NHL Mock Draft: The Top 50

McKeen's Hockey
·35 min read

What has seemed like the longest draft year in NHL history will finally come to an end next Tuesday and Wednesday (October 6 & 7). The 2020 NHL Draft should most certainly be an exciting event, both because of the talent available and because of the unpredictability/volatility of selections due to a lack of consensus on draft rankings. At McKeen’s Hockey, we have been scouting this draft class with a high level of depth with analysts and scouts in rinks around the world. our members of our global scouting team (Brock Otten, Jimmy Hamrin, Vince Gibbons, and Mike Sanderson) are able to provide you with a mock draft for the first 50 selections of the draft.

If you are looking for more depth on the draft and information on more players available, be sure to check out the annual McKeen’s Draft Guide (found here). A subscription to McKeen’s includes full scouting reports on over 200 NHL draft eligible prospects plus all magazine downloads for $12.99 CDN (less than $10 US) for a three-month period ($4.33 CDN per month average). The Draft Guide is a 148-page PDF with feature articles, player profiles and rankings. We have also just published a new magazine, McKeen’s 2020 NHL Prospect Report with a focus on NHL-affiliated prospects. It is 308 pages with feature articles, a top 250 prospect ranking, NHL organization reviews and profiles on their top 15 prospects with analytics (learn more here). Both magazines can be downloaded directly without a subscription as well for $19.99 CDN (Draft Guide) and $22.99 (Prospect Report) respectively.

Now, let’s draft!

1. New York Rangers - Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

By winning the lottery and moving up nine selections, the New York Rangers truly hit the jackpot in 2020. Already a team rich in young talent who looks close to turning the corner, they now add Lafreniere into the fold. A near unanimous choice for the first selection, the Rimouski left winger became only the second player to win the CHL Player of the Year award twice, joining Sidney Crosby, after taking home the 2020 honor. Playing a heavy, pro-style game, armed with high-level skill, and in possession of a high IQ, Lafreniere is not only the complete package, but he should also be an immediate impact player for New York. (Brock Otten)

2. Los Angeles Kings - Tim Stützle, C/W, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

I feel that this is the hardest pick in the draft this year. There are a lot of promising options but that also makes it harder to pick the right guy. You don't want to end up with the 60-point guy if there is a 90-point guy right behind him. The safest bets are either Stützle or Quinton Byfield. I choose to go with Stützle who combines skill, brains and speed in an impressive way. He has shown a bit more to date and still has a lot of room to grow his game. He can step in immediately next season and will be the strongest asset in an organization that has a strong group of prospects. (Jimmy Hamrin)

3. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks) - Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)

Byfield at three is the ideal start to a big day for the Senators. Size, skill, mind, all combined with exceptional play making skills. This gives Ottawa one of the hardest pieces to find, a high end first line pivot. He has come under criticism for his limited impact at the World Juniors but being a center on team Canada at 17 is a huge accomplishment, even if the impact on games were minimal. He is a puck possession monster who protects the puck with his huge frame. This enables him to wait out the defense and pick them apart with his precision passing. He is more than a north south player with size, as he has excellent small ice plays, moving the puck around within his frame, changing attack angles and giving him multiple ways of beating an opponent one on one. (Vince Gibbons)

4. Detroit Red Wings - Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie Otters (OHL)

The Red Wings take the first defenseman off the board and the blueliner with the most superstar potential. His skating and his hockey IQ allow for the Red Wings to play fast and smart with the puck on his stick. With still some growth and maturity, his offensive instincts from the back end remind some of Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes. While he may not be as dynamic offensively as those two, he certainly can put points on the board and play smart without the puck, too. Drysdale separates himself from Sanderson for his potential as a point producer, and the Wings will take the superstar potential over the reliable blueliner here. (Mike Sanderson)

