Rimouski Oceanic left-winger Alexis Lafrenière is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft while German left-winger Tim Stützle is the top-ranked skater on the international list.
The full rankings were released Wednesday after NHL Central Scouting met over video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its the first time in the 44-year history of the rankings that the list wasn’t compiled during in-person meetings.
The date and location of the 2020 NHL Draft remains unknown. The event was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but was postponed on March 25. The NHL scouting combine was postponed that same day.
Lafrenière is the first Rimouski player to be ranked No. 1 on Central Scouting’s final list since Sidney Crosby and like Crosby, he is expected to be the first player selected in the draft. He led the QMJHL with 112 points in 52 games this season, including 30 multi-point games. He also led Canada to gold at the World Juniors in the Czech Republic, scoring 10 points in five games.
“The natural competitive instincts and skills he displayed to take charge and lead Canada to victory put on display the determination, perseverance and passion that is part of his hockey DNA, which is truly exceptional and impressive,” NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said in a statement.
Top 10 North American Skaters
|4||Jake Sanderson||D||USA U-18||NTDP|
|8||Kaiden Guhle||D||Prince Albert||WHL|
Stützle made his debut in the DEL, Germany’s top men’s league, this season and had an immediate impact, being named rookie of the year after scoring seven goals and 34 points in 41 games for Mannheim. He is looking to become just the third German-born player selected in the top 10 of the NHL Draft, joining Leon Draisaitl (2014) and Moritz Seider (2019).
“Stützle played a very mature game the whole season and impressed more and more playing regular shifts with a top team,” NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said in a statement. “Tim had a big role on the team, used in all game situations… An exceptional talent with a great set of tools including speed and excellent understanding of the game.”
Top 10 International Skaters
|6||Helge Grans||D||Malmo Jr.||Sweden-Jr|
Other notable players on the Central Scouting rankings include:
• Jamie Drysdale of the OHL’s Erie Otters remains in the No. 3 spot among North American skaters and is the top defenceman. Helge Grans of Sweden is the top-ranked defenceman on the international list at No. 6, jumping up from No. 21 on the mid-term rankings.
• Defenceman Jake Sanderson of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team jumped up to No. 4 in North America after being ranked No. 11 in the mid-term rankings.
• Nico Daws of the OHL’s Guelph Storm is the top-ranked goalie in North America despite being passed over in each of the last two NHL Drafts. Yaroslav Askarov of Russia is the top-ranked international goalie.