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 Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) March 17, 2020
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 fourth attempt at the Tankathon simulator, which produced this order for the top 10.
1) Ottawa Senators (San Jose)
2) Ottawa Senators
3) Buffalo Sabres
4) Detroit Red Wings
5) Los Angeles Kings
6) Anaheim Ducks
7) New Jersey Devils
8) Montreal Canadiens
9) Chicago Blackhawks
10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona)
Mock 4.0: The Picks

1) Ottawa Senators (San Jose) — Alexis Lafreniere (LW,Canada, Rimouski QMJHL)


ANALYSIS: The Senators — thanks be to San Jose — land Lafreniere for the second time in this series, previously winning the Lafreniere sweepstakes in mock 2.0 with their own pick. Ottawa could use a little lottery luck and technically has the best odds of winning when combining the percentages for their second- and third-slotted balls. That total (25 per cent) is greater than Detroit’s chances (18.5 per cent) of picking first overall as the worst team in the league this season. Ottawa has assembled quality depth in their prospect pool but really needs at least one pick in the top three — one of the three lottery wins — to add a potential star and another face for the franchise. Lafreniere would be ideal on the latter front, fitting in perfectly there as a Francophone and fully capable of making an immediate impact on the ice.
2) Ottawa Senators — Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, SudburyOHL)


ANALYSIS: Ottawa wins again — granted, the Senators would be retaining their spot here — and selects Byfield for the one-two punch with Lafreniere. This lottery scenario would save the franchise and ensure the Senators are contenders again soon — led by that dynamic duo. It would also allow Ottawa to slow play Byfield through another year of junior development if deemed necessary, without rushing him to the NHL since the Senators would already have a fancy new toy to debut for next season in Lafreniere. Byfield would compete for a roster spot in training camp and presumably get the nine-game audition, but he could benefit from being the go-to guy for Canada at the World Juniors. It’s possible he could stick with the Senators until getting loaned to Canada, then returned to Sudbury following that tournament if it is in the best interests of both Byfield and Ottawa. There wouldn’t be as much pressure on Byfield in this scenario as in mock 3.0 where he was Ottawa’s top pick and prized prospect. The Senators need Byfield as much or more so than Lafreniere, given that Ottawa lacks a true No. 1 centre prospect and already has Brady Tkachuk as a top-line left-winger — though he’d be bumped down the depth chart by Lafreniere. This would be the ultimate win-win scenario for the Sens.
3) Buffalo Sabres — Tim Stutzle (LC/LW, Germany, AdlerMannheim DEL)


ANALYSIS: Buffalo is a first-time lottery winner in this scenario — moving up from seventh to third — and takes the German sensation Stutzle to develop under the tutelage of German coach Ralph Krueger. The Sabres were lucky to have Stutzle land in their lap at seventh overall in mock 1.0, but that is unlikely to happen on draft day. If Buffalo is targeting Stutzle, that may require trading up or winning the lottery for a top-three pick. Mission accomplished in this scenario, which many will consider more realistic than mock 1.0. And everyone should love the potential of Stutzle with the Sabres — he could be to Jack Eichel what fellow German Leon Draisaitl has become to Connor McDavid in Edmonton.
4) Detroit Red Wings — Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, FrolundaSHL)


ANALYSIS: Detroit is the big loser in this scenario — falling out of the top three for the first time and failing to get their preferred targets in Lafreniere and Stutzle. So now what? The Red Wings reel in Raymond from a familiar fishing hole in Sweden, which has netted Detroit the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Nick Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom and Gustav Nyquist, among others over the years. Steve Yzerman won Stanley Cups with a couple of them and played with all of them, so he’ll be comfortable with taking a Swede. Raymond has elite skill as a hybrid between Zetterberg and another Detroit great in Pavel Datsyuk. That is high praise, obviously, but Raymond could emerge as a top-three talent from this draft class over the next decade.
5) Los Angeles Kings — Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada, Erie OHL)


