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NHL Draft Primer: What you need to know about a deep 2020 class –



Ah, Fall. The leaves are changing colours, the days are getting shorter and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air.

Normally those familiar signs point to the return of the hockey season, but as we all know, there is nothing normal about 2020.

With the Stanley Cup finally awarded last week, the eyes of the hockey world now turn to the NHL Draft, more than three months after it was originally scheduled. The teams will finally get a chance to build for the future even though the start date of the next regular season is still unknown.

Before the picks are made, here is everything you need to know about the most unique draft in NHL history.

When, where, why?

The 2020 NHL Draft was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal but like everything else, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it is being held virtually with the first round on Oct. 6 and the second through seventh rounds the next day.

Sportsnet will be broadcasting the entire event with coverage of Round 1 beginning at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT on Oct. 6 and coverage of the other rounds beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT on Oct. 7.

Watch Round 1 of the NHL Draft on Sportsnet and SN NOW beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Then catch Rounds 2-7 on SN1 and SN NOW starting at from 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Who picks when?

The NHL made some changes to the draft lottery this year after the pandemic forced the regular season to be paused before it was completed.

In June, the first lottery was held where the seven teams who were not invited to return to play, as well as eight other placeholder teams, were given a chance to win one of the first three picks in the draft. The odds for all 15 spots remained the same as they would have been had the season been completed as scheduled, with the placeholder teams representing the eight losers from the playoff qualifying round that had yet to be played.

As a result of this first lottery, a placeholder team won the right to select first overall, the Los Angeles Kings moved up from fourth to pick No. 2 and the San Jose Sharks’ pick (owned by the Ottawa Senators) moved up from fifth to No. 3.

Since a placeholder team won one of the top three spots in the draft, a second lottery was held in August after the qualifying round to determine which team would take that place. The eight qualifying round losers were all given an equal 12.5 per cent chance to win and as a result, the New York Rangers will pick first overall. The other seven qualifying round losers were then slotted into the draft order from picks nine to 15 based on points percentage.

The full draft order became clearer as more teams were eliminated from the playoffs. Now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have won the Stanley Cup, this is how the first round currently looks.

1New York Rangers 
2Los Angeles Kings 
3Ottawa SenatorsAcquired from Sharks in trade for Erik Karlsson.
4Detroit Red Wings 
5Ottawa Senators 
6Anaheim Ducks 
7New Jersey Devils 
8Buffalo Sabres 
9Minnesota Wild 
10Winnipeg Jets 
11Nashville Predators 
12Florida Panthers 
13Carolina HurricanesAcquired from Maple Leafs in trade for Patrick Marleau.
14Edmonton Oilers 
15Toronto Maple LeafsAcquired from Penguins in trade for Kasperi Kapanen.
16Montreal Canadiens 
17Chicago Blackhawks 
18New Jersey DevilsAcquired from Coyotes in trade for Taylor Hall.
19Calgary Flames 
20New Jersey DevilsAcquired from Lightning in trade for Blake Coleman; Lightning acquired pick from Canucks in trade for J.T Miller.
21Columbus Blue Jackets 
22New York RangersAcquired from Hurricanes in trade for Brady Skjei.
23Philadelphia Flyers 
24Colorado Avalanche 
25Washington Capitals 
26St. Louis Blues 
27Anaheim DucksAcquired from Bruins in trade for Ondrej Kase.
28Ottawa SenatorsAcquired from Islanders in trade for Jean-Grabriel Pageau.
29Vegas Golden Knights 
30Dallas Stars 
31San Jose SharksAcquired from Lightning in trade for Barclay Goodrow.

Canadian teams outlook

When looking specifically at what fans of Canadian teams can expect at the draft, it’s best to split things geographically.

The four Western Conference teams are all in win-now mode and as a result, they have a limited number of selections after making various trades. Of that group, the Calgary Flames lead the way with *six or seven, while the Winnipeg Jets trail with four.

The three teams in the Eastern Conference, however, are all loaded with a combined 34 picks between them. The Senators, deep into a rebuild, lead all teams with 12 picks while the Canadiens and Maple Leafs each have 11.

Below is a breakdown of the draft picks each Canadian team holds.

