Josh
Bell
September 16, 2020

Pre-2020 NHL Draft Scout Survey – V1

The 2020 NHL Draft is almost here – finally.

With the first round of the draft kicking off on October 6 – over three months later than originally scheduled – FCHockey polled our scouts on several topics to get a feel for what we could expect throughout the highly-anticipated draft.

This is the first of a three-part series diving into some of the hottest topics and biggest questions of the upcoming draft.

Here are the scout’s answers to the first three questions.

Is Alexis Lafreniere a generational talent?

“From what I’ve seen, Lafreniere is about as NHL ready as any top prospect to come along and will make an immediate and lasting impact for his team and within the league with an elongated prime. While I think he will be star, the term generational talent is used a little too loosely and wouldn’t classify him as one.” – Western Canada Head Scout Justin Froese

“Generational? In my opinion, no. Elite? Yes. He’s definitely not on the level of the likes of Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid, but he could reach the heights of players like Nikita Kucherov, Brad Marchand, or Leon Draisaitl.” – Eastern Canada Head Scout Dylan Galloway

“I really like Lafreniere, but personally, I wouldn’t use the word “generational” when describing him. I don’t think he’s quite in that Crosby/McDavid/Alex Ovechkin tier of talent. That, to me, is ‘generational.’ He’s really close, but just a little bit shy of that level.” – Head Crossover Scout Derek Neumeier

“I don’t think Lafreniere is quite at that level, but he’s as high-floor a first overall pick as we’ve seen in recent years and will instantly become arguably the third-best forward on the Rangers.” – Eastern Canada Regional Scout Joseph Aleong

“Unfortunately, no. That term means ‘once in a generation,’ and Lafreniere — as good as he is — is not that. That would be reserved for the Crosbys and the McDavids of the hockey world. He’s a top-tier player though, potentially a franchise player, but not generational.”  – Eastern Canada and Crossover Scout Josh Bell

“The term ‘generational talent’ is thrown around far too often these days. It seems like ever since McDavid (a true generational talent), there is one in every draft. Alexis Lafreniere is going to be a really good player in the NHL for a lot of years; however, I think we should be a bit more conservative with ‘generational talent’ and save it for a select few. Lafreniere is not quite on that level for me.” – Crossover Scout John Gove

“The term generational should be reserved for unique players that, as the name would suggest, come around once in a generation – McDavid, Crosby, Eric Lindros – and I have a hard time classifying Lafreniere as such. Now, this isn’t a slight against Lafreniere, as he’s one of the top five talents to come through the draft in the last decade and should become a franchise player in the NHL.” – Crossover Scout Brandon Holmes

“Even with the way we liberally use that term, Lafreniere doesn’t qualify as a generational talent. He’s far from a weak first overall pick however I’d be surprised if he has a McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, or Auston Matthews like impact.” – Western Canada Scout Donesh Mazloum

“Generational? No. Is that a slight on him? Absolutely not. He will help his team win a lot of hockey games but I see him more as a Tyler Seguin type player than a Crosby type player. He’s a clear cut No. 1 and a clear cut star in the league but I don’t believe we’ll see him as generational at the end of the day.” – Unites States Regional Scout Ray Napientek

“If we define ‘generational talent,’ by standards reached by players like Auston Matthews, McDavid or even Jack Eichel, I don’t view Lafreniere as a such. However, I put him in the same category as a Jack Hughes, kind as his floor at 60 points/season and roof at 80 points/season” – Goaltending Scout Simon Rouillard

Behind Askarov, who’s the next-best goaltender?

“This one is fairly up in the air as I haven’t dug deep into the goaltending pool outside of the WHL and junior A where we have a bit of a mediocre year. The name that comes up for the second a lot among our group seems to be Joel Blomqvist.” – Froese

“From my region, it’s likely Nico Daws. While he didn’t have a stellar performance at the World Juniors, his draft-plus-one season speaks for itself with a .924 save percentage and a record of 23 wins 8 losses. Standing at 6-foot-4, every day of the week, he’s got the size teams are looking for at the next level, but he also has great flashy reflexes which are most apparent with his glove saves, but is also fairly positionally sound.” – Galloway

“I’m going to say Daws, but this is not a deep year for goalies. Blomqvist, Jan Bednar and Calle Clang could all probably end up being second-best, but you know what Daws is right now at his age, and there’s no guarantee that the other three get that good in the next two years.” – Neumeier

