Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we continue our 2020 NHL Mock Draft.
For those who haven’t read the LWOH NHL Mock Draft before here are the rules.
1) No trades except for those that have already been made by NHL teams.
2) The NHL Mock Draft will be released in multiple parts. The first part comes out today. More parts will be added in time as more of the draft order is known.
3) Clicking the Player’s name will bring you to a full scouting report.
So with that out of the way, I present part two of the LWOH 2020 NHL Mock Draft.
Picks 16-31: 2020 NHL Mock Draft
The Canadiens have had successes (Michael Ryder) and failures (Terry Ryan) drafting players from Newfoundland and Labrador over their history. They dip back into the far east coast pool with Mercer. Mercer is quick on the forecheck, pressuring opposing defenders and creating turnovers. He is willing to play a physical game, getting involved in battles on the boards and establishing his position in front of the net. Mercer will improve this aspect of his game as he gets stronger. His stickhandling and puck protection skills are also good, helping Mercer to be effective in the cycle game. Mercer has very good hands and can beat defenders in one-on-one situations. His speed and agility allow him to take a defender wide and cut back to the front of the net. He can score goals with an excellent wrist shot. He is the type of power forward that the Habs have spent many years searching for.
The Hawks continue to revamp their offence, adding another young, talented winger. Gunler is a pure, natural sniper. He can score in a variety of ways. He has a heavy wrist shot with a good release; an excellent slap shot and one-timer; a quick and accurate snapshot; a strong backhand; the hands to deke a goaltender as well as to put the puck through tight spaces; and the hand-eye coordination to get tip-ins and rebounds. He is a smart player who finds open spaces in the defence when he does not have the puck. On the power play, he loves to set up in the left circle and utilize his one-timer ala Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos. Though he can also control the puck in this area, walking in for a wrist shot, or making a pass through a seam to set up a teammate.
18.) New Jersey Devils (from Arizona) – Dylan Holloway, Left Wing/Centre, Wisconsin Badgers, NCAA Big 10
Previous Pick: Lucas Raymond
Holloway is extremely fundamentally sound. He is a coach’s dream with his effort level and his willingness to do all the little things necessary to win games. Holloway’s stickhandling ability is also top-notch allowing him to make plays at top speed. This makes him extremely dangerous off the rush. Holloway’s speed forces defenders to back off. He can get by them on the outside and cut to the net. This opens up passing and shooting lanes. He can fire a quick wrist shot on goal using the defender as a screen. His shot is heavy and accurate.
Ranked much higher coming into the season, a neck injury limited Lapierre’s playing time in 2019-20. Lapierre is an excellent skater. He has outstanding top-end speed and very good acceleration. His ability to make quick cuts and changes in direction helps him to avoid defenders and create space. If he gets a step on a defender, he can drop his shoulder and cut to the front of the net. Lapierre is very difficult to defend as he can handle the puck while moving at close to his top speed. Defenders need to respect his speed off the rush and will back off when he is carrying the puck. This opens up shooting and passing lanes that Lapierre can take advantage of.
20.) New Jersey Devils (from Vancouver, via Tampa) – William Wallinder, Left Defence, Modo Hockey, Allsvenskan
Previous Picks: Lucas Raymond, Dylan Holloway
With their third pick of the first round, the Devils look to improve the defence. Wallinder has excellent size, as he is already 6-foot-4 and may still be growing. He is a very good skater, especially for his size. While he is not a burner, his speed in both directions is good and his stride is powerful. He has a good first step and very good acceleration as well. Wallinder is strong on his skates and with good balance. He uses his size to win battles on the boards and in front of the net. He is also extremely agile and has good pivots and edgework. This helps him to cover a lot of ice.
The Jackets have been looking to add offensive talent over their last few drafts, and that continues in 2020. Zary is at his best working in the dirty areas of the ice. He gets to the front of the net both with and without the puck. From there he can bang in a rebound, deflect a teammate’s shot into the net, or one-time a quick pass on goal. He can produce points in the dirty areas of the ice. Zary is willing to battle for loose pucks along the boards. He is also good at creating pressure on the forecheck, forcing opposing defenders to make quick decisions and capitalizing on their mistakes if they don’t. Zary’s stick-handling is strong and he protects the puck well on the cycle and makes plays in the slot. He has good vision and passing skills allowing him to set up teammates for scoring chances.
22.) New York Rangers (from Carolina) – Rodion Amirov, Right Wing/Left Wing, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL
Previous Pick: Alexis Lafreniere
The Rangers added Lafreniere at first overall. They add more offensive talent here. Amirov is a strong skater who plays a 200-foot game. He has very good top-end speed and good acceleration. He also possesses an excellent first step. Amirov also has an excellent wrist shot and a quick release. His shot is powerful and accurate and helps Amirov to be a natural goal scorer. He is also effective at establishing his position in front of the net. From there he can use a quick stick to bury a pass from a teammate; to pounce on a rebound; or to deflect a shot into the net. He has the soft hands to finish plays if he gets one-on-one with the goaltender. With his high-end hockey IQ he is able to find soft spots in the defence and set up for a one-timer.
The Flyers dip into Germany, which is really emerging as a strong hockey nation, with their first rounder.
