With three picks within the first spherical of the NHL draft on Tuesday, New Jersey Devils normal supervisor Tom Fitzgerald faces a little bit of a dilemma.
Though the prospect pool is taken into account deep, Fitzgerald is having issue sorting wherein order the alternatives may fall.
Theres a variety of expertise, particularly within the prime 10, prime 12, Fitzgerald mentioned final week. I suppose the toughest factor is theyre all completely different superb, however very completely different.
That leaves the Devils, who choose seventh, 18th and 20th, and different groups exterior of the highest three alternatives with loads of choices to make.
Quebec-born ahead Alexis Lafreniere is projected to go first, adopted by both German ahead Tim Stuetzle and Ontario heart Quinton Byfield.
Beyond that’s when the guessing begins, with Detroit selecting fourth.
Though the coronavirus pandemic worn out the NHLs annual pre-draft scouting mix and compelled groups to satisfy prospects by way of video calls versus nose to nose, scouting staffs benefited from having extra time to pore over movie with the draft pushed again from the ultimate weekend of June.
Every group is in the identical boat. We all have the identical info so have been snug that we now have sufficient info to make good choices, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman mentioned. As far because the draft order, I do not know what’s going to occur earlier than us. We can assume. At the fourth choose, have been fairly excited no matter the way it performs out.
The following is a capsule take a look at seven prime prospects:
Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski, QMJHL), left wing, 6-foot-1, 193 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 1 North American skater
Last season: Led QMJHL with 112 factors (35 targets, 77 assists) in turning into first to win consecutive league MVP honors since Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 05. Member of Canadas gold-medal-winning world junior championship crew, and named match MVP.
Central Scouting Report: Exceptionally good participant with top-end pace and pull-away gear. … Executes beneath stress and has nice imaginative and prescient and anticipation.
Compared to: Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida.
Could go: 1st (New York Rangers) or 2nd (Los Angeles). From suburban Montreal, has probability to turn out to be first Quebec-born participant chosen No. 1 since Pittsburgh drafted goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003.
They mentioned it: They have a variety of good younger gamers, Lafreniere mentioned on chance of being drafted by Rangers. For positive its thrilling and effectively see what occurs.
Tim Stuetzle (Manheim, Germany), heart/left wing, 6-foot-1, 187 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 1 worldwide skater.
Last season: German professional league rookie of the yr with seven targets and 27 assists in 41 video games.
Central Scouting Report: A playmaking hockey artist with an excellent set of instruments together with pace, dekes, stickhandling, shot and hockey IQ. Creates one thing constructive on each shift.
Compared to: Patrick Kane, Chicago.
Could go: 2nd (Los Angeles) or third (Ottawa), with alternative to turn out to be third German-born and -trained participant drafted in prime 10.
They mentioned it: Yeah, my teammates all the time mentioned that to me, Stuetzle mentioned, on being in comparison with Kane. I believe its an enormous honor to me to be in comparison with these guys. I believe Im nonetheless far-off from them. So theres a variety of work approaching.
Quinton Byfield (Sudbury, OHL), heart, 6-foot-4, 215 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 2 North American skater
Last season: Led Sudbury and completed 14th in OHL with 82 factors (32 targets, 50 assists) in 45 video games.
Central Scouting Report: Powerful skater with breakaway pace. Excellent puck possession participant with superior imaginative and prescient, creativity and playmaking capacity. Heavy, correct shot that may overpower goaltenders. Physically prepared for the professional sport.
Compared to: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh.
Could go: 2nd or third.
They mentioned it: I wouldnt say hes an skilled. I nonetheless dont know if he is aware of whats actually taking place, Byfield mentioned of his father, who’s from Jamaica earlier than shifting to Canada. Hes simply an enormous fan of me and an enormous fan of hockey.
Jamie Drysdale (Erie, OHL), defenseman, 5-foot-11, 175 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 3 North American skater
Last season: Ranked 13th amongst OHL defensemen with 47 factors (9 targets, 38 assists) in 49 video games. Became simply ninth 17-year-old defenseman since 1991 to signify Canada at World Junior championships, the place he had a purpose and two assists in seven video games.
Central Scouting Report: Exceptional skater with a superb transition sport that may drive the play and push the tempo from the again finish. A two-way defenseman with wonderful offensive capacity.
Compared to: Cale Makar, Colorado.
Could go: Shouldnt fall beneath No. 6 (Anaheim).
They mentioned it: Having that chance to be put in a superb place within the semifinals the place I obtained to play a superb quantity of minutes was actually huge for me, Drysdale mentioned of taking part in at world juniors.
Jake Sanderson (USA U-18, National Team Development Program), defenseman, 6-foot-2, 185 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 4, North American skater
Last season: Captained U-18 crew, and led blue-liners with 29 factors (seven targets, 22 assists) in 47 video games.
Central Scouting Report: Excellent skater who performs all components of the sport at a fast tempo. Elite hockey sense permits him to be efficient on the assault and whereas defending.
Compared to: Charlie McAvoy, Boston.
Could go: Anywhere from No. 7 (New Jersey) and No. 13 (Carolina). Son of former NHL ahead Geoff Sanderson, and dedicated to taking part in at North Dakota.
They mentioned it: Obviously, have been effectively conscious of whos being paired with who particularly with regards to our prospects, Senators GM Pierre Dorion, on Sanderson becoming a member of a North Dakota blue line that options Ottawa prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker. Where ever he might fall within the draft, we all know hell be a superb NHL gamers down the highway.
Cole Perfetti (Saginaw, OHL), heart, 5-foot-10, 177 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 5 North American skater
Last season: Finished second in OHL with 111 factors (37 targets, 74 assists) in 61 video games. Scored each targets and added three extra in shootout in Canadas 3-2 win over Sweden in semifinal of 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Central Scouting Report: Puck abilities, imaginative and prescient and execution are on one other stage.
Compared to: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton.
Could go: Anywhere between No. 4 (Detroit) to No. 8 (Buffalo).
They mentioned it: Its huge for me as a result of I need to give again, Perfetti mentioned about being concerned in charitable causes in Saginaw. Without the neighborhood behind us and supporting us, we wouldnt have the ability to be a crew in Saginaw. … So its the least I can do to provide again within the areas that I can.
Marco Rossi (Ottawa, OHL), heart, 5-foot-9, 183 kilos.
NHL Central Scouting rating: No. 6 North American skater.
Last season: OHLs excellent participant of the yr with 39 targets and main Canadian Hockey League with 81 assists and 120 factors in 56 video games.
Central Scouting Report: Highly expert offensive participant. An wonderful skater that performs at a excessive tempo. High-end purpose scoring and playmaking capacity. … An enormous asset on each particular groups.”
Compared to: Brad Marchand, Boston.
Could go: Anywhere between picks No. 4 (Detroit) and No. 12 (Florida). Chance to turn out to be fifth Austrian-born participant chosen in first spherical.
They mentioned it: My dad misplaced two jobs in that point, Rossi mentioned of father, Michael, who would make 90-minute drive to Zurich over four-year interval for his son to attend follow. My dad, every thing he did for me, I worry I wouldnt be right here particularly with out my household.
AP Hockey Writers Stephen Whyno and Larry Lage and AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.
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