After weeks of speculating that the Colorado Avalanche would have the 24th overall selection in this week’s 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the league decided to scrap their traditional ordering standards - a move that dropped the Avs down to the 25th pick.
When it comes to this SB Nation mock draft, it didn’t make a difference. As he fell down the draft board, the team at MHH were fixated on Dylan Holloway - a big, strong center that reminds scouts a lot of Jordan Staal. Unfortunately, he finally came off the board as the Philadelphia Flyers selected him with the 23rd pick.
With Holloway off the board, we took the next best option on our draft board - Noel Gunler, a right-shooting winger who has a little Mikko Rantanen and a lot of Andre Burakovsky in his game.
Gunler is viewed by many as a boom or bust prospect due to questions about his maturity level. For the most part, he has been left off of Sweden’s international teams and there is a lot of speculation that it is due to a lack of coachability. That said, given the right situation - like say playing under a no-nonsense coach with a team whose leadership group is built around a fellow Swede - Gunler has the talent to be a high-end winger in the NHL.
Gunler is a very quick skater with great acceleration. That said, he needs to work on his lower body strength as he lacks the balance and power to be considered an elite skater.
In terms of his offensive game, Gunler is a pure sniper. Some scouts believe he has the best shot in the draft. He’s got a heavy wrist shot, a quick and accurate snap-shot and a one-timer that makes him incredibly dangerous from his off-wing, particularly on the powerplay.
It’s away from the puck that Gunler will need to work on his game. He is very inconsistent defensively and has a tendency to lose puck battles due to his slight frame and lack of strength. That said, he has a long reach so when he’s engaged, he’s got the ability to be very disruptive when defending in his own zone.
Gunler is a player with the skill to be a very good NHL but there are definitely some bad habits that need to be coached out of his game. He would be a great fit for Colorado’s top-six in a few years and would look awfully nice playing next to a speedy play-driving center like Alex Newhook.
Gunler put up some of the best numbers ever for a draft eligible player in Sweden. His points per game last season ranked fourth all time for any player in his draft-minus-one (D-1) season. His production even outpaced probably top-5 pick Lucas Raymond in the same league.
Gunler has already begun his season in the SHL and that is where he will remain for the year. Beyond that, there’s a strong possibility that he’d spend another season in Sweden before coming over to North America to try to make an NHL roster. He’s the kind of player that is better suited to play his developmental seasons back home than he is to come over to the AHL.
What others are saying
“The 6-2, 176-pound forward possesses good passing skills, shot selection and willingness to drive to the net to create offense ... He has intimidating size and earned big minutes on the power play with his soft hands and playmaking ability.” - Mike Morreale (NHL)
“His shot release is arguably the best in this draft class as he can get shots off faster than anyone without hurting the power or accuracy of the shot. He’s also a great playmaker who can utilize his skills and vision to create scoring chances.” - Jokke Nevalainen (Dobbler Prospects)
2020 SB Nation Mock Draft
1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere
2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield
3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS) – Lucas Raymond
4. Detroit Red Wings – Tim Stützle
5. Ottawa Senators - Marco Rossi
6. Anaheim Ducks - Jamie Drysdale
7. New Jersey Devils - Cole Perfetti
8. Buffalo Sabers - Anton Lundell
9. Minnesota Wild - Alexander Holtz
10. Winnipeg Jets– Seth Jarvis
11. Nashville Predators – Dawson Mercer
12. Florida Panthers – Jack Quinn
13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR) - Yaroslav Askarov
14. Edmonton Oilers- Jake Sanderson
15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT) - William Wallinder
16. Montreal Canadiens - Mavrik Bourque
17. Chicago Blackhawks - Connor Zary
18. New Jersey Devils (from ARI) - Rodion Amirov
19. Calgary Flames- Jeremie Porier
20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN-TBL) - Jacob Perreault
21. Columbus Blue Jackets - Kaiden Guhle
22. New York Rangers (from CAR) -Hendrix Lapierre
23. Philadelphia Flyers - Dylan Holloway
24. Washington Capitals - Marat Khusnutdinov
25. Colorado Avalanche - Noel Gunler