Every June, the hockey community becomes saturated with mock drafts. Everyone and their dog takes a swing at predicting how the entry draft will shake out. Every year, they’re wrong. So this year, while we have extra time waiting for the draft to occur, our Western League Scout, Joel Henderson created the Chaos Mock Draft.
Here’s how it works: First the team – Head of North American Scouting, Tony Ferrari, Managing Editor, Cam Robinson, and Henderson took the seven confirmed lottery teams and added the lower-seeded clubs from the play-in round and dumped them into the Tankathon generator. Then we gave one magical click and, voila! The absolute worst-case scenario for bottom-feeders.
Now, the slots at the top are already nasty enough to fall in line with the madness that we sometimes see at the lottery. But to add further flame to the fire, Joel instituted an additional chaos factor. Before each pick was made, we would roll a six-sided die. The results of that roll would drive the direction of the selection.
The formula is simple:
Roll 2-5 – Solid Pick
Roll 1 or 6 – Chaos Time
Now, just because it’s a chaotic pick doesn’t mean we just went bananas. It simply means the team went with ‘their guy’ rather than what public lists would indicate as the best player available. Maybe it’s in a position they’re loaded in. But screw it, they’re taking him anyway. The three of us had to channel our inner GM/Head of Amateur Scouting to make these selections.
Picks with a star (*) are designated chaos picks
* [Cam] 1st Overall – Anaheim – Quinton Byfield, C
Yeah, the Ducks not only won the lottery but they got wild too. Anaheim moves up seven spots to nab their future number one centre. Byfield has an opportunity to learn how to be a dominant big man pivot from one of the best of his generation in Ryan Getzlaf.
[Read More: Robinson 2020 NHL Draft Rankings (April 2020)]
* [Joel] 2nd Overall – New Jersey – Alexis Lafreniere, LW
Tough to add more fire to something already burning. If Anaheim wants the C, then NJ gets luckier than they anticipated. This is a dream-like scenario and the dice allowed it to occur. Whether it is Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier moving forward, he makes the trading away of Taylor Hall more than ok.
[Tony] 3rd Overall – Chicago – Lucas Raymond, RW
The Blackhawks move up thanks to the lottery and take the skilled Swede, Lucas Raymond. The young winger controls the pace of play when the puck is on his stick and reads plays before they happen. He adds to the budding young core that the Blackhawks are slowly building.
* [Tony] 4th Overall – Detroit – Yaroslav Askarov, G
It happened again. Detroit is failed by the hockey gods and falls to fourth after their dismal season. The positive is that they got a player who could legitimately be the best player from this draft. The negative is they went full chaos mode and take the best goaltending prospect in years. (Sorry, Prashanth)
[Joel] 5th Overall – Ottawa – Tim Stutzle, LW
The offensive rising dynamo forward that Ottawa truly needs. What a tremendous addition to a system that still has a lot of question marks upfront for their future. Colin White and Brady Tkachuk have now established themselves as parts of their youth and they can choose the best development path with Tim, which includes premier minutes right away if they like.
* [Cam] 6th Overall – Ottawa – Alexander Holtz, LW/RW
The Senators were handed the shit sandwich falling to the fifth and sixth spots. While they landed on a chaos roll, we couldn’t get too wild here. They have clear needs. So they passed over Marco Rossi and took the top sniper in the crop. Holtz is going to feast in the Nation’s Capitol.
[Cam] 7th Overall – Los Angelos – Jamie Drysdale, LHD
The Kings walk up and happily fill a hole in their depth chart. Drysdale immediately becomes the team’s top defensive prospect and joins a host of A-level kids. The Kings are going to be scary again one day.
*[Joel] 8th Overall – Buffalo – Dawson Mercer, RW
This would be quite the swing, but he’s a fun gamble if you are looking for a winger element that they currently do not have, He grabbed a role for Team Canada and at times this season showed true effective offensive dominance. With Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt developing in the system, He’s a bit of a lower risk gamble as far as projection into the NHL and would compliment a smart centerman like Cozens.
