In his first guest column here at NerdAlert, SwedishPoster did an extensive review of drafting history to help create a set of guidelines for effective drafting. He then followed up by using those guidelines to assess previous drafts. It is highly recommended that, if you haven’t read them already, you take a look. He uses those same guidelines here to assess the 2015 draft.
The original draft guideline post can be found here.
The follow up is here.
This post is part 1 of 4, and reviews the first three rounds.
When doing my first write up on drafting I mentioned that I’d look at former Oiler picks with my draft rules in mind, which I’ve done a few weeks ago, and also take a look at this year’s draft. My hope was to get it done before the actual draft but I couldn’t quite finish it in time for the draft and then I went to California for a bit with the fiancé and she would have chopped my head off if I’d spent our vacation writing about a bunch of eighteen year olds endeavours on ice. But now I’ve had some time to get it done.
My original plan was to go through all draft picks using Bob MacKenzie’s and Lowetide’s lists as a basis to get an idea where players might be picked, and then fill up the list with the rest of the interesting draftees as listed on eliteprospect.com’s great draft list.
Since the draft, instead what I’ve done is rearranged the players as they were drafted and also added some interesting undrafted kids that according to the algorithm I’ve set up are better picks than quite a few of the actual draft picks.
Remember this is not my own scouting of the players – in some cases I don’t even agree with the grading. The only true eye test scouting I’ve done is looking up some of the higher picked D’s skating, particularly in the cases where reports were conflicting (though in some cases I couldn’t help but add my own scouting of the player but I’ve tried to not let that affect the actual grading). A
lso remember that I’m no professional scout so my very unprofessional scouting of their skating may very well be off. I am also fully aware and in agreement that you have to watch the players to get a real good idea of their capabilities, this is just a tool that might be useful in recognizing the good bets and especially the bad ones.
Just read my first post on the subject to get the idea behind it!
Since skating is such a crucial skill, especially for D and smaller forwards, I’ve looked at scouting reports when available to get an idea of their skating and as mentioned above in certain cases done my own skating scouting.
I’ve ranked the players ranging from bad, ok, good to great bets. Some rare cases I go beyond great but the grading really have four steps, whether the player is a bad/ok/good/great bet depends somewhat on the round, I’m more loose the later in the draft I get, especially with what I call an ok bet. A lot of the ok bets from the third-fourth round on would have been bad bets in the first two rounds. Good bets are solid bets in any round but a good fourth rounder might have just been an ok second rounder. Great bets in later rounds should all have gone higher but might just have been good in the two first rounds. There are likely some inconsistencies in the grades, very similar players might have gotten different grades, but I’ve tried to stay as consistent as possible.
I also would like to point out that I did the vast majority of the write ups before the draft so anyone claiming bias in my evaluation can stand pat. The changes I’ve made after the fact have been adding which team picked them and in some cases where they were drafted far higher than ranked before the draft I’ve changed the grade from good to ok, ok to bad and so on. There were a couple of later picks where I didn’t have a write up before, that Andong kid kinda came out of left side. The only Oiler I did after the fact was Svoboda so that’s the only case where there might be some homerism involved with the Oil picks. Well I knew McDavid was an Oiler pick before but I don’t think anyone can argue with him being an excellent bet. I’ve also added a last sentence on a couple of other draft picks ending up in Alberta but it’s my full right as an Oiler fan to be frustrated when that other team seems to finally have some proper management!
I also realized that I hadn’t written what position each kid play but I figured you’ll have to do some work yourselves.
This is lengthy and a lot of repetitive wording, maybe not ideal to read from start to finish, though I obviously try to stay as interesting as possible, but like with regular draft guides it’s probably best used as a reference to look up certain picks. In a follow up post, I’ll be doing a summary of each team and how they did through this lens. Here goes.
YOUR 2015 DRAFT (PART 1: THE FIRST THREE ROUNDS)
- Connor McDavid, EDM: 2.55 PPG in the OHL, not surprisingly an excellent bet. Everything suggests he’ll become an elite player, the question really is how elite? Tavares? Stamkos? Crosby? Dare we say the G word? No. We don’t. We really shouldn’t even think it. But unless he sustains a serious injury or finds love in a crack den he seems like a very certain bet as a top player in the league.
