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NHL Draft

Top 31 prospects eligible for 2020 NHL Draft

Stuetzle rises to No. 2, Lafreniere remains No. 1, according to NHL.com

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

Mike G. Morreale has covered the NHL Draft and NHL prospects for the past 10 years. Here is his third installment of the season on the top 31 prospects for the 2020 NHL Draft, which will take place at Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26-27.

Alexis Lafreniere remains No. 1 in the NHL.com ranking for March of the top 31 prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.

The left wing, who plays for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, leads the league with 109 points (35 goals, 74 assists) and has 29 multipoint games in 50 games this season. He's No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters eligible for the draft at Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26-27.

The 18-year-old has 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 18 games since returning to the lineup from the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Czech Republic, where he earned most valuable player honors after scoring 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games for Canada.

"He's got the ability to beat you wide with speed but also the ability to slow down the play to create some space for himself and make plays," Jean-Francois Damphousse of NHL Central Scouting said. "He's really a smart player and his hockey IQ is at the highest level possible."

NHL.com looks at the top 31 prospects (Number in parenthesis is ranking on Dec. 5): 

1. (1) Alexis Lafreniere (6-foot-1, 196 pounds), LW, Rimouski (QMJHL) -- 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 given an opportunity.

2. (9) Tim Stuetzle (6-1, 187), C, Mannheim (DEL) -- A hard-working lefty capable of playing all situations with speed, great vision and some swagger. He has 32 points (seven goals, 25 assists) and 80 shots on goal in 39 games for Mannheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany; had five assists and averaged 18:43 in ice time in five games for Germany at the 2020 WJC.

3. (2) Quinton Byfield (6-4, 215), C, Sudbury (OHL) -- The left-hand center is a powerful skater with breakaway speed and an exceptional skill set; has 76 points (32 goals, 44 assists) in 42 games in the Ontario Hockey League.

4. (8) Jamie Drysdale (5-11, 175), D, Erie (OHL) -- A right-hand defenseman, is capable of running the power play and driving offense with his skating and elite hockey sense. He has 45 points (nine goals, 36 assists) and 18 power-play points in 47 games.

5. (7) Marco Rossi (5-9, 183), C, Ottawa (OHL) -- Austria-born left-hander leads the Canadian Hockey League with 110 points (36 goals, 74 assists) in 53 games. He's capable of winning 50-50 battles, is strong on face-offs and generates offense with his high hockey IQ, good hands and playmaking ability. 

6. (4) Cole Perfetti (5-10, 177), C, Saginaw (OHL) -- A skilled left-hander with high hockey IQ, compete and a great shot, Perfetti ranks second in the OHL with 104 points (36 goals, 68 assists) in 58 games. He has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) during a nine-game point streak.

7. (19) 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 last season -- the most valuable player. He's a mobile puck-mover with a dominant defensive mindset and improving offensive game; he has 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 45 games and will attend the University of North Dakota in 2020-21. 

8. (3) Alexander Holtz (5-11, 192), RW, Djurgarden (SWE) -- A goal-scorer with a great selection of shots, Holtz plays a tough, intelligent game. He has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) and 49 shots on goal averaging 12:55 in ice time in 31 games in the Swedish Hockey League.

9. (5) Lucas Raymond (5-11, 170), LW, Frolunda (SWE) -- He plays a strong two-way game, offering excellent vision, intensity and good wrist shot. Raymond, who has nine points (four goals, five assists) and 31 shots on goal averaging 9:51 in ice time in 31 games for Frolunda, has a nose for the net and is a tremendous asset on the power play and penalty kill. 

10. (6) Yaroslav Askarov (6-3, 176), G, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (RUS) -- The 17-year-old is already an intimidating presence in net with great poise, athleticism and a quick glove. Askarov is 12-3 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 18 games in Russia's minor league. 

11. (11) Anton Lundell (6-1, 185), C, HIFK (FIN) -- The two-way left-hand shot is tough to knock off his skates on the cycle, can protect the puck extremely well and finds teammates in traffic. He has 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) and 145 shots on goal in 40 games averaging 15:41 in ice time in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. 

