Some years there’s a bit of intrigue when we wait to see who will be chosen first overall at the NHL Entry Draft. And then some years, you have a prospect like Alexis Lafreniere, and you don’t have to wonder. The New York Rangers did what everyone knew they would and drafted the highly touted QMJHL star with their pick in the First Round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
The First overall pick may not have been in question, but with the Los Angeles Kings drafting in the #2 slot, they had a chance to make history with either pick, as they had Tim Stuetzle as the highest picked German born player ever, or Quinton Byfield of the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and make him the highest picked Black player in NHL history. The Kings couldn’t lose with either pick, and went with Byfield.
The Ottawa Senators were up next, in the rare position of picking 3rd and 5th, and didn’t screw up with Stuetzle still available. With this draft being done remotely because of the pandemic, it gave teams the opportunity to do some neat things last night, and this was probably the best of them:
Next up was the Detroit Red Wings, and one could almost feel sorry for them, tanking so damn hard all season, and getting leapfrogged like that. I say almost, because they still have a pretty solid prospect in the Fourth overall pick, Lucas Raymond.
Pick #5 saw the Senators up again, and this time they went to the University of North Dakota to grab a solid defensive pick, drafting Jake Sanderson.
The SBN Mothership has recapped all of the picks from last night in one handy-dandy page for you all, but we did want to show you a pretty special moment from last night courtesy of the San Jose Sharks:
Well done, Sharks.
Round Two gets underway at 9am PDT, but it will be at least an hour before the Canucks step up to the virtual podium. The biggest question facing Vancouver right now is will Jim Benning be able to make a deal that gives them a pick earlier than their current 3rd round pick in the #82 position? With a need to not only try and re-sign last season’s MVP Jacob Markstrom as well as find a way to clear cap space so that they can keep Tyler Toffoli from heading to free agency, the pressure is on Benning to ensure that this young Canucks core have the tools that will allow them to continue the progress they made this season.
The main priority draft wise for the Canucks is to get some more depth at the center position. After that, more defensive prospects are always needed. It’s going to be tough to find a sure thing NHL’er in this draft outside of the first two rounds, especially someone who can matchup with the potential of Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander on the wings in the near future.
There was a pretty big trade yesterday, as the Columbus Blue Jackets shipped free agent RW Josh Anderson to Montreal for free agent right wing RW Max Domi. Both players will need to be signed to new deals, it does make you wonder why the Habs would trade away Domi as opposed to keeping him as a part of their rebuilding core?
While we await the start of the 2nd round, here’s a look at some of the best of the players still available after Round One:
We’ll bring you profiles on the picks as well as any trades or signings the Canucks make today. Hope you’re all safe and well, and enjoying what is always a fun day for hockey fans.