- Jack Eichel, BUF: 1.78 PPG in the NCAA, another excellent bet, once again the numbers suggest an elite player. In my earlier work I did mention some caution in relation to the NCAA. That sort of slides when a guy is killing it like Eichel. Also if you look at him play you understand he’s the real deal. Has looked good in every environment, even the WHCs. Natural athlete. Exceptional skater. The battle between him and McDavid may very well be the main story in the NHL for the next decade or so. During the next 2 seasons I think there’s a chance we’ll see a lot of threads and blogposts making the case that Eichel is the better player with his physique being what it is, I do however think McDavid will slowly overtake him, but I’m far from certain. Will be something to watch for sure. And Oiler fans will have front row seats!!!
- Dylan Strome, ARI: 1.90 PPG in the OHL suggests an elite player and a guy challenging for first overall most years, did it with McDavid on his team though scored well with him out for a bunch of games. Big strong kid. The red flag outside of the question about how much was McDavid drawing attention is his skating, to my eye he lacks explosiveness, not that bad technically but doesn’t generate much power, that’s a bit worrying since I think it’s difficult to improve on. Some guys will never be sprinters no matter how great they run technically. Still based on numbers a great bet and guys this skilled tend to overcome skating issues. Only his second OHL season as well.
- Mitch Marner, TOR: 2.0 PPG in the OHL, suggests an elite player, suggests a #1 pick really. A GPG of 0.7 to boot. Had great linemates, Dvorak is a great player, which probably added quite a bit to his totals but still was the offensive driver on his line from what I’ve seen and read. He’s also pretty physically undeveloped, still looking like a guy in his early teens. How good will he be once he catches up to his peers in this regard? The wise thing is probably to keep him in juniors to let him get stronger and catch up physically but once settled in the NHL my guess is he’ll be a main stay among the NHLs top scorers for a long time. His big issue will probably always be physicality though I think his offense will outweigh any question marks in this regard. Great bet.
- Noah Hanifin, CAR: 0.62 PPG in the NCAA, great bet. The question with the D should always be skating. So here goes. Skating? Excellent. Hanifin looks like a top pairing guy in the making. There are two small warning signs. The NCAA heads up I mentioned with Eichel. It sort of goes away when seeing him on the ice but I feel I have to mention it. His GPG of 0.13 might suggest a somewhat limited offensive upside, remember you want a GPG>0.20 for junior players, the picture is less clear in the NCAA and as most kids drafted out of the NCAA he’s a rookie at that level so it might be nothing but he hasn’t scored at a crazy clip earlier in his career either. I still think he’ll be a fantastic D-man, but he probably won’t put up Subban or Erik Karlsson numbers. Great bet.
- Pavel Zacha, NJD: 0.92 PPG in the OHL. Not great numbers at first glance. But remember ROOKIE status is crucial. For a rookie his numbers are actually real good. He also had a season where suspensions and injuries kept him from finding his stride. His scoring prior to coming over actually suggests great offensive upside, 1.7 PPG in the Cze U20, 0.21 in the Cze-1 against men at 16, 0.75 in the Cze-2 that same year, I’m not the least bit worried about his offense. Also scored 5 goals in as many games in the U18 WJCs, apparently did a good job defensively against McDavid on an outgunned Sarnia team in the OHL playoffs and really kills the eye test with strength, physicality, skill, one of the best if not THE best wrister in the draft and fantastic skating, alongside Eichel the most powerful stride I’ve seen among this year’s top picks, just flies through the neutral zone. He’s so fast when he goes full throttle he sometimes needs to stop skating and just glide through the neutral zone so that his teammates can catch up. Great bet.
- Ivan Provorov, PHI: 1.02 PPG in the WHL, great numbers for a D, especially considering he’s a ROOKIE out of the USHL. Now the USHL is a good NA league so I think you can’t be as forgiving as with guys from lower NA juniors or Europe but that doesn’t really matter since his numbers are fantastic either way. GPG of 0.25 suggests that his offense should translate fairly well to the bigs. Skating? Good, very technically strong and moves smoothly, not that explosive but great agility. Shouldn’t be an issue in the NHL though I doubt he’ll ever be considered an absolute top skater once he hits the bigs. Great bet.
- Zach Werenski, CBJ: 0.71 in the NCAA, great numbers for a D-man, the NCAA factor is the only real concern with this kid. Skating? Really good, agile, I don’t think his top end speed is elite but his overall skating is very good and should still be considered good in the NHL. GPG at 0.26 is good and suggests his offense might translate. An interesting thing with Werenski is that he’s a July birthday and while a pretty big kid still looks like he might have some growing to do. Based on numbers alone he actually looks like a better bet than Hanifin. The scouting reports suggest otherwise though I’ve heard the idea mentioned a few times. Whichever way you cut it a great bet.
