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Crzydrvr

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  1. "I do plan to finish someday Kiff!" -Zapp Brannigan

     

    Basically my feelings on the 2020 draft thread in a nutshell. 

  2. Gaudreau being 193rd on the Central North American list puts him around 250 on the combined list. So while he is on the list, CSS deemed him not good enough to even be a surefire 7th rounder. That's pretty off the board, and if I remember correctly the reviews were mixed on this very forum, with the general feel being that "let's wait and see". Gio was playing in the 00s equivalent of the OJHL, which is a high level Jr. A league and gets guys drafted directly from said league (Edit: went back and checked. Future NHLers playing in Gio's original draft year include names like Rob Schremp, Ryan Callahan, Wojtek Wolski, Tom Kostopoulos, and Dan LaCosta, among others. Gio would have had every opportunity to catch eyes). From what I hear it was a better league back then (but my friends out there are the kind of old guys who think today's kids are soft 😅). That's not obscure, that's well within the wheelhouse. Again, my argument isn't that the Flames are perfect, but the reality is every team is looking for the same thing and Canadian fans in particular have this tendency to lock into names and faces they like. At this point I honestly feel that bigger guys with potential are undervalued because they don't show the puck skills that most people see on YouTube. There's more to this game than flash and dash, and that's coming from a guy whose ideal team build and system is speed and skill. So for me, I don't understand writing off kids who are playing in some of the best youth leagues, doing very well, but because they don't fit this perfect box of expectations we're going to trash them and say they have no potential before ever seeing a shift in the pros. We literally just watched Jamie Oleksiak play a top 4 role on a finals team and we're just going to write off any big player because they don't dangle the puck through the neutral zone? Why limit ourselves in our drafting when we can just focus on "is this kid talented enough and mentally capable of becoming an NHL player?" If the answer is yes, I don't care if he's 5'7" or 6'9", you gotta shoot your shot. It's not like anyone remaining is any sort of guaranteed superstar. Same edit: I was just thinking about this when looking at my 2011 notes, but we talk up Gaudreau as a great example of reaching for skill paying off big (which is true). But I had a number of other guys, all small pure skill guys with "high upside", ranked on my own lists. Names like Rocco Grimaldi, Tomas Jurco, and Kyle Rau among others. I remember being very confident that at least one of those guys who dropped to the 2nd, 7th, whatever rounds would turn out to be a steal. I remember Baertschi being very skilled in juniors and feeling pretty excited he was a Flame. Yet here we are and Jamie goddang Oleksiak is the one with the best NHL career of that entire group. The reality is there no surefire recipe for NHL success. Every Gaudreau includes 9 Rocco Grimaldis, every Oleksiak brings 9 Mark McNeills. If you think he's Gaudreau take him, if you think he's Parayko or Brodin or Adam Fox, take him.
  3. I want to add in that I'm not singling anyone out (except the dorks at CP and HfBoards, yeah I'm calling you hiveminds out 😂), but let's not get into a logical fallacy and pretend that only the players we like are going to be worth anything. Surprises come in all shapes and sizes. Lucic was a guy all the fans hated at the draft because he had 19 points and 100+ PIMs (just a goon, wasted 2nd rounder), then he turned into a great player and fan favorite for a few years and won a Cup as a 30 goal scorer. And I'll fully admit I never would have drafted him either because those types of players are generally not my cup of tea. Heck, I wouldn't have picked Poirier today but I'm not about to say the pick is wasted, it just means the team has a bit more work to do over the next couple years to make sure that pick won't go to waste. I'm just some dude who watches a lot of hockey, not a miracle worker (as much as I joke about it). We can't see into a guy's mind and predict how he'll turn out. When we look at these kids today, we gotta remember this is not the end goal, the draft is just a checkmark to bigger things.
  4. Nah, he's small which immediately means it was a great pick because being small means he's good! In all seriousness it is a nice pick late in the draft. It's tough to project what he'll be at the next level but if things go well he can be a top 9 forward, but I don't know if he'd be a game breaking forward which worries me at his size. He is a very good playmaker though and should at worst be a good AHL PP guy.
