It’s over, finally.
A few months later than usual, the 2020 NHL Draft has come and gone and still had all the excitement and intrigue that normally comes on Day 1 when it’s held in June.
There were the expected picks. There were trades — a whopping 27. There were players that dropped and there were a few that were surprise picks. In the end, GMs got the players they wanted, were, of course, surprised they got them and add in any other cliches head guys usually say after the draft.
NHL Draft picks 2020: Complete list of selections for Rounds 1-7
It’ll be a while before anyone knows whether the trades or the new prospects will pan out. But, until then, here are the biggest winners and losers of the 2020 NHL Draft:
NHL Draft 2020 winners, losers
Loser: Reclaiming our time
We hate to start off with a negative — but my goodness Day 2 took FOREVER.
The first pick of the second day was at 11:50 a.m. ET when the Detroit Red Wings picked William Wallander with the 32nd overall pick. The draft ended at approximately 7:22 p.m. ET when Bill Daly closed things out after the Lightning selected Declan McDonnell in the 217th overall slot.
That’s about seven hours and 32 minutes of our lives we’ll never get back.
Now, please don’t get us wrong — we were thrilled there was even a draft in today’s world but, man, it took far too long. Even Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello, who has seen more than a few drafts during his hockey career, thought so.
Winner: Ottawa Senators
The Senators are amid a rebuild but that timeframe may have just sped up considerably.
Before the start of the second round, the team announced the acquisition of goaltender Matt Murray from the Penguins. All they had to do is give up a prospect and a 2020 second-round pick. But there is a catch — Murray is a restricted free agent.
It’s a huge move for GM Pierre Dorion and solidifies Ottawa’s crease for years to come (assuming he signs, which he should). Murray is a two-time Stanley Cup champion (2016, 2017) and was the No. 1 guy in 2016 with a .923 save percentage in 21 postseason games. While he’s coming off one of his worst years statistically (.899 save percentage in 38 games) and has a history of concussions, he’s only 26 and is just heading into his prime.
Ottawa also made some impressive picks including forward Tim Stutzle (third overall), defenseman Jake Sanderson (fifth overall) and his North Dakota buddy, and fellow rearguard, Tyler Kleven.
Winner: New York Rangers fans
Look, it’s easy to say the Rangers were winners on Tuesday night. But the real winners were the Madison Square Garden faithful.
It has been less than a week removed from when they had to say good-bye to “The King” Henrik Lundqvist , when the team bought out his contract. He exits stage left, and Lafreniere enters stage right.
Who is Alexis Lafreniere? Looking at Rangers’ No. 1 overall pick in 2020 NHL Draft
Winner: Ozzy Wiesblatt and Doug Wilson Jr.
It may have been the last pick of the first round, but it was by far the greatest, most feel-good moment of the entire night.
Doug Wilson, Jr. announced the selection of Ozzy Wiesblatt by first signing the right winger’s name. Weisblatt’s mom is deaf .
“That means a ton especially to my mom and the deaf community in general,” said Wiesblatt on a call with reporters. “It’s a very nice gesture for him to do, and my mom will never forget that.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 7, 2020
Winner: Special guests
There was Alex Trebek announcing the Senators third overall pick, Tim Stutzle, who has never even watched “Jeopardy!”
“I thought the Alex Trebek thing was one of the highlights for me in all the time watching drafts,” said Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas on a call with reporters. “It’s the greatest show in the history of television, ‘Jeopardy!’ So, to have him make the pick, that was great by Ottawa and I thought that was awesome. … One of the most memorable things that I’ve seen in that regard.”
Then there was also Dale Hawerchuk’s widow, Crystal, who announced the Winnipeg Jets’ 10th overall pick — Cole Perfetti.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 7, 2020
And then there were a few former (Lanny McDonald) and current (Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly) players chipping in to help out as well.
Winner: History made
First, there’s Emilie Castonguay, Alexis Lafreniere’s agent, who became the first woman to represent the NHL’s No. 1 overall pick as an NHLPA-certified agent.
Fewer than five minutes later, another historic moment: Quinton Byfield was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Kings and became the highest-selected Black player in NHL history. (Seth Jones in 2013 and Evander Kane 2009 both went fourth overall.)
“That definitely means a lot to me, and that’s something special,” Byfield told reporters. “Being in the record books for anything is definitely super special, but that especially. My dad and mom didn’t play hockey or didn’t have too much knowledge about that. Kind of just growing the game together. I think it just shows that there’s a lot of opportunity for everyone in the world and that you can play every sport and be successful in it.”
MORE: Kings’ Quinton Byfield on NHL Draft milestone for Black players: ‘Something special’
Out of 216 players selected, 29 have NHL ties. Nine players in the first round, including Kaiden Guhle, who’s Brendan is in the Ducks organization.
Here’s a few of the 29 where you may recognize their connection — and most that will make you feel old if you do.
TBD: The Benning’s
Speaking of bloodlines, we’re going to throw in a to be determined selection here.
Michael Benning was drafted 95th overall by the Panthers — great. His brother Matt was officially not tendered a qualifying offer by the Oilers on Tuesday — not so great. Maybe a Benning reunion in the Sunshine state?
Maybe the one thing that could push to the winner category is Uncle Jim is the Canucks GM and Vancouver had a decent draft, started with highly-touted defenseman Joni Jurmo who fell to them at 82nd.
Loser: Everyone wanting blockbuster deals
Yes, the Murray trade was big, the Rangers sent Lias Andersson — who definitely needed the move — to the Kings and the Wild and Predators swapped Luke Kunin and Nick Bonino. But that was it aside from the swapping of picks.
Patrik Laine is still a Jet. Guys like Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Duclair are now unrestricted free agents after not getting a qualifying offer, and the rights for Torey Krug, Alex Pietrangelo and Taylor Hall still remain with their clubs until Friday at noon.
Twenty-seven deals went down — and you can check them all out here — but a little more oomph would have been welcome during the hours and hours and hours and, well, hours of the second day.
Winner: The reveals
With the entire draft virtual, and the fact we’re in a technologically savvy time, there way a whole lot of ways players found out that their NHL dreams may come true.
Some players, like Byfield, were showered by family — and in his case confetti.
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) October 6, 2020
And some found out while on the ice, which was very apropos.
— Lincoln Stars (@LincolnStars) October 7, 2020