- Timo Meier, SJS: 1.48 in the QMJHL, great numbers, not a rookie but last season he put up 0.52 PPG as a rookie out of Switzerland which is solid. 6’1 with good frame, very strong, october 96 birthday so an older kid. My big worry with him is how much of his scoring is due to Ehlers. When I watched him play Ehlers set him up a ton. His skating isn’t really a strength either, from what I’ve heard he’s worked on it and it’s gotten better but he probably won’t be a plus skater in the NHL. Good bet, but I personally wouldn’t pick him until later in the first due to the Ehlers concern.
- Mikko Rantanen, COL: 0.48 PPG in the Fin-1, real good numbers against men on a pretty bad TPS team. Was an assistant captain as well! Physically very mature and massive which helps against men, the Finnish league is slightly more forgiving towards youngster than the KHL and the SHL but still impressive numbers. Over 1 PPG in the Fin U20 last season, he also put up 2.0 PPG in the U20 playoffs this season. Good bet
- Lawson Crouse, FLO: 0.91 PPG in the OHL, not very good numbers, not a rookie, late birthday but physically very developed. Until Bennett got back he didn’t have much to play with and his GPG of 0.52 is good so you have some forgiving factors at play. The scouts absolutely love him, he’s big and strong with great skating and ok puck skills. But as a top pick? Only four guys out of the 91 CHLers who became impact players didn’t hit the PPG mark as non-rookies, A. Henrique, B. Sutter, C. Eakin and finally Mark Stone who had injury troubles. I love Cody Eakin as a player but he’s not what I would aim for at 11th overall. With Lawson Crouse you’re betting on the outlier. By my work not a good bet this early. His numbers suggests a bad bet even in the late rounds really but considering his eye test looking great and every scout in the league seemingly loving him I’d argue he’s probably a good second to mid round bet. Doesn’t mean he won’t become a great NHLer just that the odds are truly stacked against it.
- Denis Guryanov, DAL: 1.08 in the MHL, ok numbers, we don’t have a lot on the MHL yet but the sense is that it’s harder to score a lot as a draft eligible player than the CHL and other euro U20 leagues so these numbers could probably be considered good. What really pops out is his GPG of 0.65 which is great. The fact he got into eight KHL games is also encouraging though he didn’t move the dial much, only added one helper. He combines size, speed and an amazing release to be one of the most natural scorers of this draft. Late birthday, haven’t seen him up close but looks fairly physically mature. Good to great bet.
- Jakub Zboril, BOS: 0.75 in the QMJHL, great numbers considering he’s a ROOKIE. Skating? Great, agile and with great top speed, explosive. GPG of 0.30 suggests there’s some translatable offense, especially considering he’s a rookie. The Q factor for D should be considered but still a great bet.
- Jake DeBrusk, BOS: 1.13 PPG in the WHL, 0.58 GPG. Good but unspectacular numbers and a gutsy pick this early since you’re leaving a lot of great talent on the table. Ok bet.
- Zach Senyshyn, BOS: 0.68 PPG in the OHL, ROOKIE out of the CCHL where he posted 0.56 the year before as a rookie in that league which is mediocre. Still very solid rookie numbers considering he’s moved quickly up the ranks from humble beginnings, looks like he’s 12 so very physically underdeveloped. Ok to good bet but very very risky this early.
- Matthew Barzal, NYI: 1.30 in the WHL, good numbers, had some injury troubles so these numbers may actually be a tad understated. Not big but not really that undersized either, pretty good skater though won’t be a burner in the NHL. The main question mark is that he only scored at a 0.25 GPG clip. Very much a passer though picked up his scoring in the playoffs (small sample size alert). All in all a good bet.
- Kyle Connor, WPG: 1.43 in the USHL, great numbers, exceptional skater, physically immature so room to grow, still decent size at 6’1. Haven’t seen him other than short clips but looks highly skilled. Great bet.
- Thomas Chabot, OTT: 0.62 in the QMJHL, 0.18 GPG doesn’t suggest that a lot of his offense will translate but not a complete lack of it either. Skating? Good to great depending on scouting report, looks good from what I’ve seen. Remember the Q factor but still a good bet.
