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Twitter Q&A: Ryan Kennedy answers all your prospect questions

In a Twitter Q&A on Wednesday afternoon, prospect expert Ryan Kennedy answered questions about the 2020 draft, how some NHL teams will tackle the selection process and more.
Vincent Ethier/CHL

Vincent Ethier/CHL

In a Twitter Q&A on Wednesday afternoon, prospect expert Ryan Kennedy answered questions about the 2020 draft, how some NHL teams will tackle the selection process and more.

Harry Daniels: Lafreniere is the No. 1 favorite, but just how close did the others, like Byfield and Stützle, come this season?

Ryan Kennedy: There's distance between Lafreniere and the others. Not a ton, but no one is doing a Taylor Hall-Tyler Seguin debate this year. Byfield seems to be the No. 2 based on the scouts I've talked to, but Stutzle is good enough to create debate.

@JerrodEdson: Are the Sens going to steal this draft?

Ryan Kennedy: Quite possibly. Pierre Dorion has presided over some pretty good classes already and if the lottery goes their way, they could have two elite players to add on top – maybe even the first and second picks!

@JakubHromada29: If Lafreniere is first and Byfield second, who's the third-best prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft if you have to say just one name?

Ryan Kennedy: It's probably Tim Stutzle, but I do know some teams have Lucas Raymond there. Jamie Drysdale is also in the mix for some franchises and he is a defenseman, which sets him apart at least positionally.

Shane Brown: While working on draft preview, is there any specific tidbit that you've found very interesting that you're able to share?

Ryan Kennedy: Seeing so much Internet chatter about Noel Gunler, it was refreshing to hear multiple scouts say they thought all the attitude questions about him were overblown. Sounds like he got a rep early and couldn't shake it, but there's nothing to worry about.

@WX_Jake: To put it lightly, the Sharks have had a dumpster fire of a season. Can they still be Cup contenders for the foreseeable future? If so, how?

Ryan Kennedy: No, their current window is done (unless there's a miraculous change in goaltending). Since they don't have a high first-rounder this year, they'll have to be patient and build through the draft.

Hannah Gobert: The OHL Draft is coming up this weekend. Any player outside of Adam Fantilli that you think we should know about?

Ryan Kennedy: Offensive defenseman Ty Nelson is one to watch, as there is some talk North Bay could take him first (since Fantilli is going to USHL Chicago next year). Keep an eye out for Pano Fimis, too - super-skilled forward could go second overall.

Dylan Hylander: If Kaprizov does arrive in Minnesota next year, do you see him making an immediate impact, or will it take some time?

Ryan Kennedy: I think he makes an Evgeny Kuznetsov-type impact; maybe not rookie of the year, but a force within a season or two.

@DavidWilmot: if you go the USHL route when you turn 18 you can play 1)NHL 2)NCAA 3)AHL yes/no? 4)Europe yes/no? 5) USportCanada or continue in the USHL?

Ryan Kennedy: Correct, you can pretty much do anything as long as you’re not drafted out of the CHL - so even European kids who play major junior can be restricted (though there are exceptions).

@DP292839: Do you still feel Tolvanen will salvage a good NHL career. Also, what do you project for Ryan Poehling?

Ryan Kennedy: Tolvanen needs to adapt to the North American game, that’s always been the issue. Can’t be a perimeter guy. I like Poehling a lot for his two-way game. Fits in the middle of a lineup real well

@CurtisTCB716: Best guess on where you think Alex Cotton gets taken, if at all?

Ryan Kennedy: I could see him going in the top 150. Talking to scouts, it’s hard to pinpoint second-chance guys because NHL teams are basically playing a game of chicken with each other - who blinks first and grabs a player?

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