The NHL has released their Central Scouting midterm rankings for 2020 draft eligible prospects. Alexis Lafreniere leads the North American group and is still the prospective first overall selection in June’s draft. The International list may carry some surprise however, as it is Tim Stuetzle, not Lucas Raymond or Alexander Holtz, who leads the group.
Stuetzle plays for Mannheim in the German DEL and has been flying up draft boards all season. The 6’1″ left-shot forward is nearly a point-per-game player at the professional level despite being just 17 (he’ll turn 18 later this week), with five goals and 23 points in 26 games. Add in an outstanding performance at the World Juniors tournament where he seemed to create offense at will for one of the strongest German teams we’ve ever seen, and his ranking at the top is deserved.
Behind Stuetzle are Raymond, Holtz and Anton Lundell, the latter of which was unable to attend the World Juniors and show what he could do against the best players of his age group in the world. Lundell is having a great season for HIFK in Finland however, and is another name to consider near the top of the draft.
The North American rankings don’t carry much surprise, as Lafreniere is followed by Quinton Byfield, Jamie Drysdale and Cole Perfetti as expected. Though there are several players who could move up the board by season’s end, those four are all expected to challenge for top-10 status when June’s selection process gets underway.
Among goaltenders—who are ranked separately—Nico Daws leads the North American list after winning gold with the Canadian World Junior team. Yaroslav Askarov, who won silver with the Russians, is tops on the International list and should be a first-round selection.