- Yevgeni Svechnikov, DET: 1.42 in the QMJHL, very good numbers, fantastic numbers when you consider he’s a ROOKIE. GPG 0.58 which is great. 0.93 in the MHL last season. Good skater but probably won’t burn players in the NHL, good size. When watching him play I was impressed with his quick decisions. Very often used direct passes and moved the puck very quickly. I think his style will translate very well to the higher level. Great bet. Should be a top 10 pick based on his numbers.
- Joel Eriksson-Ek, MIN: 0.18 in the SHL, ok numbers but nothing to go crazy over, 1.28 PPG with a GPG of 0.84 in the Swe-U20 which is a good PPG and a fantastic GPG. The last time a draft eligible player put up a higher GPG was ten years ago, when swedish juniors was weaker and scoring was higher. Who was the last draft eligible kid to beat him you ask? Anze Kopitar. Pretty ok player I’d say. Nicklas Bergfors also beat Eriksson Ek that same year playing on Kopitars wing, I don’t think there’s much doubt in who was driving that line. The interesting thing with Eriksson-Ek is that he’s a pretty late bloomer, didn’t get much playing time on the U20 team last season and this year he tears up the U20s and makes the mens team, his trajectory is pointing skywards. Good to great bet.
- Colin White, OTT: 1.0 PPG with the USDP, good numbers, better than you might think considering you rarely see the crazy scoring with the USDP. Put up mediocre numbers in the USHL with the USNTDP. Impressive during the WJC U18s. 6’0 and a great skater. Good bet.
- Ilya Samsonov, WAS: 0.918 sv% in the MHL, good numbers for juniors. He’s played fantastic for the russian U18 team. Goalies are, you know, not easy to predict. He meets my A and B criteria for early round goalies. Doesn’t fulfill my C criteria though I think it’s due to international assignments and back up duty in the KHL. The D criteria, scouting hype, looks to be building up. The E criteria, not having other holes to fill in your prospect pool since the risk of busts is so high with goalies depends on the team, not sure how Washington’s prospect pool looks but they’re certainly not in a rebuilding phase so I’d argue that makes the cut as well. All in all he’s a good bet. For a goalie.
- Brock Boeser, VAN: 1.19 PPG in the USHL, ROOKIE (played 8 games the year before) out of USHS which makes his number great. 0.61 GPG as well. Great bet.
- Travis Konecny, PHI: 1.13 in the OHL, good numbers but nothing amazing, almost half a goal per game which is good, 5’10 so a bit undersized but his skating looks great enough to overcome it. Stepped up his scoring in the playoffs and tried to carry his team on his back but unsuccessfully. Interesting player and a good bet.
- Jack Roslovic, WPG: 1.22 with the USDP, great numbers, remember you rarely see crazy numbers with the USDP, 1.52 in the USHL, also very good. Looks like a great bet from where I’m standing. Looked fantastic at the U18 WJCs. Should probably go higher tbh.
- Noah Juulsen, MON: 0.76 PPG in the WHL, 0.13 GPG suggests limited offense at the next level. Skating? Mixed reviews. When watching I wasn’t blown away though hardly a bad skater. Ok bet, picked a bit early imo.
- Jacob Larsson, ANA: 0.63 PPG in the Swe U20, good numbers for a D, 0.27 GPG suggests some offense might translate, got into 20 SHL games and added three points. Reminds me of Klefbom actually. Skating? Great. Good to great bet.
- Anthony Beauvillier, NYI: 1.40 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.63 GPG. 5’10 but great numbers, speed and quickness suggesting he might overcome what he lacks in stature. Pretty late birthday. Good bet.
- Gabriel Carlsson, CBJ: 0.18 PPG in Swe U20, zero goals. Seven games and two helpers in the SHL plus 10 playoff games where he showed well and started to build his hype. 0.18 hits well below my PPG limit and no goals suggesting a complete lack of offense, his SHL spell was encouraging, he’s 6’4 and a good skater but to me he projects as a bottom pairing guy at the most. What is also worth noting is that he played in the U18 league last season so he’s taken a big step in his development this year. Ok pick from the third maybe late second round and on but in the first round in a strong draft? Risky bet and by the numbers a bad one.