  5. That's why "consensus" means nothing. It didn't even put a consistent number on Gaudreau, just like basically any prospect after the 2nd round. Plenty of teams want to draft guys at certain spots but we can't all save our favorite players for the 7th round. I'm not a genius or anything but like I've said before, the only thing I care about is hockey sense. Y'all know my preference for skill and speed, but I'm willing to accept that not every guy who makes it has to be the same. If they're smart and work their *ss off I would take that over a small soft and lazy player any day. I'm just confused because too many guys see a big guy as immediately written off, and then getting mad the Flames aren't swinging for the fences when that's exactly what they did when they picked the 2 Americans. Kuznetsov if he pans out is an incredible pick, if he doesn't the team just made itself look like idiots, but they did it because they swung hard at a guy without regard for outside opinion. Kanzig was bad, Sieloff was bad, and I'm pretty sure I said as much the moment we took them. Kuznetsov I'll take a wait and see, because he's shown more in his time with Connecticut than I ever saw with Kanzig. Meanwhile, we're talking about some guys getting drafted who are small, skilled, dumb and will never contribute to an NHL team as if they have any more potential just because they look good in a 2 minute video where they stickhandle themselves into corners.
  6. Gaudreau was rated to be undrafted in 2011, we picked him 104th. Micheal Ferland was just a goon. Gio wasn't even stated and settled for a 3-way contract, which stopped existing in 2005. Everyone likes going for the home run until the home run doesn't fit their preconceived notions. Let's remember that not all off-the-board success stories have to be small, skilled players.
  7. I dunno but he's not on my board. Gotta remember that even with NHL rankings some teams could have a consensus 1st rounder off their list entirely (like Lapierre). Poirier had the flash but outside of the power play he had no substance when i watched him play. So I'm not enthused because I think his ceiling because of his lack of smarts is an AHL guy. No NHL coach would give him the time of day without major changes to his game.
  8. He's dumb as bricks. Can't play defense to save his life
  9. You don't have to be fast to play a fast game. 3 of the last 4 Stanley Cup finalists are teams I would say are just average speedster. I don't see Zary being that slow either, and Kuznetsov while slow is not easy to beat because he's a pretty good backwards skater and has the wingspan to cover a lot of ground. Do they need work, absolutely, but most guys do and at 17 your skating improvement will come down to will and organization competence. Clearly the Flames feel they can hedge their bets because their development guys can improve skating, so taking guys with work ethic (so they put in the work) and hockey IQ (that can't be taught) is not a bad play to make when you don't have any guaranteed superstar picks.
  10. I always laugh too because we all want big players with puck skills and perfect skating. Those guys go first overall. So every year we bust the scouts' balls because they went too small (prioritizing skill and speed) or are just drafting for size and toughness (prioritizing compete, defense or development upside). There's just never any winning for the scouting department, I'll just stick to hobby scouting where I can't get yelled at for liking a guy! 😂
  11. Because Kuznetsov has already played a year of college hockey, his eligibility runs out a year before the Flames' 4 year window in his signing rights does. So he'll either have to miss a season in the pros, ask for a trade or sign with the Flames either way. Fox was threatening to just leave, playing out his 4 years. So the Flames didn't have much leverage there.
  12. Speed is overrated, mobility is more important than straight line speed, especially for a defenseman. Kuznetsov isn't your stereotypical coke machine. He might still bust, not saying he won't, because every prospect has a chance to bust. But I honestly think he has more hockey sense than some of the high scoring QMJHL D guys for example and that means more to me than anything else.
  13. Big, strong, hard hitting defenseman. One of the better defensive players in the draft. Skating speed is slow but mobility is pretty good, has surprisingly good poise with the puck. If he misses you wasted the pick, if he hits you might have lucked into a Colton Parayko type player. I'm not usually a proponent of defense first guys if I don't think they have the skill or development curve, Kuz has enough of both where I can actually see him grow into an NHL role in 3 years. It can't be overstated how hard it is to be a rookie defenseman in the NCAA, doubly so for U18 players.
