The 2020 NHL draft lottery was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and so, too, will be the actual draft. So it only makes sense that our post-lottery mock draft is way different than most we’ve done in the past.
Rather than slot the teams in a hypothetical order when we don’t even know who will have the top pick and which teams will make up the rest of the lottery range, we mocked up only a portion of the draft and gave some estimates and options for the remainder of the teams that don’t know when they’ll pick.
The one thing that is a safe bet? Alexis Lafreniere is going to be the top pick in this draft, regardless of who earns the selection. After that, things get interesting. So here’s a look at how the first eight picks might go, and where things stand based on the info we have for the 24 playoff/qualification-round teams that follow.
1. Placeholder Team ‘E’
Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
No matter who ends up with the No. 1 pick, it’s hard to see this being anyone other than Lafreniere. He’s the most NHL-ready prospect and has the right mix of skill and tenacity to make an impact in both the short and long term. He has taken his game to a new level with each season and would be a franchise cornerstone for any organization. And if it ends up being Montreal, get ready for the brightest spotlight of your life, Alexis.
Remember, this could end up being any of the teams currently set to participate in the postseason play-in round. That includes Pittsburgh, Montreal, Carolina, the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Florida, Toronto, Columbus, Edmonton, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, Vancouver, Minnesota, Calgary and Winnipeg.
Note: Confused what a “placeholder” team is? Did you miss the lottery drawing on Friday night? Here’s a handy explainer of what transpired and why we still don’t know where Lafreniere will be playing.
Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury (OHL)
The Kings have to be thrilled about their draft slot, moving up to No. 2. It gives them options, but the best one is Byfield, who provides size, speed and skill. I’m not convinced he can play in the NHL next season, but he has the upside to be the heir to Anze Kopitar as Los Angeles’ top center down the road.