DobberProspects’ Scouting Team 2020 Draft Rankings

Tony Ferrari

2020-09-30

Feature image and player banners courtesy of Andrew Armstrong

 

The DobberProspects’ Scouting Team 2020 Draft Rankings are a collaborative effort from the scouting team assembled at DobberProspects. These are a real-world draft ranking rather than a Fantasy Hockey focused ranking. For your fantasy hockey needs, the DobberProspects Fantasy Prospect Report and Fantasy Guide are the best sources to get you ahead of the game in your league whether you play in a simple year-to-year league or you’re involved in a decade long keeper league, the DobberProspects’ Fantasy Guides are your one-stop-shop for winning your league! 

 

The DobberProspects scouting team has been hard at work. The 2020 NHL Draft will be a unique one, to say the least. The 2019-20 seasons across the world were shut down, halted due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The NHL returned to bring us summer hockey. The only issue with that, at least when it comes to the draft, is that it pushed the offseason back. The first big event of every offseason is the draft. So the event originally scheduled for June 26-27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal will now be held October 6-7, completely virtually.

 

The extra time gave everyone a bit more time to break down some video, analyze the numbers, and really fine-tune their rankings. The DobberProspects team is no different. After a scouting meeting lasting hours, most of which was recorded and edited down for the latest episode of Dobber’s DraftCast, the team came away with our final rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft. DobberProspects’ managing editor and draft aficionado Cam Robinson will be back later this week with his personal final rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft so be sure to keep your eyes out for that! His June “Final” Rankings can be found here.

 

There was a discussion at number one but the group remained on Lafrenière. Byfield has a boatload of potential but the near-lock for NHL stardom with Lafrenière was too much to pass up. The top-five was fairly unanimous but the order was debated a bit. The top ten was a long discussion and the group felt like they could have settled a number of ways. With a few players not as favored as some other rankings, the first round has a few surprises fallers and omissions. Players like Perreault and Bourque made their mark as they slide up the board. 

 

With the entire top-50 getting a short scouting report, the DobberProspects team provided their perspectives on some of the best players in the draft class. From top prospects like Lafrenière, Byfield, and Raymond to some of the team’s favorites like Khusnutdinov, Tullio, and Robins, we have done our best to explain our reasoning and give context to our analysis. Be sure to check out all of the player profiles for the top-100, all linked to their names in the Top-100 chart at the bottom of the page! 

 

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Let us know what you think! Without further ado, discuss, debate, and dissect the rankings! Enjoy! 

 

Tony Ferrari: Alexis Lafrenière is the best player in this year’s draft as of today. While there could be a debate as to whether Byfield could be the better prospect long-term, Lafrenière is an absolutely dominant force. He has one of the best offensive minds in the draft and his physical maturity and elite-level skill give him the ability to generate offensive chances unlike nearly any other player in this draft. He drove shot differentials 150% better than many of the top prospects in this class as well. He is a two-time CHL Player of the Year, three-time QMJHL first-team All-Star, a Hlinka-Gretzky Championship, and a World Junior gold medalist. There is virtually nothing that Lafrenière hasn’t accomplished at this stage in his career. Going first overall will likely be another notch in his belt.

 

Tony Ferrari: The sky-high potential that Quinton Byfield possesses is what makes him one of the most interesting and intriguing prospects in a few years. The Sudbury Wolves star has the size, speed, and strength to be a dominant force and the skill and touch to be an incredible finesse player. The uber skilled playmaker makes everyone on the ice with him better and does an excellent job of creating offense. He uses his frame and physicality to enhance his skill by shielding defenders from the puck and forcing opponents into errors by applying pressure and leaning on an opponent rather than going to the big hit as many expect a player his size to do. Skill is and always will be his best trait. While he’s unlikely to go first-overall, the young Canadian center’s upside should at least warrant consideration at the top spot.

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Raymond is a play-driving winger who can control the pace of the game. He is calm and confident with the puck because he knows he can trust his quick hands and feet to get out of trouble. His passing abilities, vision and creativity make him an excellent playmaker who can create something out of nothing. He competes hard, doesn’t give up much defensively, and also owns a deadly wrist shot. Raymond benefitted from the extended offseason as he gained more muscle and strength to his frame. As a bigger and stronger player, he is now prepared to play an expanded role at the SHL level. He could push for an NHL job in 2021-2022.

