Most leagues have crossed the halfway threshold and following a thrilling World Juniors McKeen’s Hockey released their second 2020 NHL Draft Ranking. It is one of the more meaningful rankings we do in that our team now has a number of viewings of the prospects in question and the NHL Draft starts to focus. There is still a lot of hockey to be played and the only certainty we can offer on these rankings is that they will change. The most enjoyable part of working for McKeen’s (or being a subscriber) for me, is the process, the journey of getting to know the prospects over the course of the season.
To date in this weekly column for NBC/Rotoworld we have already profiled quite a few of the prospects ranked in our first round which can be in the link below along with a great article from Editor in Chief, Ryan Wagman - McKeen’s 2020 NHL DRAFT MID-SEASON RANKINGS:
We have provided links to the previous NBC/Rotoworld articles and the 2020 NHL Draft Prospects we have already written about. Follow this space for more profiles on notable prospects right through to the end of the season. On our site, you will find full profile, scouting reports, stats and recent news on all of the 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospects.
Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Lineup Adviser, get our Weekly and Rest-of-Season rankings and projections, track all of your players and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues Tuesday with a clash between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here!
Following our rankings, Brock Otten has produced a Mock Draft on our site – found here: McKeen’s 2020 NHL MOCK DRAFT: . So many things can change, Mock Drafts are highly speculative at best at this point – but they are good fun for both NHL and Draft enthusiasts and instructive in their own way in thinking about the current draft class. EIC Ryan Wagman will be providing his own version in the coming days for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk – so keep an eye out.
In this week’s column our ‘Prospects in the News’ feature will look at some standout performances at the Kubota CHL/Top Prospects Game, played in Hamilton this past Thursday, January 16th. Brock Otten and Michael Rand provide some notes on notable performances from the game. EIC Wagman, along with Publisher/Managing Editor, Robert Howard, were also there. Ryan was on an extensive scouting trip and taking in a bunch of CHL action, but also attending the USHL Top Prospects Game in Michigan right afterwards. A feature at www.mckeenshockey.com on both games will be up on the site soon.
We kick off with a 2020 NHL Draft prospect who is generating intense buzz following the World Juniors and lands at #3 in our mid-season rankings – Tim Stutzle. Chapin Landvogt, covering international hockey and the burgeoning German hockey scene, will be providing a feature on the intriguing group of 2020 NHL Draft prospects; all ranked in the first two rounds, Stutzle (#3), John-Jason Peterka (#42) and Lukas Reichel (#60). He provides an excellent introduction to this intriguing prospect.
2020 NHL DRAFT PROSPECT
2019 Stats: Adler Mannheim (DEL), 28 GP-6G-21A-27PTS
Stutzle keeps making Believers out of the Scouting Community
By Chapin Landvogt
If seeing German defenseman Moritz Seider go 6th overall to the Detroit Red Wings at the 2019 NHL Draft left your jaw dropping last summer, then there’s no time but the present to get more acquainted with German forward Tim Stutzle, whose stock has grown considerably in recent months. In fact, we at McKeen’s currently have him ranked third overall in our mid-season draft rankings.
Yes, you read correctly!
The crafty forward is coming off a 5-point (all assists) performance at the WJC, where an untimely illness sidelined him for the final two games of the relegation round, which Germany nonetheless decided in its favor over Kazakhstan. But the mere points themselves didn’t quite tell the whole story. Several of his set-ups were prime examples of his incredible vision, patience, and ability to thread the needle, while a number of other opportunities he created went unused by his teammates. He also displayed a regular ability to use his speed and creativity to push back defenses when attacking as well as a kind of overall hockey sense against generally older players that has few peers in this draft class. In short, his nation needed big things from this 17-year old to maintain the class and that’s exactly what they got from Stutzle.
As nice as his WJC was in allowing the scouting world to see just where he’s at against the world’s best at this level, Stutzle’s season back home in Germany has been nothing short of outstanding. He currently plays for German DEL champion Mannheim, where he’s put up five goals and 26 points in 27 games while taking a regular shift on the team’s second line. Three of those assists have come in two games since returning to the line-up after the WJC. Not to be forgotten are the five points and +3 rating he had for the pro club in eight Champions Hockey League games, further showing that he’s no ordinary 17-year old.
In light of his success thus far this season, it’s amazing to think that as late as last summer he was planning on spending this season solely in juniors in order to maintain NCAA eligibility, having long since committed to the University of New Hampshire. However, his close relationship to the aforementioned Seider, who himself enjoyed an astronomical ascension with Mannheim last season – one that lead him to a regular role at the men’s World Championships in Slovakia – played a big role in helping Stutzle decide on going pro already this season. The belief was that playing against full grown pros at this stage for a team as well-constructed as the “Adler” would give him the perfect environment to slowly but surely take steps similar to those Seider was able to take.
