The first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is behind us and it was an eventful night. As expected, the New York Rangers took Alexis Lafreniere with the first overall pick, but after that there were some big surprises.
The biggest shocker was the Columbus Blue Jackets taking Yegor Chinakhov with the 21st overall pick. Later in the first round is when teams tend to get bolder with their selections, but some lists of 2020 prospects didn't even include Chinakhov in their top-100. That said, Chinakhov has been playing in the KHL in 2020-21 and he's gotten off to a solid start with five goals and seven points in 12 games. You have to wonder how much that recent play influenced the Blue Jackets.
The Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils also had big nights. Both of them had three selections, with Ottawa being the more noteworthy of the two, commanding the 3rd, 5th, and 28th overall selections. Ottawa surprised some people with the fifth overall pick, taking Jake Sanderson over fellow defenseman Jamie Drysdale. A lot of people had the order of those two blueliners flipped, but Drysdale instead went to the Anaheim Ducks with the sixth pick. Both have bright futures ahead of them, but it will be interesting to see which proves to be better.
Sanderson and Drysdale ended up being two of just five defensemen selected in the first round. On top of that only one goaltender - Yaroslav Askarov, who went 11th overall to Nashville - was selected. If you needed help up front, this was the draft for you.
This draft also didn't feature many players from the United States. The only two drafted were Sanderson and Brendan Brisson, who was selected with the 29th overall pick by Vegas. That's in stark contrast to 2019 when Jack Hughes went first overall and nine Americans were taken in the first round.
Canada was well represented with 19 of the first 31 picks being from the nation. After that, the nation that produced the most 2020 first rounders was Russia. Marco Rossi, who is Austrian, was taken with the ninth overall pick.
On the trade front, no players were moved during the draft itself. Calgary did end up trading down twice, going from the 19th overall to 24th and picking up the 72nd and 80th selections along the way.
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If you want a more detailed breakdown of what happened, I did a live blog of the draft. If you're interested in just quickly glancing over the first round selections, here they are:
1. Alexis Lafreniere (LW) - New York Rangers
2. Quinton Byfield (C) - Los Angeles Kings
3. Tim Stutzle (LW) - Ottawa Senators
4. Lucas Raymond (LW) - Detroit Red Wings
5. Jake Sanderson (D) - Ottawa Senators
6. Jamie Drysdale (D) - Anaheim Ducks
7. Alexander Holtz (RW) - New Jersey Devils
8. Jack Quinn (RW) - Buffalo Sabres
9. Marco Rossi (C) - Minnesota Wild
10. Cole Perfetti (C) - Winnipeg Jets
11. Yaroslav Askarov (G) - Nashville Predators
12. Anton Lundell (C) - Florida Panthers
13. Seth Jarvis (C) - Carolina Hurricanes
14. Dylan Holloway (C) - Edmonton Oilers
15. Rodion Amirov (C) - Toronto Maple Leafs
16. Kaiden Guhle (D) - Montreal Canadiens
17. Lukas Reichel (LW) - Chicago Blackhawks
18. Dawson Mercer (C) - New Jersey Devils
19. Braden Schneider (D) - New York Rangers
20. Shakir Mukhamadullin (D) - New Jersey Devils
21. Yegor Chinakhov (RW) - Columbus Blue Jackets
22. Hendrix Lapierre (C) - Washington Capitals
23. Tyson Foerster (RW) - Philadelphia Flyers
24. Connor Zary (C) - Calgary Flames
25. Justin Barron (D) - Colorado Avalanche
26. Jake Neighbours (LW) - St. Louis Blues
27. Jacob Perreault (RW) - Anaheim Ducks
28. Ridly Greig (C) - Ottawa Senators
29. Brendan Brisson (C) - Vegas Golden Knights
30. Mavrik Bourque (C) - Dallas Stars
31. Ozzy Wiesblatt (RW) - San Jose Sharks