Like most NHL teams, the Anaheim Ducks are gearing up for the draft. However, there are bound to be a few mistakes, so why not mock the first fifteen?
Since the second phase of the draft lottery for the 1st round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft has long since been completed, the draft order has been locked in, with the Anaheim Ducks drafting 6th overall. Mock drafts have come flying out, especially with the draft only a few days away. Everyone else has done it, so we may as well have a crack at it here as well.
However, we won’t be taking the conventional approach to this Top 15 mock draft. We believe that much like every draft, most of the teams will make some kind of unforced error. After all, if these teams were so good at evaluating talent, they wouldn’t be drafting in the Top 15 now, would they?
In every sense of the word, this will be a mock draft. So, without further ado, let’s delve into what will surely be a disappointing mix of mediocrity.
#1 New York Rangers – Alexis Lafrenière, LW, Canada, Rimouski (QMJHL)
This kid seems pretty good, but since he likely won’t be a part of the Anaheim Ducks, who really cares? Sure, he was the first 16-year-old kid since Sidney Crosby (2003-2004) to score 40 goals in his D-1 season, but he scored less in his draft year. So, what now?
It’s fair to say that his 2.15 points-per-game average led the Canadian Hockey League and that he took out MVP honors on the back of 10 points in 5 games at the WJC. Apparently, he also scored 35 goals and had 77 assists in 35 games for Rimouski Océanic in the Q. Well actually, I guess, that’s pretty good after all. Still, He’s not Byfield and that’s a mistake the Rangers will have to live with.
Yeah, sure he’s the best player in the draft today, but the Rangers already have the best prospect in the world in Kappo Kakko. I just can’t help but imagine Kakko passing to Byfield in the slot would have set the team up for success for decades more. Doesn’t a spine of Mika Zibanejad, Quinton Byfield, and Ryan Strome just sound like it would be as sexy on ice as it is on paper? But, I suppose drafting the #1 overall to play behind Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider will be an effective use of everyone’s abilities. Shocking decision.
Pre-Draft Grade: D-
#2 Los Angeles Kings- Quinton Byfield, C, Canada, Sudbury (OHL)
How do the Kings keep pulling phenomenal talent far later than they should? Is it a royalty thing? Whatever it is, they snag a player who is far and away one of the top 2 players in this draft class (and one who I personally think may challenge for the crown years down the track.) As an Anaheim Ducks fan, this selection makes me sick to my stomach and I hate it passionately. Don’t the Kings have enough forward talent? Why do they deserve to pick up an Evgeni Malkin-eque sex bomb? It’s unfair and I do not care for it.
Darn the Kings for being so lucky, but just because Byfield is essentially the perfect physical specimen for hockey, doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about his world junior championship performance. He’ll be younger than everyone in the NHL as well, and his tendency to shy from physical contact will be enough. He’s not a Duck, so let’s chalk him up as an unforced error by the Kings. Fail.
Pre-Draft Grade: D
#3 Ottawa Senators (from San Jose)- Tim Stutzle, LC/LW, Germany, Adler Mannheim (DEL)
Stutzle is a German-born hockey player who has essentially come out of nowhere to crush his season in the German Adult league. You can read my previous article about him if you need to know things about him. I won’t rehash it all here.
Stutzle is a talent and could be a very good one. But the gap between him as a consensus #3-5 pick and Quinton Byfield may as well be the length of the southern hemispheres longest road. In recent times, the Senators have selected Shane Bowers (2017), Logan Brown (2016), Colin White (2015), and Curtis Lazar (2013) who play the center position. Lazar even played a little on the wing, just like Stutzle. I think we now know that Stutzle will not develop in the Senators prospect pool and may never be heard from again. Disasterous decision.