6. Anaheim Ducks: Jamie Drysdale RD – 5’11, 170 lbs
Jamie Drysdale is an absolute stud, which sounds weird coming from the guy that ranked him at 9th on his list. His skating and speed is eerily similar to top-Ds in past drafts. He is able to use his speed and vision to escape coverage at the blue-line and then fearlessly attack the slot for a quick and powerful wrist-shot, or a slick pass to the forward, hiding backdoor, for a tap-in.
Jamie Drysdale walks right in, doesn’t even take his shoes off.pic.twitter.com/z6OMCojBoA— #WorldJuniors (@HC_WJC) January 4, 2020
He isn’t afraid to join in on the cycle game along the boards and he explodes off the boards in order to transition the puck along the far boards or seek the open man in the slot for a quick scoring chance.
Drysdale would bring a significant boost to the Ducks’ defensive corps moving forward, as they are currently rather thing at RD, while having a plethora of offensive pieces in Zegras, Steel, Tracey and more. He would be able to be paired up with Cam Flowler down the road, and being matched with a team intent on icing a club filled with skill and speed. That is the perfect environment for Drysdale to grow and thrive in.
Here, basketball meets hockey.— Evan (@Shattenkirk) July 5, 2020
In basketball, the tighter you play a player the more physical you need to be.
If you play a guy this soft you’re vulnerable to a seamless pick and a quick change of direction like what happens here vs Jamie Drysdale.#2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/pF5MROJqzT
7. New Jersey Devils: Cole Perfetti C/LW – 5’10, 185 lbs
Cole Perfetti has been a joy to watch for the Saginaw Spirit since he first laced up his skates with them in October 2018. He has grown into one of the best offensive talents, due to his powerful wrist shot and elite-level vision. Perfetti is one of those offensive players that can score that clutch goal for you at exactly the right time, no matter the situation.
Although he does not have elite speed like other prospects in the top-end of this draft, Perfetti has elite Hockey IQ and always seems to find open ice for himself due to his deceptiveness and soft hands. This makes him extremely hard to cover and defend on the rush, while also making him a lethal threat on the powerplay.
Cole Perfetti has been all about that apple sauce this year, but his shot remains deadly af.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 15, 2020
2 more goals tonight and he’s up to 95 points (33+62) in 52 OHL games – 2nd most in the league. pic.twitter.com/cCZPPJb0Us
I believe Perfetti has that dual threat ability and is a perfect compliment to other talented players (notably players like Hughes or Hischier) and has the shooting mechanics to both start and finish their plays (a huge issue for the Devils this season). Ultimately, I believe the Devils will be able to get themselves a right-handed shooter later in the draft, and felt they needed to go BPA at this point.
8. Buffalo Sabres: Jack Quinn RW – 6’, 176lbs
Jack Quinn can honestly go anywhere from 5th overall to 16th overall depending on the order of the draft and what scouting teams say. When presented with the board, I debated heavily between Marco Rossi, Alex Holtz and Jack Quinn, but ultimately felt like Buffalo would want the scoring winger that could impact the game in all three zones and in any situation (PK, PP 5 on 5). He is seen by many as the best goal-scorer in this draft due to his 52 goals this season. No disrespect to Alexander Holtz, who has an absolute laser of a shot that I find to be more precise, but Quinn’s shot has the velocity and power to be deadly at the next level. One thing that is different this year, and has afforded him much more success, is the release of his shot. He is able to let his shot go at a much faster rate and that makes him extremely deadly in the slot with time and space
Jack Quinn or the Flash?— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) December 21, 2019
Long stride and quality crossovers propel Quinn down the ice. Skates by two Generals on the way to the net. #2020NHLDraft | @DobberProspects | @FCHockey pic.twitter.com/39nA2202YL
Quinn is easily one of the best pure goal-scorers available in the upcoming draft (along with the likes of Perreault, Holtz and Rossi), but he could possibly have the best overall shot in the Draft. No disrespect to Alexander Holtz, who has an absolute laser of a shot that I find to be more precise, but Quinn’s shot has the velocity and power to be deadly at the next level.