“Beyond Askarov, there might not be a goaltender worth considering in the top two rounds. However, Blomqvist is a strong contender to be next off the board. What he lacks in prototypical netminder size, he brings in lateral movement, competitiveness, and agility. After a strong performance this year for Finland at the Hlinka, he could be in the mix to be their starter at next year’s World Juniors, if it happens.” – Aleong

“It’s a steep drop, but I’ll say Blomqvist. I think Daws and Drew Commesso could also be in that conversation, but Blomqvist just shows a certain calmness and poise that is so key to goaltending. He has a great technical game that will only continue to improve.” – Bell

“I must admit that goalies are a bit of a mystery to me. From what I’ve seen and read from other scouts, I’m going with Blomqvist.” – Gove

“After Askarov, I believe Blomqvist is the best goaltender that will be available in rounds two through seven. Blomqvist doesn’t possess other-worldly size at just 6-foot-1, and could stand to get leaner, but the young Finnish netminder reads the play as well as any of his peers and routinely puts himself in position to make stops.” – Holmes

There is a steep drop from Askarov to the next best goaltender and there are a handful of players in contention however if picking a favourite out of that next group I’d probably go with Commesso. He’s not the flashiest athlete however his ability to balance competitiveness and calm in the crease is something you see in a lot of the top goaltenders in the league today.” – Mazloum

“Blomqvist but that is on a very limited viewing sample size. Very technical goalie but I’d like to see him fill out his frame.” – Napientek

“Close race between three between Daws, Blomqvist and Samuel Hlavaj)but I have Blomqvist. He is everything you could ask out of goaltender, being very sound technically, very low panic point, not a whole lot of agitation, good feet. He is also younger than the previous two.” – Rouillard

How would you place the tiers in the first round?

“Lafreniere in a class of his own. Quinton Byfield next and then No. 3-7 are going to be fairly tight after that there’s a run from No. 8-14 and then a drop with 15 and beyond wide open. I expect our list to be way different then what happens on draft day.” – Froese

“Really tough question. No. 1 and 2 are pretty close so that would be tier 1. Tier 2 would be between No. 3 and 10. 10 – 20 and then 20 to 30.“ – Galloway

“I love using tiers, so I use lots of them. I have a one-spot tier at the top, then a tier at 2-3, then a tier at 4-9, then 10-13, then 14-20, then 21-28, and then my last tier starts at 29 and goes to 41. In other words, there are 41 guys in total this year that I think would make sense as picks in the 1st round.” – Neumeier

“Lafreniere stands alone at the top, Byfield and Tim Stutzle are near-locks to be the next two called, and then the rest of FC’s top nine prospects could hear theirs called in any order. Askarov is the real wildcard, as a goaltending-needy team could reach on him, while questions about goalie value and pro experience could drop him out of the lottery entirely. Jake Sanderson could also push into the top 10, while a glut of talented forwards like Noel Gunler, Jack Quinn, and Dawson Mercer should go in the 10-20 range. In such a deep class, there are about 15-20 players who could be candidates for 20-31, including second-round prospects like Lukas Reichel, Marat Khusnutdinov, and Brendan Brisson.” – Aleong

“I based my tiers on player’s ceilings, so I have Lafreniere and Byfield in the same tier at the top. It then goes No. 3-6, 7-11, 12-21, and 22-47.” – Bell

“I would say that Tier 1 belongs to three, maybe four players. That second tier is pretty large for me spanning about 15 prospects. Then, I think you reach a third tier that encompasses guys who could populate the late-first or early-second round.” – Gove

“Lafreniere exists in a tier of his own at the top, with Byfield also occupying a solo tier right below him. I believe Lucas Raymond and Stutzle share the 3rd tier between the two of them, and then from there, the draft opens up a bit for me. In my fourth tier, I have a pool of eight players that spans back to the No. 12 slot, beginning with Marco Rossi and ending with Askarov.” – Holmes

“1, 2-9, 10-30. I think you could make an argument for a whole host of players with the 10th overall pick.” – Mazloum

“Lafrenière is No. 1. I think you could make an argument for a few players between No. 2-5 and shuffle around players between No. 6-15. That is where the draft will get real interesting. Does Askarov go before No. 15? I would pick him there but does the thought process about goalies drop him? No. 15 and beyond into the 30s would be my final tier. A lot of those players could be all over team’s draft boards.” – Napientek

“Tier I: Lafreniere, Tier II, No. 2 to 7; Tier III: No. 8 to 20; Tier IV, No. 21 to 35” – Rouillard

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