The 2020 NHL Draft


Elena McDonald

The 2020 NHL Draft recently took place virtually, and many teams picked new players to join them.

The 2020 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft was a two-day event that was originally scheduled for June 26 and June 27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed until after the Stanley Cup. The NHL season did not start back up again until mid-July, and the Stanley Cup was not until late September. The draft was held virtually from Oct. 6 to Oct. 7. 

There were many prospects for this year’s NHL Draft, but Alexis Lafreniere was predicted to be the first overall pick. Lafreniere is a Canadian ice hockey player who was the captain of the Rimouski Oceanic from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was also the youngest player to play for Team Canada’s U18 team at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World U18 Championships at the age of sixteen. He was later the captain of Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup while also being the second youngest on the roster. Quinton Byfield was predicted to be chosen second overall, Jamie Drysdale was predicted to be third overall, Jake Sanderson was predicted to be fourth overall, and Cole Perfetti was predicted to be fifth overall, according to the NHL’s website (

The New York Rangers were given the first overall pick for the draft, and they selected Lafreniere. Jake Schettini, a freshman, said, “I think he was a great pick, but I do not really know that much about the hockey prospects. He was supposed to be the best player in the draft, so the Rangers made the right decision.” Leigh Caponi, a freshman, agreed, but he believes that the New York Rangers cheated in the draft lottery. Lafreniere is projected to play a large role in helping the New York Rangers make it to the playoffs in the future. Caponi commented, “I think he would be good anywhere he plays. He just needs to learn how to play with the other men on his team. When it come to the playoffs, I think it brings me back to how he plays with his team other than just himself, but he definitely has the skill to help the Rangers get further into the playoffs.” Schettini agreed and believes that with Lafreniere on the team, the Rangers will have a nice run for the Stanley Cup. 

The Los Angeles Kings selected Byfield with the second overall pick. Drysdale was predicted to be chosen third overall but was selected sixth overall by the Anaheim Ducks. Tom Stützle was chosen third overall by the Ottawa Senators. Sanderson was chosen fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators, while Lucas Raymond was chosen fourth overall by the Detroit Red Wings. Caponi thinks that every team chose to help itself, but Schettini does not quite agree. Schettini said, “The Capitals traded up to get Hendrix Lapierre with the twenty-second overall pick. This wasn’t a good pick since he has health issues and is injury prone.” Will this hurt the Capitals in the long run? We will not know until he starts playing.

Goalies are not usually first round picks, but Yaroslav Askarov was an exception. A goalie has not been chosen in the first round since the Montreal Canadians chose Carey Price with the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft. Askarov was chosen eleventh overall by the Nashville Predators in the first round, becoming the highest-drafted Russian-born goalie in NHL history, according to the NHL’s website. Schettini said, “I think it was a good decision because their current goalie, Pekka Rinne, is 37 years old and will retire soon.” Caponi added, “I think they would choose a goalie because they needed it, so they’re building their defense up which can help them move farther through the playoffs and what not.” 

There were a couple of trades in the draft, too. The Montreal Canadians decided to trade Max Domi to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Canadians got Right Wing Josh Anderson. Schettini commented, “I think the Blue Jackets won in that trade because Max Domi is a better player than Josh Anderson.”  Caponi said, “The Max Domi trade was fine because he is a talented player and the Blue Jackets do have the potential to win a cup, so going there was a good trade.” The Calgary Flames received the New York Rangers’ twenty second and seventy second pick and the Rangers got Calgary’s nineteenth overall pick. The Calgary Flames decided to trade another pick with the Washington Capitals, trading their twenty second pick for the Capitals’ twenty fourth and eightieth pick. Caponi shared, “I think Calgary did what they needed to do, so it works out overall.”

It is hard to say when these young hockey players will get to start playing. Training camp is predicted to start on Nov. 17, 2020. We will not know which young players will get to play this season until they go through training camp. Lafreniere has already signed an entry-level contract with the New York Rangers. The NHL was hoping to start the season on Dec. 1, 2020, but this was changed to Jan. 1, 2021, which is still uncertain.  With the pandemic still affecting many, it is hard to plan for the upcoming NHL season.