Best of 2020 Draft: Top 10 Shooters

Welcome to Part 1 of my series “Best of 2020 Draft” in which I will nominate my picks for the top 10 2020 NHL draft eligibles for specific skill categories.

The first skill we are covering is shooting ability. Having NHL shooting ability in one’s draft season is an easy way to become a top-flight prospect; all 10 of the players listed below are projected to go in the first two rounds of the draft. Most of these players are already capable of beating NHL goalies, which carries instant translatable value to whatever team will draft them. Keep in mind, there about 8 other players I wanted to put in here (I know I’ll regret not adding Lucas Raymond, who’s shot is already looking better in SHL preseason), but ultimately had to trim it down to just these 10.

Without further ado, here’s my top 10 shooters of the 2020 NHL draft. Please feel free to let me know what you think of the list in the comments or on Twitter!

10. Brendan Brisson

Best aspects:

  • One-timer
  • Always in right position to get a good shoot off

As you saw from the video, Brendan Brisson’s feature ability is his one-timer, which is why he finds himself on this list. Other aspects of his shot are good, but it’s really that wicked one-timer that sets him apart from some players who didn’t make this list; he blasts away with both power and accuracy on his one-timers. Brisson will be a welcomed addition to an NHL powerplay with his effectiveness from the off-wing.

9. Quinton Byfield

Best aspects:

  • Ability to shoot off the rush
  • Accuracy
  • Finishing ability

Byfield isn’t known for his shot- everyone talks about his size and speed but his shot is nonetheless a key part of his game. Particularly impressive is his ability to shoot off the rush and finish plays at a high pace. Even when travelling at full speed down the ice, his already-elite accuracy is never affected. Byfield may not ever be known as a true sniper but his ability to shoot off the rush and use his skating to create shooting lanes should have him scoring around 30 goals every year in the NHL.

8. Alexis Lafreniere

Best aspects:

  • Shot selection
  • Ability to get shots through defenders
  • Deception

Alexis’ shot is marvelous; it’s not as pretty as some others on this list but it’s heavy, deceptive and he almost always seems to be taking the right shots. To add to that, even if there’s a defender in front of him Lafreniere can use his skating, hockey sense and puck skills to create a lane for him to fire away. With Lafreniere, I’d say his shot was noticeably a little better towards the end of the year- he seemed to start changing angles and being able to score from the outside on a more frequent basis.

7. Roby Jarventie

Best aspects:

  • Ability to shoot off the rush
  • Always in the right position to get a good shot off
  • Finishing ability

Roby Jarventie is definitely an under-the-radar prospect for this year’s draft but his 2019-20 Mestis performance speaks for itself- Jarventie scored 23 goals in 36 professional games last season. Combined with his speed, Jarventie’s shooting ability has him valued as a 2nd round pick. Jarventie will likely go in the 2nd round in October, and when he does a team will be getting a highly skilled goal scoring winger.

6. Jacob Perreault

Best aspects:

  • Ability to score from weird angles
  • Accuracy
  • Always in right position to get a good shot off

If you watched his highlights this year, you’d know Jacob Perreault is a wizard at scoring from ridiculous angles and odd locations. His shooting accuracy is extremely accurate, allowing him to find the smallest openings to exploit. He also positions himself very well, making the goal scoring process much facilitated for him. Perreault also has great accuracy on his shot which makes up for only average power.

5. Cole Perfetti

Best aspects:

  • Shot selection
  • Accuracy
  • Ability to get shots through defenders

A fantastic shooter, Perfetti’s shot is beautiful to look at. He’s able to shoot from any stance and his release is just effortless. It’s not the heaviest shot, but it’s precise and quick. He knows exactly when and where to shoot and is able to thread pucks between and around defenders better than anyone in the draft. Perfetti might not be an outside scorer in the NHL, but when he gets any open ice between the hashmarks, he’s gonna be able to pick a spot nearly every time.

4. Noel Gunler

Best aspects:

  • Quick Release
  • Power
  • Deception

Had this list been made a year ago, Gunler would have ranked a bit higher but an unimpressive goal scoring season in the SHL raised some concerns. Gunler has an incredibly powerful, accurate, and deceptive shot but he doesn’t use it effectively and frequently enough for him to rank higher. Hopefully in his second full SHL season he can recapture some of the shooting success that got him 27 goals in 31 SuperElit games in 2018-19.

3. Tyson Foerster

Best aspects:

  • One-timer
  • Power
  • Shot selection

Foerster is one of my favourite players in the draft. With a shot as good as his, it’s hard for me to believe he had only 36 goals last year. With the way he shoots, it really felt like he could have had 50+. The most impressive thing about Foerster’s shooting ability is the translatability it has to the NHL. Foerster scores a lot of NHL style goals including his already mastered off-wing one timer, which will be a huge asset to an NHL team’s powerplay one day.

2. Jack Quinn

Best aspects:

  • Finishing ability
  • Accuracy
  • Ability to change angle before shooting

Quinn burst onto the scene in 2019-20 and wasn’t really known as a goal scorer before this season with just 12 goals in his first OHL season. I guess he worked on his shot over the offseason because he came out firing this year, finishing 2nd in the OHL for goals with 52. Quinn gets a lot of power behind his shot and just the right amount of accuracy. He’s also a multi-dimensional shooter who’s able to change the angle before shooting, leaving goalies vulnerable and eventually reaching behind them to fish the puck out of the net.

1. Alexander Holtz

Best aspects:

  • Power
  • Shot variety
  • Slight hesitation that freezes goalies

If you clicked on this article, chances are you were expecting to see Alexander Holtz’s name near the top. Holtz has been known for years for his sniping ability and he has carried all the way through his draft year. Holtz has everything you look for in a shooter- power, accuracy, a quick release, a smart shot selection, and slight hesitation on his wrist shot that freezes goalies. In addition to those things, Holtz employs a variety of shots to his arsenal which he uses to terrorize goalies. Holtz was able to score 9 goals in 35 games for Djurgardens of the SHL last season. It might not seem like a preposterously high number at first glance but it’s tied for 2nd (after Markus Naslund) for most in SHL history for a 17 year-old. Oh yeah, he also had 7 goals in 3 SuperElit games to boot.

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