NHL Draft AMA with Sam Cosentino: Is Askarov worth risking a high pick for?

Sam Cosentino discusses three top prospects to keep an eye on during the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Yaroslav Askarov, Hendrix Lapierre and Jack Quinn.

The 2020 NHL Draft is only days away and all the biggest storylines surrounding this year's class will finally be resolved, months later than originally planned.

Before the action gets underway, Sportsnet's draft insider Sam Cosentino took your questions in a Reddit AMA, offering some insight into which players will go where and which teams could make headlines at this year's draft.

Here are some of the best questions and answers, which have been slightly edited for clarity, from the AMA.

Who do you think has the potential to be the "next" Point or Kucherov in that they're passed over by a round or two and then completely shock us?

I think Tristen Robins from the Saskatoon Blades is a good bet. I like Helge Grans, but he's already being considered in the back end of the first. Another I like is Luke Evangelista of London. I hold Luke and Tristen in the highest regard for having seen them live on several occasions.

Do you think Yaroslav Askarov is worth a high first round selection with goalies being so hit and miss?

I don't like taking goalies in the first round. I believe as a GM, the shelf-life is short and the likelihood of you having that goalie impact your team will outlast your tenure as GM... If you do hit, then it's a grand slam. With the depth in this draft, I would definitely not consider him inside of 10.

At what point does the talent level drop off? I've heard that this draft is extremely deep, but just how good is it?

I would say 50 would be a reasonable cut off. I had a very difficult time with getting my top 31.

If you had to compare Connor Zary to an NHLer today, who would it be?

Anthony Cirelli... Can play in all situations, loves the big moment, and has skill enough to be effective at even strength. I think Cirelli is a PK guy, where Zary would be a PP guy.

Do you think LA is going to take Tim Stutzle or Quinton Byfield?

Stutzle, I do believe he's more NHL ready, but Byfield hasn't yet scratched the surface, so there is massive growth potential there.

Do you still think Cole Perfetti to Detroit is a likely outcome or has Lucas Raymond cut into that dance?

I think there is too much synergy for Perfetti not to go to Detroit, but the Red Wings would be getting a great player if Raymond cut into that dance.

How do you rank some of the European junior leagues compared to North American junior leagues?

The system (in Europe) is completely different and as a result, I think our junior leagues are better here and outside of the CHL, I do believe the BCHL is held in high regard in the scouting community. The AJHL has produced great players of late as well, with Dylan Holloway part of that next wave.

Assuming the Canadiens don't deal their pick, is there any indication where they are leaning towards with their 1st round pick?

Hendrix Lapierre might be in the mix but it does come with risk that I think Montreal can afford at this point in time. Seth Jarvis fits the profile of recent offensively skilled players that Montreal has drafted.

How consistently can hockey sense/IQ be evaluated? I ask because a lot of the top end of the draft are guys without special size or speed but have high skill and sense.

I do believe that is in the eye of the beholder to a certain extent. I believe by going back and watching video, which all teams have done to a great extent, that you can see this. Nothing replaces live viewings, but video allows you to go back to the start or end of plays that you might have not otherwise seen. This draft is loaded with many players exhibiting that trait.

If the Oilers keep there pick who do you think are the players that would make sense for them?

Askarov makes sense to me because Ken Holland has always been patient with prospects and he has a great track record with drafting Russian players from his time in Detroit... Others I would consider would be Kaiden Guhle and Braden Schneider on D, and Seth Jarvis, Dawson Mercer and Anton Lundell up front.

Given the pandemic and fears of another shutdown especially here in Canada with Montreal and Quebec already red zoned, do you think the CHL could cancel its season, and if it does, do you think that will lead teams to be less willing to draft from areas that might have their seasons cancelled? This question is regarding both the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

Great question... I think all sports are in a day-by-day mode, just look at what happened in the seemingly infallible NFL today? Unless supported by government funding I don't believe the CHL can go an entire season without fans. I do not think this deters teams from taking players expected to play in the CHL.

The 2021 draft or 2003 born players are an entirely different story. They've already missed out on the Hlinka and the WJAC and depending on what happens in the CHL, it could be very difficult to get a good book on this group of players. I do think there is some benefit for the 2003 born players that are already on the ice.

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