5. Ottawa Senators - Jake Sanderson, D, USA U18 (USHL)

While some question Sanderson’s ceiling as an NHL defender, no one can question the fact that his game improved drastically over the course of the 2019/20 USHL season and that he possesses tantalizing physical tools. An elite skater, Sanderson is suffocating as a defender and profiles as an elite shutdown player at the NHL level. At the University of North Dakota, he will be given the opportunity to expand his skill set as an offensive defender too. By adding Sanderson into the fold, the Senators are working towards making themselves a difficult team to play against, with the vision of Sanderson lining up alongside Thomas Chabot on the team’s top pairing. (Brock Otten)

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6. Anaheim Ducks - Lucas Raymond, LW/RW, Frolunda (SHL)

Raymond will give the future Ducks a dynamic attacker. He drives play with high-level creativity and can be a shooter as well as a playmaker on a power play. There were some good offensive options here, but I see Raymond as the player with the highest ceiling as he reads the game fast and can play different situations in various ways. He can find great chemistry with a player like Trevor Zegras in the future. Raymond has also shown to be a strong gamebreaker and a big game player. He will need one or two years before stepping into the NHL though. (Jimmy Hamrin)

7. New Jersey Devils - Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa (OHL)

Rossi is one of the most versatile players in this year’s draft. He is an elite two-way player showing hustle and grind to be an effective third line player, with first penalty kill responsibilities. However, that alone doesn’t get you taken in the top 10. He combines that with an incredible offensive tool kit where he uses his pace, speed, tenacity and elusiveness to wreak havoc in the offensive zone. There are concerns about his size and if he can play down the middle at just 5’9”, but his lower body strength provides a solid base for him to continue his style of play at the next level. (Vince Gibbons)

8. Buffalo Sabres - Cole Perfetti, C, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

It seems fitting that as Rossi and Perfetti went one-and-two in OHL scoring this season, they would also go back-to-back in the draft. Perfetti’s 111 points are the result of an elite offensive ability paired with elite hockey sense, and his character is top-notch. On top of that, Perfetti is a true student-of-the-game, constantly living and breathing the sport to improve. The Sabres could not only use his top-line superstar potential, but also his character, to improve their lineup as early as next season. Whether paired with captain Jack Eichel or on his own line, Perfetti is on track to be a superstar forward. (Mike Sanderson)

9. Minnesota Wild - Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

The true wild card of the draft, Askarov seems to be locked in as a lottery selection. It is just a matter of where and by whom. If it is inside the top 10 (like we are predicting here), he would be the first goaltender taken inside that range since Carey Price in 2005 (when he went fifth to Montreal). Askarov’s fantastic international record speaks for itself (outside of a tough performance at this year’s U20’s) and he has been fantastic in limited KHL action to start the 2020/21 season. The Wild are bringing in another potential Russian superstar next year in Kirill Kaprizov, so they feel confident rolling the dice on Askarov to be their goaltender of the future. (Brock Otten)

10. Winnipeg Jets - Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgarden (SHL)

A scoring winger might not be the biggest need for the Jets, but this is a best player available pick. Holtz has 40 goal potential and those usually get picked top five and if that kind of elite talent is left at 10, you have to take him. Holtz shoots the puck with precision and velocity from various ranges and is very strong in the left circle as well as on the rush. Holtz is not only the best shooter in the draft, but he plays a strong two-way game as well. Holtz is a humble kid that works hard for the team and has the ability to adapt to different levels and surroundings. He will probably be ready to step into a top six forward role as soon as the 21/22 season. (Jimmy Hamrin)

11. Nashville Predators - Seth Jarvis C/RW, Portland (WHL)

Jarvis finished the WHL season on an impressive run. His 63 points in the 26 games leading to the stoppage was a pace that few have ever matched. That production is a direct result of playing the game with pace. An explosive transition player, he attacks the offensive zone with purpose. His hands are as quick as his feet which enables him to attack the zone. He forces opponents to make quick decisions which he can then exploit, pushing wide, driving the net or making a play to open ice for a teammate. Another sub 6’ forward Jarvis plays an aggressive physical game that is about puck pursuit, generating turnovers and attacking the net with the puck. (Vince Gibbons)

