By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
Alexis Lafrenier is the obvious first choice
No one was surprised when the left winger was taken first overall by the New York Rangers Tuesday night. Known as one of Canada’s top players in the junior circuit both in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and internationally, Lafrernier had been projected as an elite prospect for several years. His high rated puck skills, vision, hockey IQ, competitiveness and ability to create plays and take on defenders one-on-one are part of what could make Lafrenier the NHL’s next star. His skating could use some work though.
Quinton Byfield becomes the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history
Quinton Byfield was taken No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night, becoming the highest-drafted Black player in the history of the league. Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks (drafted in 2009 by Atlanta) and Seth Jones of the Columbia Blue Jackets (drafted in 2013 by Nashville) previously shared the title of highest-drafted Black players as the No. 4 picks of their prospective drafts.
Byfield was the best player available after Lafrenier was taken off the board after playing for the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League. A 6-foot-4 center with elite skating skills who can power past a defense and has great stick handling skills, Byfield could be a key piece in the Kings’ team rebuild.
Mavrik Bourque comes to Dallas
With their only pick of the first round, the Stanley Cup runner-ups selected Mavrik Bourque, a center out of Shawinigan in the QMJHL. With clear playmaking skills and hockey sense, Bourque is an elite offensive player that will fill a much needed hole in the Stars organization. His passing and penalty killing ability are obvious strengths but he will need to improve his skating and speed to be ready for the major league level. However, Bourque’s size and agility will prove beneficial for Dallas.
San Jose Sharks give Ozzy Wiesblatt and family special moment
With the final pick of the first round, San Jose chose Prince Albert right winger Ozzy Wiesblatt out of the Western Hockey League. In an epic moment, Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr., made the selection announcement in ASL before saying it out loud, giving Wiesblatt and his family a unique moment as his mother is deaf. The Wiesblatt family were shown erupting in celebration when the pick was made.
Wiesblatt is a right winger that could be placed anywhere in the Sharks’ lineup. He’s got speed and great handling skills, as well as personality, and is competitive and physical at 5-foot-10.
Rounds two through seven of the NHL 2020 Draft continue on NHL Network and Skynet beginning at 10:30 a.m. CT, Wednesday.