  14. Really really like this pick, Kuznetsov can play. Not many 17 year old defensemen can play a regular shift in the NCAA. Not going to be a big scoring defenseman but he's got a ton of raw potential and is a bit of a late bloomer with a sharp development curve.
  15. I didn't even have him ranked among my top overagers, I don't remember watching him enough to feel comfortable even ranking him. Might be the wildest off the board pick in over 20 years....
  16. I don't have anything on Chinakhov....
  17. Still in the process of editing and finalizing, but I have updated the Draft Thread to include up to my 28th ranked player! I'll keep adding to it as the night goes along.

     

    Shoutout to Pikey, I love the work! Would love to hear more myself whenever you have the time.

  18. Note: It's still being completed and edited so keep checking back as I update throughout the night. Sorry it took so long! 11. RW Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) [01/02/2002] [5'10", 172 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [58 GP, 42 G, 56 A, 98 Pts, 24 PIM, +53][NHL Comparable: Jonathan Marchessault] Potential Peak: Top line scoring winger Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to develop strength and adapt to the pro style game Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: Opportunistic all-around offensive threat. Jarvis has excellent hands, and is able to stickhandle around defenders as well as catch errant pucks and passes with consistency. He uses this to create havoc both offensively and defensively and usually finds himself in scoring areas where he can capitalize on mistakes. His hockey sense is overall very good, although he has shown some propensity for forcing the play that bears watching as he moves up levels. Jarvis could use a bit more strength overall; he will drive the net and excels in the tough areas of the ice when he is in control, but he’s not very effective without the puck as he doesn’t have the strength or leverage to beat guys straight up which brings down his all-around effectiveness in those areas quite a bit. It would also bring his skating from very good to elite, as he lacks a little in terms of straight line speed for a player of his size. Jarvis has a lot of little qualities to his game that stand out that make him interesting, too, such as his ability to move through the neutral zone with fluidity. Overall, Jarvis is already arguably the biggest offensive threat in the WHL and should absolutely tear the league to shreds over the next 2 years. Draft Range: Jarvis is one of the few players left at this draft range who have both the potential to become a top line scoring threat, and the resumé to back it up right now. There are minor questions, however, about his defense, physicality, and skating that could drag him to being a mid-late 1st round draft choice (not necessarily concerns, but differing opinions among the scouting community as a whole). He also has the potential to sneak into the tail end of the top 10 if teams feel his skating and potential are elite. I would classify him as a relatively safe pick overall; not necessarily likely to be the best player in the draft in 10 years but a pretty good bet to be some sort of useful NHL asset just on the basis of how he flows within the game and finds ways to contribute. Expect him to be in play anywhere from 8 to 25, with a strong expectation of somewhere in the mid-late teens depending on team needs and how the first half of the round shakes out. 12. LW Rodion Amirov, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL) [02/10/2001] [6'0", 168 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [21 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, 4 PIM, -6][NHL Comparable: Max Pacioretty] Potential Peak: Top line scoring winger Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to develop strength and continue developing his offensive game Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: A speedy scoring winger with a two-way flair. Amirov is one of the older prospects available, but has spent most of the year playing against men in the KHL. His main offensive tools are his excellent hands and natural finishing abilities, and he combines that with a willingness to get in front of the goal to generate scoring chances. He’s a good playmaker, but not a very creative player; he’s more likely to make the reliable support pass than wow you, but the flip side to that is that he plays a very pro-style offensive game as a result. Tenacious on the forecheck and while he’s clearly underweight for his age group he’s got above average defensive chops with his smarts and workrate. Draft Range: A potential sleeper who doesn’t get a ton of attention from the general public due to his location, but could easily surpass his ranked position on draft day. I am a little higher than most on him but there’s a chance some guys will knock his hockey sense and IQ and possibly his skating, which would push him back into the 20s. He is a good bet in the middle of the 1st round though, due to his combination of upside and floor. Bear in mind that team lists vary wildly from here on out, and decisions will change based on the different lists and who s drafted where. 