McGee's Final BIG Board for the 2020 Draft!

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports


This Draft, as we know, will be unusual. Not only will it much later than usual (next week!), but two things make it unique. First, there is one less pick in total than there has been since Vegas came into the NHL…due to Arizona having its second-round choice taken away as punishment for violations. A relatively minor change, sure, but it’s something. Second, a number of European teams, players, and Leagues will be underway with their season during the Draft. This could lead to all sorts of players moving around the Board while their North American counterparts remain sidelined, wondering if the USHL, or NCAA, or CHL will truly return to action this year. Sweden’s Allsvenskan, basically their 2nd tier Men’s League, will be a month into their season when the Draft rolls around.

We’ve already seen some nice performances from some European players that should put an extra shine on their game in time for the Draft: Anton Lundell has been great coming out of the box, even wearing a letter for HIFK; both Raymond and Holtz have looked good and addressed some of their issues (Raymond has been stronger, tougher on the walls…although not super-productive yet; Holtz has been better defensively and looks bigger); even some lower tier guys like Theo Niederbach have been really strong. Secondly, I believe that most European leagues are keeping their players locked in for the season – at least those who are playing in the senior Men’s Leagues like the SHL and Liiga - o if you draft someone like an Anton Lundell, who may or may not be ready right now for the NHL grind, he won’t get a chance to find out…he’s obligated to remain in Finland for the duration of their season.

So a pretty fascinating dynamic to keep an eye on, and one that could see some teams with strong scouting presence in Europe go a little bit ‘off the Board’ with some of their choices.

What about the Sabres, you may ask. If I was in charge of Drafting (which, thankfully for me and everyone else, I’m not), my focus would be on three things:

1) Playing speed: guys who can flat-out beat opponents with the puck on their stick, can enter the O-zone with possession and drive off defenders with just the threat of their speed, guys who can make skill plays at high speed. Buffalo doesn’t have much of that…they desperately need more,

2) Size with speed: this is a twofold problem – the Sabres are generally small, and the bigger guys they do have can’t beat anyone down the ice to take advantage of their size. The League is trending this way, I think, when you look at teams like the Isles, Dallas, Colorado…they have a number of big guys who can skate and go to the net. Buffalo needs a LOT more of that, and

3) Depth on the right side of the D-Corps: Buffalo has a good handle on the left side – Dahlin is young, McCabe is only 26, they’ve got Bryson, Samuelsson, and Ryan Johnson in the pipeline. All guys who could be Top 4. Even Cronholm and Worge Kreu, as unlikely as it is that they become NHL players, are lefties. But on the right side? With all the talk this off-season of moving Risto, Miller, Montour, all of the above or some combination, that leaves Joker and Will Borgen. They’ve got Casey Fitzgerald, but I’m skeptical he’s an answer there – they had to play him on the wing last year in ROCH – and Laaksonen, who had a tough year last year. Maybe it’s a blip on the radar, but some of the shine is off him as a prospect. So while I think the Sabres should be focused on forwards in this Draft, it wouldn’t hurt to grab a right-shot or two.

Lastly, with the hiring of Seth Appert and the promotion of Jeremiah Crowe, both guys who have a lot of familiarity and deep ties to the US NTDP Program, I would suspect that the Sabres Draft Room will feel very comfortable going with kids from the Program or even from the USHL. Guys who they’ve seen a lot of in the last couple years, or guys who they’ve recruited. This isn’t especially reflected in my Mock Draft here but will be more so in the final one I do. So I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a couple kids from the NTDP, and another couple from the USHL. Being comfortable with a kid is an important part of making a selection…and given the lack of face-to-face interview opportunities in the past 6 months, those are kids this group will be very comfortable choosing.

Just remember, this is my own personal Board. It is not the Sabres' Board, or a Mock Draft...just my rankings in a vacuum. So take with a big grain of salt!


