The 2020 NHL draft is right around the corner. Teams will begin to finalize their personal draft boards ahead of the two-day event. But today, I’m not concerned with those draft boards. I’m looking only at my own.
My mock draft typically weaves in team preferences and projects what I believe will happen, rather than what I think should happen. Not in this case. I’m playing GM in this mock draft for every team over the course of the first two rounds, making picks based on what I would do in each scenario. In other words, every team earns an “A” from me here, as they all make perfect selections in my opinion based on value, availability and need.
I organized this mock draft by team to illustrate how each franchise comes away satisfied, but you can also jump to the bottom to see the full 1-62 draft order. For a mock more accurately projecting how I expect the first round to play out, check out my Aug. 31 edition or be sure to check back in the days leading up to Round 1. But for now, here’s how I would personally make each pick and handle each team’s selections in Rounds 1 and 2.
Note: The Islanders, Penguins and Canucks do not hold a pick in the first two rounds. Additionally, the Coyotes surrendered their only pick in that range (No. 49) for combine testing violations. And lastly, picks Nos. 30-31 and 61-62 are projected based on regular-season standings for the final two teams still in contention for the Stanley Cup and could flip based on the result.
6. Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie (OHL)
27. Noel Gunler, RW, Lulea (Sweden)
36. Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)
The Ducks have built a steady prospect pool, but they could really use a game-breaker on defense. Drysdale has the potential to be just that. With where Anaheim is, the only way the Ducks don’t take a defenseman is if Drysdale and Jake Sanderson are already gone, but that is pretty unlikely.
Either way, this is a chance to address a key need while continuing to address a relatively talented and exciting group of young forwards already in the system. Gunler is a wild card in the draft but has notable skill, while Wiesblatt is a tenacious, speedy and skilled forward who fits stylistically with Anaheim and would provide good value at No. 36.
58. Kasper Simontaival, RW, Tappara Jr. (Finland Jr.)
With just one pick available to them in the opening two rounds, the Bruins probably will play it relatively safe. That’s not what I have them doing here, though. I think Simontaival is an exceptionally skilled player who will be undervalued due to his 5-foot-9, 177-pound size. Why not take a swing on skill? The Bruins desperately need more high-end skill in their system, and Simontaival could be a reasonable answer.