Alexis Lafreniere remains No. 1 in the NHL.com ranking of the top 31 prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.
The Rimouski left wing led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games. He had 30 multipoint games, including seven points (one goal, six assists) against Quebec on Feb. 16. He's No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters eligible for the 2020 draft.
The 18-year-old has 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists) in 20 games since returning from the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Czech Republic, where he was named the tournament's most outstanding player after he had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games to help Canada win the championship.
"He brings the qualities that players require to have success in the NHL today," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "The two outstanding ones for him are his quickness and his poise. Every part of the game he's composed, he's smart about it, but he's quick and he has speed so he can execute plays. He sees the ice, reads the play. Everything he does is at a high tempo."
NHL.com looks at the top 31 prospects (Number in parenthesis is ranking from March 6):
1. (1) Alexis Lafreniere (6-foot-1, 196 pounds), LW, Rimouski (QMJHL) -- He led all players in the Canadian Hockey League (QMJHL, Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League) with 2.15 points per game, but as skilled and talented as Lafreniere is, the thing that makes him even more impressive is his relentlessness and willingness to play a hard game and finish checks.
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2. (2) Tim Stuetzle (6-1, 187), LW, Mannheim (GER) -- A hard-working left-handed shot who is capable of playing all situations with speed, great vision and some swagger. He had 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) and 132 shots on goal in 41 games for Mannheim of Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Germany. He also had five assists and averaged 18:43 in ice time in five games for Germany at the 2020 WJC.
3. (3) Quinton Byfield (6-4, 215), C, Sudbury (OHL) -- The left-shot center is a powerful skater with breakaway speed and an exceptional skill set. He had 82 points (32 goals, 50 assists) in 45 OHL games.
4. (4) Jamie Drysdale (5-11, 175), D, Erie (OHL) -- The right-shot defenseman is capable of running the power play and driving offense with his skating and elite hockey sense. He had 47 points (nine goals, 38 assists) and 22 power-play points in 49 games.
5. (5) Marco Rossi (5-9, 183), C, Ottawa (OHL) -- The Austria-born left-shot forward led all players in the Canadian Hockey League with 120 points (39 goals, 81 assists) in 56 games, and his average of 2.14 points per game is second. Despite his size he's capable of winning 50/50 puck battles, is strong on face-offs (58.5 winning percentage) and generates offense with his high hockey IQ, good hands and playmaking ability.
6. (6) Cole Perfetti (5-10, 177), C, Saginaw (OHL) -- A skilled left-handed shot with high hockey IQ, compete and a great shot. Perfetti was second in the OHL with 111 points (37 goals, 74 assists) in 61 games. He ended the regular season with 26 points during a 12-game point streak (eight goals, 18 assists).
7. (7) Jake Sanderson (6-1, 186), D, USA U-18 (NTDP) -- Sanderson is to this year's USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team what Jack Hughes was to last season's group -- its most valuable player. Sanderson, the son of former NHL forward Geoff Sanderson, a mobile puck-mover with a dominant defensive mindset and an improving offensive game. He had 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 47 games and will attend the University of North Dakota next season.
8. (8) Alexander Holtz (5-11, 192), RW, Djurgarden (SWE) -- A pure goal scorer with a great selection of shots, Holtz plays a tough, intelligent game. He had 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) and 55 shots on goal while averaging 12:53 of ice time in 35 games in the Swedish Hockey League.
9. (9) Lucas Raymond (5-11, 170), LW, Frolunda (SWE) -- He plays a strong two-way game with excellent vision, intensity and a good wrist shot. Raymond, who had 10 points (four goals, six assists) and 32 shots on goal while averaging 9:48 in ice time in 33 SHL games, has a nose for the net and is a tremendous asset on the power play and penalty kill.
10. (11) Anton Lundell (6-1, 185), C, HIFK (FIN) -- The two-way left-shot forward is tough to knock off his skates on the cycle, can protect the puck extremely well and finds teammates in traffic. He had 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and 162 shots on goal in 44 games while averaging 15:49 of ice time in Liiga, Finland's top professional league.
11. (10) Yaroslav Askarov (6-3, 176), G, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (RUS-2) -- The 17-year-old already is an intimidating presence in net with great poise, athleticism and a quick glove. Askarov was 12-3 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 18 games in Russia's minor league.
12. (12) Jack Quinn (6-0, 179), RW, Ottawa (OHL) -- Scouts have taken notice after a solid summer of training. He's versatile enough to play all three forward positions and has the offensive instincts to execute plays. He was second in the OHL with 52 goals and tied for eighth with 89 points in 62 games.
