NHL Draft: Tri-State Area Review

The first round of the NHL Draft is officially complete, and to no one's surprise, Alexis Lafreniere is a New York Ranger. Lafreniere was the consensus 1st overall pick in this year's 2020 NHL Draft, and the Rangers delivered. The only possible player that could have gone 1st overall in my eyes, and most NHL fan's eyes, was Quinton Byfield, from the OHL. Let's take a deep dive into the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft for the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and the New York Islanders.

New York Rangers (1st Pick): Alexis Lafreniere, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL): The Rangers rebuild is soon to be over. Alexis Lafreniere is a huge addition to this Rangers roster, and he is destined to make an impact for the New York Rangers. Lafreniere is a huge offensive threat, passing the puck and reading defenses to set up teammates. I see David Quinn putting Lafreniere on the second line, right behind Artemi Panarin right away.

New Jersey Devils (7th Pick): Alexander Holtz, RW, Djurgardens (SHL): Alexander Holtz is a modern-day Alex Ovechkin, from hockey traits to even their personal life. Both are right-handed left-wingers from Europe. Both are known for their power, and accurate shot, and most importantly, both are goal scorers. The Devils are going to be a recurring playoff team in these next couple of years, with a first line of 2019 1st overall pick Jack Hughes, 2017 1st overall pick Nico Hischier, and now, 2020 7th overall pick Alexander Holtz. This devils team is young and preparing for a Stanley Cup Title.

New Jersey Devils (18th Pick from ARZ): Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL): Mercer is one of the older players in this year's draft. This is not a bad thing, giving Tom Fitzgerald and the Devils 3 seasons of film on Dawson Mercer. Mercer could become and grow into another scorer on the Devils offense and is a player who thinks shoot first, pass second. It is clear with the Devils first 2 second-round picks in Alexander Holtz and Dawson Mercer, that the Devils are looking at 2 wingers who could be put alongside Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.

New York Rangers (19th Pick from CGY): Braden Schneider, D, Brandon (WHL): Schneider is a full out lockdown defenseman. Schneider is a patient defenseman for the Rangers, taking his time and making plays at the correct time. He judges spacing very well and uses his size and reach to gradually take away space. Schneider is not too physical... and has tendencies to rather use his stick than a physical hit. I noticed as well that he is not too fast, and he could be beaten to the outside with speed. Other than that, Schneider is a great defenseman and is destined for success on Broadway.

New Jersey Devils (20th pick from VAN via TB): Shakir Mukhamadullin, D, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL): Shakir Mukhamadullin is 6‘4“, weighs 179 pounds, shoots left-handed, and plays defense. This pick was surprising until I looked at the stats. Shakir has 6 points in only 14 KHL games. Shakir is only 18, and those stats are impressive for an 18-year-old playing in the KHL. I think Devils fans should get excited about this pick for this breakout KHL player. Ben Kerr at Last Word on Hockey had this to say about Shakir, "His strong skating and puck handling skills also allow him to retrieve pucks in the corners and skate them out of danger, avoiding forecheckers."

New York Islanders (No Picks): The New York Islanders do not have any picks in the first round nor the second round of the NHL Draft. The Islanders have the 90th pick (3rd Round), 121st pick (4th Round), 152nd pick (5th Round), 183rd pick (6th Round), and the 214th pick (7th Round).

That concludes my review for the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and the New York Islanders for the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Thank you for taking the time to read this article!

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