All he’s done since is show the hockey world that he’s clearly the nation’s top offensive talent since Leon Draisaitl. The question now for the lefty whose ability to find holes for shots or create them for his teammates often leaves viewers in awe is if he too will be drafted as high his countryman come next June?
Prospects in the News - CHL Top Prospects Game
Brock Otten and Michael Rand
As noted above, the McKeen’s team were out in force for the game. An opportunity to compare notes and take stock at the halfway point for all of us. Brock Otten and Michael Rand provide some notes on outstanding performances. They include some quotes from players following the game. In next week's column, we will cover the USHL Top Prospects Game.
We Include EIC Ryan Wagman’s notes from the feature article accompanying our mid-season rankings:
“Picking up on Daws and the Top Prospect game, I should point out that while those types of events are fun and full of NHL scouts, there is relatively little that we learn from those games, beyond having a chance to cross-scout players from different regions and help us ensure that our team members are able to give us player assessments that all use the same language, such that the grades we assign to players mean the same thing whether they come from the WHL, the OHL, the QMJHL, the USHL, or any of the European regions.
The game itself is faster paced than regular league games, and players are not always able to play their style of game. Some players have a great game (Tyson Foerster) and some are invisible (Quinton Byfield). But the player they truly are is the player we see week in and week out in league play and our grades and the ranking which they feed are for the most part based on those league viewings.”
With that in mind, here are Michael and Brock’s notes:
Kaiden Guhle (McKeen’s rank #18) & Braden Schneider (McKeen’s Rank #19):
2019 Stats: Guhle (Prince Albert, WHL: 45GP-7G-19A-29PTS), Schneider (Brandon, WHL: 41GP-5G-25A-30PTS)
Played very well together as a pairing. They brought a physical edge and took away time and space from the forwards. Both ended up finding the back of the net on smart decisions to pinch down and be a scoring option. As the game wore on, they got more confidence with joining the rush and really solidified the back end for Team White.
Ridly Greig (McKeen’s Rank #62)-Connor Zary (McKeen’s Rank #9)-Tyson Foerster (McKeen’s Rank #37):
2019 Stats: Greig (Brandon, WHL:37GP-15G-20A-36PTS), Zary (Kamploops, WHL:39GP-28G-31A-59PTS), Foerster (Barrie, OHL: 40GP-23G-28A-51PTS)
Very productive game from this line. Greig really created the time and space by getting in on the fore-check and letting Zary and Foerster go to work. Zary showed off his playmaking abilities adding three assists in the contest, but also made several smart plays with and without the puck. Foerster showed why he has an excellent shot. He was able to find the back of the net twice and found some really nice chemistry amongst his linemates. Speaking with Tyson Foerster after the game, he mentioned how this game is a little different from any other game “It was a lot louder, a lot faster, and more fans.”
Ryan O'Rourke (McKeen’s Rank #43)
2019 Stats: Sault Ste Marie, OHL: 31GP-6G-16A-22PTS
A strong game defensively for the Sault St. Marie Greyhound defenseman. In his d-zone, he stood out by making a couple big shot blocks and being hard to play against in his own end. He managed the puck quite well and as the game wore on, he took those offensive chances. He made a great play to start on his team’s fourth goal of the game by making a great read in the d-zone. Asking how one might adjust his game for an event like this “I did not do a lot of things different. Just stuck to my game.”
Brandon Coe (McKeen’s Rank: Honorable Mention)
2019 Stats: North Bay, OHL: 38GP-15G-21A-36PTS
He was on a great line that featured to fellow OHL guys in Cole Perfetti and Jaromir Pytlik. He was the draw that stirred the drink for that line. He used his speed to gain the offensive zone, to retrieve dump ins, and pressured the d-man on the fore-check. He had a really nice net drive to beat the defenseman wide and went in hard at the goalie, only to be denied as he tried to tuck it far side.
Alexis Lafreniere (McKeen’s Rank #1) & Quinton Byfield (McKeen’s Rank #2):
2019 Stats: Lafreniere (Rimouski, QMJHL: 34GP-24G-49A-73PTS), Byfield (Sudbury, OHL: 33Gp-25G-38A-63PTS)
The arguable first and second overall picks come June were both ok in the game. Lafreniere scored a really nice goal eight minutes into the game only to have it called back for an offside. He threw multiple hits though which created puck separation and got him physically engaged in the game. Byfield, was a little less physical than his counterpart Lafreniere, but ultimately was not his normal self. Still getting his feet back under him from the World Juniors could be a reason for the lack of domination at an event like this.
Jeremie Poirier (McKeen’s Rank #23)
2019 Stats: Saint John, QMJHL: 43GP-11G-24A-35PTS
Very smooth skating defenseman. He was paired with Jamie Drysdale and the two played very well together. He is a very good puck mover, plays with confidence, and isn’t afraid to join the rush as he did so on a numerous of occasions. Also, added in a nice goal and made a numerous amount of smart decisions with the puck.