TeamNumber of picksPicks
Calgary Flames6 or 719, 50, 76 or 81*, 96, 143, 174, 205
Edmonton Oilers4 or 514, 76*, 138, 169, 200
Montreal Canadians1116, 47, 48, 57, 78, 98, 102, 109, 136, 171, 188
Ottawa Senators133, 5, 28, 33, 52, 59, 61, 64, 71, 155, 158, 181
Toronto Maple Leafs1115, 44, 106, 122, 153, 168, 177, 179, 189, 195, 212
Vancouver Canucks582, 113, 144, 175, 191
Winnipeg Jets410, 40, 133, 164

* Edmonton can choose to trade either its own 2020 or 2021 third rounder to Calgary as part of the James Neal-Milan Lucic deal. If Edmonton trades its 2020 pick (No. 76) to Calgary, Calgary will then trade that pick to Chicago as a condition on the trade that sent Erik Gustafsson to the Flames and keep its own pick, No. 81. If Edmonton chooses to keep pick No. 76 and instead trades its 2021 pick to Calgary, the Flames will then send pick No. 81 to Chicago to complete the Gustafsson deal.

Who’s going No. 1?

There is often debate over which player will go first overall but not in 2020. Winger Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic has been the top prospect in this class for many years now and his 2019-20 season didn’t do anything to hurt his case.

Lafreniere, who turns 19 on Oct. 11, is a left-shot power winger who will bring size and top-line skill to the Rangers immediately. He won his second consecutive CHL Player of the Year award last season after scoring 35 goals and 112 points in only 52 games. Sidney Crosby is the only other player to win that award twice.

“Believe all the hype from the past three years,” Sportsnet’s CHL insider Sam Cosentino wrote in his final draft rankings. “His creativity and competitiveness will make teammates and coaches take notice right away.”

Other players to watch

Overall, the 2020 draft is very deep up front and it’s very possible 12 or 13 forwards go in the first 15 picks. The top of the draft also features two elite puck-moving defencemen and one of the most intriguing goalie prospects of the past few years.

Quinton Byfield, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Byfield has lit up the OHL since being the first pick in the 2018 draft, scoring 61 points in his rookie campaign and adding another 82 points in only 45 games in 2019-20. A giant at six-foot-four, Byfield projects to be a franchise centre who uses his strength and natural scoring ability to pile up points.

Tim Stutzle, LW, Mannheim (DEL)
Stutzle is the latest German-born player to arrive on the scene, following in the footsteps of Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl. Stutzle’s strength is his skating, which includes both high-end speed and crafty deception. He had a limited role on a top team in 2019-20, but still managed 34 points in 41 games.

The L.A. Kings are expected to take one of Byfield or Stutzle with pick No. 2 and the Senators, with pick No. 3, are expected to take the other.

Lucas Raymond, LW, Frolunda (SHL)
Raymond is the type of player that highlight shows will love because whenever he has the puck, magic happens. His quick hands allow him to create scoring chances for himself or his teammates and he has the potential to be a difference-maker every night.

Marco Rossi, C, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Rossi is coming off a season where he was named OHL MVP after scoring 120 points in just 56 games. A complete two-way centre who models his game after Brayden Point, Rossi is one of the few players in this draft class who could make the jump to the NHL next season.

Cole Perfetti, LW, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Perfetti only stands at five-foot-10, but his elite hockey IQ allows him to play bigger than his body. His peers say he’s a high-character player who could be the leader on a winning-team for many years.

Jake Sanderson, D, USNTDP
Sanderson is the model of what a modern elite defenceman looks like, combining size and strength with a strong offensive instinct. No player has risen more on Cosentino’s draft rankings than Sanderson, who didn’t even appear in the top 31 last October but finished at No. 4 in the final rankings.

Jamie Drysdale, D, Erie Otters (OHL)
Drysdale is an offensive defenceman in every sense of the word and can make plays from anywhere. The physical side of his game needs a little seasoning, but his first-pass breakouts and offensive-zone management are already elite.

Yaroslav Askarov, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
Askarov is off to a hot start in the 2020-21 KHL season, already earning Goalie of the Week honours after stopping 76 of 78 shots in his first three games, two of them wins and one of them a shutout. There’s always a risk drafting a goalie in the first round but Askarov is drawing a lot of attention and will likely be taken before pick No. 15 by a team willing to bet on the most important position.

How has the pandemic impacted scouting?

Beyond changing the date and format the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted how teams scout and evaluate players, for both the 2020 draft and beyond.

Play in every league around the world was paused in March and only the NHL was able to resume later in the summer, meaning the playoffs in the CHL and leagues across Europe were cancelled. Additionally, the World U-18 tournament in April, which is typically the final competition in the scouting calendar for draft-eligible players to compete against their peers, was cancelled this season.

One other wrinkle as a result of the delayed draft is that some players have already resumed play in the 2020-21 season. The QMJHL, KHL, SHL and Liiga have all returned to play and prospects such as Lucas Raymond and Yaroslav Askarov have continued to add to their resumes. Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman, when asked how these extra games will impact his team’s final list, said his staff are watching but “ultimately, it’s not really swaying our list that much.”

