The mocking has commenced — at least for the top 10.

Yesterday I started a series with ambitions of 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.

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 second attempt at the Tankathon simulator, which produced this order for the top 10.

1) Ottawa Senators

2) Los Angeles Kings

3) Detroit Red Wings

4) Ottawa Senators (San Jose)

5) Anaheim Ducks

6) New Jersey Devils

7) Buffalo Sabres

8) Montreal Canadiens

9) Chicago Blackhawks

10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona)

Mock 2.0: The Picks

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

ANALYSIS: Ottawa wins the lottery — moving up from second to first overall — and what a win this would be for the Senators. Lafreniere would give that franchise a face again — a much better face than embattled owner Eugene Melnyk — and restore Ottawa to contender status in short order. Lafreniere would form a fabulous one-two punch with Brady Tkachuk on left wing, giving the Senators arguably the league’s most formidable duo at that position. Lafreniere would take over as the driver in Ottawa and steer this ship back to the playoffs.

2) Los Angeles Kings — Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, Sudbury
OHL)

ANALYSIS: Los Angeles is another lottery winner in this scenario — leaping from fourth to second — but this decision isn’t as easy as it may seem for the Kings, who also have eyes for the draft’s top defenceman in Jamie Drysdale. There is deliberation but, ultimately, L.A. can’t resist the tantalizing upside of Byfield. The Kings could feel as though they are choosing between Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar since Drysdale and Byfield project as similar impact players. That isn’t an easy choice and a case can be made for Los Angeles needing another Doughty more so than another Kopitar — the centre depth appears promising with Alex Turcotte, Gabriel Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Rasmus Kupari and recent acquisition Tyler Madden — but the Kings’ brass still believes Byfield is the best player available and BPA is always a wise approach. For the Kings’ fans that would rather have Drysdale, turn your attention to mock 1.0.

3) Detroit Red Wings — Tim Stutzle (LC/LW, Germany, Adler
Mannheim DEL)

ANALYSIS: Detroit loses the lottery — falling from first to third overall despite being the league’s worst team by far this season — but the Red Wings are stoked to get Stutzle. They couldn’t justify taking him first overall, ahead of Lafreniere, but Stutzle could be second on Detroit’s list of targets. He would be a phenomenal consolation prize for the Red Wings, who drafted fellow German Moritz Seider in the top 10 last year. That German connection factors into this decision, but Stutzle is taken on merit more than anything. He is a special talent and could overtake Dylan Larkin as Detroit’s top centre for the next decade. And with Seider trending well to anchor the right side of the blue line, the Red Wings didn’t have a need for Drysdale.

4) Ottawa Senators (San Jose) — Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada,
Erie OHL)

ANALYSIS: Ottawa walks away with the draft’s top forward and top defenceman, making everyone forget about past drama and focus on the positives for the Senators. If this scenario came to fruition, nobody would remember the fallout from that failed Matt Duchene deal in which Ottawa handed Colorado the best odds for last year’s lottery after deferring from 2018 to take Tkachuk fourth overall. Fortunately for the Senators, Colorado lost the lottery and wound up picking fourth instead of first. The Avs selected Bowen Byram, the top defenceman in 2019. How ironic for Ottawa to now be taking Drysdale in 2020 thanks to San Jose packaging this pick in the Erik Karlsson blockbuster. The Hockey Gods would be making amends to Pierre Dorion and setting up the Sens’ blue line for a bright future with Drysdale joining Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, Lassi Thomson and Jacob Bernard-Docker as the key figures on the back end. With Lafreniere and Drysdale in the fold, Ottawa’s rebuild would be full steam ahead with the potential for a dynasty in Canada’s capital.

5) Anaheim Ducks — Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada, Saginaw
OHL)

ANALYSIS: Anaheim has all kinds of option here but opts for a pure scorer to pair with 2019 first-rounder Trevor Zegras, a playmaking extraordinaire. Expect Anaheim to take one of the draft’s snipers — be it Perfetti or Alexander Holtz, who the Ducks took in mock 1.0. Anaheim would also have interest in Drysdale if he was still on the board. But Perfetti could replace Corey Perry’s presence in Anaheim, carving out a similar career with some of the same swagger but not the nastiness. Perfetti and Zegras could be lethal together for the Ducks.

