The 2020 NHL draft is complete, and it was unlike any we have seen in the modern era.
It took place in October, it was entirely virtual, and it took longer than normal, but in the end 216 young players began their NHL journey.
At this point we have no idea how it will all pan out in the future, but all 31 teams are almost certainly happy with their picks and roster moves over the past two days. Not all of them will end up being happy in the future. We try to take a look into that crystal ball with some winners and losers from the 2020 draft.
We are not just talking about draft picks here or teams in general, but also trades, individual players, and everything else that happened over the past 48 hours.
Winner: Los Angeles Kings
They picked a potential franchise player in Quinton Byfield with the No. 2 overall pick, and then took a chance on a talented — even if disappointing so far — young forward in Lias Andersson in a trade with the New York Rangers. The Kings are down right now, but they are collecting a ton of high-end talent for the future. — Adam Gretz
Loser: Fans who like a speedy second day
Day two of the draft dragged on for over seven hours. Despite less time to announce their selections, teams went to the limit often, and some picks were delayed due to swapping of positions. When everyone is at home and not packed in a rink somewhere with no planes to catch, there’s no rush, is there? — Sean Leahy
Winners: Ozzy Wiesblatt and Doug Wilson Jr.
This was a really powerful moment. — Sean Leahy
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 7, 2020
The country used to be among the best in the world, but the talent pipeline has slowed. After seeing just one player picked in 2019, there were two announced in 2020. Austria and Germany each saw three players chosen this year. — Sean Leahy
Winner: Calgary Flames
They pulled off the rare “double trade down” in the first round, picked up a few extra picks in the process, and still came away with their player (and a heckuva prospect) in Connor Zary. — Adam Gretz
Winner: Crystal Hawerchuk
Two months after her husband, Hockey Hall of Famer Dale, passed away from stomach cancer, Crystal made the announcement for the Jets’ first-round. What a moment for Cole Perfetti and the Hawerchuk family. — Sean Leahy
The @NHLJets invited a special guest to make their first-round selection.
It's only fitting that Crystal Hawerchuk picked a center. pic.twitter.com/puHg8lIq96
— NHL (@NHL) October 7, 2020
Loser: Arizona Coyotes
This is not necessarily about any of the players they picked, but about the fact they did not make their first pick until they end of the fourth-round when they picked defenseman Mitchell Miller with the No. 111 pick. Their first- and third-round picks were previously traded (for Taylor Hall and Carl Soderberg), while their second-round pick was forfeited for scouting combine violations. — Adam Gretz
Winner: Alex Trebek
This was one of the highlights of the First Round on Tuesday night. — Adam Gretz
Loser: Fans waiting for blockbuster trades
There a ton of trades that involved the swapping of draft picks, but there were only a handful of deals involving NHL players — Matt Murray went to Ottawa. Nick Bonino went to Minnesota. The Rangers sent Andersson to the Kings. Max Domi went to Columbus — but none that will really help shift the balance of power in the NHL. Maybe that changes before the Free Agent signing period begins on Friday. — Adam Gretz
Big winner and (small) loser: The New York Rangers
They win because they had a huge stroke of draft lottery luck and ended up with the No. 1 overall pick. That is a HUGE moment, and quite honestly, as long as that pick pans out the way they want it to then none of the other players they picked in this class will ever matter.
But, they also take a small loss for having to sell low on Lias Andersson just three years after making him the No. 7 overall pick in the draft. That is a tough one. — Adam Gretz
Winner: Bill Guerin gets some centers
The Minnesota Wild had a desperate need for centers, and Guerin came away with two of them — a potential cornerstone and a solid, established veteran. The Wild opened the draft by picking Marco Rossi with the No. 9 overall pick, and then picked up Nick Bonino in the trade with the Nashville Predators. — Adam Gretz