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NHL releases their final draft rankings

Their four lists are ready for you to use to go shopping. Canada Post will deliver your draft choice to the nearest post office for you to pick up.

2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, final: Canada 4 - 3 Russia Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

NHL Central Scouting (NCS) releases their draft rankings every year in four lists: North American Skaters, International Skaters, North American Goalies and International Goalies. The distinction is based on where a player is currently playing, so you may recall Auston Matthews led the International Skaters list in his draft year. The 2020 final rankings are out today.

Most draft guides and enthusiasts do a combined list, but the NCS persists is limiting the lists to the four separate areas of expertise of their scouting staff. This list is actually a bit early this year, since there is no junior hockey playoffs going on, and TSN may follow suit with their lists, including the very useful consolidated list from Bob McKenzie, coming out before June. No guarantees on that one, though.

What about the draft?

My guess is that none of these decisions will be finalized before the end of June. The draft event in Montreal is already cancelled, and Pierre LeBrun reported some days ago that we shouldn’t expect a big event to be the replacement draft. It likely will be televised in some form, but won’t be in an arena full of spectators.

The future is a very opaque right now, but believing in a bright future is exactly what perusing draft prospect lists is all about. So let’s get to it!

You know Alexis Lafreniere tops the NA Skater list. Maybe you knew Tim Stuetzle would be atop the ITL Skaters list. But do you know who the goalies are? Here’s the top few of each list, some of whom might end up in the range of a Leafs draft pick, but not most of the really exciting ones:

North American Skaters

Rank Player Nationality Position
Rank Player Nationality Position
1 Alexis Lafreniere Canada LW
2 Quinton Byfield Canada C
3 Jamie Drysdale Canada D
4 Jake Sanderson USA D
5 Cole Perfetti Canada C
6 Marco Rossi Austria C
7 Jack Quinn Canada RW
8 Kaiden Guhle Canada D
9 Braden Schneider Canada D
10 Dawson Mercer Canada C

International Skaters

Rank Player Nationality Position
Rank Player Nationality Position
1 Tim Stuetzle Germany LW
2 Alexander Holtz Sweden RW
3 Anton Lundell Finland C
4 Lucas Raymond Sweden LW
5 Rodion Amirov Russia LW
6 Helge Grans Sweden D
7 John-Jason Peterka Germany RW
8 Topi Niemela Finland D
9 Noel Gunler Sweden RW
10 Roni Hirvonen Finland C

North American Goalies

Rank Player Nationality
Rank Player Nationality
1 Nicolas Daws Canada
2 Drew Commesso USA
3 Samuel Hlavaj Slovakia
4 Will Cranley Canada
5 Garin Bjorklund Canada

International Goalies

Rank Player Nationality
Rank Player Nationality
1 Iaroslav Askarov Russia
2 Jan Bednar Czech Republic
3 Joel Blomqvist Finland
4 Calle Clang Sweden
5 Amir Miftakhov Russia

If you go to look up Askarov, use Yaroslav, or you’ll never find him. The NHL likes its version of Romanizing Cyrillic, though, so maybe this is his name now.

For the full skater lists, these are the PDFs:

If you want a deeper dive on the goalies, go to the link above.

You tell me what you think of all this! I just want someone fun to watch for a few years, so who should I be hoping for?