- Nick Merkley, ARI: 1.25 in the WHL, good numbers, GPG of 0.28 is so so for a forward but still ok. 5’10 and not a great skater which is a bit worrying, still looks very much like a kid so we could expect some maturing. A good bet but comes with some warning signs.
- Jeremy Roy, SJS: 0.93 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.11 GPG suggests that his offense won’t translate, though there is talk of a wrist injury and he put up 0.22 GPG last season. Q factor in play but his biggest warning sign is skating. There are mixed reports from bad to good so I decided to look for myself and I’m not that impressed, technically ok but he just doesn’t move very fast, seems to lack explosiveness. His numbers suggest a good to great bet but the lack of skating, especially for a guy who is 6’0 with a slight frame, is a bit scary. Still. Good bet on numbers but I would be a bit worried, too many alarm bells going off, I know a lot of people will disagree completely.
- Christian Fischer, ARI: 0.97 with the USDP a little below half a goal per game, 1.2 PPG in the USHL, nice numbers. Had a nice U18s as well. Good bet.
- Mitchell Stephens, TBL: 0.77 PPG in the OHL, the numbers don’t suggest an impact NHLer. Not a rookie. GPG 0.35 so nothing crazy there either. Overrated due to a nice U18 WJC performance? Bad bet.
- Travis Dermott, TOR: 0.66 PPG in the OHL, 0.12 GPG tells us there might be limited offense at the next level. Being on the Otters might have inflated his numbers as well. Skating? Good but not great from what I’ve found and for a 5’11 D-man that’s a bit discouraging. Combined with question marks around his offense I’d say he’s a dodgy bet this early. Ok bet on pure numbers but with some red flags.
- Sebastian Aho (the Finnish forward), CAR: 0.41 PPG in the Fin-1, rocked the fin U20 in his draft -1 year. 5’11, great skater. Good bet.
- Gabriel Gagné, OTT: 0.88 PPG in the QMJHL, misses the mark, 0.52 GPG is good though. Absolute behemoth of a kid at 6’5. Massive, apparently good skating and a good GPG is what got him drafted this early. His PPG says he’s a bad bet to ever make it all the way to an impact NHLer and the question is how much of his goal scoring comes from pure physical dominance. Bad bet here since there are question marks regarding upside but I wouldn’t mind him in a later round with that GPG.
- Brandon Carlo, BOS: 0.40 in the WHL, barely hits the mark, I actually rounded up from 0.396. 6’5 beast of a kid, still looks like he could add quite a bit of mass. Skating? Great according to all sources. From what little I’ve seen I have to agree. Great agilty and not just for a big man. GPG of 0.06 suggests very little offense. Barely hits the mark, remember the only CHL non-rookie D who hit below 0.40 and still became a top 4 D was Tyler Myers, but I still think he’s a good to great bet as a top 4 defensive defenseman, is similar to Myers in that he’s a massive man who skates really well. Good bet.
- Paul Bittner, CBJ: 1.08 in the WHL, ok but unspectacular numbers, hits above the PPG limit, massive kid with good skating. Scored over half a goal per game which is great. Played with some very strong linemates in Portland though and that probably tilted his numbers upwards. Can physically bully his peers. Will he still be able to do it against NHLers? I’d be a little afraid of picking him this high. Pretty good bet to be an NHLer in some form, would make a nice bottom six winger but not a great bet to be an impact player and I’d argue he’s just an ok bet at this spot.
- AJ Greer, COL: 0.19 in the NCAA, not very impressive numbers came straight out of USHS so some leeway. This early it’s a risky gamble. Bad bet here.
- Nicholas Meloche, COL: 0.77 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.23 GPG, lots of D from the QMJHL are highly touted and showing well on numbers really testing the hypothesis on D from the Q being a little iffy, Meloche looks like another solid prospect, 6’3 RHD and the numbers agree with him. Late birthday. Skating? Mixed reviews. Some talk of him as a weak skater while others stretch from solid to good. What I could find he looked pretty ok though not elegant. The final verdict on his skating is really what will make him a bad or good bet. Based on my amateur scouting of his skating ability a good bet but he will need to work on his agility to make it.
- Ryan Gropp, NYR: 0.87 PPG in the WHL, 0.45 GPG improves those numbers slightly but another bad bet in the ongoing hunt for power forwards, I could probably live with the pick in a later round due to the GPG but here? Bad bet.