[Tony] 9th Overall – Montreal – Marco Rossi, C
Thanks to the chaos up top, the Montreal Canadians get a player who many consider a top-five prospect in this draft class. He is one of the smartest players in this draft. Rossi will solidify their center depth, possibly forming one of the best pairs of defensive centers in the league with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Rossi has the skill and smarts to be a high-scorer who can fill Montreal’s need for a number one center.
*[Tony] 10th Overall – New Jersey via Arizona – Helge Grans, LHD
New Jersey gets devilish after landing Lafrenière at second overall and swing big on Helge Grans. The Swedish defender is a skilled powerplay quarterback who has shown progress as a decision-maker all season. He needs work on his in-zone defensive coverage but his tools could be worth the gamble.
[Joel] 11th Overall – Minnesota – Jake Sanderson, LHD
This might possibly be the dream scenario for Minnesota. An excellent skating defenceman who will continue to get bigger and stronger. The undisputed top selection off of the US National Team can look to none other than Ryan Suter as a mentor as to how to play the game effectively at both ends. It is tough to see a better situation for the player as well. Close to home and a terrific pathway forward.
[Cam] 12th Overall – Winnipeg – Cole Perfetti, C
Easy peasy. The Jets waltz up and select the faller who shouldn’t have fallen. Perfetti will be a terrific second-line centre behind Mark Scheifele before one day pushing for his job.
[Cam] 13th Overall – NYR – Anton Lundell, C
Another pretty easy pick. The Rangers are deep in most of their prospect positions but could use a perfectionist, matchup centre like Lundell. The kid is already a pro and will push for a job sooner than many drafted ahead of him.
*[Joel] 14th Overall – Florida – Kaiden Guhle, LHD
The Panthers are always a draft favourite of mine from recent selections because of their seemingly changing philosophies within the organization. They truly have such a wide range of potential selection possibilities. With Guhle, you get the size, skating, gap control, and a quickly developing toolkit of offensive upside. At the end of the season, he showed the ability to jump in a rush and fire off a hard wrist shot or a one-timer slapshot. If you have size and mobility on the backend, NHL teams covet you.
[Tony] 15th Overall – Columbus – Dylan Holloway, C
Columbus is happy to see all of the chaos around them as they quietly grab Dylan Holloway. The two-way centerman has a heavy shot and good hands. He was an impact player at the University of Wisconsin this season. In a world of chaos, Holloway saves the Blue Jackets from the stress.
You want chaos, Calgary delivers! Marat, as his cult following lovingly refers to him, is an undersized 200-foot center who oozes potential. He is one of the younger players in the draft class. His play in the MHL has had him on the rise on most draft boards all year. This is the kind of pick that’s scary now but you’ll love in retrospect.
*[Joel] 17th Overall – New Jersey via Vancouver – Hendrix Lapierre, C
They got a gift in the first selection which allows them to take a risk here. Maybe they attempted to trade down but found no deal they liked. It really is an unknown how long Lapierre could stay on the board, but if he can stay healthy NJ will remember this draft for the next decade. I mean, they will anyway, but you get what I mean.
[Cam] 18th Overall – Nashville – Rodion Amirov, LW
The Predators were salivating as their pick approached. “All these other teams are going nuts. We’re going to get Amirov!” Their wish came true. The Russian winger is a splendid two-way winger with plenty of offensive upside. Think of him as a Podkolzin-lite. But not too lite.
[Cam] 19th Overall – Carolina via Toronto – Seth Jarvis, RW
The Canes will be sending a very nice gift basket to the Maple Leafs for allowing them to nab the WHL’s top draft-eligible forward all to take Patrick Marleau’s salary for a minute. Jarvis can impact the game in all situations and will mesh perfectly in the deep Carolina pool.
[Joel] 20th Overall – Edmonton – Jack Quinn, RW
They’ve taken offensive-minded defensemen in the first round the last two seasons. It isn’t a secret that Edmonton is looking for young goal-scoring wingers and Quinn happens to be exactly that. Oilers considered trading up with NJ to snag him but had a few players in mind if he happened to slide down. If he can find open ice in Edmonton as he did in Ottawa, lookout.
