September 22, 2020

Pre-2020 NHL Draft Scout Survey – V2

This draft has had longer than any draft before it to scout and analyze the prospects within it. But that hasn’t cleared up the many questions surrounding the draft.

With the 2020 NHL Draft fast approaching on October 6-7, FCHockey surveyed our scouts to dive into some of these hot button issues to provide a clearer look at the upcoming NHL event.

This is the second edition of a three-part series. In case you missed the first one, you can check it out here.

Here are the scout’s answers to the second wave of questions.

Which center(s), if any, have the potential to develop into a No. 1?

“Out of every class, there’s usually only a handful of players at the top and a few sleepers who truly develop the traits to become core top-line centers. Quinton Byfield, Marco Rossi and Cole Perfetti have the upside to anchor top units and Anton Lundell has the form of countryman Mikko Koivu. Guys under the radar who could get there are Hendrix Lapierre and Brendan Brisson from what I’ve seen of them.” – Western Canada Head Scout Justin Froese

“Byfield and Rossi are really the only two that stick out in my mind here. Byfield is still raw but once developed I think he’s got #1 playmaking center written all over him. Rossi is just too competitive to count out, I see a Patrice Bergeron type No. 1 center in him.” – Eastern Canada Head Scout Dylan Galloway

“Byfield is the obvious name here, but I’m also going to say Tim Stutzle. In the games that he played center that I watched he looked very comfortable and very good, so I think he is going to play that position in the long run. Rossi has a chance, too, because of how insanely good his competitiveness and 200-foot game are.” – Head Crossover Scout Derek Neumeier

“Both Byfield and Rossi are on trajectories to become two-way centers who pile up the points and would be the best bets to reach No. 1 status; Lundell has impressive IQ and shutdown instincts but might lack the finishing ability and vision to become a true No. 1 option. Perfetti has top-shelf skill but might really find his stride in the NHL on the wing.” – Eastern Canada Scout Joseph Aleong

“I think the obvious answer is Byfield. I very much see No. 1 in him and this he’s the guy with the best chance to get there. After him, Rossi, Perfetti, and Lundell all stand good chances of getting there, with Dylan Holloway, Seth Jarvis, and Connor Zary as darkhorses to get there as well.” ­– Eastern Canada and Crossover Scout Josh Bell

“You do not have to look far into this draft to find a prospect with No. 1 center potential. The likely second-overall pick, Byfield, has all the tools and skill necessary to assume that role for a franchise. It’s going to take a few years for Byfield to fully develop but he arguably has the highest ceiling of any member of this draft class.” – Crossover Scout John Gove

“True No. 1 centers are rare and valued commodities in the NHL and the draft capital it takes to draft a player of that caliber is reflected as such. At the top of the 2020 NHL Draft, I see only two natural centers that have the ability to become elite, all-situations top-line pivots in Byfield and Rossi. Stutzle and Perfetti may also have a chance, though it is possible they develop into the NHL as wingers.” – Crossover Scout Brandon Holmes

“Byfield and Perfetti are two slam dunks in my eyes. Byfield has all the tools you want in a franchise centerman and Perfetti is one of the smartest players I’ve seen at the junior level. Rossi and Lundell are two others who I think have the potential to get there however may have slightly lower ceilings.” – Western Canada Scout Donesh Mazloum

“Byfield and Rossi are solid picks as future No. 1’s. Lundell and Perfetti are two other top-10 potential picks with the talent to lead teams at the top of the depth chart. A wild card for me is Holloway. Holloway has a slow start at Wisconsin against older competition but really showed his potential late. He could be your pick that you wonder why he fell out of the top-10 in a decade.” – Unites States Regional Scout Ray Napientek

“I won’t have many supporters on this one, but to me, Tyson Foerster could be the one. He has a Mark Scheifele-type of ceiling if he reaches his full potential and fills his body with mass body weight. He can either play right wing or center positions, but I see him in the future as a legitimate centerman, being capable of both scoring and setting plays up.” – Goaltending Scout Simon Rouillard

Which prospect do you expect to surprise and hear his name called much earlier than expected on draft day?