13. D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) [18/01/2002] [6'3", 187 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [64 GP, 11 G, 29 A, 40 Pts, 56 PIM, +23][NHL Comparable: Jaccob Slavin] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing shutdown defenseman, 25+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; talent is there but the upside hasn’t quite been tapped into yet Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: The former 1st overall WHL draft pick would be consistently ranked higher if he was playing on a lesser team and organization. Guhle, younger brother of Brendan, is an excellent skater and possesses all the mobility and puck skills required out of any modern defenseman. He’s not a very creative player (relative to some of his 1st round peers) but he does have good awareness overall and is a threat offensively, with his ability to pinch in deep and read the play. Defensively, he shines with his gaps and with his size and skating can control incredibly large areas of ice with his stick and physicality; however, he will need to pick his spots better on the big hits. Don’t expect an offensive dynamo, but he is the type of player teams need to win. Draft Range: Bit of a wide spread, but if things break right Guhle could be an easy top 15 selection (and in my mind he is). Some teams might knock some points off on his skating or offensive chops which would put him into the mid 20s at the draft podium. The thing to remember with Kaiden is that he plays for a pro-style organization in Prince Albert and he doesn’t get the same opportunities and ice time that he would playing elsewhere, and I think that just looking at the stats doesn’t tell 100% of the value of his impact on and off the ice. That being said, expecting any large offensive totals at the NHL level would likely be a foolhardy venture. 14. (16) W Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67s (OHL) [19/09/2001] [5'11", 176 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [62 GP, 52 G, 37 A, 89 Pts, 32 PIM, +48][NHL Comparable: Kyle Palmieri/Jeff Carter] Potential Peak: Elite scoring forward, All-Star sniper Projection: 2nd line scoring forward, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; late-bloomer who is highly rated partly based on projection rather than sheer skill Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: A middling AA prospect turned potential NHL star, Jack Quinn is a pure sniper. His ability to finish in a variety of different ways makes him arguably the most dangerous goal scorer in the entire CHL. Improvements to his skating have enabled his offensive jump, as he has a combination of speed and mobility that allows him to get around defenders. Quinn has good hockey sense that allows him to be a pest at both ends of the ice. He’s a pretty good playmaker, but he plays a straightforward game that doesn’t lend itself to fancy assists or highlight-reel plays via passes or stickhandling. Overall, Quinn is a very well-rounded player and his skillset should translate well into the NHL in some capacity. Draft Range: Some scouts are very high on him and it’s very telling that it’s the OHL-centric scouts and staff who are high on Quinn as a player. His sheer progress from a 17-year old rookie to now has a lot of teams wondering if his ceiling couldn’t be even higher. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Quinn could be drafted earlier than Rossi, based on whether teams like Quinn’s potential more. A realistic estimate is that Quinn is going to go around the 8-12 range, with a possibility that some teams go for the boom-or-bust player instead that bumps Quinn a little lower. 15. C Dylan Holloway, Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA) [23/09/2001] [6'1", 203 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [35 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 Pts, 49 PIM, -3][NHL Comparable: Jonathan Toews] Potential Peak: Top line scoring forward Projection: 2nd line scoring forward, 45+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; a likely NHLer, but needs development time Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.5 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.5 Report: Holloway is the definition of “safe” pick, if such a thing exists. There is no major weakness to his game, and his drive and well-rounded skillset make him the type of player that wins games in the playoffs. His skating is very good, with a good mix of power and mobility. Offensively, he can be creative (as shown by his time in the AJHL, where he was the best player in the league at 17) but he’s shown the intelligence to adapt to a different role and style of play in the NCAA, where he plays a simpler, but more powerful game. His excellent puck handling and good vision allow him to find open players and open ice, and hint at more upside at the NHL level than perhaps initially would seem based on his raw numbers. A physical player with the frame to be a punishing force as he fills out, Holloway could be a great pickup for a contending team in need of depth and young potential up the middle. Draft Range: The Calgary kid is very likely to go in the teens, if chatter means anything. A character player, Holloway is not likely to jump too high on just his well-roundedness and his off-ice work ethic, but he’s too good to fall too far just because of his ability to be a difference maker in the highest stake games. This is an intriguing one because any number of teams could use a player of his caliber but there’s no instant “that’s the one” team for him among the franchises in the middle of the draft. 