The dust has finally settled on the 2020 NHL draft. We know the Ducks, Kings and Rangers, in particular, did really well in their selections. But what next for this class? Grading each team’s haul aside, what do the new draft picks mean for each team’s system and future?
After gathering my thoughts after last week’s draft, I take a deeper look at some of the aftermath. Which teams have a new No. 1 prospect in their systems? Which prospects fit perfectly with their new NHL franchises, and which have a good deal of development time ahead? What are we hearing from around the league about the outcome of the draft, and which picks present the best value in each of the seven rounds? We get into it all. Let’s begin with the clubs that immediately insert a new name atop their prospect pool.
TEAMS WITH A NEW TOP PROSPECT
Drafted: No. 1
The Rangers have picked up a new top prospect in each of the past two seasons, but Lafreniere is especially exciting. His physical readiness, maturity and skill set should all make him a bigger instant-impact player than Kaapo Kakko was a season ago. The Rangers are now loaded on the left side with Lafreniere joining Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin and veteran Chris Kreider.
With Kakko graduated from prospect status, Lafreniere ascends to the top of a system that is already loaded. Future No. 1 goaltender Igor Shesterkin is right behind the most recent No. 1 overall pick (and he will likely graduate in short time from prospect status), but there’s also a lot of excitement surrounding the futures of Vitali Kravtsov and K’Andre Miller. The top tier of the Rangers’ system is about as good as any in the league.
Drafted: No. 2