“I have a feeling Ottawa will do something bold with a first-round pick. I think Yaroslav Askarov makes too much sense to add to their prospect group if they think he can lead them into the future. Wide opinions on a lot of Western kids make me feel one of Kaiden Guhle, Ridly Greig, Tristan Robins, Justin Sourdif or Michael Benning might be a reach for a team.” – Froese

Jack Quinn. He had a stellar draft year and is looking like he has a lot of the tools that an NHL team would love. He’s a bit older for this draft and played second fiddle to Rossi all season, but you can’t deny his overall skill level, smarts, skating, and of course his goal-scoring ability.” – Galloway

Ethan Edwards out of the AJHL. He was a well-kept secret for a long time, but I think that cat is out of the bag now. Loads of potential as a speedy puck-moving defenseman and offensive contributor.” – Neumeier

Sam Colangelo was part of a well-oiled machine with the USHL’s Chicago Steel this year, but his power game and soft hands in the slot area were key elements of the Steel’s attack. With a pro-ready frame and lethal shot and skating ability, Colangelo could be a player that teams at the back of the first round feel is worth taking a risk on, making him one of the more surprising names in consideration for a draft-day bump.” – Aleong

“I’m going to say William Wallinder. Defenders always seem to be selected higher than the public thinks, and I think this is a defenseman that a team is going to bet on. He has the size that you know teams love but matches it with stellar skating ability and puck-rushing skill. I think this is a player that team will hold in high regard.”  – Bell

“Quinn. There’s something about that 52 goals that is going to have an organization take him before he probably should go.” – Gove

“Of the players most commonly ranked outside of the top-10, I think Quinn has the most potential to find his way into the the opening 10 picks of the 2020 draft. Quinn has been riding an upward trajectory all season, and I believe someone is going to fall for his blend of goal scoring and two-way ability a little earlier than many of us are expecting.” – Holmes

I think with the buzz Lukas Reichel has generated in recent performances he’s a strong candidate to surprise people. Out of the west, Guhle is another that I expect to go earlier than many expect. Six foot three defenders who can skate are still a highly valuable commodity in the NHL.” – Mazloum

Sean Farrell. Sean plays a smart, simple game. His whole body of work makes him the all-around forward teams crave. He played on a loaded team but always came out in too for me. 200-foot player willing to go to tough areas. He’s the glue guy that gets things done to me.” – Napientek

“Foerster and Danil Gushchin. Gushchin showed to me at the WJAC how crafty he could be with the puck and how he could become a real offensive poison for any team that drafts him. He has the drive to become better & better and although it could be a reach at this point. I think he could slip into that last tier of first-rounders.” – Rouillard

Which highly regarded prospect do you expect to slide on draft day?

“I think the world of Jarvis, but he seems like a candidate to fall and then subsequently outperform others ahead of him. Holloway and Noel Gunler are completely different players but could see some teams finding them as guys who don’t fit a specific profile and preferring other options around where we had them ranked.” – Froese

“I think we could see Stutzle slide a few spots. We have him ranked at No. 3, but there are a few players who I think teams may like from more high-profile areas, as well as a few players getting a few more “show me” games, in what would under normal circumstances be their draft-plus-one season.” – Galloway

“I’ll say Jeremie Poirier, but I don’t know how highly regarded he is anymore these days. I also won’t be surprised if Carter Savoie falls outside of the first three rounds.” – Neumeier

Zion Nybeck is one of the bigger boom-or-bust bets among first-round prospects, as his tantalizing skill with the puck and prolific scoring numbers are almost as unique as his diminutive size at 5-foot-6, 180 pounds. While his prolific puckhandling abilities and production at both the Swedish junior level and international tournaments scream first-round talent, Zybeck could fall into the second or even third round if teams hone in on his lack of explosive speed and think he’ll struggle against bigger and stronger opponents as a result.” – Aleong

“I hate to say it, but one of my favourites, Jan Mysak. Despite how much I personally like him, I know there are questions about his ability to drive a line on his own. While some would consider him a top-15 talent, NHL teams might not see that and he could slip to the bottom third of the first round or later.” – Bell

“I think it is going to be Holloway. There are so many talented forwards in this group and I could see him falling due to a team’s need to address defense instead. The uncertainty of his sophomore season at Wisconsin might play a role as well.” – Gove

“I expect Mysak to take the biggest slide on draft day in relation to his FCHockey ranking of No. 16. Throughout the course of his draft year season, it has been clear there is some dissonance between his reputation with scouting publications and his reputation with NHL scouts and clubs. Mysak is a player than many consider to have a top-20 tool kit, however, he may find himself being available in the early-to-mid second round.” – Holmes

“Lundell seems like the most likely candidate at this point. He had a good but not great season and there may be some viewing fatigue as he’s been on the draft radar for a long time. He probably gets nitpicked more than is warranted.” – Mazloum

Thomas Bordeleau could fall into the second round and maybe even early third. Bordeleau has a ton of speed and playmaking ability, as well as great IQ, but his smaller size and lack of high-end scoring could make him a prospect to slide.” – Napientek

“Lundell. I don’t get the buzz surrounding Lundell. To me, he’s that type of Tomas Plekanec player; very strong defensively, very reliable, but maybe not a whole lot of offense contribution. A perfect third center, but not one to draft in the top-10.” – Rouillard

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