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Let’s talk the 2020 NHL entry draft

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The Penguins are without a pick in tonight’s first round, but not without drama or possibilities

2019 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually with Round 1 taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Rounds 2-7 will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on NHL Network.

The Penguins currently have no picks until Round 3, but the drama to unfold will be to see if they make any trades, which will probably be centered around goalie Matt Murray. The team has sought a first round pick, but looks highly unlikely to receive such a high return. When, if and how the Pens can move Murray figures to be the most exciting possibility for Pittsburgh tonight as they sit out and watch the rest of the league divvy up the top age 17-18 talent in the hockey world.

Here’s the current list of first round picks, which is subject to change for any other of the typical wheeling and dealing around the league.

1. New York Rangers
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS)
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Ottawa Senators
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. New Jersey Devils
8. Buffalo Sabres
9. Minnesota Wild
10. Winnipeg Jets
11. Nashville Predators
12. Florida Panthers
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR)
14. Edmonton Oilers
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT)
16. Montreal Canadiens
17. Chicago Blackhawks
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ)
19. Calgary Flames
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB)
21. Columbus Blue Jackets
22. New York Rangers (from CAR)
23. Philadelphia Flyers
24. Washington Capitals
25. Colorado Avalanche
26. St. Louis Blues
27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS)
28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI)
29. Vegas Golden Knights
30. Dallas Stars
31. San Jose Sharks (from TB)

What to watch for:

Lafreniere on Broadway

After winning the draft lottery, the New York Rangers jump up to the number one pick where they will select Alexis Lafreniere as a big-time winger from Day 1. Unfortunately, it’s a great add for a big rival of the Pens.

3 picks for Jersey

The rebuilding Devils have the 7th, 18th and 20th overall picks. Will they use any of the latter picks in a trade for instant NHL talent? Or take flyers on high-ceiling but high-risk players like the injury-prone but talented Hendrix Lapierre? This 2020 draft could be one we look back on in a few years as New Jersey’s big chance to take a step forward

Ottawa’s best chance for relevance

The Senators also find themselves with three first round picks at 3rd, 5th and 28th overall (and four in the second round tomorrow!) The top two choices they have is an excellent chance to turn their struggling team around, especially if potential first line center Quinton Byfield remains on the board for pick No. 3, which seems to be picking up steam if Los Angeles opts for German winger Tim Stutzle as second overall. With two top-five picks, perhaps no team is primed to leave tonight on a better overall trajectory than the Sens if they can get hits on both picks.

Biggest wildcard

The first level of this draft, is Lafreniere and about eight or nine players in the top echelon that almost all draftniks agree upon, though perhaps in slightly different orders at times. The one wildcard that prognosticators can’t quite nail down is where Russian goalie Yaroslav Askarov will be taken. The 6’3 goalie is an elite netminder, but also one with the dreaded “Russian factor” of having KHL entanglements that will keep him out of NHL for years. There is also some hesitancy at times to draft a goaltender with a top pick, but Askarov figures to hear his name selected early on. Whether that’s 4th overall, 14th or somewhere in the middle, his presence in this draft could shake up the rest of the top of the first round.

Here’s your open area for chatting about the draft, here’s to an exciting and hopefully productive night for the Pens!