12. Florida Panthers - Anton Lundell, C, HIFK (Liiga)

Scouts rave about Lundell in many different ways, but the biggest highlight is his two-way game. The Panthers have the Finnish master of that craft in Aleksander Barkov, and now a protege in Lundell. The 6’1” Finn has played against men for the last two seasons, playing a regular shift with HIFK in the top-level Finnish league, and impressing scouts with his elite shot and his defensive work. If there is a prospect outside the top few who could take a regular shift in the NHL next season, it’s Lundell. If there is a prospect with the lowest risk in the draft, it could be Lundell, too. (Mike Sanderson)

13. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto Maple Leafs) - Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa (OHL)

One of the draft’s best goal scorers, Quinn rocketed up the draft board this year with his 52 goal performance for the Ottawa 67’s. A late bloomer, Quinn has impressed with his dedication to improving his game and profiles as the kind of goal scorer whose minutes and zone starts do not have to be sheltered because he is such a complete and competitive player. The Carolina Hurricanes have apparently been in discussion with NHL teams this offseason to bring a proven goal scorer into the fold (like Patrik Laine from Winnipeg), so if Quinn is available at this selection, it would appear to be a no brainer for them as this is clearly an area they feel is an organizational weakness. (Brock Otten)

14. Edmonton Oilers - Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)

The Oilers need offense to complement their superstars and will have some good options at this spot in the draft. In this mock many of the strong options are gone but there are still some strong future top six forward options remaining. The Oilers choose to go with Connor Zary who had a strong 38 goal and 86-point campaign in 57 games with Kamloops. Zary may not be the fastest player but he is strong on the puck and has a good hockey IQ. He may even fit well as a winger to McDavid, as he thinks the game fast, is defensively sound and can create offense for himself and others. Zary could distribute the puck to McDavid, get open for a pass in a dangerous area and can cover up defensively and create turnovers with his smarts. (Jimmy Hamrin)

15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Pittsburgh Penguins) - Braden Schneider D, Brandon (WHL)

Schneider may not be the sexy pick after drafting Matthews, Nylander, and Marner in previous years but he is the type of player all good teams have. He is a highly mobile defender with good size and presence on the ice. He is a solid puck mover who excels at moving the puck into the neutral zone where he can hit a home run pass or carry the puck until the pressure comes. On the rush he keeps a loose gap but with his size, range and speed can close quickly. He is an excellent defender along the wall where he can pin, strip and move the puck in quick succession. He will kill penalties and may find a role on a second powerplay unit but he will be a 20+ minute eating defender that teams covet. (Vince Gibbons)

16. Montreal Canadiens - Rodion Amirov, LW, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

This pick will not be a popular one in the province of Quebec with Lapierre taken next, but Amirov has clear top-line potential and a high potential floor, which is exactly what the Habs need. Amirov demonstrates strong puck protection, creativity and great hands. He also shows an ability to score amongst men, as he has already this season in the KHL. His defensive game is already mature, his work ethic is ever-present, and only a lack of high-end speed keeps Amirov from going higher. Even if he fails to reach his potential as a top-line forward, he still has enough other talents that keep him in the lineup as a useful middle-six winger. (Mike Sanderson)

17. Chicago Blackhawks - Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

It was certainly a tumultuous season for the talented Lapierre, who missed significant time due to head/neck injuries. Coming into the draft year, he was considered one of the most talented forwards available and a possible top five selection, however due to injuries and indifferent play, he has become more of a wild card within the first round. Many compare Lapierre to the likes of Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, expecting him to be that two-way star if his development gets back on track. It seems logical that Chicago could see Lapierre as a replacement for Toews down the line and given the lackluster nature of their system, it also makes sense for them to swing for the fences here in hopes that Hendrix can stay healthy. The early returns in the QMJHL preseason have certainly been promising. (Brock Otten)

