Josh
Bell
October 2, 2020

Pre-2020 NHL Draft Scout Survey – V3

After countless hours of scouting and preparation, the 2020 NHL Draft is finally almost here.

At FCHockey, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the event and surveyed our scouts for their thoughts and opinions on one of the most exciting events on the NHL calendar.

This is the third and final edition of the scout survey.

Here’s how FCHockey’s scouts answered the final three questions.

Behind Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson, who is the next-best defender?

“A lot of teams will go differently here and their definition of upside will vary from transition defense to ability to provide defensive stability. I personally think Emil Andrae has that level of IQ and talent that will enable offence to flow for his team. I really like how he plays the game and should thrive as we move towards a more positionless style of game.” – Western Canada Head Scout Justin Froese

“One of the WHL defenders is likely the next guy off the board. Kaiden Guhle or Braden Schneider are the next best options after Sanderson.” – Eastern Canada Head Scout Dylan Galloway

“For me, it’s really close between Guhle and Schneider. I’d be hard-pressed to pick one guy over the other. Both guys have the potential to be top-pair, #2 defensemen if paired with partners who are better at puck handling than they are and can assume the brunt of those duties. These two both have excellent, excellent potential as defensemen who can eat up lots of hard minutes, go head-to-head against the top players on other teams, and excel on the penalty kill. Schneider is the better player defensively, Guhle is a little more toolsy and versatile.” – Head Crossover Scout Derek Neumeier

“Guhle has impressive physical tools and improving puck skills, but Helge Grans has emerged as the ‘best of the rest’ for me. A silky-smooth skater with good size and confidence with the puck, Grans’ in-zone defensive game is raw but his overall skill set and offensive upside is tantalizing.” – Eastern Canada Scout Joseph Aleong

“I think I’m a bit on my own in this one, but my vote goes to Swedish defender Andrae. I love watching him play. He’s an extremely mobile defender, excelling in transition, yet can be very effective in his own zone. He’s a very smart player with great vision that I can see stepping into the fast-paced NHL very well.”  – Eastern Canada and Crossover Scout Josh Bell

“Like many others, this is something I’ve gone back and forth countless times. I finally settled on Schneider. His play defensively is top-notch and I believe there is some untapped offensive upside to his game. It is very easy for me to picture him going up against an opposing team’s top-line down the road.” – Crossover Scout John Gove

“For my money, Grans from the Malmo Redhawks deserves to be the third defenseman off the board in the 2020 NHL Draft. Grans brings a fantastic blend of size, skill, and mobility that any NHL team should be falling over themselves to select in the middle of the first Round.” – Crossover Scout Brandon Holmes

“If you’re looking for a safe bet to play 15 years in a team’s top four, killing penalties, and providing smart and simple outlets you could do a lot worse than Schneider. If you’re looking for more of a home run swing, William Wallinder has really impressed me at times throughout the year.” – Western Canada Scout Donesh Mazloum

Schneider has the size and developing offensive skill that I really look for in a defenseman. However, his defensive game is fantastic. He will be a great pick in the teens.” – Unites States Regional Scout Ray Napientek

“Many view Schneider as the next best; personally, I view Guhle as the next best. His offensive contributions, although sometimes limited in the WHL, won’t translate to the pro game, but I think he could resemble of a Haydn Fleury type of defense – top 4, reliable, cerebral and physical. Fleury was taken as high as seventh overall in 2014, but Guhle will probably wait a little longer.” – Goaltending Scout Simon Rouillard

Who is the player you expect to outperform his FCHockey ranking?

Ethan Edwards is a guy who I honestly wish we had been bolder on in our list looking back at his body of work. You look at the technical skills and his IQ versus his production and it doesn’t completely add up but he’s got the potential to be a juggernaut who thrives in transition and gets pucks into offensive areas. Lots of work but lots to mould.” – Froese

Brendan Brisson. The more I watch this player the more there is to like. We have him at 41 but he could end up being a top 15 or 20 player from this draft.” – Galloway

“I’ve been a big fan of Dylan Peterson for a long time. I seem to be higher on him than anyone else is. He has all the tools in the world and has shown flashes of knowing how to use them in conjunction. My best viewings of him were very, very good. I think his development is going to take off at some point in the future.” – Neumeier

