draft Range: 40-60

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Blomqvist has been incredible in the junior league this season but he’s also playing behind a very good team. He sometimes allows easy goals but then makes up for it by stopping some shots that should have gone in. He’s not as big as one would hope but he’s not small either. Starter upside but like most goalie prospects, needs a lot of time to get there.

 

  1. Lukas Reichel, W – DEL (Berlin) – 6-0, 170 lbs – Draft Range: 40-60

 

Jokke Nevalainen: The nephew of long-timer NHLer Robert Reichel is a goal-scoring winger who has been much better than expected this season. Before the season started, he wasn’t even expected to play at the top level. But he’s been playing a middle-six role with power play time, and he’s produced points as well. He’s a very good skater who isn’t afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice. He has good hands but is more of a goal-scorer. He’s responsible defensively and plays a pro-style game already at age 17.

 

  1. Alexander Pashin, W – MHL (Tolpar) – 5-7, 154 lbs – Draft Range: 50-70

 

Russian Prospects: So far Pashin looks as one one of those cases when you can say that the player got everything but the size, because he really does.

 

Sergei Kuzin: After great Hlinka/Gretzky tournament, Pashin wasn’t consistent in his performance – he was good but not great in MHL. Still showing flashes of his great skill and willingness, so he is still considerable for first few rounds.

 

  1. Nick Malik, G – Czech2 (Frydek-Mistek) – 6-2, 174 lbs – Draft Range: 50-70

 

Czech Prospects: Malik has had a great start to the season. He’s got great numbers though he’s playing for the weak team (Frydek in the Chance liga). He also spent some time with Trinec and was a backup for a few Extraliga games. He looks smaller in net, but he has a solid frame and he is very athletic.

 

Samuel Tirpák: Malík is butterfly-style goaltender who has great reflexes and is very calm in net. He also possesses this special game-stealing ability where he can shut-down any team whenever it is necessary. He has great puck skills as well, which helps defensemen in front of him. Possible transfer to Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds after World Juniors might help his value even more on top of fantastic performances for Frýdek-Mýstek in Czechia.

 

  1. John-Jason Peterka, W – DEL (München) – 5-10, 181 lbs – Draft Range: 50-70

 

Jokke Nevalainen: The third German on this list is Peterka, a speedy winger with very good offensive tools. He’s played a top-six role on paper but his ice time doesn’t always reflect that. He’s a fluid skater with very good hands but has struggled with consistency at the DEL level so far. He’s a good forechecker who gives good effort in all situations.

 

  1. Roby Järventie, W – Mestis (KOOVEE) – 6-2, 185 lbs – Draft Range: 50-70

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Järventie had a bit of a slow start in the junior league but has looked much better after being promoted to the Mestis level where he gets to play against men. He has the needed size and strength to battle against men. He’s a very good goal-scorer with good playmaking abilities. Because of his size and speed with the puck, it’s difficult to stop him once he gets going. Quickness and consistency are two areas that still need improvement. He’s a bit divisive because he has a lot of raw potential but there are some definite flaws in his game as well.

 

  1. Joni Jurmo, D – Jr. SM-liiga (Jokerit) – 6-4, 190 lbs – Draft Range: 60-80

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Jurmo is a big offensive defenseman who loves to carry the puck. He has very good hands and feet which allow him to be effective playing that style of game but he still needs to learn how to pick his spots better to avoid high risk, low reward type plays. His defensive game also needs improvement, and he also needs to show more effort in that area. Another poor man’s Philip Broberg.

 

  1. Marat Khusnutdinov, C – MHL (SKA-1946) – 5-9, 165 lbs – Draft Range: 60-80

 

Russian Prospects: Great skater, skilled and athletic center, who works hard. With that being said there’s some room for improvement, as Khusnutdinov as a center would require a bit better vision and playmaking.

