2020 NHL Draft Ranking: The Off-Season’s Top-31

Although the 2020 NHL Draft will not take place for another year, the arrival of the 2019 NHL Draft marks the ideal moment for us to preview the upcoming 2019-20 class of prospects.

At first glance, the 2020 NHL Draft could very well go down in history as one of the deepest and greatest of all time. Led by Alexis Lafreniere, the 2020 class is riddled with elite prospects of varying position — all of which holding the potential to develop into impact players at the NHL level. Essentially, there are ten prospects who could be selected within the top-five overall, and twenty who could be chosen within the initial ten selections of the Draft.

What’s more is that virtually every developmental path within the hockey world will be well represented, as the CHL, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Switzerland will all present a handful of wildly talented prospects eager to establish themselves at the NHL-level. One nation whose contribution will be dwarfed come the 2020 NHL Draft is the United States, as the exploding hockey nation will provide far less prospects in a year’s time than it did during its historic 2019 NHL Draft in which the opening round was dominated by Americans.

One league in particular that stands poised to enjoy a tremendous showing at the 2020 NHL Draft is the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Although the ‘Q’ featured a handful of quality prospects in the 2019 event, the league could provide as many as eight first round selections to the 2020 NHL Draft, including the aforementioned Lafreniere who is widely expected to be chosen first-overall on Draft Day. Following Lafreniere outside of the QMJHL will surely be power-forward Quinton Byfield, a duo of tantalizing ‘Swedes in Lucas Raymond and Noel Gunler, and a fantastic ‘Fin by the name of Anton Lundell.

In addition to this wealth of talent will be Justin Barron, Jamie Drysdale, Cole Perfetti and Marco Rossi — four dynamite youngsters who also hold top-five potential.

In short, the 2020 NHL Draft will likely be remembered as one of the strongest Draft’s of all-time. With such great talent available, NHL franchises will want to hold at least one first-round selection in-hand once the 2020 NHL Draft kicks off — the event holds the potential to alter the course of numerous organizations overnight.

Three OHL Prospects To Follow

Logan Morrison

2018-19 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs

2018-19 Statistics: 47GP: 14G, 34PTS

Chosen by the Hamilton Bulldogs with the 18th overall selection in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Logan Morrison is a steady two-way centre and player to watch ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft. Despite missing a significant portion of his rookie OHL season due to injury, Morrison was impressive down the stretch for the mediocre Hamilton Bulldogs — providing offence in the attacking zone while playing a responsible defensive style in his own end.

Forward #9 Logan Morrison of the Hamilton Bulldogs

Logan Morrison could explode offensively in 2019-20 if healthy and provided with greater playing time. (Photo Credit: Brandon Taylor/OHL Images)

In the upcoming 2019-20 season, expect Morrison to develop into a young yet reliable leader for the Bulldogs, and one who will have the potential to impact any given game for his team at both ends of the ice. Sure to take to the ice stronger and faster than in his rookie season, Morrison will be afforded and earn substantial playing time in his sophomore campaign — playing time which should lead directly to a dramatic increase in his offensive output.

Antonio Stranges

2018-19 Team: London Knights

2018-19 Statistics: 66GP: 13G, 34PTS

The London Knights downright stole Antonio Stranges in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, as the youngster was widely expected to play for the U.S. National Development Team before being nabbed by the Knights in the second round. A slick skater with seemingly endless puck skills, Stranges plays a style of hockey incredibly similar to Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs and one which will undoubtedly pay significant dividends in the offensive zone this upcoming season.

Antonio Stranges of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

As one of the most highly skilled players eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, don’t be surprised if Antonio Stranges sky-rockets up rankings throughout the upcoming campaign. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Although widely projected to be a chosen in the second-round of the 2020 NHL Draft, it is abundantly clear that Stranges boasts the skill-set of a first-round talent. Set to play alongside a young yet equally talented class of players with the Knights this coming season, Stranges should flourish owing to additional playing time while his responsibilities at both ends of the ice will surely be boosted as a second-year player.

