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2020 NHL Draft: The midseason top 31 rankings

A lot has changed since the preseason...

2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Hello again! It’s your resident NHL Draft maniac, back again with another edition of 2020 NHL Draft rankings.

Originally, it wasn’t my intention to do a midseason ranking — at least, not when I sat down in September to compile a preseason rank. However, as the hockey season has gone on, and my list started to wildly deviate from what I had posted back in September, I decided to throw caution to the wind and put out a midseason edition.

Now, I’m far from the only person to have done one. I recommend checking out the midseason rankings at Future Considerations, Dobber Prospects, Elite Prospects, and obviously Bob McKenzie’s (when they come out), done by actual experts and not fanatics like myself. Derek from Defending Big D also put out a great and way more in-depth midseason ranking, which I also recommend you take a look at if you haven’t already!

Please note that these are just my opinions, and while I did look at other rankings to compare, my midseason rank is based off of my own observations (unlike the preseason rank).

What’s Changed?

A lot, for starters. Yes, I still call this draft incredibly deep — so much so that ten of the players I had on my list for the preseason didn’t land on the midseason rank. That’s not to say that those players aren’t first round talents, because many of them are. But there are only so many draft picks in the first round.

Three players stayed the same in my rankings from preseason to midseason. Alexis Lafreniere has done nothing to lose hold of his top spot — he still leads the QMJHL in scoring with 76 points in 36 games, despite taking almost an entire month off to win gold and tournament MVP honours at the World Juniors.

I kept Anton Lundell (5) and Cole Perfetti (6) in the same ranks as well. Neither played at the World Juniors (Lundell due to injury, while Perfetti was a late cut at the Canadian camp), but their performances for their club teams this season speak for themselves. Lundell has 16 points in 24 games at the Finnish men’s level, and despite the fact that there’s such a disparity among scouts and draft experts with where he should fall in the first round, I believe he’s a top-5 talent. Perfetti can’t seem to stop putting up points in the OHL, as his 75 points in 43 games with Saginaw leads the team in scoring by a wide margin.

I flipped Quinton Byfield and Lucas Raymond at 2 and 3. Neither player blew me away at the World Juniors (though in Byfield’s case, it was pretty hard to stand out with about four minutes of ice time), but there’s no denying what Byfield has been doing in the OHL this season. His 67 points in 35 games this season with Sudbury are just the tip of the iceberg — Byfield seemingly has no weaknesses to his game.

Players Who Dropped

The ten players who fell out of the top 31 (for the midseason, at least), were Justin Sourdif (14), Jean-Luc Foudy (16), Antonio Stranges (17), Will Cuylle (18), Vasily Ponomaryov (21), Kaiden Guhle (23), Ty Smilanic (27), Connor McClennon (28), Tyler Kleven (29), and Jake Neighbours (30). You could definitely make the argument for why an NHL team could take any of these ten in the first round, but they’ve been passed by others based on season performances (although taking Stranges and Guhle out of my ranking physically pained me).

Justin Barron is probably the biggest fall, as far as players who still made both lists. He dropped from ninth to 22nd. A large part of the decision is because he’s not playing right now — Barron is out indefinitely as he recovers from a blood clot. With him out of game action, he’s being passed by other draft-eligible defensemen, like Jamie Drysdale (8), Jeremie Poirier (16), Braden Schneider (19), and Lukas Cormier (20).

Biggest Risers

Tim Stutzle (4) made the biggest jump on my list, moving 11 spots between rankings. He’s also risen on a lot of other rankings, and while it’s never a good idea to make decisions on a prospect’s performance at one tournament, he was phenomenal for Germany at the World Juniors. Outside of that, though, Stutzle has 27 points in 28 games in the DEL this season, which is the third-most points all-time by a U-18 skater in Germany’s top league.

Jeremie Poirier (16) from St. John’s jumped ten spots, from 26 on the preseason ranking. The smooth-skating defenseman has excellent offensive instincts but is just as reliable in his own end. Kamloops’ Connor Zary (15) moved up seven spots and was at one point leading the WHL in scoring. He’s currently riding a five-game point streak (that has seen him put up six goals and six assists) and sits fifth in WHL scoring with 59 points in 53 games.

Midseason Top 31

Let’s not drag this out any longer. Here’s the final list, and I’m always open to a healthy debate or answering any questions you may have in the comments or on Twitter.

2020 Midseason Draft Ranking

Midseason Rank Preseason Rank Player Date of Birth Position Team (League) Height Weight
Midseason Rank Preseason Rank Player Date of Birth Position Team (League) Height Weight
1 1 Alexis Lafreniere October 11, 2001 LW Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) 6’1 192
2 3 Quinton Byfield August 19, 2002 C Sudbury Wolves (OHL) 6’4 214
3 2 Lucas Raymond March 28, 2002 RW/LW Frolunda (SHL) 5’10 165
4 15 Tim Stutzle January 15, 2002 C Adler Mannheim (DEL) 5’11 165
5 5 Anton Lundell October 3, 2001 C/LW HIFK (Liiga) 6’1 183
6 6 Cole Perfetti January 1, 2002 C Saginaw Spirit (OHL) 5’10 185
7 4 Alexander Holtz January 23, 2002 RW/LW Djurgardens IF (SHL) 6’0 183
8 10 Jamie Drysdale April 8, 2002 RD Erie Otters (OHL) 5’11 165
9 12 Marco Rossi September 23, 2001 C Ottawa 67’s (OHL) 5’9 179
10 7 Yaroslav Askarov June 16, 2002 G SKA-Neva (VHL) 6’3 163
11 8 Dylan Holloway September 23, 2001 LW Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA) 6’1 192
12 13 Noel Gunler October 7, 2001 RW/LW Lulea HF (SHL) 6’1 176
13 NR Dawson Mercer October 27, 2001 RW Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) 6'0 179
14 NR Jan Mysak June 24, 2002 LW Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) 6'0 176
15 22 Connor Zary September 25, 2001 C Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 6'0 174
16 26 Jeremie Poirier June 2, 2002 LD Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) 6'0 192
17 NR Jacob Perreault April 15, 2002 C Sarnia Sting (OHL) 5'11 198
18 11 Hendrix Lapierre February 9, 2002 C Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) 6’0 165
19 25 Braden Schneider September 20, 2001 RD Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) 6’2 209
20 NR Lukas Cormier March 27, 2002 LD Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) 5'10 170
21 24 Rodion Amirov October 2, 2001 LW Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL) 6’0 168
22 9 Justin Barron November 15, 2001 RD Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) 6’2 187
23 NR Roni Hirvonen January 10, 2002 C Assat (Liiga) 5'9 163
24 19 Kasper Simontaival January 11, 2002 RW Tappara (Liiga) 5’9 172
25 NR Emil Andrae February 23, 2002 LD HV71 (SuperElit) 5'9 183
26 20 Zion Nybeck May 12, 2002 RW HV71 (SHL) 5’8 176
27 31 Mavrik Bourque January 8, 2002 C Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) 5’10 165
28 NR Seth Jarvis February 1, 2002 RW Portland Winterhawks (WHL) 5'10 172
29 NR Jake Sanderson July 8, 2002 LD USNTDP 6'1 185
30 NR Jaromir Pytlik September 25, 2001 C Soo Greyhounds (OHL) 6'3 196
31 NR William Wallinder July 28, 2002 LD MODO Hockey (Allsvenskan) 6'4 192
All statistics and player information from Elite Prospects.