 

Sergei Kuzin: Undersized two-way center with good skating and all-around game, but without any high-end talents. Showing flashes of offensive skill this season, but it wasn’t consistent enough to call him a real offensive talent.

 

  1. Jan Bednar, G – CZE Extraliga (Karlovy) – 6-4, 196 lbs – Draft Range: 60-80

 

Czech Prospects: Bednar is a big mobile goalie. He was really good last season, as a 16-year-old helped his team to avoid relegation from Extraliga. After not a great start to this season (wasn’t outstanding in any of his Chance liga or Extraliga games), he showed he’s mentally strong and bounced back as he posted his first career Extraliga shutout with 35 saves against Liberec.

 

Samuel Tirpák: Bednář is another quality goaltender from Czech Republic in this draft, actually really similar to Nick Malík. He has great reflexes, is very calm and has very good puck-handling abilities, which helps his defensemen a lot. But we have not seen the game-stealing ability from him yet, opposite to Malík.

 

  1. Oskar Magnusson, W – SuperElit (Malmö) – 5-10, 165 lbs – Draft Range: 70-90

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Magnusson had a disappointing Hlinka Gretzky Cup but he’s been excellent in SuperElit and even got to make his SHL debut. He’s a great skater with excellent edge work. He’s a very good goal-scorer but can also make plays. He can make flashy plays that get him noticed. He’s a pretty good penalty killer and a constant scoring threat even while down a man.

 

  1. Juuso Mäenpää, C – Jr. SM-liiga (Jokerit) – 5-7, 141 lbs – Draft Range: 70-90

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Mäenpää is a playmaking center who has had an incredible start to his first season in the top junior league in Finland. He’s a great skater with excellent edge work and very good speed. His passes are hard and accurate, and his vision and awareness are both great. Because of his size, he will likely need to move to the wing at some point when he turns pro which can be a bit difficult for a playmaker like him. But because of his skating ability, hockey sense and effort on the ice, I’m pretty confident he can do it and have success even at the NHL level.

 

  1. Alexander Nikishin, D – KHL (Spartak) – 6-3, 196 lbs – Draft Range: 70-90

 

Sergei Kuzin: Nikishin was good enough to earn slot in KHL team, but his game is still perplexing. Powerful player with good skating and cannon at the point, but with serious decision making and defensive play problems. A lot of raw potential here, but more of a bust, than a boom.

 

Shift Work: Alexander Nikishin

 

  1. Anton Johannesson, D – SuperElit (HV71) – 5-9, 154 lbs – Draft Range: 70-90

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Johannesson is a very talented offensive defenseman but he missed most of last season because of injuries and has only managed to play three games this season as well. His potential is too good to let him slip past the third round, assuming he can get back to the rink at some point this season. Besides the injuries, his size could also hold him back a little bit. But talent usually prevails.

 

  1. Maxim Groshev, W – KHL (Neftekhimik) – 6-2, 194 lbs – Draft Range: 80-110

 

Sergei Kuzin: Power forward type of player, who is consistently bring some positive things on ice. Blend of power and offensive skill, Groshev earned a slot in KHL lineup, although, he is still struggling at senior level (skating is a main problem).

 

  1. Samuel Knazko, D – Jr. SM-liiga (TPS) – 6-0, 170 lbs – Draft Range: 80-110

 

Samuel Tirpák: Kňažko is smart offensive defenseman with pretty good two-way game. Kňažko stands out offensively. He has great shot and is really creative in creating scoring chances for himself or his teammates. He is a flawless skater and while not perfect defensively, his skating allows him to be effective. Although he has some work to do defensively, he can hold his own in the defensive zone. Not a physical player.

 

  1. Eemil Viro, D – Jr. SM-liiga (TPS) – 6-0, 168 lbs – Draft Range: 80-110

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Viro and Knazko play on the same team, and it’s difficult to say with any certainty which one is going to be the better player between those two. Knazko stands out with his offensive skills more than Viro but Viro stands out with his smart and reliable all-around game. He’s a very good skater who can make an impact at both ends of the ice but lacks true standout qualities. Viro did get to make his Liiga debut lately, so the organization has him above Knazko right now but that says nothing about their long-term NHL potential.