18. New Jersey Devils (from Arizona Coyotes) - Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert (WHL)

The Devils got their offensive star pick in Marco Rossi at seven and will now look for some defensive stability. Guhle is a good fit as a mobile and physical defenseman with good reach. With young and small sized puck movers like Will Butcher and Ty Smith in their organization, Guhle will complement that left side well. What makes Guhle valuable and a safe pick is that although he is seen as a defensive prospect, he produced and played in offensive situations. 40 points and 11 goals are strong numbers for a defensive defenseman. Guhle also gets praised for his hard-working character and leadership abilities. (Jimmy Hamrin)

19. Calgary Flames - Dylan Holloway, C, U of Wisconsin (Big-10)

Holloway is a strong skater with a thick heavy frame. He is a physical presence on the forecheck, the back check and will hit in open ice if someone doesn’t move the puck quickly. This physical style of play sets his floor, but there are layers of burgeoning offensive talent there as well which improve his ceiling from bottom six to middle six forward. There was a highly productive underage season in the AJHL, where he was able to dominate in a league of older players and I expect that his game develops to the point he can become a legitimate top six option. There just aren’t enough good defensemen around where Calgary picks that could justify making a selection of one here. (Vince Gibbons)

20. New Jersey Devils (from Vancouver Canucks) - Dawson Mercer, RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

With their third pick of the first round, the Devils take a solid two-way winger with a excellent hockey sense, contagious work ethic, and strong offensive skills. Simply put, Mercer does what is needed to win, and is willing to play any role needed for the team. The only critical flaw in the forward’s game is an awkward stride, and that can be refined. Every tool in his game is strong -- passing, shooting, stickhandling, balance and play without the puck. He is a coach’s dream, and a quick fan favourite. The Devils, swinging with the home run in Rossi and the defensive depth of Guhle in their two previous picks, take a sure-fire pro in Mercer here. (Mike Sanderson)

21. Columbus Blue Jackets - Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a strong team. They play the game hard and as the Toronto Maple Leafs found out this post season, they can really frustrate you and grind you down. However, it is obvious that the franchise could use another high-end goal scorer to help them finish off more of the plays that their energy, speed, and tenaciousness creates. Insert Jacob Perreault. The son of former NHL’er Yanic, Jacob is different from his father in the sense that he is one of the draft’s best goal scorers. Armed with a lethal one timer and the ability to create shooting opportunities in transition, Perreault could fit in very well with their future core. Additionally, the franchise would be very familiar with his game because current Blue Jackets prospect Eric Hjorth plays in Sarnia. (Brock Otten)

22. New York Rangers (from Carolina Hurricanes) - Jan Mysak, C/LW, Hamilton (OHL)

We all know what the Rangers will get with their first pick in this draft, but with the second pick in the first round it will be interesting to see which way they will go. They have had some success in finding European players in this range of the draft. Mysak is unquestionably the best Czech prospect in 2020. He is offensively gifted and played well against men the first half of the season and went to score over a point-per-game right away in the OHL in the second half of the season. Mysak may need a couple of years but is a good bet for the Rangers young forward group in a second- or third-line role. (Jimmy Hamrin)

23. Philadelphia Flyers - Noel Gunler, RW, Lulea (SHL)

Gunler is one of the purest skaters in this draft. He rates very high in agility, four directional speed, acceleration, and top speed. Layer that with his puck skills, one on one attacking, and natural finishing ability and he could easily be taken 10 spots higher. However, his consistency and effort defensively have been rightly questioned. There is no doubt the offensive tools are there but his ability to impact the game is limited by his effort when he is without the puck. There needs to be a deliberate change to his mind set to improve his consistency and his opportunity to play a top six role in the NHL. (Vince Gibbons)

24. Colorado Avalanche - John-Jason Peterka, LW, EHC Munchen (DEL)

If there is one thing that the Avalanche can afford to do in this year’s draft, it is swing for the fences for a player who can fit their top end skill, and Peterka is just such a swing. The German winger has top end speed and great hands but suffers from inconsistency and can be error prone. When he is on, such as at the most recent WJC where he had six points on a surprising German squad playing against players mostly two years older, he is absolutely a top-level player. This past season, playing for a strong team in Munich, he played a limited role. If Peterka is to carve out an NHL career, he will need to work on when to use his elite raw speed, improve his hockey sense and work on his play without the puck, but there is the potential for a superstar speedy forward with his toolbox. (Mike Sanderson)