ANALYSIS: Los Angeles slides down one spot in this scenario but still gets their man for the third time in four mocks — previously selecting Drysdale in mock 1.0 and mock 3.0, with the Kings moving up one spot to third overall as a lottery winner in both those scenarios. Los Angeles had been the luckiest team until now, also leaping two spots to second overall in mock 2.0 where they took Byfield over Drysdale in a difficult decision before changing their minds in mock 3.0 when both were available at third overall. Ultimately, Drysdale is the guy for L.A. — as the second coming of Drew Doughty — and thus an easy decision for the Kings here at fifth overall.
6) Anaheim Ducks — Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden,Djurgardens SHL)

ANALYSIS: Anaheim takes Holtz again — for the third time in four mocks and in the same spot each time — as this scenario produces a stretch of repeat picks that don’t require rehashing. For more rationale on Holtz to the Ducks, check out mock 1.0 and mock 3.0.
7) New Jersey Devils — Marco Rossi (LC, Austria/Switzerland,Ottawa OHL)

ANALYSIS: New Jersey gets Rossi for a second time, albeit one spot lower than in mock 2.0 where the Devils stayed in their lottery slot at sixth overall. That analysis provided the reasoning for Rossi being on New Jersey’s radar, but it warrants repeating that four of his OHL teammates are Devils’ prospects. New Jersey will have a great read on this player who led the entire CHL in scoring during his draft year.
8) Montreal Canadiens — Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada, SaginawOHL)

ANALYSIS: Montreal continues the trend of repeat picks by selecting Perfetti for a second time, previously taking him in the same spot in mock 1.0. Check out that analysis for more insight, but just imagine Perfetti and Caufield — the two Coles sniping ginos. Nuff said.
9) Chicago Blackhawks — Jake Sanderson (LD, USA, NTDP U18)


ANALYSIS: Chicago makes a new selection in Sanderson — a debutant to the top 10 as a first-timer in the fourth scenario. Sanderson’s stock is on the rise since shining at the Four Nations tournament in February and many scouts are now projecting him to be the second defenceman drafted in 2020 behind Drysdale. Sanderson is showing up in the top 15 for most of the recently published rankings — including mine, No. 15 for March — and there is speculation that he could crack the top 10 on draft day, especially if a second team wants to address their defence. Enter Chicago, who could see Sanderson as a successor to Duncan Keith in anchoring the left side of the Blackhawks’ blue line. There are some similarities between the two, including their skating ability, which Sanderson inherited from his father and former NHLer Geoff. The Blackhawks have Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell on the right side, but Sanderson could really solidify the left along with Nic Beaudin, Alex Vlasic and Chad Krys. Sanderson’s offensive upside is a matter of debate, but he is a smooth all-situations defender like Keith and brings a bit more physicality. There is a lot to like about Sanderson.
10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona) — Jack Quinn (RW,Canada, Ottawa OHL)


ANALYSIS: New Jersey reaches for Quinn again — the Devils did the same in mock 1.0 — and this time manages to keep him and Rossi together as teammates to commence their pro careers. Not that both or either of them would be in New Jersey’s lineup next season, but they would be starting out in the same organization. They would be attending the same training camp, along with the Devils’ four other prospects from OHL Ottawa in fellow forwards Mitch Hoelscher and Graeme Clarke as well as defencemen Nikita Okhotyuk and Kevin Bahl, who was acquired from Arizona in the Taylor Hall trade that also included this pick. Six prospects from the same junior program might be a record, but I wouldn’t rule out this scenario for New Jersey.

Recapping Results for Mock 4.0

1) Ottawa Senators (San Jose) — Alexis Lafreniere (LW,Canada, Rimouski QMJHL)
2) Ottawa Senators — Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, SudburyOHL)
3) Buffalo Sabres — Tim Stutzle (LC/LW, Germany, AdlerMannheim DEL)
4) Detroit Red Wings — Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, FrolundaSHL)
5) Los Angeles Kings — Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada, Erie OHL)
6) Anaheim Ducks — Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden,Djurgardens SHL)
7) New Jersey Devils — Marco Rossi (LC, Austria/Switzerland,Ottawa OHL)
8) Montreal Canadiens — Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada,Saginaw OHL)
9) Chicago Blackhawks — Jake Sanderson (LD, USA, NTDP U18)
10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona) — Jack Quinn (RW, Canada, Ottawa OHL)
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