Lukas Reichel played an important scoring role on a professional team this season, showing his evasiveness and finishing talent belied his slender frame and inexperience amongst opponents a decade older than him. He impacts the game in a multitude of ways, including driving transition and creating high danger shot attempts. He belongs in the conversation as a mid-first round pick, creating an opportunity for a lucky team to find value with Reichel.” – Aleong

“The one that jumps out to me is Brisson. He’s practically famous for the one-timer that he put on display all season and at the World Junior A Challenge, but he’s so well-rounded and I think he’s one of the few players on the bubble of the first round or later that I’d bet on not only making it to the NHL but being a solid producer. He could be a top player from this class.”  – Bell

“It is the second time I mentioned him but I think it is Schneider. There is something that has me convinced he has only scratched the service of his offensive potential and that he might be closer to the level of Drysdale and Sanderson when they have all fully developed.” – Gove

“I believe Hendrix Lapierre has all the talent to outperform his FCHockey rankings of 27th. Concussion concerns aside, Lapierre is among the most talented pure playmakers available in the 2020 Draft, bringing fantastic vision, skill, and creativity to the table every time he hits the ice.” – Holmes

Alexander Pashin is a player that comes to mind. He lacks consistency and has size concerns however when he’s at his best he’s a game-breaking talent. Speed and skill aplenty.” – Mazloum

“Without a doubt Mitchell Miller. I thought Miller really improved his skating this season. He played really well in well in his own zone and showed the ability to make smart plays out of his zone or carry the puck out when needed. I think he’s a solid third-round pick.” – Napientek

Connor McClennon. I think he has a lot of tools not to succeed. At the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he showed us he could play the role of an agitator / little ball of hate trying to disrupt opposite players. Also, he has very strong building blocks to become an offensive contributor, with swift hands, good overall positioning in the O-zone and the heart of a lion.” – Rouillard

Which player do you think has the most potential to not live up to his draft ranking?

“Not that I don’t think he won’t play games or carve out a career, but I think the bar is set high on Guhle. I project him to be a defensive player but even then, he has big holes he can mask by being bigger and a strong linear skater. I think he’s going to have a tough adjustment. Carter Savoie is the other one who comes to mind if he doesn’t work or find a way to add to his tool kit.” – Froese

Antonio Stranges. He started the year in a high draft position, not sure he gets selected in the first two rounds but I think there’s potential that his game doesn’t translate to the next level very well at all.” – Galloway

Jeremie Poirier.” – Neumeier

Jacob Perreault has a lot of traits that NHL teams look for – a strong frame, pro-ready shot power and release, NHL bloodlines, and production at the OHL level despite a poor supporting cast. However, Perreault’s wavering defensive effort and non-existent impact on driving the play when he’s away from the puck are red flags for any team picking in the first round. He has legitimate top-six upside thanks to his puck skills and shot, but any team selecting him will have to accept that he might never develop into a net-positive in his own end.” – Aleong

“I think a bust would normally be a fairly high pick, and if a team drafts Shakir Mukhamadullin in the first round, or potentially the second, I think that’s a very good candidate to bust. I’ve talked to some people who love him, but I really don’t see the defensive awareness or decision-making to allow him to succeed at the next level.”  – Bell

“It is slightly unfair, but I have to go with Lapierre. Basing it all on just talent and we could be discussing him as a top-10 selection. Still, we know that injuries are a concern here and I am not convinced that they will not hamper his full potential in the NHL.” – Gove

“Relative to his projected draft position, Guhle may carry the most potential to be viewed as a bust when the 2020 draft is looked back on in retrospect 10 years down the line. Guhle is a fantastic defensive player who plays with a good deal of bite and mobility, but without a high-end offensive tool kit to impact the game in multiple ways, the projected price tag of a top-15 selection might be too steep when viewed in retrospect.” – Holmes

I don’t think that Sanderson will be a bust, however of the top group of players he is the one that I have the most concern will end up as a depth talent rather than a bonafide star.” – Mazloum

“I always dislike this question because to me a bust must be a real early pick, so with that being said, Sanderson may be picked too high. He played really well this season and showed a lot of the skills NHL scouts look for in a prospect but it feels like he may be forced to be picked a little higher than he should since the top defenseman type players are sparse this draft.” – Napientek

“Poirier. Not surprising here. I this point, I don’t even know why coaches keep him on defense. He has so little desire to defend and often misses his checks, he is better suited to come back at forward rather than hurting his team on the back end. The only time I would like to see him patrolling the blue line would on the PP, rather; never.” – Rouillard

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