25. Washington Capitals - Lukas Reichel, LW, Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)

It is a German take over! Back to back Germans in the back half of the first round as Washington selects the nephew of former NHL player Robert Reichel. Lukas is a well-rounded, high IQ winger who excels in a variety of different roles and who profiles as a terrific complimentary piece on a scoring line at the NHL level. The Capitals have not shied away from taking players out of Central Europe in recent years and Reichel would certainly fit in well with the Capitals current roster, in addition to being the best player available at this spot. Could Reichel have the same sort of impact as another German icon in Washington; Olaf Kolzig? (Brock Otten)

26. St. Louis Blues - Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)

Brendan is a promising offensive center prospect who followed up an impressive season in Shattuck St. Mary with another impressive season in Chicago. Those who watch him closely claim him to be their best offensive player and driver. He is a good shooter as well as a playmaker with slick stick handling skills. Brisson is creative and fun to watch. He is heading for college and will require patience, but in this range, you rarely see NHL ready players. The Blues pipeline is not particularly strong down the middle so Brisson will fit well into that need. Brisson has top six forward potential. (Jimmy Hamrin)

27. Anaheim Ducks (from Boston Bruins) - Ozzy Weisblatt, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)

Quickness with the puck is the hallmark of Ozzy’s game. He moves his feet and can push defenders back with his attack. He can process the game at the same speed that he plays with which enables him to be a highly effective playmaker. He can set the table from the half wall and can move off defenders with his edges to give him time and space to make offensive plays. He doesn’t make rushed plays despite playing with quickness and will hold the puck to draw a defender or stick so he can thread the needle with a cross ice pass. He needs to keep defenders honest by improving his shot though as he currently is a bit one-dimensional that way. (Vince Gibbons)

28. Ottawa Senators (from New York Islanders) - Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)

The Sens pipeline, lacking in high-end playmaking, picks up a strong finesse forward in Bourque, who has two seasons as a top-line center with the Cataractes. Bourque combines elite vision and strong hockey IQ into a talented offensive package that keeps defenders guessing. While he is much more likely to pass the puck, his shot keeps defenders honest and opens up lanes for his passes. Bourque keeps his feet moving and is always in pursuit of the puck, even if he is a bit undersized. A quick and agile, but not fast, skater, Bourque is a problem for opposing teams to handle and is a solid value pick for the Senators. (Mike Sanderson)

29. Vegas Golden Knights - Ridly Greig, C/LW, Brandon (WHL)

A hard-nosed forward out of the WHL, Greig is one of the most consistent physical players available for the draft this year. He is always engaged without the puck, looking to apply pressure physically and it makes him a real asset as a forechecker. Offensively, his game improved greatly over the course of the WHL season and his late birthday suggests that he may be far from a polished product on the ice. Vegas drafts Greig because he is the kind of player that the franchise has been winning with and he will help them be able to continue to play that aggressive style moving forward. (Brock Otten)

30. Dallas Stars - Theodor Niederbach, C, Frolunda J20 (SuperElit)

Niederbach is a highly intelligent offensive center. He finds his spots well and can find the spots playmaking as well. Niederbach came back from a long-term injury and from playing against 15-year-olds and transitioned to playing against 19-year-olds in one year and did great. He scored over a point-per-game from a third line role. This season he has started the junior scoring 11 points in the first six games. His skating is not elite and both his overall puck skills, as well as his shot are good, but not elite. His brain is his best tool for now and with that foundation he has big room to improve. He will need a couple of years of development, but the ceiling is high. He plays center but could easily translate his game to the wing as well. (Jimmy Hamrin)

