written by: JOE LAURICH
The first round of the 2020 NHL Draft took place on Tuesday night. As expected, the New York Rangers took Canadian forward Alexis Lafreniere with the first overall selection in the draft.
Lafreniere accumulated 112 points last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scoring 35 goals to go with 77 assists in 52 games played.
Lafreniere will join Hart Trophy candidate Artemi Panarin and former second overall pick Kappo Kakko on the Rangers.
Quinton Byfield became the highest drafted Black player in NHL history, as the talented center was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Kings.
Byfield played for the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League, scoring 32 goals with 50 assists last season.
With a virtual draft, possibilities for TV production are endless, and the NHL got it right by having Alex Trebek announce the third overall pick from the Jeopardy! set. Trebek, who is from Ottawa, announced that his hometown Senators selected forward Tim Stutzle.
Swede Lucas Raymond went fourth overall to the Detroit Red Wings, while the Senators, who also held the fifth overall pick, selected Jake Sanderson.
As with most years, the draft also included a few trades, with the biggest being Max Domi and a third round pick being traded from Toronto to Columbus in exchange for Josh Anderson.
The Calgary Flames also traded down in the draft, moving down from pick No. 19 to pick No. 22, and then again from No. 22 to No. 24, while acquiring the No. 72 and No. 80 picks in the process.
The biggest surprise of the night was the Columbus Blue Jackets selecting Yegor Chinakhov with the 21st overall selection.
Most draft experts didn’t expect Chinakhov to be drafted within the first two rounds. Chinakhov got off to a solid start in the Kontinental Hockey League season, which likely impacted in Columbus’ decision.
While nine Americans were taken in the first round of the 2019 draft, just Sanderson and Brendon Bisson, who went 29th overall to the Vegas Golden Knights were taken in the first round this year. Nineteen of the first 31 selections hailed from Canada.
Before the rest of the draft kicked off on Wednesday, the Senators made headlines again by acquiring two-time Stanley Cup winning Goalie Matt Murray from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Murray was outplayed by Tristan Jarry last season, and the Penguins decided to give Jarry a contract extension and keep him as their starter going forward. In exchange for Murray, the Penguins acquired the No. 52 pick and prospect Jonathan Gruden.
The Predators and the Wild also made a notable trade on Wednesday morning, as the Wild acquired Murray’s former Pittsburgh teammate Nick Bonino along with a second and third round pick from the Predators for forward Luke Kunin and a fourth round pick.