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Stützle is a fun player to watch because his game is all about speed. He plays fast and thinks the game quickly. He can skate circles around the offensive zone and look for weaknesses in the defensive team’s structure. He’s an excellent playmaker who utilizes his skills and vision to create scoring chances. He’s not much of a scoring threat himself right now because he’s unable to breach the middle of the ice and his shot is not that great either. But those are areas that he can work on to become a more well-rounded offensive threat. He could push for an NHL job in 2021-2022.

 

Jacob Barker: In a season in which he produced a CHL-leading 120 points in just 56 games, Rossi’s insane puck skills and offensive awareness dazzled his name into the top tier of the draft class. Although he is often criticized for being undersized, Rossi’s physical frame and no-fear mentality mean that he plays much bigger than he is. His high hockey IQ in all three zones combined with an unmatched work ethic means he is able to force turnovers and create plays in transition at a high level. Although he isn’t the quickest player in the draft class, Rossi has great agility and edge work that he uses to create space on the ice in a variety of situations. Rossi projects as a top-line center that can drive his line and produce at a near point-per-game rate at the next level.

 

Jokke Nevalainen: Holtz is a natural goal-scorer if there ever was one. He has the ability to get himself open for a shot, and once he gets the puck, it doesn’t stay on his stick for long. His shot is incredibly powerful and accurate, making it difficult for goalies to stop even when they see it coming. He’s been able to score a ton of goals from distance but what will truly unlock his potential in the NHL will be getting closer to the blue paint before firing those shots. He’s shown the willingness and ability to be a competent defensive player, and his playmaking abilities are also underrated. He could push for an NHL job in 2021-2022.

 

Caitlin Berry: The epitome of the fast, new-age, puck-moving defender, Drysdale is the best defensive prospect out of the OHL this year. He is an excellent skater who can push the pace of the game and is capable of driving offensive with his elite hockey sense. He is confident with the puck on his stick and is excellent in transition, able to find open teammates and create scoring chances with ease. Defensively, Drysdale can read the game quickly and use his skating and quick stick to create turnovers and cut off passing lanes. He does not shy away from the physical aspects of the game; however, he is slightly undersized and thus will need to add some strength for his physical game be effective at the next level. Drysdale possesses all the tools to be a franchise level defenseman in the NHL.

 

Tony Ferrari: On the rise from about December on, Jake Sanderson’s assertation of himself as a top-10 prospect came at the Biosteel All-America game in January. His defensive game was always his called card. He defends transitions as well as almost anyone in the draft and has high-level defensive IQ. His size, strength, and smooth skating make him dangerous in all three zones. As one of the best transitional defenders in the draft, Sanderson began to round out his offensive game as his confidence grew throughout the season. He might be the most complete defender in the entire draft class.

 

Caitlin Berry: This season Cole Perfetti has proven himself as an excellent playmaker as well as an elite scorer. He has made a name for himself as a goal scorer during his OHL career; his shot possesses both accuracy and power, combined with a quick release. His vision and offensive awareness are outstanding. He is creative with the puck, and with skilled stickhandling, he can fool defensemen and goaltenders alike. Perfetti is an agile skater, able to make quick cuts and changes direction with ease. He is often criticized for his speed and acceleration, though, which are good but not quite NHL-level yet. However, his vision and smarts often make up for this deficiency, and with reports that he’s been focusing on developing his explosiveness in the extended off-season, expect Perfetti to be picked inside the top-10 in this draft.

 

Eetu Siltanen: The best 200-foot player available in the draft. Very smart two-way center with pretty good offensive skills and amazingly responsible defensive game for a teenager. Lundell’s hockey IQ is excellent; he reads plays and is just always in the right position. He is a playmaker with good hands, but has a solid wrist shot and can score when he gets a chance. Pretty strong along the boards and good on the face-off circle (53,5% in Liiga, 19-20). He’s a “diesel” skater; he has pretty good top speed but lacks some acceleration and agility. Some have also criticized him for not being very visible or “flashy”, but his 28 points in 40 games is 6th highest PPG in Liiga during a draft-eligible season (since 2000-01). He just might be your future Selke Trophy winner. He’ll probably play the 20-21 season in Liiga and make the jump for the NHL after that.

 

Daniel Tiffany: The most highly touted prospect at the goalie position since Carey Price. Russian phenom Yaroslav Askarov blends great positioning and incredible athleticism to make difficult saves look easy. Since bursting onto the scene at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky cup, Askarov has proven to be an X-Factor game in and game out. His stats back it up at both the international and club level. His success in international play, along with the Russian junior league (MHL) and the Russian second league (VHL) has made him a can’t miss goalie prospect. Now as an 18-year-old, Yaroslav Askarov has played three KHL games and continued his greatness leading up to the draft. Askarov is a to