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2020 NHL Draft: Top 10 prospects

by Matt Tidcombe @matttidcombe

On June 26, we found out the Ottawa Senators will be picking third and fifth overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. In the process, they became the first team since the 2000 New York Islanders to hold two picks inside the top five.

Now the question becomes: who do they select?

There is a plethora of options for general manager Pierre Dorion to choose from as the Sens' rebuild continues with the biggest draft in franchise history.

Will it be Quinton Byfield? How about Tim Stutzle? Or Ottawa's Marco Rossi? Is a defenceman on the cards with Jamie Drysdale or Jake Sanderson?

Here's a look at 10 of the top prospects that could be heading to Ottawa come Oct. 6 (all scouting reports are from the NHL's Draft Propsect Rankings).

Alexis Lafreniere - Left wing (Rimouski/QMJHL)

Scouting report: exceptionally smart player with top-end speed and pull-away gear. Great at carrying the puck and leading rushes. Executes under pressure and has great vision and anticipation - very good quickness with the puck and exceptional ability to change speed. Elite puck skills and vision to create plays in the offensive zone.

Unless the New York Rangers do the almost unthinkable, Lafreniere is considered the consensus first overall pick in the 2020 draft. He helped lead Canada to World Juniors gold in January, while also winning tournament MVP, and has won back-to-back QMJHL Most Valuable Player awards, the first player to do so since a certain Sidney Crosby. The Rimouski winger tallied 297 points (114 goals) in just 173 junior contests, good for 1.72 points-per-game.

Quinton Byfield - Center (Sudbury/OHL)

Scouting report: powerful skater with breakaway speed. Excellent puck possession player with superior vision, creativity and playmaking ability. Heavy, accurate shot that can overpower goaltenders. Physically ready for the pro game. Works hard all over the ice with relentless play and never gives up on a puck. Plays in all situations and can take over a game at any time.

Byfield is a huge centre, 6'4, 215lbs huge, and he dominated in his second OHL season, tallying 82 points in just 45 games with Sudbury. The 2018-19 CHL and OHL Rookie of the Year was also part of Canada's World Juniors gold medal team in January. With Byfield, who shoots left-handed, you're going to get an exceptional skillset and despite his size, incredible speed too.

Tim Stutzle - Left wing (Mannheim/DEL)

Scouting report: a playmaking hockey artist with a great set of tools including speed, dekes, stickhandling, shot and hockey IQ. Creates something positive on every shift.

The top-ranked European skater in the draft, Stuetzle spent the 2019-20 season in his native Germany playing professional hockey with the Mannheim Eagles. He tallied seven goals and 34 points in 41 games to take home the DEL's Rookie of the Year honours. The left-shooting left-winger is a game-changer whose NHL comparable is Patrick Kane according to the NHL's prospect ranking.

Jamie Drysdale - Defenceman (Erie/OHL)

Scouting report: exceptional skater with an excellent transition game that can drive the play and push the pace from the back end. A two-way defenseman with excellent offensive ability. He is hard to beat in his own zone - uses an excellent stick, intelligent positioning and angles to defend.

The first defenceman on this list, Drysdale continues the trend of quality skaters in this draft class. The Erie Otters d-man had 47 points in 49 contests last season, at a clip of 0.96 points-per-game, good for ninth in the OHL among blueliners who played 12 or more games. Twenty-two of his points came on the power play, showcasing his ability to be a difference maker on the man-advantage while also contributing points 5-on-5. He too was part of Canada's gold medal team at the World Juniors and was named an OHL First Team All-Star at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.

Marco Rossi - Center (Ottawa/OHL)

Scouting report: highly skilled offensive player. An excellent skater that plays at a high pace. High-end goal scoring and playmaking ability. Works hard in all three zones and plays a very determined, aggressive game. A huge asset on both special teams. Game-breaking ability.

Sens fans may already be familiar with Rossi after plying his trade in the city with the OHL's 67s. The Austrian forward was lights out offensively in 2019-20, notching 120 points in just 52 games. His 2.14 points-per-game average led the entire CHL and he was awarded with the OHL's Most Outstanding Player award as well as being named to the OHL First All-Star team. In the new NHL, Rossi's 5'9 frame will fit right in.

Cole Perfetti - Center (Saginaw/OHL)

Scouting report: puck skills, vision and execution are on another level. Has incredible hockey IQ and feel for the game. A major threat every time he is on the ice. Just as dangerous as a goal scorer or playmaker. Makes his teammates better.

The Whitby, Ont., native was second in OHL scoring last season after tallying 111 points. In the process, he became the first Saginaw player to register a 100-point season in 12 years and earned a spot on the OHL Second All-Star team. Also of note: Perfetti won the CHL Scholastic Player of the Year Award that is awarded annually to the CHL player who best combines success on the ice with success in school.

Jake Sanderson - Defenceman (USA U18)

Scouting report: excellent skater who plays all parts of the game at a quick pace. Elite hockey sense allows him to be effective on the attack and while defending. Great battle game and compete level.

The American defenceman led all blueliners with 29 points in 47 games last season in the USA Hockey Under-18 NTDP while also acting as the team's captain. While he'll contribute offensively, look for Sanderson to start a breakout from his own zone with his quality passing abilities. A native of Whitefish, Montana, Sanderson has committed to the University of North Dakota for 2021, a school that all Sens fans are more than familiar with.

Alexander Holtz - Right wing (Djurgardens/SHL)

Scouting report: a sniper with a good selection of shots who likes to shoot a lot. Good playmaker and passer. Excellent offensive instincts while still being aware of defensive duties.

Another youngster who played pro in 2019-20, the right-winger grabbed nine goals and 16 points in 35 games as an 18-year-old in Sweden's top league with Djurgardens. The Stockholm natives slap shot is just as impressive as his wrister as demonstrated at the 2020 World Juniors where he helped Sweden grab a bronze medal.

Lucas Raymond - Left wing (Frolunda/SHL)

Scouting report: mobile, explosive, quick winger with speed and excellent puck control. Smart, effective in traffic, creates scoring chances with quick moves and hard work.

Like Holtz, Raymond spent the year playing professionally in Sweden, suiting up for Frolunda. He scored his first professional goal as a 16-year-old two seasons ago and in 33 games last year, he buried four goals along with six assists. He is a two-time Champions Hockey League winner and was part of Sweden's bronze medal squad at the 2020 World Juniors.

Jack Quinn - Right win (Ottawa/OHL)

Scouting report: dynamic skater that can fly with the puck on his stick. Lethal shot with an exceptional release. Strong two-way game. Plays in all situations. Sniper with highlight reel goal-scoring ability.

Another product of the 67s, Quinn was one of just two players across the entire CHL to score 50 goals last season as he found the back of the net on 52 occasions. His 89 points were tied for eighth most in the OHL but with Quinn, you're going to find a player who finds new and creative ways to light the lamp.

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