*[Tony] 21st Overall – Ottawa via NYI – Emil Andrae, LHD
The Senators go for a skilled defender in Andrae after adding Stützle and Holtz at the top. Although a bit undersized, Andrae doesn’t hesitate to throw his body around and has impressive edge work and agility. The well-rounded defender has the ability to excel at both ends of the ice.
*[Tony] 22nd Overall – Dallas – Ridly Greig, LW
The Dallas Stars like to add speed and skill and Greig fits checks those boxes. Although fans may think this is a bit of a reach but this is a pick the ‘200 Hockey Men’ will love. Greig will need to mature a bit but the Stars will need to embrace his undisciplined play at times if he is going to be his best.
[Joel] 23rd Overall – NYR via Carolina – Noel Gunler, RW
The NYR are no stranger to European prospects. His offensive capabilities are outstanding and if he can improve his skating and defensive abilities a touch he could be a fantastic selection here. He has already seen SHL action and shown he can dominate the SuperElit. The Rangers walk away from Day One with two Europeans with tremendous upside.
*[Cam] 24th Overall – Minnesota via Pittsburgh – Jeremie Poirier, LHD
It’s apt that so many chaos picks are landing in the back portion this first-round because that’s exactly what we see most drafts. The Wild nabbed the safe defender in Sanderson earlier in the round, now they swing for the fences on a boom or bust choice in Poirier.
[Cam] 25th Overall – Philadelphia – Mavrik Bourque, C
14 years ago, the Flyers did alright nabbing a wildly intelligent and talented centre from the Q in the 20s. They’ll try to replicate that here. Bourque is smart, efficient and blends his skill with a drive to win. He’s not the biggest or quickest player, but he finds a way.
*[Joel] 26th Overall – San Jose via TB – Daniel Torgersson, RW
One of the fastest rising prospects this year. His acceleration is terrific and he adds a net-front ability with his large frame. It can be tough to find 6’3 players who can move north/south, as well as Torgersson, does. He is certainly still more on the raw size and his creativity offensively needs work but his frame and shot are certainly projectable. It has been a few years since San Jose has taken a European in the first round. They are due.
[Tony] 27th Overall – Colorado – Connor Zary, C
Once thought to be the top player in the WHL, Zary winds up being the fifth player from the Dub. A smart, steady, and responsible pivot, Zary plays a game that is very translatable. The kid can rip shots from all angles to beat netminders. He isn’t flashy but he’s efficient.
[Tony] 28th Overall – Vegas – Jacob Perreault, C
Vegas gets a player who doesn’t get enough respect in Jacob Perreault. The Sarnia Sting sniper has rounded out his game quite well this season and his skating took a massive step (no pun intended). His improved speed and agility make him a great gamble late in round-one.
[Joel] 29th Overall – Washington – Braden Schneider, LHD
Washington has selected players from the WHL six times out of their last 11 picks. They must truly trust their scouts out West. There is a lot of skill left on the board but chalk up Schneider into the category of “These guys are kinda hard to trade for”. He is mobile, smart, anticipates the play well, and shoots right-handed. Washington needs a bit of everything and taking a draft-eligible who almost made Team Canada at the WJC is a decent addition.
*[Cam] 30th Overall – St. Louis – Zion Nybeck, RW
I was pulling for a wild card roll so I could take my favourite 5’8 Swede. The Blues haven’t been shy in drafting smaller, skilled forwards out of Europe and they grabbed a good one here. Nybeck will need to beat the odds at his size and lacking dynamic skating. But he brings a lot to the table.
*[Cam] 31st Overall – Anaheim via Boston – Brock Faber, LHD
Why not one final chaos roll. The Ducks started this thing off with a bang and they’ll finish it with one too. They take an extremely efficient transitional defender out of the USNTDP. Faber won’t wow with his offensive, but he’ll chew up minutes and get the puck where it needs to be.
Follow us on twitter @Hockey_Robinson, @dathockeydoe and @theTonyFerrari