16. C Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) [09/02/2002] [6'0", 181 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [19 GP, 2 G, 15 A, 17 Pts, 10 PIM, +1][NHL Comparable: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins] Potential Peak: Top line, two-way center Projection: 2nd line playmaking center, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; multiple major injuries in the last 2 seasons make him a huge risk Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Hendrix Lapierre has all the pure skill required to be a championship-caliber contributor to an NHL squad. The only question is whether he can physically handle the pro game. An excellent skater and puckhandler, Lapierre is a dynamic player through the neutral zone and is an excellent playmaker as well, making him a dangerous threat offensively. He is a strong defensive player relative to his league due to his hockey sense and skating, which allows him to be an aggressive player and focus on covering lanes and attacking the puck carrier. Overall, his lack of strength probably holds him back but in theory some more bulk would allow him to protect the puck better as well as be tougher to play against along the defensive boards. Draft Range: Most scouts will like the player but more than a few teams will have Lapierre as a DND due to his aforementioned injury history. The lack of a scouting combine and individual workouts honestly could work either as a favor or a detriment depending on how Lapierre looks at it; if he’s healthy with no lingering conditions or muscle imbalances but cannot actually meet with performance staff to prove it, that might end up lowering his draft stock relative to his overall talent level, but if he’s struggling then teams will have no choice but to fall back on just his potential which can be good for draft position. I think there will be a team that takes him in that 20-25 range, but Lapierre could also just drop out of the 1st round entirely. 17. D Topi Niemela, Karpat (Liiga) [25/03/2002] [6'0", 163 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [43 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 Pts, 8 PIM, +4][NHL Comparable: T. J. Brodie] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 30+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; slight of size and lacks a standout offensive skill Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: A smooth-skating, heady and intelligent defenseman from Finland, in the mold of a Heiskanen. Niemela has excellent skating abilities and uses his feet, excellent reads, and passing skills to be an elite neutral zone defenseman. Highly intelligent, Niemela is able to use his shiftiness to open up driving and passing lanes. He’s also very good defensively as a result of his smarts and skating, being relied on in all situations when playing amongst his own age group. He needs strength in order to continue his growth in all facets of the game, and doesn’t have the booming shot that some other prospects at his position might have this year. Slight but not afraid of contact, Niemela has been a big contributor in all situations at the junior levels and could be a huge sleeper pick out of the Finnish league. A somewhat raw diamond, Niemela will definitely need 2 years of seasoning if not more. Draft Range: Niemela is an interesting one, because by all accounts he should be a 2nd round selection based on consensus rankings. That being said, he stole a job in the top league on a team that is considered a top contender as a 17 year old, and like I said with Heiskanen 3 years ago that basically never happens. His skillset screams modern NHL defenseman, and though he played a relatively responsible game this year at the top level, in previous seasons he demonstrated a flair for the dramatic which tells me he has the intelligence to adapt and evolve his game as the situation requires. The best odds are still a likely 2nd round selection, but there are teams interested in Niemela (especially after watching this year’s playoffs) and there’s a chance he could sneak into the late 1st round. 18. C Mavrik Bourque, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) [08/01/2002] [5'11", 185 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [49 GP, 29 G, 42 A, 71 Pts, 30 PIM, -4][NHL Comparable: Travis Konecny] Potential Peak: Top line playmaking center Projection: 2nd line playmaking center, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; not ideally suited for a bottom line role but plays with jam Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: The QMJHL pivot has been the number 1 center in Shawinigan ever since he joined the team 2 seasons ago. An excellent playmaker with some scoring punch, Bourque’s hands, hockey sense and creativity make him one of the biggest threats in the QMJHL. He’s a little inconsistent, and I think that prevents him from breaking through into that true top grouping as he can leave you feeling like he was capable of more. Bourque is much improved defensively this year and I would be comfortable calling him above average, with his skating, hockey sense and competitiveness allowing him to cover a lot of room in the neutral and defensive zones. I really like Bourque because of his motor and hockey sense, both of which suggest a decent chance that he could outperform his expected draft position. Draft Range: Unsure, but I would expect to see him starting to get some consideration somewhere around the 20 spot. While he shows a lot of good things on a relatively consistent basis, the times where he doesn’t put it all together makes teams give a bit of pause. I think certain teams will look at his smaller size and take some marks off on his overall physicality because of it. That being said, I would be shocked if Bourque fell below the early 2nd round based on his pedigree and skills. 