While many teams are curious to see if their team might capture the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft headed by Jack Hughes, who is currently playing for the U.S. Development team in the USHL, others are preparing for the 2020 draft and TSN’s Craig Button released his top 20 for ’20 list, placing Rimouski Oceanic winger Alexis Lafreniere of the QMJHL way ahead of the pack.
Lafreniere tallied 42 goals last year in his rookie campaign in the QMJHL as a 16-year-old and already has posted 12 goals and 36 points in 21 games this year. Button adds that his impressive performances in the IIHF U18 World Championships and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup make him a solid selection as the top-rated player in the draft, followed by Sudbury Wolves center Quinton Byfield and Swedish winger Lucas Raymond.
- Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston writes that Nick Kypreos reports that former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville would like to return to work immediately, but is not willing to take on a large rebuilding process like the one that Mike Babcock undertook when he took over the Toronto Maple Leafs. On top of that, any team that wants to hire Quenneville between now and the end of next season would have to assume a considerable portion of the $6MM per season salary that the Chicago Blackhawks still owe him, making it a small group of teams that would likely be interested in his services. Johnston, however, wonders if Quenneville might be willing to change his mind about coaching the Detroit Red Wings if an opening comes about since he’s a native of Windsor, Ont.
- With the recent loss of Dallas Stars’ top defenseman John Klingberg for four weeks, the team has placed their defensive hopes on rookie blueliner Miro Heiskanen, who suddenly is thrust into the role as the team’s No. 1 defenseman. That has been evident, which included a game-high 29:26 Saturday against the Nashville Predators. The Athletic’s Sean Shairo (subscription required) breaks down the film of the play of Heiskanen. Shapiro suggests that Heiskanen’s innate knack of stick angles and positioning is just one skill that few rookies have a keen grasp on as well as his ability to use his body well without being physical. That should bode well for a team that already has a high-quality No. 1 in Klingberg.