Finally, the 2021 NHL Draft has already been affected by the pandemic, too. The scouting calendar for the next draft typically begins in early August with the Gretzky-Hlinka Cup, the first tournament that pits draft-eligible players against each other. But the 2020 edition of the tournament was cancelled and, on top of that, the start of the OHL and WHL seasons have been delayed to December, meaning players trying to get scouts’ attention for the 2021 draft will have to wait a bit longer to do so.

Teams that could make headlines

By being virtual, the 2020 draft won’t have the crowded arena floor where all 31 general managers can talk trades in close quarters that normal drafts have. But with the flat salary cap and lots of teams looking to improve, there should still be plenty of activity on draft day.

Here are three teams who could be at the centre of the action.

New Jersey Devils

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has reported that the Devils are shopping two first round picks, No. 18 and No. 20, for young NHL-level talent.

“New Jersey has made it known that if you’ve got a youngish player 26 or under with some term or team control, (they) would be willing to move one of the first rounders for that kind of help,” Friedman said on a recent Saturday Headlines, adding that pick No. 7 is not on the table.

The Devils made a big splash at the 2019 draft by acquiring P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators. While Tom Fitzgerald is calling the shots this time around, it looks like the Devils will be busy working the phones once again.

Ottawa Senators

Senators GM Pierre Dorion declared the team was entering a rebuild in the spring of 2018 and ever since then, the club has been positioning itself to hit big at the 2020 draft. The Senators have two things every rebuilding team wants, cap space and plenty of draft picks, and Dorion will have lots of options come draft day as a result.

After buying out Bobby Ryan, the Senators have more cap space ($43 million) than committed salary ($38 million) for next season so the team could add more picks in the coming days to help other teams get out of cap trouble, similar to what the Red Wings did by acquiring Marc Staal and a second-round pick from the Rangers.

On the other hand, with 13 picks including seven in the first two rounds, the Senators have the ability to move up in the draft if a certain player they like is still available.

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets are a wild card due to the fact that the club could be entertaining trade offers for Patrik Laine. As Friedman has reported, the club is weighing whether trading the 21-year-old would help fill holes down the middle or on the blue line.

The Jets already have the 10th overall pick but could add another first-rounder plus an NHL-ready player if they decide to move Laine. It would be a franchise-altering move for both the Jets and the team acquiring the high-profile sniper, which is why the draft might be the best place for this trade to happen.

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Bills' Knox tests positive for COVID-19 – TSN



Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets.

The team said Saturday he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list along with three players in close contact with Knox — Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney (on the PUP list) and Nate Becker (on the practice squad). They, too, will miss the game.

This is the first positive coronavirus test for a Bills player since the season began. Each of Buffalo’s previous two games were moved from their initial dates because of the the outbreak in the Tennessee Titans organization.

The Bills will travel as scheduled Saturday afternoon and continue preparations for the Jets.

Buffalo has two remaining tight ends on its roster — Tyler Kroft and Reggie Gilliam.

Four players were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster — wide receiver Duke Williams, offensive lineman Jordan Devey, linebacker Andre Smith and cornerback Dane Jackson.

The team said backup linebacker Tyrel Dodson (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve.

The Bills were previously affected by a string of false positive tests in late August. They sent their rookies home in late July to work remotely after five players tested positive.

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Kershaw shines against Rays to put Dodgers back on course toward World Series glory –



Clayton Kershaw’s glittering career lacked two of the most satisfying accomplishments: a win deep in the World Series and a championship ring.

He took the mound Sunday night with the Los Angeles Dodgers shaken, and Kershaw steadied his team with a gritty performance, plus one particular delivery home that will long be remembered.

Now with one more victory, the Dodgers would claim their first title since 1988.

Kershaw beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second time in six days, escaping a fourth-inning jam with a quick reaction throw to cut down Manuel Margot trying for a rare steal of home, and the Dodgers held on for a 4-2 win and a 3-2 Series lead.

“Well, it’s happened to me before, at least one other time that I can remember,” Kershaw said. “Carlos Gomez tried it against me in Houston one time. You know, I work on that with the first basemen.”

Max Muncy, looking on from first, was ready.

“I was fortunate enough to see one or two guys break hard, so I knew what to expect when he broke,” Muncy said. “I sprinted toward Kersh and said, `Home! Home! Home!'”

Mookie Betts and Corey Seager sparked a two-run first inning, and Joc Pederson and Muncy homered off long-ball prone Tyler Glasnow, whose 100 mph heat got burned.