1. Alexis LaFreniere, LW, QMJHL


2. Quinton Byfield, C, OHL


3. Marco Rossi, C/W, OHL

4. Tim Stutzle, C/LW, GER


5. Jamie Drysdale, RHD, OHL

6. Jack Quinn, RW, OHL

7. Alexander Holtz, W, SWE

8. Lucas Raymond, W, SWE

9. Connor Zary, C, WHL

10. Noel Gunler, W, SWE


11. Anton Lundell, C, FIN

12. Rodion Amirov, RW, RUS

13. Cole Perfetti, W, OHL

14. Jake Sanderson, LHD, US NTDP

15. Slava Askarov, G, RUS


16. Lukas Reichel, W, GER

17. Dylan Holloway, C/W, NCAA

18. Brendan Brisson, C, USHL

19. Thomas Bordeleau, C, US NTDP

20. Seth Jarvis, RW, WHL

21. Ridly Greig, C/LW, WHL

22. Jacob Perreault, RW, OHL

23. Martin Chromiak, C/LW, OHL

24. Joni Jurmo, LHD, FIN


25. Topi Niemala, RHD, FIN

26. Braden Schneider, RHD, WHL

27. Sam Colangelo, LW, USHL

28. Theo Niederbach, C, SWE

29. Daniel Torgersson, RW, SWE

30. Daniil Guschin, W, USHL

31. Luke Evangelista, RW, OHL

32. Murat Khushnutdinov, C, RUS

33. Jack Finley, C, WHL

34. William Wallinder, LHD, SWE

35. Mavrik Bourque, C, QMJHL

36. Yan Kuznetsov, RHD, NCAA

37. JJ Peterka, RW, GER

38. Jean-Luc Foudy, C, OHL

39. Dawson Mercer, RW, QMJHL


40. Roby Jarventie, LW, FIN

41. Jan Mysak, LW, OHL

42. Justin Barron, RHD, QMJHL

43. Ty Smilanic, C, US NTDP

44. Zion Nybeck, RW, SWE

45. Kaiden Guhle, LHD, WHL

46. Tyson Foerster, RW, OHL

47. Mike Benning, RHD, AJHL


48. Eamon Powell, RHD, US NTDP

49. Donovan Sebrango, LHD, OHL

50. Emil Andrae, LHD, SWE

51. Connor McClennon, RW, WHL

52. Ronan Seeley, LHD, WHL

53. Tristan Robins, C, WHL

54. Kasper Simontaival, W, FIN

55. Brandon Coe, RW, OHL

56. Hendrix LaPierre, C, QMJHL

57. Jaromir Pytlik, C/W, OHL

58. Simon Kubicek, RHD, WHL

59. Eemil Viro, LHD, FIN

60. Brett Berard, W, US NTDP

61. Ville Miettinen, LW, FIN

62. Brock Faber, RHD, US NTDP

63. Roni Hirvonen, C, FIN

64. Luke Tuch, LW, US NTDP

65. Vasili Ponomaryov, W, QMJHL

66. Carter Savoie, LW, AJHL

67. Helge Grans, RHD, SWE

68. Shakir Mukhamadullin, LHD, RUS

69. Joel Blomqvist, G, FIN

70. Dmitri Ovchinnikov, W, RUS


71. Blake Biondi, C, US HS

72. Rory Kerins, C, OHL

73. Colby Ambrosio, C, USHL

74. James Hardie, LW, OHL

75. Will Villenueve, RHD, QMJHL

76. Mitch Miller, RHD, USHL

77. Christopher Sedoff, LHD, WHL

78. Pavel Tyutnev, C, RUS

79. Ozzy Weisblatt, RW, WHL

80. Jake Neighbours, LW, WHL

81. Drew Commesso, G, US NTDP

82. Samuel Knazko, LHD, FIN

83. Lucas Cormier, LHD, QMJHL

84. Will Cuylle, LW, OHL

85. Dylan Peterson, C/RW, US NTDP

86. Kasper Puutio, RHD, WHL

87. Tyler Kleven, LHD, US NTDP

88. Alexander Pashin, W, RUS

89. Ty Tullio, C, OHL

90. Rueben Rafkin, RHD, OHL

91. Alex Cotton, LHD, WHL**

92. Trevor Kuntar, C, USHL **

93. Nick Malik, G, OHL

94. Pavel Novak, W, WHL

95. Ryder Rolston, W, USHL


96. Ian Moore, RHD, US HS

97. Oliver Tarnstrom, C, SWE

98. Carson Bantle, LW, USHL

99. Cameron Tolnai, C, OHL

100. Joel Maatta, C, USHL

101. Ethan Cardwell, C/RW, OHL

102. Oliver Suni, RW, OHL

103. Adam Wilsby, LHD, SWE **