- MacKenzie Blackwood, NJD: 0.906 Sv% in the OHL, bloody goalies, he doesn’t quite fulfill my B criteria since he hits below the .910 mark so based on that a shady bet in the first two rounds but could very well end up the next Hasek as well. Goalie bet, you do the math.
- Erik Cernak, LAK: 0.30 PPG in the Slovak-1, good numbers, big kid at 6’3. Late birthday. Skating? That’s where it gets a bit sketchy. The best reviews I’ve found are “decent skater for his size” which is always scary. From what I recall he looked a bit clumsy in the world juniors. His numbers against men are encouraging and suggest he can keep up at that level at least but skating issues makes him a bad bet in the second round imo. From the 4th round and on I’d argue he’d be an ok bet.
- Matt Spencer, TBL: 0.45 in the OHL, GPG of 0.09, lacking in offense. Skating? Well, reports go from solid to excellent. 6’2 so good size, seems to have a lot of supporters out there. Ok to good bet as a defensive D.
- Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, BOS: 1.06 PPG in the USHL, ok numbers but nothing eye-popping, second year in the league, played in Sweden before. Two-way reputation. Ok bet but you could do better in the second round methinks.
- Daniel Sprong, PIT: 1.29 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.57 GPG. Good numbers. Has had great numbers al through his younger years. Seems to be ranked all over the place but looks like a very good bet from here.
- Jansen Harkins, WPG: 1.13 PPG in the WHL, good but unspectacular, rep as a two way guy. Ok to good bet.
- Filip Chlapik, OTT: 1.17 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.52 GPG, ROOKIE out of Cze U20 where he was close to PPG the year before. Impressive numbers with this in mind. Real good bet.
- Roope Hintz, DAL: 0.40 PPG in the Fin-1 against men which is good. 6’2 with great skating ability, scored above PPG in Fin U20 last season. Good bet.
- Jordan Greenway, MIN: 0.83 with the USDP, another giant of a young man at 6’5. The USDP has a very good trackrecord, though he misses my PPG limit of 0.90 PPG, there has been talk of injury. Still not sure I love him this early since his GPG is an unimpressive 0.17. Risky bet at this spot but an ok bet later on as a boom/bust prospect based on USDPs solid record. Both him and Gagné are the kind of players who often gets grabbed too early because everyone wants that massive forward with some skill but you run a big risk of grabbing a 4th liner, if that, when you should look for top 6 forwards. At the same time I would understand the reasoning behind grabbing either of these two guys in this area, if you’ve made 1-2 picks already why not bet on a 6’5 kid who’s not a complete mess with the puck because if they’re a hit they go platinum, but you better understand you’re betting on an underdog. Make sure they can skate at least.
- Brendan Guhle, BUF: 0.44 in the WHL, 0.07 GPG so don’t hope for offense. 6’2, late birthday. Skating? Great, considered one of the better skaters in the draft from some reports. Good bet.
- Jeremy Lauzon, BOS: 0.6 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.25 GPG, solid numbers, 6’2 with great skating. Good bet.
- Rasmus Andersson, CAL: 0.95 PPG in the OHL, ROOKIE out of Sweden where he played against men the last two seasons doing very well sporting a 0.30 PPG. His GPG 0.18 leaves you question his offense in the bigs somewhat, at the same time he’s a rookie which makes it more difficult to judge. His PPG is amazing for a rookie D-man. Skating? Mixed reviews. All the way from great to needing work. My personal opinion is that he’s a good skater. I’ve never really seen anyone blast by him and when he needs to he can hustle, it’s just rarely necessary due to smarts, could probably be a great skater with some added leg and core strength. Only 6’0 but built like a wrestler. I don’t understand why he was so low on so many lists considering the OHL is the go to place for D prospects and Swedish D-men are such a hot commodity lately. Great bet. Freaking Calgary.
- Graham Knott, CHI: 0.73 in the OHL, GPG of 0.42 is pretty good but still not enough to sway me. Bad bet.
- Yakov Trenin, NSH: 1.16 PPG in the QMJHL, another ROOKIE in the Q with good production. Looks like a pass first guy with good size at 6’2. Good bet.
- Vince Dunn, STL: 0.82 PPG in the OHL, good numbers. 0.26 GPG suggests some offense, had an exceptional playoffs. Skating? Excellent. Great bet.
