16. Jacob Perreault RW – 5’11, 192 lb
Perreault has dazzled in the OHL this season for the Sarnia Sting, after following up on a rather impressive rookie campaign. Immediately what sticks out the most about his game is his heavy and accurate wrist shot. His shot, one of the top-3 shots in the draft, has the ability to get off rather quickly with a quick and strong release, but, even if it doesn’t find twine, goaltenders have fits trying to control them because of the spin and power of his wrist shots.
Perreault’s one-timer is lethal, especially on the powerplay. His playmaking is also quite good, as he uses the added coverage he receives due to the respect of his shot to then slide the puck over the opened man. For example of what I mean by respect his shot, just take a look at that bomb that Perreault uses from the same spot as former Sarnia Sting Steven Stamkos. He uses the same shooting mechanics: Shift in body weight, deep pull on the stick and exceptional release without hesitation. The signs of a natural goal scorer.
I’m convinced that Jacob Perreault has the best shot in the 2020 NHL Draft class. His one-timer will translate very well to a NHL power play. pic.twitter.com/EujhTRqhyt— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 7, 2020
Furthermore, Perreault posseses excellent speed and is able to beat defenders on the outside on the rush and using his strong centre of gravity to protect the puck and produce scoring chances. The sequence below shows exactly this, as Perreault is able to create something out of nothing through a good use of his frame and speed to get into the zone with speed, and unleash a deadly backhander.
The main reason why some people do not have Perreault very high is due to notions of maturity and consistency, as Perreault is a player that requires motivation in order to perform at his best. Obviously that could be concerning, but that’s what draft interviews and, later, good coaching is for. He could wind up being the best goalscorer in this draft when all is said and done. I would never hold a kid down for being a kid, and it could be said that Perreault learned his lesson very early in the season, as he was the best goal scorer in all major junior from November to March.
17. Mavrik Bourque C/RW – 5’10, 165 lbs
What sets Bourque apart from the other prospects in this draft is certainly his his combinations of skill, grit, determination and speed. He continues to impress scouts and fans across the QMJHL every night with his dazzling dekes and his great top-end speed. Bourque as a very high-end skill style, but is on the smaller side.
Deception is the key to Bourque’s game, as the opposition simply does not know what he is going to do, simply due to his incredible combination of speed and Hockey IQ and skill. I think he is one of the smartest overall players in this Draft, and that kind of hockey sense cannot be taught. He is able to check and play a gritty game, which bodes well for his NHL career, but I think he has far more untapped potential as a goal-scorer than many let on.
Check out this outrageous backhand pass Mavrik Bourque fired through two defenders. Makes that read and executes in what, a second? pic.twitter.com/ogKh5XTgwb— Will Scouch (@Scouching) September 3, 2020
Certainly see a similar trajectory to that of Anthony Beauvillier, with top-6C or RW (in Bourque’s case) potential.
18. Noel Gunler LW/RW – 6’2, 174 lbs
Gunler is a little under the radar for some folk due to his lack of participation in international tournaments for Sweden, but that has more to do with internal politics than it does talent. There have been some reports over the years in regards to certain attitude issues, but those have not inhibited him from being successful at the professional level in the SHL and the SuperElit league this season. In fact, many were extremely confused as to why Gunler, who was producing at the same pace as Alex Holtz in the SHL at 17-18, wasn’t on Sweden’s World Junior Roster; that’s how good Gunler is.
Playing primarily bottom-6 minutes for the top team in Sweden (Luleå), Gunler was still able to show off his great speed, strong puck possession, magic hands and killer shot. He is able to to use his speed to create separation between himself and oppositional defenders, which allows him more time and space to dangle or snipe a shot. His various offensive tools make him very deceptive, especially at high speed, and those skills are very likely to translate to the NHL.
Gunler’s shot, be it a wrist shot or a one-timer are also lethal, and what is impressive is how his shot gains so velocity on impact, despite a very quick release. He is able to create space for zone entries and unleash his monster wrist shot that always seems to go bar-down these days. He also has a good positional awareness in the offensive zone, finding holes in defensive coverage, freeing him up to release his devastating one-timer that many have compared to Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson. Think I’m exagerrating? Look at the sequence above. that’s an NHL-ready shot.