104. Issak Phillips, LHD, OHL

105. Anton Johannessen, LHD, SWE

106. Karel Klikorka, LHD, CZE

107. Simon Knak, RW, WHL

108. Jeremie Poirier, LHD, QMJHL

109. Antonio Stranges, C/W, OHL

110. Ryan O’Rourke, LHD, OHL

111. Cross Hanas, LW, WHL

112. Luke Prokop, RHD, WHL

113. Nico Daws, G, OHL**

114. Luke Reid, RHD, USHL

115. Justin Sourdif, C, WHL

116. Vsevolod Skotnikov, G, RUS

117. Stephan Halliday, RW, USHL

118. Owen Pederson, C/LW, WHL

119. Isak Garfve, C/W, SWE

120. Alex LaFerriere, RW, USHL


121. Dimitri Rashevsky, RW, RUS **

122. Cameron Berg, C/W, USHL

123. Samuel Johanesson, LHD, SWE **

124. Charlie Desroches, RHD, QMJHL

125. Ethan Edwards, LHD, AJHL

126. Jack Thompson, RHD, OHL

127. Calle Clang, G, SWE

128. Karri Aho, LHD, FIN

129. Evan Vierling, C, OHL

130. Tomas Chlubna, RW, CZE

131. Chase Yoder, C, US NTDP

132. Cameron Butler, RW, OHL

133. Dmitri Zlodeyev, C, RUS

134. Noah Ellis, RHD, USHL

135. Sean Farrell, W, USHL

136. Emil Heineman, LW, SWE

137. Joona Kiviniemi, LW, WHL

138. Viktor Persson, RHD, SWE

139. Theo Rochette, C, QMJHL

140. Mark Hillier, RW, CA HS

141. Maxime Groshev, LW, RUS

142. Leo Loof, LHD, SWE

143. Jackson Kunz, C, US HS

144. Ryan Francis, RW, QMJHL

145. Andrei Nikishin, LHD, RUS

146. Will Dufour, RW, QMJHL

147. Max Glotzl, LHD, GER

148. Ryan Kirwan, RW, USHL

149. Jake Ratzlaff, RHD, US HS

150. Daemon Hunt, LHD, WHL

151. Landon Slaggert, C, US NTDP

152. Parker Ford, C, NCAA **

153. Thimo Nickl, RHD, QMJHL


154. Filip Wiberg, RW, SWE

155. Alexei Tysplakov, W, RUS **

156. Axel Kumlin, RHD, SWE

157. Oscar Magnusson, C/RW, SWE

158. Theo Nordlund, LHD, SWE

159. Artyom Galimov, C/W, RUS **

160. Yegor Chinakov, RW, RUS **

161. Victor Mancini, RHD, SWE

162. Mason Lohrei, LHD, USHL **

163. Oskar Tellstrom, RW, SWE

164. Mason Langenbrunner, RHD, US HS

165. Jack Smith, C, US HS

166. Mattias Rajaniemi, LHD, FIN

167. Jan Bednar, G, CZE

168. Josh Groll, W, USHL **

169. Mikael Pyyhtia, C, FIN

170. Joonas Oden, RW, FIN **

171. Wyatt Kaiser, LHD, USHL

172. Jake Uberti, C, OHL

173. Artem Shlaine, C, US HS

174. Riley Duran, C, US HS

175. Maxim Beryozkin, W, RUS

176. David Ma, LHD, US HS

177. Evan Bushy, LHD, US HS

178. Xavier Simoneau, W, QMJHL **

179. Grant Slukynsky, C/W, US HS

180. Mateuz Szurowski, RW, SWE

181. Ivan Zivlak, LHD, SWE

182. Dylan Garand, G, WHL

183. Cole O’Hara, RW, OJHL

184. Lucas Ramberg, LHD, SWE

185. Aidan Campbell, G, OHL

186. Artur Akhtyamov, G, RUS

187. Wil Cranley, G, OHL

188. Juuso Maenpaa, C, FIN

189. Yevgeni Oksentyuk, W, OHL **

190. Brayden Krieger, LW, AJHL

191. Tanner Dickinson, C/W, OHL

192. Nikita Shiuden, RW, RUS

193. Wyatt Schingoethe, C, USHL

194. Elliot Ekmark, C, SWE

195. Ryan McGuire, C, US HS

196. Ivan Didikovsky, W, RUS

197. Lucas Mercuri, C, US HS

198. Gage Goncalves, C, WHL **

199. Billy Constantinou, RHD, OHL **

200. Michel Krutil, RHD, CZE

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