- Joonas Siegenthaler, WSH: 0.07 PPG in the NLA, Swiss top mens league, not a lot of scoring but in a mens league so still ok. His junior numbers doesn’t show a lot of offense either so I wouldn’t count on much at the next level. He hasn’t really played juniors since his draft -2 season though and did put up 0.8 PPG in ten NLB (Sui-2) games so there might more than you think. Big kid at 6’3. Skating? Great. Probably a good bet but somewhat tough to rank.
- Kevin Stenlund, CBJ: 1.0 PPG in the Swe U20, one goal in 17 SHL games. 6’3, RHS, some skating issues but still kept up in the SHL. Strong as an ox, very smart. Ok bet.
- Julius Nättinen, ANA: 0.74 in Mestis (Fin-2), playing against men. Good numbers. 6’2, pass first center. Good bet.
- Oliver Kylington, CAL: 0.28 in the SHL, 0.41 in Allsvenskan, 0.70 in 10 games in the Swe U20 with a 0.40 GPG, 0.75 PPG if you count the playoffs though his GPG drops to 0.25, still good enough to suggest his offense will translate. All great numbers, he places second among swedish top 4 D currently in the NHL in each league he played this season behind Hedman (0.49, SHL), OEL (0.44, Allsvenskan) and Erik Karlsson (0.97, U20) respectively if you look at their draft year though he put up 1.0 PPG last season in Swe U20 which beats Karlssons draft year in that league. That same season, his 16 year old season (May 19th birthday), he played 32 regular season games in the SHL with a 0.19 PPG plus 12 playoff games where he added two helpers. Skating? Challenges for best skater in the draft. His defensive issues are often mentioned, at the same time he played 32 games in his draft -1 season in the SHL, it’s not like he put up such offensive numbers that they would have you disregard any massive defensive issues and they kept playing him in the playoffs. At 16. He’s regarded as a risky pick but I think this is a case where the scouts are trying too hard to outsmart themselves. I also think a couple of bad international tournaments hurt his draft hype. His numbers, skill and skating suggests a top 5-10 pick. Great bet. Freaking Calgary.
- Jeremy Bracco, TOR: 1.45 PPG with the USDP, 0.46 GPG, 1.33 PPG in the USHL. You rarely see crazy numbers with the USDP, this is probably as close as you get. Only 5’10 but exceptional skater and highly skilled. Great bet.
- Robin Kovacs, NYR: 0.53 PPG in Allsvenskan (SHL-2), very good numbers against men, especially considering he played on a mess of a team. He actually led them in scoring which is impressive for an 18 year old. Nasty bugger as well, modern day Esa Tikkanen. Good bet.
- Kyle Capobianco, ARI: 0.59 PPG in the OHL, 0.15 GPG. Played on a bad Wolves team, August birthday. Skating? Great to outstanding according to reports. Good bet.
- Dennis Yan, TBL: 1.08 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.56 GPG, ROOKIE from the USDP which is high NA level so good but maybe not as fantastic as if he’d been a rookie out of lower level leagues. His young career suggests one hell of a goal scorer’s touch. Good bet.
- Andrew Nielsen, TOR: 0.41 PPG in the WHL, 0.12 GPG. Skating? Question marks. Bad to ok bet.
- Mathieu Brisebois, VAN: 0.44 PPG in the QMJHL, 0.06 GPG. Not much offense at all. Skating? Good to very good according to scouting reports. Was on a really horrible team. Nothing that really screams “Pick me” though. Ok bet, but at this spot a bit early maybe.
- Blake Speers, NJD: 1.18 PPG in the OHL, nice number and he’s been a prolific scorer throughout his younger years. Good bet.
- Martins Dzierkals, TOR: 0.88 in the MHL as a ROOKIE out of Latvian U20 where he killed it the last two seasons. Looks like a sleeper pick. Good to great bet.
- Keegan Kolesar, CBJ: 0.59 PPG in the WHL, mediocre numbers, non-rookie. Bad bet.
- Felix Sandström, PHI: 0.907 Sv% in Swe U20, just ok numbers, did have some health issues so that might have held him back, came with a bit of hype before this season. Looked great in two SHL games sporting a 0.963 Sv%. From the 5th round and on it’s a great bet, at this spot an ok goalie bet.
- Jean-Cristoph Beaudin, COL: 0.78 PPG in the QMJHL, ROOKIE out of midget, 6’1 so not undersized. Good bet.