31. San Jose Sharks (from Tampa Bay Lightning) -Topi Niemela, D, Karpat (Liiga)

Playing against men in your draft year is an impressive accomplishment, especially for a defender that plays a defense first style of game. He was very effective using his stick to close down lanes and break up plays. He is a very good passer although not an offensively dynamic type of player and he is in the mold of an effective two-way defender. In a draft thin on high end defenders, Niemela is one of the more intriguing options to move up. A team like the Sharks is thin on prospects at every position and the age of their roster makes some astute picks for the future necessary for continued success. (Vince Gibbons)

32. Detroit Red Wings - Ty Smilanic, C/LW, USA U18 (USHL)

Hockey teams are built with players in the right roles to win, and Smilanic is a very useful player for the Wings moving forward. While he has not put up boatloads of points, Smilanic contributes in other ways. He is very agile and mobile on his skates and is a very tough player to play against with his tenacious work ethic, making him a strong defensive player and a top penalty kill option. Smilanic was projected to go higher earlier in the year but an injury-plagued season hurt his draft stock, to the benefit of the Wings here. Stevie Y takes a sure bet with the center Smilanic, who will need some time to marinate, with some more offensive players left on the board. (Mike Sanderson)

33. Ottawa Senators - Helge Grans, D, Malmo (SHL)

A potential two-way, right shot defender with size, Grans is going to be an attractive option to NHL teams inside the first round. However, if he does fall to the second, he could make a team like Ottawa look very good in the future. The raw, physical tools are definitely present as he skates well and has the skill to play multiple roles. However, consistency has been an issue thus far. Will his offensive game progress to the point where he can be a powerplay quarterback? Will his defensive game progress to the point where he could be utilized in a shutdown capacity? Grans upside is high even if his ceiling is a bit unknown. (Brock Otten)

34. San Jose Sharks - Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie (OHL)

The Sharks are in big need of young offensive talent and Foerster is a good bet to make the NHL in a top six role. He is a good goal scorer and has a great shot. He produced an impressive 80 points and 36 goals last season. He scored most of his goals on the power play but most of his assists at even strength. Even if his playmaking might be a bit underrated, he will probably not be an offensive driver on higher levels, instead relying on a good playmaker to be dangerous. His skating could be a red flag, but with his other tools and instincts the bet on him the second round is a good one to make. (Jimmy Hamrin)

35. Los Angeles Kings - Kasper Simontaival, RW, Tappara (Liiga)

Simontaival is a player that continues to grow on you the more you watch. He is another smaller size forward that uses his lower body strength to counter his below average size. He is a player that drives to the net and does so with a very tidy offensive tool kit. Simontaival has great hands and is both a gifted shooter and playmaker from the wing. Around the net he has excellent hand eye coordination, for knocking down loose pucks or redirecting point shots. He falls in the draft because of his feet. While his skating is fine, when coupled with his size, becomes a bit more of a concern. (Vince Gibbons)

36. Anaheim Ducks - Jake Neighbours, LW, Edmonton (WHL)

Neighbours is a pick for potential rather than results right now. He finished second on the Oil Kings in scoring last season, and also provides a tantalizing physical game, with big hits and strong balance on his feet, a key to his success. He is already a good size for the pro game at over 200 pounds. Neighbours projects as a potential power forward, and he goes to a team that knows a thing or two about developing them in Anaheim. His offensive game is stronger than his point totals would indicate, as he has equal strengths with passing and shooting. His strengths with the puck provide potential, but even as a grinder at the next level, Neighbours is worth rolling the dice on. (Mike Sanderson)

37. Nashville Predators (from New Jersey Devils) - Ryan O'Rourke, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

No question, Ryan O’Rourke deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with the other defenders battling behind Sanderson and Drysdale to be the third blueliner selected this year. He is often underrated because his physical tools (size and quickness) are not at the same level as the likes of Guhle, Schneider, Grans, etc. However, he is such a steady influence on the back end because of how well he thinks the game and because he plays a no-nonsense brand of physical defense. He also served as captain for the Greyhounds this year as a 17-year-old, an extremely rare feat which speaks volumes about his character. This would be a slam dunk selection by the Predators in hopes that O’Rourke can develop into a top four defender who can combine with Dante Fabbro to form an elite PK duo. (Brock Otten)