Joc Pederson of the Dodgers celebrates a solo home run in the second inning. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

His scraggly dark brown hair dangling with sweat, Kershaw was cruising when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed the 32-year-old left-hander in favour of Dustin May after getting two outs on two pitches in the sixth inning.

The mostly pro-Dodgers fans in the pandemic-reduced crowd of 11,437 booed when Roberts walked to the mound, well aware of what happened with the bullpen the previous night, when closer Kenley Jansen wasted a ninth-inning lead in a stunning 8-7 loss.

Those boos quickly turned to cheers as the LA rooters saluted Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, as he walked to the dugout. Kershaw improved to 13-12 in post-season play, including 4-1 this year.

May, Victor Gonzalez and Blake Treinen combined for two-hit scoreless relief. May got five outs, Gonzalez stranded a pair of runners in the eighth by retiring Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe on flyouts, and Treinen got three outs to become the fourth Dodgers pitcher with a post-season save.

“Kersh, a lot of credit goes to him for what we’ve been able to do in this World Series,” Treinen said. “There’s a tough narrative on him. He’s a phenomenal pitcher on the biggest stage.”

Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw pitched five and-two-third innings on Sunday, setting a new mark for post-season strikeouts with his 206th and then 207th K to become the all-time leader. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Margot singled leading off the ninth, but Austin Meadows struck out, Joey Wendle flied out and Willy Adames struck out.

Thirty of the previous 46 teams to win Game 5 for a 3-2 lead have won the title, but just six of the last 14. Teams that wasted 3-2 leads include last year’s Houston Astros.

Los Angeles did not have an obvious candidate to start Game 6 on Tuesday, when Game 2 winner Blake Snell starts for Tampa Bay,

Walker Buehler, the 26-year-old right-hander who has supplanted Kershaw as the Dodgers’ ace, is waiting in the wings for a a Game 7, like a Hollywood understudy ready for a leading role.

With a 175-76 regular-season record, five ERA titles and an MVP, Kershaw ranks alongside Dodgers greats Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser. He won World Series openers in 2017 and again this year, but he faltered in Game 5 in both 2017 and 2018 and has never won a title.

Tampa’s Randy Arozarena hits an RBI-single during the third inning. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press )

A Dallas native pitching near his offseason home, Kershaw shut down the Rays on two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over two starts in this Series with 14 strikeouts and three walks. Kershaw also set a career post-season record with 207 strikeouts, two more than Justin Verlander’s previous mark.

Provided a 3-0 lead, Kershaw allowed Tampa Bay to pull within a run in the third when Kevin Kiermaier singled, Yandy Diaz tripled on a ball down the right-field line that skipped past Betts and Arozarena’s single. The 25-year-old Cuban rookie asked for the ball after his record 27th post-season hit, one more than San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval in 2014.

“I didn’t have my stuff like I did in Game 1,” Kershaw said. “My slider wasn’t there as good as it was, so fortunate to get through there.”

Kershaw escaped a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the fourth after Margot walked leading off, stole second and continued to third when the ball got away from second baseman Chris Taylor for his second big error in two games. Hunter Renfroe also walked, but Wendle popped out and Adames struck out.

Manuel Margot of the Rays is tagged attempting to steal home by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes during the fourth inning. (Tony Gutierrez/Associates Press )

With Kiermaier at the plate, Margot bolted for home as Kershaw raised both hands over his head in his instantly recognizable stretch position. While many pitchers might have panicked and perhaps balked, Kershaw coolly and quickly stepped off the rubber and calmly threw to catcher Austin Barnes.

Barnes grabbed the ball and got his mitt down on the Margot’s outstretched hand while the runner’s helmet tumbled off and cut his own lip.

Margot went on his own, manager Kevin Cash said, and became the first runner caught stealing home in the Series since Minnesota’s Shane Mack in Game 4 in 2001.

Globe Life Field’s roof was closed on the cool, rainy night, as it was for Game 3, and the visiting Dodgers broke on top within 10 pitches against Glasnow, a lanky 6-foot-8 right-hander who appeared to be overthrowing.

Glasnow allowed four runs and six hits in five innings, leaving him 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA in the Series. The two home runs raised his total to a record nine in a single post-season.

Betts doubled on a 99 mph fastball leading off and scored two pitches later when Seager pulled a curveball into right field for a single and his 19th post-season RBI. This Series joined 1932 as the only years with runs in four straight top of the first innings.

Randy Arozarena, left, of the Rays gets tagged at second by Chris Taylor of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Seager advanced on a wild pitch, Muncy drew his 20th walk of the post-season and after a two-out wild pitch, Cody Bellinger hit a grounder that was stopped with no play by Lowe, the second baseman positioned on the right field grass. Seager scored the Dodgers’ 58th run with two outs this post-season and became the first player to cross the plate in each of the first five Series games since the Yankees’ Derek Jeter in 2000.