- Anthony Cirelli, TBL: 0.53 PPG in the OHL, ROOKIE out of midget. Misses my 0.60 rookie limit but made a big jump straight from midget to the best junior league in the world and looks like he’s twelve, very physically immature, there are forgiving factors at play here. I think he’s a good bet in this spot.
- Vili Saarijärvi, DET: 0.40 in the USHL, ROOKIE out of Finland,good numbers, tiny at 5’9 but great skater. Highly skilled, will need to overcome his size disadvantage. Ok bet.
- Alexander Dergachyov, LAK: 0.87 in the MHL, we don’t have a lot on the MHL, still his numbers don’t really blow you away but had a great MHL playoffs. 6’4 beast of a kid, looked good at the WJCs. Difficult to rate. Dodgy bet based on numbers alone but like Crouse I don’t mind him in the mid-rounds and this feels like a reasonable spot. Ok bet, might even be a good one.
- Daniel Vladar, BOS: 0.926 Sv% in the Cze U20, 0.933 Sv% in 8 games in the Cze-2 against men. Shows best of all goalies in the draft as far as numbers go. Fulfills all of my criteria. 6’5 with a massive wingspan. Goalies are crazy but I think he is worthy of being picked in the first two rounds. If we disregard the always present goalie risk a great bet.
- Adin Hill, 0.921 in the WHL, ARI: overager +1, ROOKIE, great numbers, with or without rookie consideration. He actually fulfills all my criteria except the hype. Good to great goalie bet.
- Samuel Montembault, FLO: 0.891 Sv% in the QMJHL, unimpressive numbers and fairly early round. Bad bet.
- Erik Foley, WPG: 0.98 PPG in the USHL, 0.49 GPG, ROOKIE out of USHS. Good rookie numbers. Good bet.
- Sergei Zborovsky, NYR: 0.27 in the WHL, ROOKIE out of Russie, ok numbers since he’s a rookie, not likely to be an offensive stalwart. Ok bet.
- Brent Gates, ANA: 0.82 in the USHL. Unimpressive numbers in his second USHL season. Late b-day and good size at 6’2. Bad bet.
- Brendan Warren, ARI: 0.62 with the USDP, nothing impressive, looks like a bad bet.
- Mitch Vande Sompel, NYI: 1.09 PPG in the OHL, 0.21 GPG. 5’10 but with excellent skating. Why is he ranked this low? Apparently he’s played some fwd as well so maybe this is the reason scouts worry? Good bet.
- Jens Lööke, ARI: 0.14 PPG in the SHL, 1 PPG in 18 games in the Swe U20. Ok bet.
- Deven Sideroff, ANA: 0.68 PPG in the WHL, ROOKIE out of midget, good rookie numbers. Good bet.
- Thomas Novak, NSH: 1.04 PPG in the USHL, ROOKIE out of USHS where scored like a man possessed, just splendid numbers. Excellent skater and ok size at 6’0. Probably deserved to get drafted higher. Great bet.
- Mike Robinson, SJS: 0.902 in USHS, 0.937 in the EHL. 6’4 goalie out of lower leagues. A little early maybe? Some Sharks scout loves this kid. Bad bet.
- Lukas Vejdemo, MON: 1.48 PPG in the Swe U20 as an overager +1. Was over PPG in Swe U18 last season, late bloomer and could be considered a rookie at the U20 level. 6’2, good skater and playmaker. Good bet.
- Thomas Schmeitsch, FLO: 0.72 PPG in the OHL, 0.21 GPG suggests some offense. 6’3 and skates well though not great according to reports. Good bet.
- Aleksi Saarela, NYR: 0.24 PPG in Fin-1 against men. Over PPG in Fin U20 last season. Ok numbers. 5’10 with skill and speed. Ok bet.
- Matej Tomek, PHI: 0.928 Sv% in the NAHL, ROOKIE, lower league but impressive numbers wherever he’s been. Maybe third round is a tad early due to the fact he’s never played a very high level though last season he played 14 games in the Slovak-2 against men and did well as usual for him. Good bet as far as goalies go.
- Dennis Gilbert, CHI: 0.46 PPG in the USHL, ROOKIE out of the OJHL, nice number, GPG of 0.07 doesn’t suggest an offensive threat. Skating? Great says all reports. Good bet.
So concludes part 1 – in the next article, SwedishPoster will review the remaining four rounds. Part 3 will look at a number of players who were not drafted and see how they stack up against those who were picked. And finally part 4 will have a team by team draft review.