2020 NHL draft grades: Best picks, value steals, more for all 31 teams

    Chris Peters is ESPN’s NHL draft and prospects analyst. The Chicago native previously covered the NHL for CBSSports.com and founded the popular independent blog UnitedStatesofHockey.com where he covered the game at all levels since 2010.

The 2020 NHL draft has finally come to a close. It was a long road to this year’s virtual draft, but all 31 teams walk away with an injection of young talent for their respective pipelines and begin to look ahead to this week’s looming free agency. Surprises hit as early as the first round — well after the Rangers expectedly took Alexis Lafreniere at No. 1, though — and while each team has new prospects to develop in its system, some classes were of course better than others.

So let’s grade each team’s draft class. Which franchises had the best drafts? Which left a lot to be desired? Remember, we won’t know just how all 31 teams did over the course of the two-day draft for a few years. There’s a long way to go in player development. So don’t view this as a final evaluation but rather an initial impression. And learn more about the class with our extensive draft content, including other reaction analysis:

Here are my draft grades for every NHL team, listed from the best class to the worst (teams with the same grade are in alphabetical order).

Anaheim Ducks: A

Favorite pick: Jacob Perreault, No. 27 overall

The Ducks had early picks and made the most of them, filling their most urgent system need by selecting dynamic defenseman Jamie Drysdale at No. 6. He is a deceptive skater with strong puck-moving ability. Having that second first-rounder, the Ducks then had the good fortune of Jacob Perreault slipping a little against consensus, giving them a higher-end goal scorer to add to the mix. His shot, in particular, is elite.

Sam Colangelo is a highly-skilled, big forward who is going to go develop for a few years in college. He has the ability to make defenders miss in the offensive zone. The team also went after upside on defense by going with Ian Moore, one of the top prep players available in this draft and a brilliant skater, and Thimo Nickl, who can really defend. Anaheim finished up by taking very calculated fliers on Artyom Galimov and Albin Sundsvik, who the Ducks can allow to develop in Europe for a while.

Read more analysis on the Ducks’ first-rounders, Jamie Drysdale and Jacob Perreault.

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