38. Buffalo Sabres - Marat Khusnutdinov, C, St. Petersburg (MHL)

Khusnutdinov is a small sized center with some great tools. First, he is a strong skater and can travel with the puck over three zones. He shows strong awareness in all types of situations and often plays with a letter on his chest. Khusnutdinov has strong playmaking skills and can drive okay from the center position. He played on a stacked team but when he got more ice-time, he was more productive. Khusnutdinov may lack size but does so many things well. He can also be used in various roles and can be a good 2nd/3rd line center behind an elite player like Jack Eichel. Buffalo has been building for a long time and Khusnutdinov would make their center pipeline more interesting. (Jimmy Hamrin)

39. Minnesota Wild - Carter Savoie, LW, Sherwood Park (AJHL)

The Wild are a team that seem to be entering a rebuild and Savoie is the ideal project for a team. He has the offensive toolkit of a first round player culminating with one of the best shots in the draft. He has a deceptive yet powerful release that enables him to shoot from range with power. He possesses an elite one timer and if not protected against, can be the focal point of a powerplay. His detractors will point out he cheats for offense and that he isn’t always committed defensively, but with the competition across the AJHL varying so significantly, it is hard to stay on every shift in a blowout game. Against the stiffest of competition, the issues haven’t been enough to put me off his talent. (Vince Gibbons)

40. Winnipeg Jets - Roni Hirvonen, C, Assat (Liiga)

It is a strength to play against men in your draft season at 17-years-old, and it’s even more of a feather in your cap if you’re undersized. Hirvonen, at 5’9”, played in the top Finnish league this season, and not just as a filler -- he played in Assat’s top six for extended stretches with talented linemates. While his size and skating keep him out of the first round, he brings great hands and play with the puck to the table. After taking Ville Heinola last season, the Jets aren’t afraid to go back to Finland for an impact player, and while Hirvonen will take a bit of time to refine his game, he projects as a solid top-six option up the middle. (Mike Sanderson)

41. Carolina Hurricanes (from New York Rangers) - William Wallinder, D, Modo J20 (SuperElit)

Wallinder is the kind of defender who NHL teams love at the draft because his raw, physical tools give him a high ceiling. Far from a polished product, Wallinder combines high end creativity and puck skill with good mobility and a 6’4 frame. However, there are concerns over his ability to defend and how well he thinks the game. Carolina has always been attracted to bigger defenders who can skate, and they select Wallinder in hopes of his skill set really coming together as he matures. Again, the upside here is very high. (Brock Otten)

42. Nashville Predators - Thomas Bordeleau, C, USA U18 (USHL)

A small size center with good hands, Bordeleau was the most productive player on the USNTDP team this season. Bordeleau has a quick mind and a quick release to his shot. He likes to shoot the puck and is dangerous doing so. He has good offensive instincts and his skating is technically good. He looks smooth but lacks natural explosiveness so he will not be able to beat opponents with pure speed. Skill wise he could be ranked higher but the question marks on his skating in combination with his size lower him. He will commit to NCAA and will need time and patience before stepping up to the NHL. If you believe in his skills, this is a good bet, although being a high risk - high reward pick. (Jimmy Hamrin)

43. Florida Panthers - Sam Colangelo, RW, Chicago (USHL)

In a draft of undersized forwards, Colangelo stands out for his typical power forward style of game. He is a solid complementary type player who can retrieve pucks and get it into the hands of dangerous linemates. He is a skilled forechecker and a very disruptive presence while on the ice. Colangelo’s shot is very good and his biggest offensive weapon. He likely will take time to develop his offensive game in College but projects to be a very effective middle six player. (Vince Gibbons)

