Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Prospects”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2019-20 Articles Click here. We will be sure to bring you our comprehensive coverage of the 2020 NHL Draft. Today, our 2020 NHL Draft Scouting Reports and Rankings, December Edition begins.
December Edition: 2020 NHL Draft Scouting Reports And Rankings Part 2
With the CHL season nearly three months old, over two months of NCAA hockey, plenty of games for the US National Team Development Program, the Gretzky-Hlinka Tournament, an international break in Europe, and the Canada-Russia Series all being played since we last updated our draft rankings, we have gotten a decent overview of what some of the biggest prospects for the 2020 NHL draft are doing this year.
That said, as a staff, we haven’t seen every player yet—it’s quite simply not possible this early in the season. If there is an obvious name left out, we’ll do our best to get a look at him before the February rankings; as well as before our final rankings that go from April through June.
The group we haven’t seen a lot of our European prospects who, for whatever reason, haven’t had much exposure on the international stage. With the World Juniors, Five Nations, and the Under-18 all to come later in the year, we should get a better look at most of those players.
6.) Jamie Drysdale, Right Defence, Erie Otters, 5’11” 165 lbs
The fourth overall pick in the 2018 OHL Draft, Drysdale had a strong rookie season and was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team. He put up seven goals and 33 assists for 40 points in 63 games. Drysdale also played for Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. He put up two points in seven tournament games. He followed that up with five points in five games at Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, winning a silver medal. This season he has already put up six goals and 31 points in 29 games.
Drysdale is a strong two-way defender. He has very good speed in both directions, as well as the agility and edgework to make quick pivots and transition from offence to defence and vice-versa. Drysdale can rush the puck up the ice, making plays and setting up teammates. He can also get back in his own end and his agility, smarts, and quick stick make him very difficult to beat off the rush. Drysdale is also good at walking the line in the offensive zone and creating shooting and passing lanes for himself. He can play the role of power-play quarterback. He is a bit undersized and will need to add muscle to his frame over the next several years.
7.) Cole Perfetti, Centre, Saginaw Spirit, 5’10” 185 lbs
The fifth overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Draft, Perfetti led all OHL rookies in goals and points last season. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team. Overall he had 37 goals and 74 points in 63 games. Perfetti also added eight goals and 14 points in 16 playoff games. He was outstanding at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup with eight goals and 12 points in just five games. Perfetti has carried that momentum into the regular season, with 16 goals and 47 points in 30 games for Saginaw.
Perfetti has outstanding hands. He can make moves in a phone booth. Perfetti also has very good edgework and combines his hands with the ability to make quick cuts and changes of direction. This makes him extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations whether it be working out of the cycle or coming in off the rush. He uses his quick moves to create shooting and passing lanes. Perfetti sees the ice extremely well and only needs to create a small amount of space to be able to set up a linemate. He also has a very good wrist shot, featuring a quick release.
8.) Anton Lundell, Centre, HIFK, 6’1″ 183 lbs
Finnish hockey has exploded in recent years as their program continues to crank out elite prospects. In this draft class, it continues with Lundell, a centre who helped the team to the World Junior gold medal last January when he put up four points in seven games. He also added four points in five games at the IIHF Under 18s, where he was named a top-three player on the team. Lundell won a gold medal at the 2018 U18, putting up six points in seven games. He has also played ahead of the rest of his age group in domestic leagues. Lundell put up nine goals and 19 points in 38 games in the SM Liiga last season and has continued that with six goals and 12 points in 20 games this year. It is impressive production considering his age and that he is playing in Finland’s top men’s league.
Lundell has very good speed and acceleration. However, he can improve his agility and changes of direction. His speed is dangerous though, it forces defenders to back off him or get burned wide. He uses this speed and very good stickhandling to create space and make plays. Lundell is strong on his skates and protects the puck extremely well, extending plays and allowing linemates to get open. He creates scoring chances thanks to his outstanding vision and playmaking skill. He is another smart player who always seems to be in the right spot. This also applies in the defensive end as he’s already a strong two-way player.
9.) Alexander Holtz, Right Wing/Left Wing, Djurgardens, 6’0″ 183 lbs
Holtz joined Raymond on the Swedish teams at the Hlinka-Gretzky (two goals, seven points in five games); the U17 World Hockey Challenge (four goals, eight points in six games); and IIHF Under 18s (four goals, seven points in seven games). He has also been strong in the Djurgardens system. With 30 goals in 38 games, Holtz led the entire J20 league. He added four points in five playoff games, with Djurgardens finishing in third place. After playing three SHL games last year, Holtz has become a regular this season and has put up five goals and eight points in 21 games. He also put up nine points in just two j20 games this year. He has proven to be too advanced for the junior leagues.
Holtz is a pure sniper. He has an outstanding wrist shot and lightning-quick release. He also has an excellent slap shot and one-timer. Holtz even has a good backhand. He can also get to the front of the net, scoring goals with his quick hands and excellent hand-eye coordination to get tips and bang in rebounds. Holtz makes smart plays with and without the puck. He has the vision and passing skills to find open teammates. Holtz’s skating is good but not quite in the elite level of fellow top prospects, he makes up for it by almost always being in the right position.
10.) Marco Rossi, Centre, Ottawa 67s, 5’9″ 179 lbs
After being drafted 18th overall in the CHL Import Draft, Rossi put up 29 goals and 65 points in 59 games. He was even better in the OHL playoffs putting up six goals and 22 points in 17 games. This season, he’s picked up where he left off. Rossi already has 17 goals and 53 points in 23 games. The Austrian forward is the best hockey prospect that his country has produced since Thomas Vanek. Rossi is just 5-foot-9, however, he is solidly built and plays a dynamic offensive game. His low centre of gravity makes him hard to knock off the puck and allows him to control it down low and create out of the cycle game.
Rossi is an excellent skater, with very good speed and edgework. He can take defenders wide and cut to the net. Rossi has excellent hands. He creates space by combining his quick fakes and with his quick cuts and changes in speed. Rossi is talented as both a playmaker and a shooter. He has a quick wrist shot with an excellent release as well as the passing skills to set up his linemates and make them better. His ability to extend plays through his work down low really lets him take advantage of these playmaking abilities. He gives his teammates additional time to get open for a tape-to-tape pass. Rossi is also good defensively. He is able to kill penalties and is particularly effective on faceoffs.
Main Photo: LONDON, ON – MARCH 09: Cole Perfetti #91 of the Saginaw Spirit controls the puck as he skates in the third period during OHL game action against the London Knights at Budweiser Gardens on March 9, 2019, in London, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)