One thing that is different this year, and has afforded him much more success, is the release of his shot. He is able to let his shot go at a much faster rate and that makes him extremely deadly in the slot with time and space. In the video below, you can see him receive a pass, fake a toe-drag and eventually unleash a cannon of a shot in the top-corner. His shot is able to rise and fly at such a rate that the goaltender, who was admittedly screened, had absolutely no chance of stopping.
Look at this power play snipe! Jack Quinn’s shot release is electric. pic.twitter.com/EdSrYEKw0M— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) March 25, 2020
I said that I would not put it passed a GM looking for a player with good size and huge growth potential to snatch Quinn up as in the top-10 and I stand by this statement. The Buffalo Sabres want players that are going to be able to contribute sooner rather than later, and they want players that are going to make a difference at both sides of the ice. I strongly believe that, coupled with 2019 7th overall Dylan Cozens, the Sabres will finally have the secondary scoring they’ve been lacking for the better part of a decade.
9. Minnesota Wild: Marco Rossi C/LW – 5’9, 187 lbs
Marco Rossi is one of the most unique prospects in this draft, because, save for his height, he is the total package on the ice. This young man can burn you offensively and defensively and was the most dominant player in the OHL this season (including Perfetti and Byfield). However, it is worth noting that the 5’9 Austrian is one of the oldest players in the draft (almost 11 months older than Quinton Byfield) and his offensive performances, according to some, need to be taken with a grain of salt. This is a fair point, however Marco Rossi led all Canadian Major Junior in scoring (all three leagues combined) with 39 goals and 81 assists for 120 points in just 56 games. Even if you were to compare him to players drafted in 2018 or 2019, Marco Rossi was a superior player in almost all facets except goal-scoring.
Another point of contention with Rossi is that he played for the best team in major junior, the Ottawa 67s. This is indeed true, but the 67s have been a powerhouse for two years now in large part because Marco Rossi has been their roster. Even as a 17-year old, Rossi was the driving force in Ottawa’s push for the OHL championship, and the only player that could effectively shut down Rossi last year was the eventual MVP, Nick Suzuki, who was 2 years older. This year, Rossi exploded right out of the gate and took the league over with his great speed, his elite vision and his exceptional hockey IQ. If there is one player that I believe can shock the entire hockey world and jump into the top-5 of this draft, it is Marco Rossi.
Although Rossi is listed at 5’9, he plays like he’s 6’2. The young man is strong on his skates, protects the puck exceptionally well and is able to create offense with very little effort. I believe he will ultimately fall due to other team’s needs and their fear of drafting another small player. Minnesota, who passed on Cole Caufield last year to select Matt Boldy, will likely go for the most talented player available at this point in the draft due to having the big bodies in place to properly insulate a player like Rossi.
10. Winnipeg Jets: Alexander Holtz LW/RW – 5’11, 181 lbs
What?! Don’t the Jets need a #2 centre or a right-handed defenseman at this point? With the rumours of both Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers being potentially available, I felt that the Jets would look to be drafting their replacement in this draft, as any trade for either player should return a valuable piece or package.
Make no mistake about it, Alex Holtz is a 30-goal scorer in the making! On pure skill alone, Holtz is a top-10 talent, and here’s why.
Holtz has two major things going for him, he has great hockey IQ, which allows him to read plays extremely well and find open spaces for him to attack and unleash his cannon of a shot. That it be his slap shot, wrist shot, one-timer, it really doesn’t matter. Holtz will find a way to burn you. In fact, Holtz thrives on the powerplay, mainly due to his shot (see sequence above). He is able to find open space, set-up and transfer his weight seamlessly into a powerful one-timer that will remind many people of Steven Stamkos in style.
However, what I have also noticed is that, although Holtz is a triggerman, the extra coverage he receives has forced him to also develop the playmaking side of his game, and this is really where Holtz separates himself from other goal-scorers in this draft. He can be extremely hard to track, and his offensive tools make him a threat at all times.
The hands, shot and speed of Holtz are elite. I have no doubt he will become a can’t-miss, top-6 forward in the NHL moving forward, as he continues to use his precise and powerful wrist shot to mystify opposing goalies. He would instantly fill the hole that will be left from the trading of either Nikolaj Ehlers or, should it come to it, Patrik Laine. I strongly believe that if either are traded, it will be to fill the holes in the Jets’ lineup instantly, allowing the Jets to pick whom I believe to be the best scoring winger available at this rank.