 

  1. Lucas Ramberg, D – SuperElit (Luleå) – 6-0, 176 lbs – Draft Range: 80-110

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Like Knazko and Viro above him, Ramberg has average size, a left-handed shot, and he plays a good all-around game but lacks true standout skills which would allow him to make a major impact on the game. Ramberg is better offensively than defensively but isn’t a pure offensive defenseman. He’s a smooth skater, very smart and has good skill. He did get to make his SHL debut but his usage was very limited there. His defensive game needs to improve before he can be a regular at the men’s level.

 

  1. Daniel Torgersson, W – SuperElit (Frölunda) – 6-3, 205 lbs – Draft Range: 80-110

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Torgersson is a big goal-scoring winger. Not a true power forward but is starting to learn how to utilize his size better. He’s also a very good skater. He has a great shot but he can also make plays. He’s a quick thinker but his hands are a bit questionable.

 

  1. Nikita Shuidin, W – MHL (SKA-Varyagi) – 5-10, 159 lbs – Draft Range: 90-120

 

Sergei Kuzin: A bit undersized winger takes himself on draft radar after a great start of the season in MHL. He is a very creative player with good puck skills, who is killing penalties and time-to-time playing bigger than his body. Skating is a concern. He is only an average skater, especially for his below average size.

 

  1. Maxim Beryozkin, W – MHL (Loko) – 6-2, 201 lbs – Draft Range: 90-120

 

Russian Prospects: Can’t call Beryozkin a very good skater, but he is able to create goal-scoring chances almost out of nothing when receiving the puck in the attacking zone is quite impressive, big body also helps here.

 

  1. Emil Heineman, W – SuperElit (Leksand) – 6-0, 179 lbs – Draft Range: 90-120

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Heineman has had a great start to the season in SuperElit. He’s not a flashy player but very effective. He is very smart and a good skater. He had decent size and his effort level is good. He plays a reliable all-around game but seems to lack true standout skills.

 

  1. Shakir Mukhamadullin, D – KHL/MHL (Tolpar) – 6-2, 170 lbs – Draft Range: 90-120

 

Russian Prospects: Mukhamadullin is extremely talented in terms of his big frame and overall Size+Skating combination and also got a strong shot, but the jury is still out on if he can put it into a good use.

 

  1. Bogdan Trineyev, W – MHL (Dynamo Moskva) – 6-3, 176 lbs – Draft Range: 90-120

 

Sergei Kuzin: Trineyev was noticeable at Hlinka Gretzky and continued to perform well in MHL. Big bodied winger, who can contribute both with and without the puck, but need to be more mobile. Has good shot, which he should use more often.

 

  1. Martin Chromiak, W – SVK Extraliga (Trencin) – 6-0, 179 lbs – Draft Range: 90-120

 

Samuel Tirpák: This young stand-out is smooth-skating, powerful offensive dynamo. He is not that big of a player (6ft tall), but he uses the size he has to his advantage in all three zones and in transition as well. What I like the most about him is his ability to cover the puck despite high pressure of opposition and his forechecking abilities as well. He drives the net hard, which will lead to a lot of net-front goals and chances in high-danger spots.

 

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Those were our 40 ranked prospects. Below is the same in table format, and it also includes eight honorable mentions. Different tiers are highlighted using a different background color. Noteworthy changes in ranking and draft range are highlighted with green and red arrows – the bigger the change, the darker the color. Minor changes are not highlighted.

 

 

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And that’s all for now, thanks for reading. Feel free to add comments below. Remember to follow me on Twitter @JokkeNevalainen.

 

 

Images used on the main picture courtesy of SHL.se and DEL.org