In this series, I’ve been running the Tankathon simulator for the draft lottery on a daily basis and mocking the results for the top 10 leading up to the 2020 NHL draft — or until the actual lottery takes place to determine the official draft order.
There are more than 30 different scenarios within the top-three picks, so this should provide plenty of entertainment for 30-plus days — for at least a month, if not longer, while awaiting the NHL’s plan going forward.
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The debut edition elaborated on all the details for this series and provided analysis for each pick. That analysis will continue for every new selection while linking repetitive picks back to their original mock for reference. I’ll try to keep it as fresh as possible and mix in the occasional surprise — along with additional insight — but might also shorten the analysis at times to ensure these mocks are published daily.
Without further ado, let’s reveal the results from my third attempt at the Tankathon simulator, which produced this order for the top 10.
1) Montreal Canadiens
2) Detroit Red Wings
3) Los Angeles Kings
4) Ottawa Senators
5) Ottawa Senators (San Jose)
6) Anaheim Ducks
7) New Jersey Devils
8) Buffalo Sabres
9) Chicago Blackhawks
10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona)
Mock 3.0: The Picks

1) Montreal Canadiens — Alexis Lafreniere (LW, Canada,Rimouski QMJHL)


ANALYSIS: Montreal is the third different winner of the Lafreniere sweepstakes in as many days and the biggest riser thus far — going from eighth to first overall as the draft host. No, this lottery wasn’t rigged, but this result would be massive for Montreal, with Lafreniere becoming their much desired Francophone face of the franchise. Everyone from the Molson family to Marc Bergevin to the casual fans would be rolling out the red carpet for Lafreniere, who should be capable of handling that spotlight as a mature, NHL-ready prospect with superstar potential. Of all the possibilities, the league would love to see Lafreniere in that Montreal market as a revenue driver for an Original Six franchise that has faded from prominence in recent years. This would be the perfect fit for all parties should the stars — or, rather, the lottery balls — align for the Canadiens to land Lafreniere.
2) Detroit Red Wings — Tim Stutzle (LC/LW, Germany, AdlerMannheim DEL)


ANALYSIS: Detroit drops down one spot — from first to second — and surprises many pundits by passing on Quinton Byfield to select Stutzle, which was teased in mock 2.0 where the Red Wings also took Stutzle at third overall. But Byfeild was off the board there, so this decision will be scrutinized for years to come. This isn’t a huge reach by the Red Wings, with Stutzle’s stock on the rise since the World Juniors and Byfield relinquishing his consensus label as the second-best prospect, but the majority of teams likely still take Byfield here. Detroit isn’t the majority of teams, however, as evidenced by last year’s stunning reach for fellow German Moritz Seider at sixth overall. That German connection is a consideration for Steve Yzerman, but the Red Wings insist they prefer Stutzle over Byfield all things being even.
3) Los Angeles Kings — Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada, Erie OHL)


ANALYSIS: Los Angeles has been lucky in all three lotteries thus far — now twice moving up from fourth to third and going as high as second on the other occasion, facing that same decision with Byfield and Drysdale both available at third overall in this scenario. The Kings went with Byfield over Drysdale in mock 2.0, at second overall, and previously took Drysdale third when Byfield was gone in mock 1.0. This is a difficult decision for Rob Blake, as mentioned in mock 2.0, but this time Los Angeles opts for Drysdale in addressing an organizational weakness at right defence beyond Drew Doughty. Drysdale has Doughty-level upside, so it is understandable that the Kings would covet him and they are already in great shape at centre for the future.
4) Ottawa Senators — Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, SudburyOHL)


ANALYSIS: Ottawa is the lottery loser again in this scenario — dropping down two spots with both of their picks, from second and third to fourth and fifth — but would be feeling like the biggest winner with Byfield falling to them. If the Senators were to retain the second overall pick, as per their lottery odds, Byfield is likely their man, so they would be shocked to get him here. Ottawa would be overjoyed at the prospect of pairing Byfield with Brady Tkachuk on a powerful top line that could also feature Drake Batherson. Byfield is best suited for the Senators’ roster, so this selection is a no-brainer for Pierre Dorion — especially at fourth overall.
5) Ottawa Senators (San Jose) — Marco Rossi (LC,Austria/Switzerland, Ottawa OHL)


ANALYSIS: Ottawa also gets Rossi, who won the CHL scoring race ahead of Byfield and even Lafreniere — though they both missed time while representing Canada at the World Juniors. Still, Rossi had an awesome season in Ottawa of all places, so the Senators are well aware of his offensive exploits. This decision comes down to Rossi or Lucas Raymond. Ottawa took both of them in mock 1.0 at fourth and fifth, respectively, but Rossi went ahead of Raymond there and the Senators stick with that order here. By taking Byfield and Rossi, Ottawa would be turning centre into a positional strength from a perceived weakness. Josh Norris and Shane Pinto are trending well, but their ceilings aren’t nearly as high as Byfield and Rossi. With Colin White and Logan Brown being a little more iffy in the present, these selections certainly solidify the Sens down the middle.
6) Anaheim Ducks — Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden,Djurgardens SHL)