6) New Jersey Devils — Marco Rossi (LC, Austria/Switzerland,
Ottawa OHL)

ANALYSIS: New Jersey doesn’t need another centre, but the Devils wouldn’t hesitate in taking Rossi as their best player available — and a player they are very familiar with from keeping tabs on their four prospects with the same junior team. Rossi might seem redundant with Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, but he could complement them in all situations and perhaps shift to the wing as a pro. Teams can never have enough centres, it seems, so surely New Jersey could find a place in the lineup for Rossi, who might have a higher offensive ceiling than Hischier. It’s not a perfect fit on paper, but the Devils will definitely like Rossi.

7) Buffalo Sabres — Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, Frolunda SHL)

ANALYSIS: Buffalo loves their Swedes and Raymond is a real loveable prospect with his elite skill-set. He can score but is more of a playmaker, which bodes well for Buffalo since the Sabres have plenty of shooters with Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, Victor Olofsson and 2019 first-rounder Dylan Cozens, who will likely be on the roster next season. Raymond and Olofsson on the same line could be magical and they would certainly be able to work magic with Rasmus Dahlin on the power play. That would be fun to watch.

8) Montreal Canadiens — Anton Lundell (LC, Finland, HIFK
Liiga)

ANALYSIS: Montreal loves their Finns and Lundell is going to be another good one as an all-purpose centre with underrated offensive abilities. He has nice size with power elements as a two-way force. Lundell has similarities to 2018 first-rounder Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but they are different enough to both have significant roles in Montreal. Kotkaniemi is the better shooter and scorer but Lundell brings the best out of his linemates and can play with anyone. Versatility is the name of Lundell’s game and he could slot in between fellow Finns Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen to form a very strong third line as early as next season. Kotkaniemi should be capable of playing higher in the lineup — somewhere in the top six — once he gets his confidence back. Or perhaps Kotkaniemi could wind up flanking Lundell by shifting to the wing for more of a shooter’s mentality. Food for thought on that front. The Canadiens also have Jesse Ylonen coming as another young Finn, so that pipeline is well established — pumping out talent ever since Saku Koivu — and Lundell could be the next name called from that Nordic nation.

9) Chicago Blackhawks — Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden,
Djurgardens SHL)

ANALYSIS: Chicago adds another Alex with Holtz joining DeBrincat and Nylander as another big part of the Blackhawks’ youth movement. Holtz and DeBrincat on the same line would be terrifying for opposing goaltenders. Holtz is even more of a sniper than DeBrincat, projecting as a poor man’s Patrik Laine. Chicago would have no issues scoring with those two as well as 30-goal rookie Dominik Kubalik, not to mention Dylan Strome and Kirby Dach or the old guard led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Chicago’s future also has Swedish flair with Nylander and Adam Boqvist, so Holtz would feel right at home there.

10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona) — Yaroslav Askarov (G,
Russia, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg VHL)

ANALYSIS: New Jersey needs their goaltender of the future and Askarov is considered the best netminder to come through the draft since Carey Price went fifth overall in 2005. That sounds like a great match, especially with this being New Jersey’s second pick in the top 10. The Devils can afford to take that risk, with the reward being a franchise goalie if Askarov develops into the next Andrei Vasilevskiy as anticipated. The Metropolitan Division is already loaded with Russian goaltenders — Ilya Samsonov in Washington, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev with the Rangers, Ilya Sorokin expected to be Semyon Varlamov’s understudy with the Islanders, Pyotr Kochetkov as a top prospect for Carolina, and Daniil Tarasov in Columbus’ system — but the Devils could emerge with the best of that bunch in Askarov. He is that good. Or the Devils could reach for Rossi’s teammate Jack Quinn, as they did in mock 1.0 when Askarov wasn’t available.


Recapping Results for Mock 2.0

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

2) Los Angeles Kings — Quinton Byfield (LC, Canada, Sudbury
OHL)

3) Detroit Red Wings — Tim Stutzle (LC/LW, Germany, Adler
Mannheim DEL)

4) Ottawa Senators (San Jose) — Jamie Drysdale (RD, Canada,
Erie OHL)

5) Anaheim Ducks — Cole Perfetti (LW/LC, Canada, Saginaw
OHL)

6) New Jersey Devils — Marco Rossi (LC, Austria/Switzerland,
Ottawa OHL)

7) Buffalo Sabres — Lucas Raymond (RW, Sweden, Frolunda SHL)

8) Montreal Canadiens — Anton Lundell (LC, Finland, HIFK
Liiga)

9) Chicago Blackhawks — Alexander Holtz (LW/RW, Sweden,
Djurgardens SHL)

10) New Jersey Devils (via Arizona) — Yaroslav Askarov (G, Russia, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg VHL)

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