Yes, Noel Gunler is a hell of a shooter. I just want to see him shoot more (52 shots in SHL, averaging only a shot a game) pic.twitter.com/7O75omv91K— kyle pereira (@pereira_report) August 26, 2020
I’m not saying he’s as good as Pettersson, but he certainly has the offensive qualities (shot, speed, size, skill) and deceptiveness in his game to project as a scoring forward in the NHL with top-6 upside in the same style. Another incredibly solid winger that speaks volume to the high-end talent of this draft.
19. Lukas Reichel LW – 6’, 170 lbs
Jumping into the DEL for Eisbaren Berlin this season, Reichel’s strong work ethic and underrated vision have been on full display. He can fit in whatever role you provide him, be it a checker, a complimentary player to an offensive powerhouse in Tim Stutzle for the World Junior Championships, or a defensive forward during tight games.
Reichel can do it all, and quite effectively. Reichel is not just a checker though, as he has the offensive gifts, such as his very powerful wrist shot, especially off the rush,which allowed him to score 12 goals in his rookie year in the DEL. In the sequence above during the WOrld Juniors we see Reichel’s ability to turn on the jets rather quickly and help catch up to his streaking teammate to create a 2 on 1. However, what is more impressive is the slide-through power on his wrist shot and the precision it has to hit a low % hole in the goaltender’s coverage.
He’s incredibly gifted at maintaining puck possession in high-pressure situartions. He uses his frame effectively and has a motor that never ends, it allows him to create offensive chances through sheer determination and intelligent passing. In the sequence below, you get a clear idea of what Reichel is allow about.
Lukas Reichel is one of the most underrated players in this draft.— Evan (@Shattenkirk) May 13, 2020
Mini thread: (hope the quality holds up)
Strong play on the boards ➡️ Puck to the point ➡️ Instantly shows himself as an option ➡️ Approach he takes keeps the forwards stick out of the lane ➡️ Goal pic.twitter.com/ipJATVnhNq
I wouldn’t be surprised at seeing Reichel go higher, but ultimately felt players with better potential needed to be put ahead. However, in Reichel a team will get a potential top-6 player that is always in constant motion and rarely ever makes the wrong play, while possessing the smarts and skill to contribute offensively. Great value at this point in the draft.
20. Hendrix Lapierre C – 6’, 181 lbs
Hendrix Lapierre has the talent to be ranked 15th or 16th in anyone’s rankings. He has the vision and Hockey IQ to drive a line by himself, as he can attract double coverage towards him with his effective and mystifying stickhandling, before sending off a dish to a streaking forward for a zone exit or scoring chance. As evidence in this brilliant setup which led to a Cole Perfetti breakway at the Ivan Hlinka Gretzky Tournament last year, Lapierre is able to attract defenders as he bnegins to pick up speed. What makes Lapierre’s playmaking elite is how deceptive he is in his passing, fooling the defenseman that he was going to go left, but instead made a pass just to the defender’s right to a streaking Perfetti. Playmaking has always been Lapierre’s bread and butter.
However, what many scouts have yet to see is a consistent goal-scoring streak out of Lapierre. He scored a respectable 15 goals in his 16-yr old season in junior, but has reallly never been one to head to the dirty areas to finish the play. Thankfully, due to his training over the last 9 months (we’ll get to that) he is almost 20 lbs heavier and more prone to attack the play aggressively. If this pre-season rush is any indication of Lapierre’s newfound confidence, coupled with playing with 2020-eligible Dawson Mercer this season, he looks primed to shatter his goalscoring totals from 2 seasons ago, possibly even within the first half of the season.
Hendrix Lapierre is looking around 20lbs heavier. Happy to see that he’s starting to look for his own shot. He would have passed that puck 9 time out of 10 last year. The level of competition is really weak but he’s trending in the right direction. He might be in my next video👀 pic.twitter.com/hf97OE1VXd— Yannick St-Pierre (@DraftDynasty1) September 3, 2020
The biggest red flag is that Lapierre has been extremely injury prone since the start of his QMJHL career and has suffered some pretty serious concussions at a very young age. Now that it has been outed that it was more neck-related and that he is 100% (while having packed on some serious muscle since being inactive all of 2020) Lapierre looks ready to take the QMJHL by storm with running mate Dawson Mercer. Early signs in the pre-season bode well for the young C, but that risk remains hence why he’s ranked 20th.