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Lightning Round: TSN’s Bob McKenzie releases final ranking for the 2020 NHL Draft

Alexis Lafreniere remains the top-ranked player

2018 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday, TSN’s Draft Expert Bob McKenzie released his consolidated ranking for the 2020 NHL Draft. In a season which he called the “most unprecedented of National Hockey League seasons“, Alexis Lafreniere ended up on first place, as was expected. You can check the full ranking by clicking the link below.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many important events were cancelled, including the 2020 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, which has been one of the most vital tournaments for every draft class. The NHL Central Scouting Combine has been cancelled as well, which left teams and their staff without personal meetings with prospects. It leads us to another issue that many players might be under-scouted and final consideration will be based on early scout reports.

“Not having the [NHL CSB] combine really hurts, too,” a third scout added. “We’ve been able to schedule a lot of Zoom interviews to replace the face-to-face meetings we would have had at the combine, and that part has worked out pretty well, but what I feel is really missing is our own doctor or [athletic] trainers being able to get hands-on reporting on the prospects. You often learn a lot from that and now we’re left to take medical or physical reports from doctors or trainers we don’t know.”

The organizational issues are the another problem. It’s already late June and the exact date of the draft isn’t confirmed yet. Many sources say it will be late October-early November.

“I know we lost so much by all the spring playoffs being washed out,” a scout said, “but if the draft isn’t until October or November, and the European leagues or maybe even the junior leagues are starting up in September or October, we could be watching [the 2020 class] again for another month or two before the draft. It’s bizarre, really. We all have our final lists done, but what do you do with those lists if some of the players on them starting playing the new season? How do you blend what you saw last season and what you’re seeing now, and what if it’s only the Europeans who are playing?”

Bob McKenzie’s final rankings has always considered as ones of the most accurate and close to actual draft rankings.

If you’re interested in what player are the Tampa Bay Lightning might be looking for this Draft, you can check articles from our own draft expert Lauren. In May she examined the Lightning’s trends from latest drafts and looked at some potential selections for this year’s draft. The Lightning’s first selection will be in the second half of the second round after trading both of their first round picks at the trade deadline.

Other News and Notes

The NHL allowed teams to expand groups for on-ice workouts for Phase 2 to 12 people. Given the recent situations at such teams like Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes, when several players and staff workers have tested positive for COVID-19, this decision sounds a little bit absurd. Steven Stamkos has also expressed some doubt in his Twitter page.

Per Elliotte Friedman, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to extend players contracts to October 31 for players whosecontracts were set to expire on June 30. The date hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.

To continue the draft related news, here is the article from the Athletic’s Scott Wheeler, who shared his list of ten players who aren’t considered very high for the 2020 NHL Draft but could bring a significant impact [The Athletic, paid content]

Last year, Arthur Kaliyev and Bobby Brink, who ranked 13th and 14th on my board, were selected 33rd and 34th, respectively. Anttoni Honka and Patrik Puistola, who finished at 20th and 22nd on my list, went 83rd and 73rd to the Hurricanes. My 53rd-ranked prospect, Mikhail Abramov, didn’t hear his name called by the Maple Leafs until 115th overall. Billy Constantinou (No. 67 on my final ranking) and Xavier Simoneau (No. 79) didn’t hear their names called at all.

The Orlando Solar bears have acquired defenseman Tommy Panico from the Newfoundlands Growlers for future considerations. Panico is a 25-year-old left-handed defenseman. he spent the 2019-20 with the Growlers, recording 4 points in 39 games.

Veteran forward Chris Thorburn announced his retirement. He played 801 games in the NHL, most recently with the St. Louis Blues and spent the last season in the AHL.