19. W Noel Gunler, Lulea HF (SHL) [07/10/2001] [6'2", 174 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [45 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 Pts, 16 PIM, +12][NHL Comparable: Kyle Connor] Potential Peak: Top line scoring forward Projection: 2nd line scoring forward, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; a likely NHLer, but needs development time Offense: 9.0 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Gunler, more than anyone else, likely missed out on the in-person interviews at the combine. As a player, there are very few forwards in this draft who possess more raw offensive ability, and all of them are sitting comfortably in the top of the draft. He’s a one shot sniper, has some good playmaking skills and good hands that allow him to set up shop in the offensive zone and be a threat. Outside of the offensive zone, Gunler is still a work in progress. However, his reads, lanes, positioning and overall aggressiveness are much improved and have helped make him more of a threat on the counterattack. Physically slight, Gunler needs to build up more strength as he isn’t very effective along the boards for a player of his size. The development in his all around game suggest he has more room for improvement which should excite the team that manage to pick him up. Draft Range: I view him a little more favorably than some scouts in terms of his offensive prowess and skating abilities, and there’s also the question of why he is totally ignored by national teams. There is more to the concern than simply team building balance but without the ability to really delve into his personality it’s hard for me to make a judgment call, because by all accounts Gunler has been one of the most skilled players in his age group for at least 2 to 3 seasons now. There is a reasonable chance Gunler goes in the middle of the 1st round because he is one of the few players left with any real gamebreaking potential. There’s also a chance that teams don’t like the info they dig up with their research that could drop him into the 2nd or even off some lists entirely, though I would guess that there will be at least one team that will take him fairly high no matter what, at least late first or early second. 20. C Thomas Bordeleau, USA-U18s (USNTDP) [03/01/2002] [5'9", 179 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [47 GP, 16 G, 30 A, 46 Pts, 16 PIM][NHL Comparable: Brayden Point] Potential Peak: Top line playmaking center Projection: 2nd line playmaking center, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to continue to work on his consistency and two-way play Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.0 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: The U.S./Canadian center is sliding under the radar due to a number of different factors, but he’s likely the best 17 year old center in the country. An elite playmaker, Bordeleau has the puck control and vision to be a great in-zone offense generator as well as the mobility to escape his defenders. Not an especially big player, Bordeleau has enough power and strength (as well as willpower) to protect the puck and create havoc. His defense comes and goes, although it has been on a steep trajectory upwards since roughly the start of the season and has allowed him to see regular PK time due to his mobility and smarts. He will need some time before he is ready for the pro circuits in all likelihood, but Bordeleau has the tools and pedigree to be a future top 6 forward. Draft Range: The NTDP was not a great team from a win-loss perspective this year, and that tends to depress some of the expectations for this particular crop of players. That being said, Bordeleau was without question the most impactful forward on the team this year (I believe he also has the most potential, but your mileage may vary on that). Hailing from a prominent hockey family, Bordeleau is likely falling into the 2nd round, although there’s a chance a team really likes his game (and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump up into the mid to late 1st as a result). 