Peterka marries his strong skating with excellent hands. He can make plays while moving at top speed. This makes him especially dangerous on the rush. He also controls the puck well down low on the cycle game. Peterka is a sniper. He has an outstanding wrist shot and snapshot, both featuring high-end power and accuracy. Peterka also has quick hands and the ability to disguise his release. When defenders back off to protect against his speed, he has the smarts to use them as a screen and fire the puck on the net. Peterka’s quick hands are also useful in tight to the goal as he can score with a deke or a deflection. Peterka also has the ability to play the role of a playmaker. His ability to control the puck allows him to speed up or slow down the play to create passing lanes.
The Capitals prospect pool needs an injection of talent, asap. They add Perreault, one of the best shooters in this draft. The son of former NHLer Yanic Perreault is a dangerous offensive player. Perreault combines his slick hands with his excellent skating ability. This makes him extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations. He can take a defenceman wide, drop his shoulder and cut hard to the front of the net. Perreault can also fake that he is going wide and cut to the middle. His ability to quickly change speeds also fools defenders. As they back off to respect his speed, he can use the defenceman as a screen and fire the puck at the net.
The Avalanche have an outstanding group of young defencemen, both on the team and in the system. They add some offensive punch here, giving the team more depth up front going forward. Brisson shines as a playmaker. He has outstanding vision and reads the offensive play extremely well. He has the hands and the smarts to speed the play up when necessary, or to slow it down to give his teammates time to get open. Brisson sees plays that others do not and finds his teammates with tape-to-tape passes to create scoring chances. He can quarterback the powerplay from the half-boards. His hands are slick, and it only takes a quick move or flick of his wrists for Brisson to change the passing angle and find a route to a teammate that was not apparent beforehand.
The Blues have a nice group of prospects and so can take a chance on a player with high-end potential but some red flags. Mysak has an excellent wrist shot and a very quick release. It is deadly accurate and he generates a ton of power. He is also strong with his snapshot and one-timer. Mysak is a pure sniper. He gets himself into good positions without the puck, finding open space in the defence and setting himself up to let go of that deadly shot. Mysak needs to shoot more though. With all of his shots showing such quality, and with the quickness that he can get them off, there is real room for him to score even more goals in the coming seasons. He needs to improve his skating.
27.) Anaheim Ducks (from Boston) – Lukas Cormier, Left Defence, Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL
Previous Pick: Jake Sanderson
The Ducks continue to add to their blueline, after taking Sanderson early in the draft. Cormier is an excellent skater and this helps him to play a 200-foot game. With smooth pivots, he is able to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. He has quick feet, with a great first step, and the agility and edgework to move well laterally and cover a lot of ice. Cormier has very good speed and acceleration in both directions. He can take offensive chances and still get back to cover in his own zone. His strong backwards skating makes him tough to beat on the rush. Cormier has a low centre of gravity. His balance is very good. He battles through checks and continues skating. It also helps to somewhat make up for his lack of size in battles on the boards.
28.) Ottawa Senators (from New York Islanders) – Mavrik Bourque, Centre, Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
You can never have enough talent down the middle in the NHL, and so the Senators add another pivot after taking Stutzle at third overall. Bourque is an undersized forward who plays an excellent puck protection game. Bourque controls the puck down low with his shifty skating ability and good puckhandling skills. He can avoid defenders with his feet and also uses his quick hands to open up passing and shooting lanes in order to create scoring opportunities. He shows high hockey IQ for his age and makes smart plays both with and without the puck. Bourque’s bread and butter are as a goal scorer though. He can score in a variety of ways with an excellent wrist shot, strong snapshot and very-good one-timer.
The Golden Knights continue to build a solid team. Depth on the blueline seems to be the biggest area of need though. Mukhamadullin is listed at 6-foot-4. He is an excellent skater for his size. He has good speed and acceleration in both directions, allowing Mukhamadullin to get around the ice and play a 200-foot game. Mukhamadullin has a big shot at the point. His slap shot and one-timer is an absolute cannon. However, he has some issues with control, as he can get wild at time. He is also a good passer, with intelligence and good vision. Mukhamadullin is willing to use his size to play a physical game. He is also willing to battle along the boards and in front of the net.
The Stars defence is set up well for years to come. This allows them to continue improving their forward options. Hirvonen combines his outstanding skating with excellent hands. He can handle the puck and make plays while moving at top speed. If defenders back off to protect against his speed, he has very good vision and can use the wider passing lane to set up a linemate for a scoring chance. He is a very smart player, he reads the play well, anticipating where teammates will be and setting them up at the right time. Hirvonen can also slow down the play, controlling the puck and giving them more time to get open. He is very creative, pulling off plays that most other players will not attempt.
31.) San Jose Sharks (from Tampa Bay) – Lukas Reichel, Left Wing, Eisbaren Berlin, DEL
The Sharks make it three first rounders out of Germany. Reichel scores the majority of his goals in tight to the net. He has quick hands and can deke a goalie in tight, or get the puck up quickly into a tight area. He also can bang in a rebound, quickly one-time a pass, or deflect in a teammate’s shot. From further out, his wrist shot is very accurate and features a good release. Reichel’s quick hands allow him to toe-drag and quickly change the angle before shooting. His shot also has decent power. This is also true of his one-timer. He gets it off effectively but still has room to add a bit more velocity. As he gets stronger, this may help his game. Reichel can also play the role of a playmaker. His strong possession skills help him to control the puck down low and extend plays.
Main Photo: VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 21: A detailed view of the Top 31 draft picks on the video board after the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)