The 2020 NHL Draft was packed with talented young prospects making their mark on NHL history. Recent past drafts have been top-heavy and not considered particularly deep. Although this year’s first pick of Alexis Lafreniere was a runaway front-runner, the remaining top picks are all highly talented players expected to make a big impact for their teams almost immediately.
Alexis Lafreniere – New York Rangers
With the first pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, The New York Rangers selected Alexis Lafreniere. In the QMJHL 2019-2020 season, Lafreniere netted 112 points in 52 games, averaging over two points per game, and earning himself the MVP award. After dominating players in junior hockey, expect Lafreniere to use his size (6-1, 193 lbs) and skill to quickly adjust to the physicality of the NHL. Expect Lafreniere to be a top 9 forward for the Rangers. Lafreniere has the potential for at least a 50-point season.
Quentin Byfield – Los Angeles Kings
Drafted second overall by the LA Kings in the 2020 NHL Draft, Quentin Byfield is the highest selected black player in NHL history. Byfield had 82 points in 55 games in the OHL 2019-2020 season, while maintaining a 51.9% face-off win percentage. Byfield has excellent size but is lacking the pure strength needed at the NHL level. He is 6-4, 215 pounds, but Byfield will probably put on some size as his career goes on. While Byfield may not have an instant impact on the LA Kings in his rookie season, his skill and hockey IQ will lead to a successful career with the Kings.
Jamie Drysdale – Anaheim Ducks
Jamie Drysdale, the second defenseman drafted in the 2020 NHL Draft, is the best offensive defenseman in the draft. In the 2019-2020 OHL season, Drysdale earned OHL First-Team All-Star, netting 49 points in 47 games. Drysdale is an elite power-play defenseman; he should make an instant impact helping the Ducks power play which was ranked 30th in the NHL last season. The Ducks have done a good job rejuvenating their offense, and are now starting to add youth pieces to their defense.
Marco Rossi – Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild drafted Marco Rossi with the ninth pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. General Manager Bill Guerin spoke about the Wild needing a number one center, and Rossi seems to be the one. Rossi led the OHL with 120 goals in 56 games in the 2019-2020 season. He is strong in the face-off dot (58.5%) and has an elite hockey IQ. Look for Rossi to make an instant impact in the 2020-2021 season.