13. (13) Dawson Mercer (6-0, 181), C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) -- Mercer is a right-shot forward capable of playing in all situations. He had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) with Chicoutimi after being traded there by Drummondville on Jan. 6, and finished the season with 60 points (24 goals, 36 assists) in 42 games. Mercer is a smart, heads-up skater who finishes checks and is strong on the power play and penalty kill.
14. (14) William Wallinder (6-4, 191), D, Modo-Jr. (SWE-JR) -- The left-shot defenseman is at his best in the defensive zone but has an improving offensive game evidenced by the fact he likes to join the rush and get the puck to the net.
15. (15) Braden Schneider (6-2, 202), D, Brandon (WHL) -- A two-way right-shot defenseman who is capable of playing the power play and penalty kill with great competitiveness and smarts. He had 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) in 60 games in the Western Hockey League.
16. (16) Hendrix Lapierre (5-11, 179), C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) -- The left-shot forward has great hockey sense, compete and playmaking qualities. He was limited to 19 games because of an upper-body injury but may have the highest ceiling of any player projected to go in the first round.
17. (17) Rodion Amirov (6-0, 167), LW, Ufa (RUS) -- A skilled left wing with speed and high hockey IQ who can play all situations, he models his game after forwards Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) and four power-play goals in 17 games with Tolpar Ufa in Russia's junior league and two assists in 21 games in the Kontinental Hockey League.
18. (18) Dylan Holloway (6-0, 203), C, Wisconsin (NCAA) -- The left-shot forward has good hands, high compete and a drive to create offense. He should be the first college player selected after he had 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 35 games as a college freshman.
19. (19) Kaiden Guhle (6-2, 188), D, Prince Albert (WHL) -- A two-way defenseman with good skating, a hard shot and imposing size. He had 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games.
20. (20) Jeremie Poirier (6-0, 199), D, Saint John (QMJHL) -- An offensive defenseman with good puck skills, hockey sense and game-breaking ability who led QMJHL defensemen with 20 goals in 64 games.
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21. (21) Seth Jarvis (5-9, 179), C, Portland (WHL) -- A smart, skilled player who executes with pace and excels as a penalty-killer. Jarvis creates offense with his vision, quickness and playmaking ability. He was second in the WHL with 98 points (42 goals, 56 assists) in 58 games.
22. (22) Justin Barron (6-1, 195), D, Halifax (QMJHL) -- The right-handed shot, who returned to the lineup Feb. 26 after missing three months with a blood clot, had 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in 34 games. He's a proven skater and competitor capable of making the good first pass.
23. (23) Noel Gunler (6-2, 176), RW, Lulea (SWE) -- A strong skater with good passing skills, shot selection, and a willingness to drive to the net to create offense. He had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 9:49 of average ice time in 45 SHL games.
24. (24) Mavrik Bourque (5-10, 168), C, Shawinigan (QMJHL) -- The right-shot center is a good passer, has a good shot and excels in his own end. He had 71 points (29 goals, 42 assists) and 25 power-play points in 49 games.
25. (25) Connor Zary (6-0, 177), C, Kamloops (WHL) -- A two-way skater who possesses patience with the puck. He was tied for fifth in the WHL with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists), tied for third with 15 power-play goals and tied for fourth with three shorthanded goals in 57 games.
26. (26) Jacob Perreault (5-11, 200), RW, Sarnia (OHL) -- The versatile right wing has one of the best shots in the 2020 draft class. The 17-year-old son of former NHL forward Yanic Perreault, he led Sarnia with 39 goals and 15 power-play goals in 57 games.
27. (27) Emil Andrae (5-8, 181), D, HV 71 Jr. (SWE-JR) -- A two-way mobile defenseman capable of making good reads with his vision and quick first pass and is effective on the power play. He had 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 40 games in Sweden's junior league, and played 10 games in the SHL.
28. (28) Jean-Luc Foudy (5-11, 174), C, Windsor (OHL) -- The brother of Columbus Blue Jackets forward prospect Liam Foudy, Jean-Luc has the speed, puck control and playmaking ability to excel at the next level.
29. (29) Jan Mysak (5-10, 180), C, Hamilton (OHL) -- The left-shot forward plays a smart game with smooth hands and a quick release. He had 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 22 games after joining Hamilton on Jan. 18. The 17-year-old started the season with Litvinov in his native Czech Republic and had nine points (five goals, four assists) in 26 games.
30. (30) Ridly Greig (5-11, 164), C, Brandon (WHL) -- A good skater with breakaway speed who plays a strong game at both ends of the rink and is utilized at the point on the power play. He had 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 56 games.
31. (31) Brendan Brisson (5-11, 177), C, Chicago (USHL) -- Brisson has established himself as a strong two-way player, and was second in the USHL with 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) in 45 games, and scored a league-high 11 power-play goals. He's committed to play at the University of Michigan next season.
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