ANALYSIS: Anaheim takes Holtz, a repeat pick from mock 1.0, but the Ducks could be a candidate to trade down or go off the board. Dylan Holloway, a good-sized NCAA centre, could be of interest. So could WHL centre Connor Zary or even QMJHL teammates Dawson Mercer and Hendrix Lapierre, who arguably has top-10 talent but was sidelined by concussions for much of the draft year. I have those four ranked in my 11-20 tier for March — Holloway (11), Zary (16), Lapierre (19) and Mercer (20) — but I could see Anaheim being higher on them than most. That said, Holtz would be hard to pass on here and the Ducks would probably still be debating between him and Cole Perfetti — as was the case in mock 2.0 when they went with Perfetti.
7) New Jersey Devils — Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, FrolundaSHL)


ANALYSIS: New Jersey makes a new selection in Raymond, who could provide a big boost to the Devils’ offence. He is a top-five talent in this draft class — arguably top three — but could slide due to his limited role in Sweden’s pro league despite dominating his peers on the international stage, including at last year’s under-18 worlds. Raymond could become the ideal wingman for Jack Hughes, thinking the game on his playmaking level and also possessing finishing ability. The Devils have deployed a couple Swedish wingers in Jesper Bratt and Jesper Boqvist, but Raymond should develop into a legit first-liner — an even better version of Patrik Elias, for comparison sake. Raymond could look like a real steal at seventh overall in a few years’ time.
8) Buffalo Sabres — Anton Lundell (LC, Finland, HIFK Liiga)


ANALYSIS: Buffalo also goes a new route with Lundell, who won world junior gold in 2019 as a teammate of Henri Jokiharju and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen with Finland. The Sabres don’t have a ton of centre depth and 2017 first-rounder Casey Mittelstadt isn’t developing as hoped, while 2019 first-rounder Dylan Cozens might be better on the wing as a pro. Lundell is locked in as a centre, a very responsible two-way pivot that can be effective in a variety of roles. Some scouts question his offensive upside and his ability to produce in the NHL — his ceiling per se — but Lundell has a high floor and should be a relatively safe pick. He isn’t the sexiest prospect in this draft class, but Lundell could work well for Buffalo — even if he ends up as a shutdown third-liner like Radek Faksa in Dallas, who was also a top-15 pick in his draft year (13th overall in 2012).
9) Chicago Blackhawks — Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada,Saginaw OHL)


ANALYSIS: Chicago grabs another undersized scorer from the OHL in Perfetti, who is a bit bigger than Alex DeBrincat but didn’t net as many goals during his draft year. Both have big shots and neither plays small since they are solidly built and strong on their skates. Perfetti evolved into more of a playmaker this season — partly because he was snakebitten in the first half after lighting up the Hlinka Gretzky Cup — but his scoring ability is still his calling card. The Blackhawks would love the thought of DeBrincat and Perfetti flanking Dylan Strome on a potent line of OHL alums.
10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona) — Noel Gunler (RW/LW,Sweden, Lulea SHL)


ANALYSIS: New Jersey snags another new Swede in Gunler, who is a polarizing prospect that could go anywhere from the top 10 to the second round. Getting Gunler and Raymond with the potential to pair them in the future is intriguing and enticing for the Devils. The talent of those two is undeniable, but there are question marks — particularly with Gunler, ranging from his character to his pace of play. The Devils would need to do their due diligence, but there is no questioning Gunler’s shot, with one of the best releases in this draft class — ranking right up there with Holtz and Perfetti. Gunler can score but can his game translate to the NHL? That is the biggest question that New Jersey would be trying to answer.

Recapping Results for Mock 3.0

1) Montreal Canadiens — Alexis Lafreniere (LW, Canada,Rimouski QMJHL)
2) Detroit Red Wings — Tim Stutzle (LC/LW, Germany, AdlerMannheim DEL)
3) Los Angeles Kings — Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada, Erie OHL)
4) Ottawa Senators — Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, SudburyOHL)
5) Ottawa Senators (San Jose) — Marco Rossi (LC,Austria/Switzerland, Ottawa OHL)
6) Anaheim Ducks — Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden,Djurgardens SHL)
7) New Jersey Devils — Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, FrolundaSHL)
8) Buffalo Sabres — Anton Lundell (LC, Finland, HIFK Liiga)
9) Chicago Blackhawks — Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada,Saginaw OHL)
10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona) — Noel Gunler (RW/LW, Sweden, Lulea SHL)
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