We learned yesterday that the Anaheim Ducks will be picking sixth overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. It's been less than 24 hours since the lottery, but I'm sure many fans have already been putting thought into who the Ducks should select. I thought for today's article, we'd look at the players the Ducks will be most likely to pick.
I think we can assume that three players who will for sure be gone by the time the Ducks are picking are Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle, so they won't be named here. Sportsnet and TSN had the same ten players in their most recent Top-10 rankings, so below, I’ve listed the players ranked 4th through 10th, with their ranking from each outlet listed and some of my quick thoughts on each player.
LW- Lucas Raymond
Raymond’s stats may not jump off the page but he did play in a professional league for the majority of the year. He’s a strong playmaker, highlighted by his patience with the puck, which he’s able to hang on to until a teammate becomes available. He’s also a good skater who can carry the puck through the neutral zone and make zone entries and exits with ease.
RD- Jamie Drysdale
Drysdale is the top defenseman in a draft filled with forwards and there’s certainly a case to be made for Anaheim taking him if he's still available (which I doubt he will be). He scored nearly a point per game in the OHL this season, notching 47 points in 49 games and projects as a top-pairing defenseman. He’s a great puck-mover and provides huge offensive upside without sacrificing his defensive responsibilities and he would fill a need on the right side of the Ducks’ defense.
C- Marco Rossi
This may be my bias from watching a lot of his games this season, but if Rossi is still on the board when the Ducks are picking, I really don’t think they should pass on him. Rossi scored 39 goals and 120 points in 56 games this season, which was even quite a ways ahead of Byfield’s point production (though Rossi is older). He’s a very smart center and a great playermaker who works hard and makes his teammates better. He doesn’t take nights off, really can do it all and he’s a safe pick to work out as a well-rounded top-six center in the NHL.
C/LW- Cole Perfetti
Perfetti is another good option up front for the Ducks and he had a huge season this year, scoring 37 goals and 111 points in 61 games with Saginaw of the OHL. He’s elusive and has great puck control, making him a very fun player to watch and he could have a very high ceiling in terms of ability to produce offensively.
LD- Jake Sanderson
My issue with picking Sanderson is that he doesn’t fill a need for the Ducks. The two positions where the Ducks are fairly strong are left-side defense and in net and to me, they have far more pressing issues. Normally I’m not a fan of drafting (or not drafting) by position, but considering how many other great players there are in this draft that would fill a need, I don’t see Anaheim taking Sanderson.
RW- Alexander Holtz
Holtz produced at a very good rate this season in Sweden, scoring nine goals and 16 points in 35 SHL games. He has an excellent shot and he’s going to be a goal-scorer at the NHL level. I don’t think you can really go wrong with him but he does have one clear strength rather than excelling in many areas.
RW- Jack Quinn
I like Quinn, but I’m not sure I can see a scenario where the Ducks should be picking him at sixth overall. He’s maybe the best goal scorer in the draft (he had a ridiculous 52 goals in 62 games with Ottawa in the OHL this season) but to me, like is the case with Holtz, I just think there are going to be too many outstanding players remaining to take Quinn as high as sixth overall. When I compare the two 67’s forwards on this list, for example, there’s definitely a gap between Rossi and Quinn.
Personally, I’m really hoping the Ducks are able to swing either Drysdale or Rossi. They’re both going to become top players in the NHL and would fill a position of need for the Ducks. Again, there’s probably some bias there from watching them in the OHL this year versus someone like Raymond, who I haven’t seen a lot of.
Regardless, the Ducks are going to get an excellent player at sixth overall.
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Here's today's poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Of the players listed, who would you like the Ducks to select with the sixth-overall pick?