Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that seven OHL players were selected in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft held virtually on Tuesday night at NHL.com while airing live on Sportsnet, TVA Sports and NBC Sports in the United States.
The seven OHL players were among the 19 CHL players that represented 61% of all players chosen in the draft’s opening round. The OHL produced a total of five players chosen inside the top 10 selections, the most by the League since 2010.
Sudbury Wolves centreman Quinton Byfield led the way for the OHL, being selected second overall by the Los Angeles Kings. The 18-year-old from Newmarket, Ont. becomes the highest-drafted Black player in the history of the NHL Draft, while simultaneously becoming the highest-drafted player in the Wolves’ 48-year franchise history.
“Being able to spend that with my family, the people that supported me growing up, is really exciting,” said Byfield following the announcement by Kings general manager Rob Blake. “Hearing my name get called was definitely a big relief off my shoulders. I can’t wait to go to L.A. now.”
Byfield follows Ryan Suzuki (28th overall, 2019), Ryan Merkley (21st overall, 2018), Jakob Chychrun (16th overall, 2016), Travis Konecny (24th overall, 2015), Connor McDavid (1st overall, 2015), Aaron Ekblad (1st overall, 2014) and Alex Galchenyuk (3rd overall, 2012) as the latest player to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft after receiving the Jack Ferguson Award as the first overall pick of the OHL Priority Selection.
Erie Otters defenceman Jamie Drysdale followed Byfield on the path to Southern California, being selected sixth overall by the Anaheim Ducks. Drysdale, who claimed a Canadian World Junior gold medal alongside Byfield in January, becomes the highest-drafted defenceman in Otters history.
“It’s unbelievable being where I am right now,” said Drysdale. “It’s definitely a really fun time and there was nothing but excitement in the room when I got picked. It’s a very nerve-wracking time, but when you hear your name called it’s special and it’s lived up-to and surpassed everything I thought it would be.”
A pair of Ottawa 67’s went back-to-back in the eighth and ninth overall selections, with 52-goal scorer Jack Quinn being taken by the Buffalo Sabres followed by Red Tilson Trophy recipient Marco Rossi joining the Minnesota Wild. It marks the first time the 67’s have had two players chosen inside the top-10 at the NHL Draft since 1978 when Bobby Smith (1st Overall, Minnesota) and Tim Higgins (10th Overall, Chicago) accomplished the feat.
“It’s a very exciting night for me and my family. It was a long wait and a lot of years of hard work that went into it,” said Quinn. “I knew that my meetings went well with Buffalo and we had some great talks, but at the same time I had no expectations or any idea where I was going to go.”
“Coach Andre Tourigny and the whole coaching staff, it’s first class along with the whole 67’s organization,” said teammate Rossi after being selected one pick later. “I’m so happy for him,” he added of Quinn being selected by Buffalo. “It’s good for the organization to have two really good players in the top ten.”
Saginaw Spirit top scorer Cole Perfetti completed the top 10 with Crystal Hawerchuk, wife of late Barrie Colts head coach and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Dale Hawerchuk, announcing the pick for the Winnipeg Jets. Winner of both CHL and OHL Scholastic Player of the Year honours, Perfetti becomes the highest-drafted player in Spirit history following a club record-setting 111-point season. He’s just the second Spirit player to be chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft and the first since 2006.
“Even though it wasn’t a traditional draft, it’s something I’ll never forget and a memorable night to share with these people,” said Perfetti, surrounded by family. “The Jets are a great organization and Winnipeg is a great spot for me. I can’t wait to get there and get going.”
Barrie Colts winger Tyson Foerster joined the Philadelphia Flyers at 23rd overall, being rewarded for a 36-goal season and standout performance at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton. Foerster, who hails from nearby Alliston, Ont., has benefitted from playing in front of friends and family on a regular basis.
“It’s obviously meant a lot being close to home,” he said. “Barrie is only 30 minutes from where I am so the Colts have been huge to me, especially Dale (Hawerchuk) and Todd Miller who have helped me a lot through my career. To finally hear my name called it’s a dream come true.”
Sarnia Sting forward Jacob Perreault rounded out OHL selections in the first round, joining Erie’s Jamie Drysdale as the newest prospect in the Anaheim Ducks organization. The 27th overall pick, Perreault was chosen 20 spots higher than his father Yanic, who was a third round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991. The Sting sophomore led his team with 39 goals last season.
“I’m just following in his footsteps,” Perreault said of his father. “He’s been through the draft and he knows what you need to do to get to the next level and he’s given me a lot of feedback throughout the past year. It’s a pretty good feeling to finally get drafted. It’s I’ve been thinking about ever since I was a little kid.”
The 2020 NHL Draft resumes with Rounds 2-7 on Wednesday, live on Sportsnet and NHL Network.
OHL Players Selected in the First Round of the 2020 NHL Draft:
Click on player name below to watch pick announcement and media availability
2. Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves) – Los Angeles Kings
6. Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters) – Anaheim Ducks
8. Jack Quinn (Ottawa 67’s) – Buffalo Sabres
9. Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s) – Minnesota Wild
10. Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) – Winnipeg Jets
23. Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts) – Philadelphia Flyers
27. Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting) – Anaheim Ducks
For more information on the 2020 NHL Draft including full results visit nhl.com.