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NHL Draft

2020 Draft: Top 10 left wings

Lafreniere, Stuetzle, Raymond among best prospects at position

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is breaking down the top prospects by position ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft. Note: With the NHL season paused since March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, a date for the draft has yet to be determined.

Today, the top left wings available.

Alexis Lafreniere of Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is projected to be the first left wing selected No. 1 in the NHL Draft in the past 10 years.

"Lafreniere is the best prospect in the 2020 Draft class," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said, "and after that there is a group of highly talented prospects who play various positions to which the NHL clubs picking in the top 10 will have to sort through to determine the best available prospect."

 

[RELATED: 2020 Draft: Top 10 right wings]

 

The 18-year-old, who led the QMJHL with 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games, likely will be the first at his position taken No. 1 since the Edmonton Oilers chose left wing Taylor Hall first in the 2010 NHL Draft. 

Lafreniere won the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the leading scorer in the QMJHL, the Paul Dumont Trophy as QMJHL personality of the year, the Michel Briere Trophy as the most valuable player in the QMJHL, the CHL Top Draft Prospect of the Year Award and the CHL Player of the Year.

He's the second player in CHL history to win player of the year in consecutive seasons, joining former Rimouski star and current Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005. They are the only players to win the award twice.

Lafreniere likely will be the third player from the QMJHL chosen No. 1 in the draft in the past eight years. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (2013; Halifax) and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (2017; Halifax) are the others. Crosby was the last Rimouski player to be selected No. 1 (2005).

Here are NHL.com's top 10 left wings available for the 2020 draft:

 

1. Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (North American skaters)

Lafreniere (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) had 30 multipoint games and 11 games of at least four points, including a career-high seven points (one goal, six assists) against Quebec on Feb. 16. He scored 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists) in 20 games after returning from the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic, where he was named the tournament's most valuable player after scoring 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games to help Canada win the championship.

Video: Alexis Lafreniere Chats With Brian Lawton

 

2. Tim Stuetzle, Mannheim (GER) 

NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (International skaters)

The 6-1, 187-pound left-hand shot can play all situations with speed, great vision and some swagger. He scored 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) and had 132 shots on goal in 41 games for Mannheim of Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Germany. His averages of 0.66 assists per game and 0.83 points per game are the best by an under-18 player in the history of the DEL. The 18-year-old also had five assists and averaged 18:43 in ice time in five games for Germany at the 2020 WJC.

Video: Top prospects on preparation for NHL Draft

 

3. Lucas Raymond, Frolunda (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 (International skaters)

Raymond (5-11, 170) plays a strong two-way game with excellent vision, intensity and a good wrist shot. He scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) and had 32 shots on goal while averaging 9:48 in ice time in 33 SHL games. The 18-year-old is regarded as having a nose for the net and has shown himself to be a tremendous asset on the power play and the penalty kill. The right-handed shot is the type of player who doesn't wait for the play to happen, but one who creates opportunities. 

 

4. Lukas Reichel, Eisbaren Berlin (GER)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 11 (International skaters)

Reichel (6-0, 170) had his breakout season in the DEL, scoring 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) with 70 shots on goal in 42 games. He averaged 12:58 in ice time in Germany's top league and scored four game-winning goals. His averages of 0.29 assists per game and 0.57 points per game are the fourth-highest by an under-18 player in the history of the DEL. The nephew of former NHL center Robert Reichel is a powerful skater, good on the forecheck and can create scoring chances around the net. He scored five points (three goals, two assists) in seven games for Germany on a line with Stuetzle at the 2020 WJC.

 

5. Rodion Amirov, Ufa (RUS)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 5 (International skaters)

A skilled left wing with speed and a high hockey IQ who can play all situations, the 18-year-old models his game after Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. The 6-foot, 167-pound left-handed shot scored 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 17 games with Tolpar Ufa in Russia's junior league and had two assists in 21 games with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League, becoming one of seven Under-19 skaters to play at least 20 KHL games this season.

 

6. Jake Neighbours, Edmonton (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 26 (North American skaters)

Neighbours (5-11, 195) is a tough middle-six forward with deceptive speed, good vision and playmaking ability. The 18-year-old has been compared to Edmonton Oilers forward prospect Tyler Benson, chosen in the second round (No. 32) of the 2016 NHL Draft. Neighbours can play the power play and penalty kill, and scored 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists), had 228 shots on goal and 19 power-play points (three goals, 16 assists) in 64 games. 

 

7. William Cuylle, Windsor (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 34 (North American skaters)

The left-handed shot offers excellent net-front presence with an ability to get his stick on almost any shot from the point toward the net. The 6-3, 204-pound forward is a scoring threat with a heavy shot and likes to play the body in pursuit of the puck. The 18-year-old scored 42 points (22 goals, 20 assists) in 62 games for Windsor this season. 

 

8. Luke Tuch, USA U-18 (NTDP)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 40 (North American skaters)

Tuch (6-2, 203) plays a physical, power-forward game with a touch of smarts, skills and competitiveness and plays a similar style to his older brother, Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch. Each gets results by playing an honest, in-your-face game. The 18-year-old scored 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) and scored two game-winning goals in 47 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. Tuch is committed to play at Boston University in 2020-21. 

 

9. Danil Gushchin, Muskegon (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 41 (North American skaters)

The 5-8, 165-pound left-handed shot led Muskegon with 47 points (22 goals, 25 assists), 182 shots on goal, a plus-21 rating, six game-winning goals and three shorthanded goals in 42 games this season. The 18-year-old works best with the puck and has a high-end skill set and shot. Raised in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the same hometown as former Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, Gushchin has improved speed and strength and is one of the hardest workers on and off the ice.

 

10. Zion Nybeck, HV71 Jr. (SWE-JR)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 29 (International skaters)

Nybeck (5-6, 182) compensates for his lack of size with hockey sense, speed and great offensive instincts. He's creative and can run a power play because he can stickhandle and offer good puck control. In 42 games, the 18-year-old established the record for assists (39) and points (66) by an under-18 player in the SuperElit this season. Nybeck scored five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games to help Sweden to a first-place finish at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and scored four points (one goal, three assists) as an alternate captain during a third-place finish for Sweden at 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

 

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