NHL draft goes international
by Andrew Podnieks|08 OCT 2020
Starting with No.4 overall pick Lucas Ramond from Sweden, European players were well-represented in the 2020 NHL Draft. 
The lives of 216 young men from around the world changed over the course of the last two days during which time the NHL conducted its 2020 draft virtually.
From the first choice, Canadian Alexis Lafreniere to the New York Rangers, to the last, American Declan McDonnell to the Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, the draft provided plenty of stories that will be worth following in the coming years.
A quick breakdown of nationality shows that of the 216 players selected, 93 were from Europe, the most since 2004 when 97 were chosen. More impressively, that total represents 43.1 per cent of the total, the highest percentage since 2001 when 142 of 289 were European (49.1%).
(Note: the draft consisted of 217 selections, but the Arizona Coyotes forfeited the 49th pick overall because of violations of the NHL’s combine testing policy.)
Russia's Yaroslav Askrarov joined the ranks of goalies drafted in the first round. 
Starting with Detroit’s selection of Lucas Raymond 4th overall, an incredible 32 of that 93 total Europeans drafted were Swedish, a record for that country and the most from any one country in Europe since 2001 when 37 Russians were selected.
Indeed, the Russian resurgence continued, with 24 Russians selected this year. This comes on the heels of 28 last year, and both are numbers not seen since 2003 when 30 were taken.
Some 17 players from Finland were taken, eight from the Czech Republic, three each from Germany and Austria, two from Slovakia (Samuel Knazko, 78th to Columbus and Martin Chromiak, 128th to Los Angeles) and Belarus (Yevgeni Oksentyuk, 162nd to Dallas, and Ilya Solovyov, 205th to Calgary), and one from Norway (Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm, 145th to Columbus) and Latvia (Raivis Ansons 149th to Pittsburgh).
Canada led the way as usual, with 73 players drafted, 33.8 per cent of the total, and the United States had exactly 50 players (23.1%).
Marco Rossi was among three Austrian players selected, the most-ever for the country.
Although it’s a modest number, the fact that three players came from Austria is special for that small hockey nation. Never before have three Austrians been selected in one draft, and Marco Rossi went 9th overall to the Minnesota Wild, second-highest ever after Thomas Vanek, who went 5th in 2003 to Buffalo. Thimo Nicki was chosen 104th overall by Anaheim and Benjamin Baumgartner, 161st to New Jersey.
“It was really special because since my childhood, it's been a dream to play in the NHL one day,” Rossi said after hearing his name called by the Wild. ”It was so emotional for everyone because when you get drafted, you're one step closer to the NHL. There were a lot of mixed emotions because my family has sacrificed so much for me. It's incredible.”
Germany's Tim Stutzle is one of the top NHL European prospects. 
The three Germans included Tim Stutzle, who was selected 3rd overall by Ottawa, Lukas Reichel, 17th to Chicago, and John-Jason Peterka, who went 34th overall to Buffalo. Notably, Stutzle matched Leon Draisaitl as highest-drafted German of all time. He played for Germany at last year’s World Junior Championship, earning five assists in as many games.
"We are thrilled to welcome Tim to the Senators, to Ottawa and to the National Hockey League," said Eugene Melnyk, Senators’ owner. "Tim's acquisition represents yet another core piece in our quest to build momentum towards icing a consistent, elite-level team." 
As usual, the draft also featured a plethora of recognizable names, and this year was no exception. Sons of father-NHLers include:
-Lukas Reichel, son of Martin, 17th to Chicago
-Kody Clark, son of Wendel, 47th to Washington
-Mattias Samuelsson, son of Kjell, 32nd to Buffalo
-Jack Drury, son of Ted, 42nd to Carolina
-Tyler Madden, son of John, 68th to Vancouver
-Kienan Draper, son of Kris, 187th overall to Detroit
-Mason Langenbrunner, son of Jamie, 151st to Boston
-Juho Markkanen, son of Jussi, 112th to Los Angeles
-Jake Sanderson, son of Geoff, 5th to Ottawa
-Kyle Aucoin, son of Adrian, 156th to Detroit
-Ryder Rolston, son of Brian, 139th to Colorado
-Ridly Greig, son of Mark, 28th to Ottawa
-Jacob Perreault, son of Yanic, 27th by Anaheim