What was expected to be a dominant theme heading in the 2020 NHL Draft turned out to be an overwhelming one by the end of the first round. Considered a deep draft, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) was projected to have a big presence in the opening round. My initial prediction was that a total of 16 CHL picks would be taken in the first round – 8 from the OHL, 5 WHL, and 3 QMJHL selections.
In the end, my prediction was conservative as 19 of 31 (60%) 1st round picks originated from the CHL including 7 players from each of the WHL and OHL, as well as 5 QMJHL selections. A big statement.
Headlining the QMJHL class was New York Ranger 1st overall pick, Alexis Lafrenière from the Rimouski Océanic. After Lafrenière was Chicoutimi Saguenéens F Dawson Mercer (18th) – taken by the New Jersey Devils. Mercer’s teammate, F Hendrix Lapierre (22nd) was taken by the Washington Capitals Local product and Halifax Moosehead D Justin Barron was selected 25th overall by the Colorado Avalanche. Finally, Shawinigan Cataractes F Mavrik Bourque was taken by the 30th overall by the Dallas Stars.
The OHL had a big opening night. Impressively, 5 OHL players were taken in the top 10 selections including:
Quinton Byfield – C, Sudbury Wolves – 2nd overall, LA Kings
Jamie Drysdale – D, Erie Otters – 6th overall, Anaheim Ducks
Jack Quinn – F, Ottawa 67’s – 8th overall, Buffalo Sabres
Marco Rossi – F, Ottawa 67’s – 9th overall, Minnesota Wild
Cole Perfetti – F, Saginaw Spirit – 10th overall, Winnipeg Jets
Additionally, Barrie Colt F Tyson Foerster was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers with the 23rd overall selection. The last and seventh player taken from the OHL was right winger Jacob Perreault from the Sarnia Sting who was selected by Anaheim with the 27th overall selection. Big evening for the OHL!
While the first WHL player, Seth Jarvis, was not taken until the 13th overall selection by the Carolina Hurricanes; the WHL finished strong. In addition to Jarvis the WHL saw these players selected last evening:
Kaiden Guhle – D, Prince Albert Raiders – 16th overall – Montreal Canadiens
Braden Schneider – D, Brandon Wheat Kings – 19th overall – New York Rangers
Connor Zary – F, Kamloops Blazers – 24th overall – Calgary Flames
Jake Neighbors – F, Edmonton Oil Kings – 26th overall – St. Louis Blues
Ridly Greig – F, Brandon Wheat Kings – 28th overall – Ottawa Senators
The last WHL player selected with the final pick of the first round was Prince Albert Raider F, Ozzy Wieslbatt, taken by the San Jose Sharks. For those that may not have seen the reaction and background story – it is well worth a look. Great reaction and could not be happier for the Calgary family.
Quite a night for the Canadian Hockey League and it’s three member leagues. What will be the dominant theme for rounds 2 through 7? Stay tuned for more coverage on NHLTT.
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