Ty Tullio

2018-19 Team: Oshawa Generals

2018-19 Statistics: 60GP: 15G, 42PTS

Although his father Rocco Tullio is the President and Governor of the Oshawa Generals, his role with the team had little to do with the Generals’ selection of son Ty Tullio with the 11th overall choice in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. An accomplished goal-scorer and teammate of Saginaw Spirit star Cole Perfetti as a member of the GTHL’s Vaughan Kings, Perfetti quickly made a name for himself as a consistent two-way player and lethal offensive threat.

Tyler Tullio of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

A pint-sized scorer, Ty Tullio has produced offensively at every level in which he has competed. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

This deadly skill-set made the Generals’ decision to draft Tullio an easy one, and the choice paid immediate dividends in Tullio’s rookie campaign in Oshawa. Despite playing sheltered minutes as an incoming player, Tullio came to play an influential offensive role for the Generals — providing timely scoring while standing as a capable playmaker to boot. Sure to return to Oshawa in 2019-20 as a stronger and faster player, Tullio’s offensive game stands poised to explode as he darts towards the 2020 NHL Draft and a potential first-round selection.

The Top-31 Prospects

It might be extremely early, but here is our initial ranking ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft slated to take place next June.

In this off-season ranking, we’ve outlined our top-31 prospects and highlighted another ten honourable mentions who could very easily move into the main ranking based on their potential and expected play this coming season. As far as specifics go, there are a great deal of centres present within our ranking — 14 to be exact — while just one goaltender stands in the top-31 thus far.

Rank

Player Position 2018-19 Team

1

Alexis Lafreniere LW Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

2

Quinton Byfield C

Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

3

Lucas Raymond RW Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit)
4 Noel Gunler RW/LW

Lulea HF J20 (SuperElit)

5

Anton Lundell C/LW HIFK (Liiga)
6 Justin Barron D

Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

7

Jamie Drysdale D Erie Otters (OHL)
8 Alexander Holtz RW/LW

Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)

9

Cole Perfetti C Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
10 Marco Rossi C

Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

11

Tim Stutzle C Jungadler Mannheim (DNL U20)
12 Dylan Holloway C

Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)

13

Dawson Mercer RW Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
14 Hendrix Lapierre C

Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

15

Kaiden Guhle D Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
16 Ty Smilanic LW

U.S U17 Team (US NTDP)

17

Jacob Perreault C Sarnia Sting (OHL)
18 Dylan Peterson C

U.S U17 Team (US NTDP)

19

Zion Nybeck RW HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
20 Emil Andrae D

HV71 J20 (SuperElit)

21

Antonio Stranges C/LW London Knights (OHL)

22

Connor Zary C Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

23

Helge Grans D

Malmo Redhawks J20 (SuperElit)

24

Kasper Simontaival RW Tappara (Liiga)
25 Theo Rochette C

Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

26

Will Cuylle LW Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
27 Lleyton Moore D

Oshawa Generals (OHL)

28

Yaroslav Askarov G SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova (MHL)

29

Jean-Luc Foudy C

Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

30

Logan Morrison C Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
31 Mavrik Bourque C

Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

Ten Honourable Mentions

As noted above, here are our ten honourable mentions who — to date — sit just outside of the top-31. As we move deeper into the 2019-20 season, we will expand this section of honourable mentions dramatically to include a number of other top-notch prospects who are without a doubt worth mentioning. Lastly, it is worth noting that these players are not ranked 1-10 but, instead, are listed alphabetically.

HM

Lukas Cormier D Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
HM Daniil Gushchin RW

Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

HM

Seth Jarvis RW Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
HM Tyler Kleven D

U.S U17 Team (US NTDP)

HM

Alexander Nikishin D MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva (MHL)
HM Jake Neighbours LW

Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

HM

Jeremie Poirier D Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

HM

Braden Schneider D

Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

HM

Ty Tullio C Oshawa Generals (OHL)
HM Ozzy Wiesblatt RW

Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

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