Thirty-one National Hockey League teams are preparing to take part in this week’s 2020 NHL Draft, and their top affiliates are ready and waiting for the next wave of young American Hockey League stars to begin their professional careers.
In 2019-20, a total of 223 former first- and second-round draft picks played in the American Hockey League, including young standouts like Filip Zadina, Evan Bouchard, Martin Kaut, Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett, Jack Studnicka, 2019-20 AHL outstanding rookie Josh Norris and 2019-20 AHL top defenseman Jake Bean.
Five first-rounders from the 2019 draft began their pro careers by spending time in the AHL this past season: Kirby Dach with Rockford (3rd overall), Moritz Seider with Grand Rapids (6th), Ville Heinola with Manitoba (20th), Tobias Bjornfot with Ontario (22nd) and Simon Holmstrom with Bridgeport (23rd).
Other first-round picks in the AHL in 2019-20 included 2018 selections Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3rd overall), Barrett Hayton (5th), Adam Boqvist (8th), Vitali Kravtsov (9th), Oliver Wahlstrom (11th), Joel Farabee (14th), Rasmus Kupari (20th), Isac Lundestrom (23rd), Nicolas Beaudin (27th), Rasmus Sandin (29th), Joe Veleno (30th) and Alex Alexeyev (31st); 2017 selections Cody Glass (6th overall), Casey Mittelstadt (8th), Cal Foote (14th), Erik Brannstrom (15th), Timothy Liljegren (17th), Urho Vaakanainen (18th), Filip Chytil (21st), Kailer Yamamoto (22nd), Pierre-Olivier Joseph (23rd), Kristian Vesalainen (24th), Ryan Poehling (25th), Jake Oettinger (26th), Shane Bowers (28th), Eeli Tolvanen (30th) and Klim Kostin (31st); and 2016 picks Olli Juolevi (5th overall), Logan Brown (11th), Michael McLeod (12th), Logan Stanley (18th), Kieffer Bellows (19th), Dennis Cholowski (20th), Julien Gauthier (21st), German Rubtsov (22nd), Henrik Borgstrom (23rd), Max Jones (24th), Riley Tufte (25th), Tage Thompson (26th), Lucas Johansen (28th) and Trent Frederic (29th).
The New York Rangers, parent club of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, own the first pick in this year’s draft, which gets underway on Tuesday night.