The NHL conducted a massive Zoom call with eight of the top prospects for the 2020 draft on Thursday afternoon (I’d share the Zoom video with you, but it’s two gigabytes’ worth of data!), and NHL.com’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned an article about the conference call, with two of the Wings’ possible targets discussing the unique challenges that the pandemic has provided them with:
Take Marco Rossi, a center from Ottawa of the OHL. He’s the No. 6-ranked North American skater, but he’s from Austria. He said he went home in mid-March and immediately started training with his personal coach.
“It’s going really good,” Rossi said. “We can see big improvements off the ice, on the ice. I’ve never felt that good on the ice. Especially my body. Like, I got so much better with my body. It was really good before, but now it’s even much better.”
No, the prospects didn’t get to go to the NHL Scouting Combine, which had been scheduled to be held in Buffalo from June 1-6. They didn’t get to go through testing and interviews. But they met with teams via videoconferences.
Take Perfetti. He said he had gone through almost 50 calls, meeting with more than 20 teams, many more than once. When he met with the Detroit Red Wings, he really didn’t get to see general manager Steve Yzerman, because Yzerman mostly had his camera off while someone else led the conversation. But that didn’t affect him.
“I was going to be myself and express who I am, whether he was asking the questions or just listening,” Perfetti said. “I hope I made a good impression. It was a good process doing these Zoom calls, and it was a lot of fun.”
Continued; Perfetti also told Cotsonika that the prospects have become accustomed to offbeat circumstances:
“Obviously it’s been uncertain times, and it’s been such a fluid summer and things have been changing, and I’ve just kind of learned how to go with the flow and deal with adversity,” Perfetti said. “It’s tough to deal with when you kind of dream of having things the way [they are] normally.”
Update: The Detroit News’s Mark Falkner also posted an article regarding the Zoom call:
Saginaw Spirit center Cole Perfetti, the No. 5-ranked player in North America and the second-leading scorer in the OHL with 111 points in 61 games, was among the players who are making draft-night plans close to home instead of walking across the draft stage at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“It’s unique and not the traditional way of going up on stage,” said Perfetti, whose family rented space at a restaurant in Whitby, Ontario to celebrate on Oct. 6 during the first round which gets underway at 8 p.m. (Rounds 2-7 will be the next day at 11:30 a.m.). “But these are uncertain times and we’ve learned to go with the flow.”
USA Hockey defenseman Jake Sanderson (No. 4-ranked and the son of former NHL forward Geoff Sanderson) will watch the draft with family and friends at a rink in North Dakota and Stuetzle plans on joining teammates at the Mannheim hockey clubhouse for the draft, which will get underway in Germany at 2 a.m.
Several players were asked about being interviewed by Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman and director of amateur scouting Kris Draper. In Wednesday’s mock draft in The Detroit News, beat reporter Ted Kulfan had the Wings taking Erie Otters defenseman Jamie Drysdale after Lafreniere, Byfield and Stuetzle were off the board.
“The main purpose was to get to know me,” said Drysdale, No. 3-rated in North America with 47 points in 49 games and a gold medalist with Canada at the world junior championships. “They asked questions about my style, what I think I can do on the ice and what kind of person I am off the ice. It was a pretty smooth process.”
Update #2: I don’t have the server space to update a 2 GB file, but the Free Press does!