The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is sneaking up on us, with Round 1 starting tonight. 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 on the picks so far here:
And finally, the end of the round:
27. Anaheim Ducks — Jan Mysak
From Anaheim Calling:
Playing at both center and wing, the Czech forward has been representing his country internationally since the 2017-18 season when he isn’t playing with HC Litvinov in the Czech league. In 2019, he made the jump across the pond, suiting up for 22 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL and putting up 15 goals and 10 assists.
Mysak is a strong and smart forechecker and his experience at both center and winger makes him a versatile forward option as the Ducks continue to rebuild. His experience i the Czech league saw him playing against adult men, meaning he might be ready to jump to the big club sooner than some of the other late first-round picks.
28. Ottawa Senators — Helge Grans
From Silver Seven Sens:
While he can sometimes look awkward and lanky on the ice, or make a gaping mistake leading to a scoring chance against, the amount of upside Grans packs as an offensive-minded defender is undeniable. He loves to take risks, which in turn makes this selection a bit of a gamble as to translate his playing style will translate against NHL defenders. But while his tools may be raw, the opportunity is there for a team to be patient and diligent, helping him string together his fantastic set of individual skills into a potentially game-breaking defender.
On top of this, Grans would provide the Senators with an additional option on the right side of their blue line. While Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson are two solid prospects, there’s no blue-chip players like they have on the left side in Thomas Chabot and Erik Brännström (if that’s the side where the Sens keep him). Prospects are never a guarantee to pan out in the ways we expect, so broadening the team’s options down the line with an exciting yet mouldable player has the potential to pay off in spades.
29. Vegas Golden Knights — Braden Schneider
From Knights On Ice:
While defenseman might not be a strong need for the Golden Knights, they’ve certainly prioritized forward through three drafts. Of the 28 players taken in three years, only eight have added blue line reinforcements to the prospect pool, and one of them (Erik Brannstrom) is no longer on the roster.
Schneider is the No. 4 defenseman in North America according to NHL Central Scouting in a blue line class highlighted by Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson, but might be the best defensive defenseman in this class with a sneaky scoring ability. His 42 points in 60 games led all defensemen on Brandon, and the 19-year-old’s 35 assists were second on the team.
30. Dallas Stars — John-Jason Peterka
From Defending Big D:
But to give you the Cliffs Notes scouting report on Peterka here and now: he’s fast, he’s tenacious, and he’s skilled as both a shooter and a playmaker. He can play both wings, and he can play both sides of special teams. He played alongside and against multiple former NHLers this past season in Germany’s top professional league, and also had a very impressive showing at the World Juniors as a 17-year-old.
Germany is emerging as a true nation to watch when it comes to developing hockey talent. Leon Draisaitl won the 2020 Hart Trophy, while prospect Moritz Seider was selected sixth overall last year by the Detroit Red Wings. But 2020 is shaping up to be the deepest year yet for the nation, with Peterka joining countrymen Tim Stützle and Lukas Reichel, who could all get picked as early as Tuesday night.
When it came time to make the decision, there was very little deliberation. On my Top 101 draft rankings I had Peterka 25th overall, inside a tier I identified that goes from 21st to 28th. What I mean by the word “tier” is that every player in the same shared range is roughly equal in terms of value as a draft pick.
31. San Jose Sharks — Zion Nybek
From Fear the Fin:
Zion Nybeck — who would immediately come into San Jose’s prospect pool full of cool names with the coolest name — is a Swedish winger who brings a creative touch to the game with a specialty that I think Sharks fans can appreciate: his passing.
In 2019-20, Nybeck racked up 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) in 42 games with HV71’s Juniors U20 squad, leading the league by six points. Representing Sweden, Nybeck has won a Hlinka Gretzky Cup Bronze Medal (2020), U18 WJC Gold Medal (2019) and U17 WHC Bronze Medal (2019).
Nybeck’s passing skills are sublime, with a type of precision that could probably wreck the NHL’s All-Star accuracy competition right now. His wrist shot has a lot of power behind it, but he’s also known to aim for rebounds when he doesn’t like his shot. Joe Thornton won’t be in San Jose forever, but I might give an appendage to see Thornton have just one camp with Nybeck.
How do you think we did? Any surprises from our Mock Draft that you hope play out? Anything we missed? Sound off in the comments!