The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is sneaking up on us, with Round 1 starting next Tuesday and Round 7 wrapping up on Wednesday. We had a tight turnaround, but SB Nation NHL came together for our annual mock draft, where our team sites play backseat general manager to our favorite franchises.
If the real first round plays out anything like our mock draft, it’s going to be plenty of content to debate over until whenever it’s safe to start next season.
Catch up here:
Now, picks 12 through 16:
12. Florida Panthers — Jack Quinn
From Litter Box Cats:
In addition to his offensive skills, Quinn has a high hockey IQ and is competent in the defensive zone, displaying an active stick to break up plays and is not shy about blocking shots either. He is heady enough to kill penalties and is good in transition and jumping back on the offensive when the puck is turned over.
Ouinn is one of the older first-year prospects in this draft, so that could be a factor is his high offensive numbers. That said, he is very good all-around player with a 200-foot game and enough translatable offensive skills to be an effective NHLer.
In a perfect world, this year’s Panthers first-rounder would be a can’t miss potential second line center or a top-four defenseman, but with the way this mock draft board fell and the way the one in real life one is likely to, selecting Quinn at the 12 spot would be adding very nice piece to Florida’s prospect cupboard. The Panthers are nowhere near drafting by need and even if they were drafting the best player available is usually always the best course of action.
13. Carolina Hurricanes — Yaroslav Askarov
From Canes Country:
In my opinion, the seventh-ninth picks would be the picks to watch. New Jersey’s (7) organizational depth at the position is not great behind MacKenzie Blackwood, Buffalo (8) has Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen as its likely No. 1 in the future and a few more holes to fill that are likely higher on the pecking order in terms of making them a viable playoff team and Minnesota (9), who has never drafted a goaltender in the first round, would likely be looking at a difference-making forward in that spot.
Otherwise, all the teams in front of the Canes, either have the NHL answer in goal for the foreseeable future, a blue chip prospect in their system in Askarov’s position or are drafting high enough that an 18-year-old goaltender with a top-six pick might be a stretch when their rosters are far from complete (think Detroit and Ottawa).
Carolina, on the other hand, has a system stocked with high-level forward prospects, and its NHL/AHL rosters filled up to the brim with blueliners who are either in, or moving into the prime of their careers/development.
14. Edmonton Oilers — Jake Sanderson
From The Copper & Blue:
Sanderson looks like he’d project out to be a very good middle pair defender, though I think it’s difficult to cap his upside. If by 2022-23 he’s gained 20 pounds and worked a bit more on positioning in his own zone, I don’t think a #2 defenceman is too far of a stretch. This pick would absolutely be a safe pick with a potential to turn into something much more than you may have originally bargained for. And in Edmonton, we like winning.
I have a hard time believing that Sanderson slips to 14th overall, but I’d have a really difficult time walking away from a player with this sort of skill set if he did. He’s a rearguard who shows responsibility with and without the puck, he’s got some physicality to his game and he thinks the game well.
The Oilers would do well to select Sanderson at 14, even though their prospect pool on defence is already quite full. The Oilers will continue to need players to help fill out the wings on the big club today, but Sanderson very well could be the best player available on the board if he’s not taken by the mid-teens of round one.
15. Toronto Maple Leafs — William Wylander
From Pension Plan Puppets:
We picked a defenseman! And not only that, we got William Nylander’s Waluigi! To be completely honest, we picked him mostly for the name and the fact that he’s not one of the two third-pair upside defensive defencemen so many people assume the Leafs are taking. Kyle Dubas is fun, we are just following in his footsteps.
So many people have speculated that the Leafs are drafting a defenseman. Braden Schneider, this. Kaiden Guhle, that. Both of those players would be major reaches at 15th overall and would be trying to fill a hole on the team five years from now that needs to be filled now.
So instead of reaching for a defensive defenseman with low upside, we thought to go with the complete opposite player. Wallinder is an offensive dynamo, lankier than Flat Stanley, and more raw than a calf. He’s fun, with all the potential in the world, and is the kind of swings the Leafs should be taking with their defensemen.
16. Montreal Canadiens — Mavrik Borque
From Eyes On The Prize:
Picking at 16th, even if the game-breakers have left the board, you still want a player whose brain can keep up to the speed of NHL hockey, who can carry a line, and who has a track record of improving.
Looking at the available players, there was Rodion Amirov, the Russian rushing machine, a top skater in the draft, and one capable of using speed offensively and defensively. But while Amirov beats Bourque in pure tools — they’re more precise and robust — he doesn’t seem capable of using them to their full potential. Amirov is also older and closer to the player he will be in the NHL. [...]
Bourque should add more than his share of goals for the Montreal Canadiens, both at five-on-five and on the power play. He can release deceptively and off passes in very limited space in the slot. He has the board skills, the feel for puck-protection of a solid winger, but also the ability to read, support, and connect of an effective centreman. He could play either position.