44. Toronto Maple Leafs - Justin Barron, D, Halifax (QMJHL)

Barron is the best value pick at this point in the draft, as injuries and bad luck have hampered his development from a top prospect to the second round. At one point, Barron was seen as potentially the best defenseman in the draft class. He is exactly the kind of player the Leafs favor to pick and that the Leafs need as a right-shot defender. Barron’s offensive game may not end up being as strong as projected earlier in his career, but his size and his calm demeanor make him a reliable jack-of-all-trades blueliner. There is no glaring weakness in his game. Barron is currently out indefinitely following a medical procedure, and he struggled with a blood clot last season. (Mike Sanderson)

45. Detroit Red Wings (from Edmonton Oilers) - Luke Evangelista, RW, London (OHL)

There have been a lot of whispers recently that NHL teams are looking at Evangelista as a possible first round selection. Scouts put a lot of stock into the way Dale Hunter develops prospects in London and they trust that he can develop NHL players. Evangelista was one of the OHL’s most improved players last year and can excel in any role asked of him. He may possess more offensive upside than some are giving him credit for, as his support role with the Knights prevented him from being a primary play driver. Detroit takes Evangelista in hopes that he can develop into a quality middle six winger for the franchise in the future. (Brock Otten)

46. Chicago Blackhawks (from Pittsburgh Penguins) - Emil Andrae, D, HV71 (SHL)

Chicago has had success with Swedes and their young coach Jeremy Colliton started his career in Sweden. Emil Andrae is a strong puck-moving defenseman with leadership abilities. Andrae is skilled, can quarterback a power play and competes hard. His stick-handling abilities are impressive for a defenseman and he is a good passer of the puck. He has the not-so-attractive combination of being an average skater with small size but compensates with strong balance, puck skills and competitiveness. He is already playing regularly in the SHL this season and could be ready to step over in a year or two. He will need to work on his defensive game, as he plays a little too much with aggression and would benefit to read and think the game more in his own end. (Jimmy Hamrin)

47. Montreal Canadiens - Danil Gushchin, RW, Muskegon (USHL)

Montreal has never shied from taking controversial Russian players; Markov, and more recently Romanov have been astute picks that the franchise values. Gushchin is almost the forward version of the pair. He is highly skilled, with quickness, good speed and dangerous attacking qualities, in particular his play making. He lacks something in his overall game, and that something is consistency. Shift to shift, game to game, it is hard to know what to expect. His effort away from puck needs to improve, as does general effort shift to shift. If the young Russian is able to put it all together, he could be a top six forward that supports a second powerplay unit, if not he could fade out of North America over the next couple of seasons. (Vince Gibbons)

48. Montreal Canadiens (from Chicago Blackhawks) - Tyler Kleven, D, USA U18 (USHL)

While his point totals don’t jump off the page, Kleven’s size certainly does. At 6’4”, this left-handed defender brings a mobile, stay-at-home, stable game to the table. The rankings of Kleven have him all over the map in terms of when he could be selected, from into the first round to as low as the fourth, but Kleven makes sense for the Habs to take a no-nonsense defender who can play a regular defensive shift and demonstrates a strong, booming shot from the point. The risk of Kleven is low, as he has the size and the skating to have an impact at the NHL level, especially in a shutdown role. He will take a couple seasons of development at the NCAA level before he is ready to move onto the pro game. (Mike Sanderson)

49. Arizona Coyotes - PICK FORFEITED - No Selection

The Coyotes lost this selection due to the unsanctioned testing of draft eligible prospects.

50. Calgary Flames - Jean Luc Foudy, C/RW, Windsor (OHL)

Anyone who watched Columbus in the playoffs this year, saw how effective Liam Foudy was due to his elite skating ability and speed. Well Jean-Luc, his younger brother, is just as good of a skater and athlete. A creative, pass first playmaker, Jean-Luc is terrific at gaining entry to the offensive zone and is dynamic in transition. Consistency has been an issue. As has his ability to attack and play through traffic. However, the offensive upside is high because of how well he skates, and controls play from the perimeter. Calgary, looking to add additional speed to their lineup, jump at the chance (literally as Jean-Luc was a high school hurdles champion) to draft the Windsor Spitfire forward. (Brock Otten)