Ottawa had a huge night on Oct. 6 at the 2020 NHL Draft with three first round picks, the first of which was announced by Alex Trebek, the host of long-running TV game show Jeopardy.
“Our category today is the NHL. With the third pick in the 2020 NHL draft the Ottawa Senators choose this player,” he said via remote video.
“The correct response? Who is Tim Stützle.”
The Trebek idea originated with the owner of the Ottawa Senators, Eugene Melnyk.
Toronto Maple Leafs coach Kyle Dubas said told reporters in a video press conference that he enjoyed the move. “I thought the Alex Trebek thing was one of the highlights for me in all the time watching drafts. It’s the greatest show in the history of television, Jeopardy,” said Dubas
General manager of the Ottawa Senators, Pierre Dorion, called this years first round draft “one of the biggest nights in franchise history,” according to Sportsnet.ca.
Struetzle is from Mannheim Germany, where his mentor Leon Draisaitl, the winner of the Hart Trophy, grew up.
“Tim Stuetzle is an elite talent, a dynamic offensive player,” Dorion praised. “He’s got great speed, great hockey IQ, great skills. At the same time, he just generates offence, shift after shift.”
Dorion said the group was elated to have Alex Trebek announce “a franchise-defining pick.” Trebek is a former University of Ottawa student.
The NHL draft was postponed from July due to the pandemic, but the NHL managed to arrange the first ever virtual hockey draft for October 6 and 7.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hosted the 2020 NHL draft while the teams stayed in the respective bunkers and the players watched and listened closely at home.
The NHL is aiming to start its next hockey season on January 1, 2021.
Ottawa’s second first round pick was Jake Sanderson, who was picked up fifth overall in the draft.
“I know sometimes the fancier picks are the forwards, they’re a bit more sexy, but we feel Jake is the best defenceman in the draft and we’re elated to take him at five.” Dorion said of Sanderson.
For Ottawa’s third pick in the first round, the Senators chose Ridly Greig who played with the WHL Brandon Wheat Kings.
The New York Rangers won the lucky first pick in the first round with the NHL Draft Lottery on August 10.
The Rangers drafted Alexis Lafreniere who played left wing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 77 assists and 112 points and was voted the league’s MVP for the second straight year.
“I’m really excited to join the New York Rangers and can’t wait to see the fans,” Lafreniere said according to NHL.com. “I heard a lot of good things about the fans and about the building (Madison Square Garden), so I’m really excited to arrive in New York in the next couple months, maybe. I hope we’re going to have a good season. I’m really honored.”
Montreal was slated as the place for this years draft, close to Lafreniere’s stomping grounds, but Quebecers will have to wait for some other year to host the NHL Draft.