16. Montreal Canadiens: Seth Jarvis RW – 5’10, 172 lbs
The 5’10 172 lbs offensive dynamo for the Portland Winterhawks has been on an absolute mission this season, posting 42 goals and 56 assists for 98 points in just 58 games. However, his rise is due primarily to his offensive production is the highest in all three Canadian junior leagues since January 1st. In his 37 games prior, Jarvis put up an impressive 49 points in 37 games and had many ranking him in the mid-to-late 1st round. However, as of January, the young man absolutely took off, scoring 22 goals and adding 27 assists in just 21 games. That’s a rate of over 2.3 points per game, and the highest in all of the CHL during this period of time!
Jarvis is dangerous because of his deception. He is able to keep defenders guessing, while using his strong edgework to shift directions in mid-stride to escape coverage and attack the net. The Canadiens need another high-octane winger capable of taking over games with his speed and skill. Most fans would prefer a player with more size, but you simply cannot pass up on that kind of talent at this rank.
So why would a team let Jarvis fall? Same reason Brayden Point fell in his draft year, despite being the best WHL scorer of his class: there are fears of players peaking out of nowhere (similarly to Jack Quinn) or concerns over his size, which has made many scouting agencies reluctant to give Jarvis true top-10 recognition. Even Bob MacKenzie stopped short of putting Jarvis in his top -10 in his Final Draft Rankings. Seeing 2-3 teams opt for defenseman and a goalie, similarly to 2019, could push talented players like he and Mercer down the pecking order, to the delight of Habs fans in this case.
17. Chicago Blackhawks: Dawson Mercer C/RW – 6’, 178 lbs
Dawson Mercer has been an offensive force over the last two seasons in the QMJHL. He has deceptive speed, awesome hands and provides clutch performances when his team most needs him. Mercer is one of those forwards coaches love to have on their roster when they’re down a goal, as he plays a high-tempo, speed and skill game, while also not shying away from the dirty areas or the front of the net.
For me the main qualities that Mercer has are elite Hockey IQ, I mean top-5 in this draft elite, a ridiculous set of hands and a motor that never stops. It is very rare to ever see Dawson Mercer take a game off, while constantly being tasked with shutting down the best players on the other team (was quite effective vs Lafrenière for example). However, as good as Mercer can be defensively, his offense is truly what shines for me. Even in defensive situations, as evidence by the sequence below, Mercer is able to strip players of the puck and head off for breakaways. His skating technique is good enough to create separation between he and the defenders, and then he is able to use his precise shot to bury it home.
Mercer can play both centre, as well as RW. He has a strong, and always coveted, right-handed shot, and possesses really good Hockey IQ. Mercer was one of the more underrated prospects in this draft in my opinion because he does everything well, but doesn’t have the flash or top-speed of other prospects in this draft. Mercer knows where to be on the ice and constantly positions himself in the most optimal ways to break-up or start a play
Where I believe this is attractive for Chicago is that they view Mercer as a long-term solution at #2 C playing behind 2019 3rd overall pick Kirby Dach or can be the missing right-handed shot they need at RW in the top-6. Many people are throwing Patrice Bergeron comparisons at Dawson Mercer, due to his strong 200-foot game and his penchant for scoring big goals, but I see more of a Jordan Eberle vibe to him. I would go as far to say that, if Mercer is able to improve his skating and explosivity in a notably way, he could easily end up as a top-10 player in this draft 5 years from now. Exactly what the doctor ordered for Chicago.
18. New Jersey Devils (via Coyotes): Helge Grans RD – 6’2, 183 lbs
Helge Grans would be that right-shot defenseman that excels in transition and moving the puck quickly and efficiently. The Devils already have Ty Smith and Kevin Bahl on the left side, and so Helge Grans, who deserves to be taken at this spot, seems like a very logical pick.
Grans is a really intriguing prospect for many reasons. He has ideal size (6’2) and is very strong at moving the puck up the ice. The young rearguard doesn’t possess great speed, but he has wide strong strides that allow him to cover ice quite well. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but his long strides power him up the ice in a way that compensates for his lack of explosivity. This will come in handy on smaller ice, especially to box out opponents defensively.
Grans has very good vision and is able to man a powerplay quite well. Grans’ 4 goals and 23 assists for 27 points in as many games in the SuperElit legue for Malmö’s J-20 league was quite impressive and in his 21 games with Malmö’s main roster team, Grans put up 1 goal and 2 assists, which is respectable for a 17-year-old, he was able.
Grans’ shooting tools are also quite good for a defenseman, as his wrist shot is quite powerful and precise, while his one-timer (still needs work) is able to get off quite quickly. So far in this pre-season (and early season) Grans has been far more aggressive with the play and has actively begun sliding himself in the backdoor for more offensive chances.
He projects as two-way top-4 D that can command the puck and move it in a hurry. The drafting style of the Devils has recently been focused on players that can move the puck quickly and efficiently through all three zones, while also covering significant amounts of the ice. Thus, Grans would be a perfect compliment to that style and could be the ideal partner for Ty Smith moving forward.
19 Calgary Flames: Dylan Holloway C/LW – 6’1, 203 lbs
Dylan Holloway is a good value pick for the Flames here, whom many believe to be a little soft at forward at the moment. They are strong enough on the backend, but certainly would be looking at a player that could compliment a group consisting of Gaudreau, Pelletier, Dube and Monahan down the road. This is where Holloway’s combination of size and skill could come in handy for the Flames.
Dylan Holloway doesn’t necessarily play a physical game, but he can use his already very mature physique (6’1, 203 lbs) to create space for himself. He is an adept playmaker, capable of using his long reach and strong centre of gravity to attract defensive players and create passing lanes for himself in tight. He also has very underrated speed and agility for a guy his size, making him increasingly hard to cover when at full speed, which forces defensemen to back off in order to reassess their coverage of him.
As a true freshman in the NCAA (only turned 18 a month into the season), Holloway quickly found himself in the top-6 of a young Wisconsin Badgers club and often played top-line centre duty with Montreal’s Cole Caufield. By the end of the season, Holloway had grown far more comfortable on the left wing, his likely position at the next level.
Dylan Holloway !! He’s big and such a powerful skater, with silky hands and nice vision. He could very well jump in the NHL next year. Very complete and mature game. #Wisconsinbadgers #DylanHolloway #NHLDraft2020 pic.twitter.com/CWW4ldUjSm— Yannick St-Pierre (@DraftDynasty1) October 20, 2019
Although he put up a very respectable 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points in 35 games, scouting circles question whether his lack of goal-scoring tools and penchant for passing might make him too predictable to be a strong offensive producer at the next level. I personally see a top-6 winger that will be able to compliment any line the Flames put him on, while providing a sounds tow-way game. No brainer at this point in the draft.
20. New Jersey Devils (via Canucks): Jacob Perreault RW – 5’11, 192 lb
After using their 7th overall pick to select Cole Perfetti, the Devils really need to prepare for the departure of Kyle Palmieri and acquire a right-handed scorer that will bump Nolan Foote onto the 2nd line down the road. Enter Jacob Perreault!
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
With Perreault, the Devils would get a bonafide goal scorer to add to the right of Hughes or Hischier for years to come. Perreault’s natural shooting gifts put alongside an elite playmaker could be a recipe for disaster for the Metropolitan divisions, especially if he can continue scoring at his torrid pace before the ”Pause”.