Glasnow tied a Series record with two wild pitches in the 34-pitch inning and set the mark with three in the game.

Pederson hit a 428-foot opposite-field drive to left on a fastball at the letters for a 3-0 lead in the second.

Glasnow retired eight straight before Muncy homered in the fifth to make it 4-2. He became the record ninth Dodgers player to homer in the post-season, one more than the 1989 Oakland Athletics of Bash Brothers fame.

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Wilson runs wild before injury, 49ers crush Pats – TSN



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Jimmy Garoppolo was once considered to be the man in waiting to take over at quarterback in New England for Tom Brady.

Now he’s the guy who helped hand the Patriots their worst home loss under Bill Belichick.

Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for a career-high three touchdowns and 112 yards before leaving with an ankle injury and the San Francisco 49ers crushed New England 33-6 on Sunday.

Garoppolo finished 20 of 25 for 277 yards with two interceptions in his first game against his former team. San Francisco (4-3) has followed back-to-back losses with consecutive wins and is 3-0 on the road.

“It was an exciting night. Lot of emotions. Couldn’t imagine it going any better than this,” Garoppolo said.

The Patriots’ 27-point loss was their largest at home under Belichick. They had gone 286 games without a three-game losing streak, the longest span between three-game slides in NFL history. New England fell to 2-4 for the first since Belichick’s first season in 2000, when the Patriots went 5-11.

New England was outgained 467-241 in total yards.

“We were clearly out-coached, outplayed. Just out-everything,” Belichick said. “We’re still a long way from where we need to be. That’s obvious.”

San Francisco’s Brandon Aiyuk had six catches for 115 yards and Deebo Samuel had five catches for 65 yards before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.

“When we got them down, we got to keep them down, don’t want to give them any chance to breathe. I thought we did that tonight,” Garoppolo said. “Started from the first snap and carried its way throughout the whole game.”

Cam Newton struggled for the Patriots, completing 9 of 15 passes for 98 yards and three interceptions before being replaced by Jarrett Stidham in the fourth quarter. Stidham was 6 of 10 for 64 yards and an interception.

Belichick said his plan is to keep Newton as the starter.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said.

Newton was out of sync from the outset, making poor reads and poorer throws. Garoppolo, meanwhile, was successful in spreading out New England’s defence with a steady diet of passes behind the line of scrimmage and jet sweeps to get the ball into the hands of Wilson, Samuel and tight end George Kittle.

San Francisco dominated the first half, taking a 23-3 lead, holding the ball for 22:30 and racking up a 301-59 advantage in total yards. The Patriots managed four first downs to the 49ers’ 18.

The Niners took just over five minutes and nine plays to march 75 yards and take a 7-0 lead on 3-yard run by Wilson. It was the first time the Patriots have allowed a touchdown on an opponent’s opening drive at home since Week 4 of 2016 against Buffalo.

Following a Patriots punt, San Francisco was pinned inside its 15. Long completions by Garoppolo helped erase some early penalty losses before he missed high on a pass for Kittle and was intercepted by Devin McCourty.

San Francisco’s defence limited the damage, yielding a 40-yard field goal by Nick Folk.

That wasn’t the case for the Patriots later in the second quarter.

Trailing 10-3, Newton made a bad play worse when he tried to dump off the ball on the run to receiver Jakobi Meyers. It was picked off by linebacker Fred Warner. Five plays later, the 49ers capitalized on a 4-yard touchdown run by Kyle Juszczyk.

The lead grew to 23-3 with just under a minute to go before halftime on a 16-yard run by Wilson.

“D just played impressive the whole day. I thought special teams and offence did, too. It was an extremely physical game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was fun to watch.”


49ers: WR Richie James left with an ankle injury. … Wilson had just crossed into the end zone following his third TD when his leg twisted as he was tackled. He stayed down on the field before walking off under his own power. Shanahan said the tentative diagnosis is a high ankle sprain. “Not sounding great right now,” he said.

Patriots: WR N’Keal Harry left with a head injury and did not return. … LG Joe Thuney departed with an ankle injury. … RT Justin Herron also left with an ankle injury.


With an 11-yard pass to Jakobi Meyers in the third quarter, Newton became the 48th NFL quarterback to reach the 30,000-yard plateau.

He also became the first NFL player to pass for 30,000 yards and rush for 5,000 yards in his career.


The 49ers head to Seattle next Sunday. The Patriots visit Buffalo.


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