12. (24) Jack Quinn (6-0, 179), RW, Ottawa (OHL) -- Scouts have taken notice after a solid summer of training, his versatility at playing all three forward positions and instincts to execute plays. He ranks second in the OHL with 48 goals and is eighth with 83 points in 59 games. 

13. (15) Dawson Mercer (6-0, 181), C, Drummondville (QMJHL) -- Mercer, currently out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, is a right-hand shot capable of playing all situations. He's a smart, heads-up skater who finishes checks and is strong on the power play and penalty kill.

14. (26) William Wallinder (6-4, 191), D, Modo (SWE) -- The left-handed shot 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. (14) Braden Schneider (6-2, 202), D, Brandon (WHL) -- A two-way right-hand shot capable of playing the power play and penalty kill with great competitiveness and smarts. He has 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) in 58 games in the Western Hockey League.

16. (10) Hendrix Lapierre (5-11, 179), C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) -- The left-hander offers great hockey sense, compete and playmaking qualities. He's out of the lineup with an upper-body injury but may have the highest ceiling of any player projected to go in the first round.

17. (23) Rodion Amirov (6-0, 167), LW, Tolpar (RUS 2) -- A skilled left wing with speed and hockey IQ who can play in all situations; has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) and four power-play goals in 17 games in Russia's junior league. 

18. (12) Dylan Holloway (6-0, 203), C, Wisconsin (NCAA) -- The left-hand shot with good hands, compete and a drive to create offense should be the first college player off the draft board. He has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 33 games.

19. (16) Kaiden Guhle (6-2, 188), D, Prince Albert (WHL) -- A two-way defenseman with good skating skills, a hard shot and imposing size. He has 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 61 games.

20. (17) Jeremie Poirier (6-0, 199), D, Saint John (QMJHL) -- An offensive defenseman with good puck skills, hockey sense and game-breaking ability who ranks first among QMJHL defensemen with 19 goals in 61 games. 

21. (NR) 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; is second in the WHL with 94 points (41 goals, 53 assists) in 56 games.

22. (13) Justin Barron (6-1, 195), D, Halifax (QMJHL) -- The right-hand shot returned to the lineup on Feb. 26 after missing three months with a blood clot. He's a proven skater and competitor capable of making the good first pass.

23. (NR) Noel Gunler (6-2, 176), RW, Lulea (SWE) -- A skater with good passing skills, shot selection, and who is unafraid to drive the net to create offense. He has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 9:59 of average ice time in 42 games.

24. (31) Mavrik Bourque (5-10, 168), C, Shawinigan (QMJHL) -- The right-hand center, who will miss the next 1-2 weeks with an upper-body injury, is a good passer, has a good shot and excels in his own end.

25. (25) Connor Zary (6-0, 177), C, Kamloops (WHL) -- A two-way skater who possesses patience with the puck. He ranks seventh in the WHL with 78 points (34 goals, 44 assists), is second with 15 power-play goals and fourth with three shorthanded goals in 53 games.

26. (20) Jacob Perreault (5-11, 200), RW, Sarnia (OHL) -- The versatile right wing and son of former NHL forward Yanic Perreault, possesses one of the best shots of the draft class. He leads Sarnia with 37 goals and 14 power-play goals in 55 games. 

27. (NR) Emil Andrae (5-8, 181), D, HV71 (SWE) -- A two-way mobile defenseman capable of making good reads with his vision and quick first pass; effective on the power play. 

28. (21) Jean-Luc Foudy (5-11, 174), C, Windsor (OHL) -- The brother of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Liam Foudy (2018 NHL Draft, No. 18) has the speed, puck control and playmaking ability to excel at the next level. 

29. (NR) Jan Mysak (5-10, 180), C, Hamilton (OHL) -- The left-hander plays a smart game and offers smooth hands and a quick release. He has 24 points (15 goals, nine assists) in 20 games in his first season in North America.

30. (NR) 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; has 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) in 54 games.

31. (NR) Brendan Brisson (5-11, 177), C, Chicago (USHL) -- Committed to the University of Michigan in 2020-21, Brisson has established himself as a strong two-way player. He has 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) and 11 power-play goals in 43 games.

 

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