21. D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) [20/09/2001] [6'2", 209 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [60 GP, 7 G, 35 A, 42 Pts, 42 PIM, +9][NHL Comparable: Brent Seabrook] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 30+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; should turn into an NHLer, but needs to improve footspeed Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 8.5 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Braden Schneider is at this point arguably too big for the WHL. Due to his size and strength, Schneider can simply outmuscle guys defensively. That being said, Schneider is not a typical “coke machine” defender with just size. His ability to carry the puck is above average for his draft class and his ability to pass and create all point to a good deal of hockey sense and upside. Defensively, Schneider is very good at pressuring the puck and creating loose puck opportunities. Unlike Guhle, who can occasionally over commit to the hit, Schneider manages his opportunities to use his size better. And finally, while Schneider is a good skater with the mobility to play in the modern NHL, some more footspeed would help open up lanes and allow him to expand his defensive range. Draft Range: Schneider is a very “safe” pick for the middle of the 1st round. While he may not possess the upside of some of the players ranked after him, there is enough to like that Schneider shouldn’t have to worry about falling past 25. He is an interesting take on a traditional “big man” player type, in that he shows how those types of players have adapted to be able to maintain their effectiveness in the modern game. As one of the few highly regarded right-shot defenders in this draft, expect him to maintain a position between 15 and 25; I think most teams have a pretty clear and identical outlook on Schneider. 22. C Connor Zary, Kamloops Blazers (WHL) [25/09/2001] [6'0", 181 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [56 GP, 23 G, 45 A, 68 Pts, 64 PIM, -3][NHL Comparable: Mikael Backlund] Potential Peak: Top line two-way center Projection: 2nd line two-way forward, 40-50 point player in his prime Bust Factor: Low; could translate his skills to a depth role if needed, but no dynamic abilities Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Connor Zary is the kind of player you bring in and keep around because of his intangibles and his influence on winning. Let’s be very clear here: Zary does have skill and he is a very effective player in the offensive zone, with very good scoring instincts, a very good shot, and hockey sense that allows him to create and make plays. But he is a meat and potatoes type of player first and foremost, and his ability to grind, work and just keep pushing are what will get him to the NHL. A strong defensive player, Zary will need to continue working on his skating but with improved strength he should see a corresponding boost in pure skating power and speed. With his hockey sense and work ethic, Zary is very close to being a surefire NHL player Draft Range: Not an especially well-regarded prospect entering the WHL, Zary would be a great fit for a team in need of a 2nd line, shutdown type of center. His ceiling isn’t very high, but without any major holes to his game there are a lot of teams that would be happy to bring him on board. His late-birthday and relative polish make him a good bet to jump into the NHL sooner rather than later, unlike some of the other project picks available around this range. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Zary could be a sneak-in-before-the-door-closes top 10 selection, but I would expect him to be selected no later than mid to late 20s, with the most likely result being a selection in the teens. 23. D Justin Barron, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) [15/11/2001] [6'2", 198 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [34 GP, 4 G, 15 A, 19 Pts, 6 PIM, -19][NHL Comparable: Noah Hanifin] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 30+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; has had an injury and regression filled season Offense: 8.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: Barron is a prototypical modern era top pairing defenseman in terms of his style of play. An excellent skater who is at his best when he is moving with the puck and joining the rush, Barron has the dynamic and fluid transition skills to be a major contributor to an NHL team’s offense and neutral zone game. An above-average defender with an active stick, Barron’s major improvements will need to be maintaining his focus and keeping in front of his man. Physically, he is not afraid to battle and has the size and strength to be a presence. Barron is generally a decently smart player, but his occasional headscratchers make him a pretty risky selection and he is not especially creative as a player. Draft Range: Similar to Lapierre, there are at least 2 teams who have him off their board entirely; while he has the upside and talent to start being considered in that 20 range, Barron’s regression from the prior season and his own flaws could even conceivably drop him out of the 1st into the middle rounds of the draft. Justin was a potential frontrunner for best defenseman in the draft heading into the year but injuries and a terrible team have made him a true wild card in the draft. With teams prioritizing mobility and skating for modern defenders, Barron is still well in play, but it is no longer a sure bet that he goes anywhere in the top 3 rounds tonight and tomorrow. 24. F Tyson Foerster, Barrie Colts (OHL) [18/01/2002] [6'1", 194 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [62 GP, 36 G, 44 A, 80 Pts, 53 PIM, -17][NHL Comparable: Steven Stamkos] Potential Peak: Top line scoring center Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 50+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; best pure shooter in the draft, but will need a lot of polish and development Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: The one standout skill Foerster has is his ridiculous shooting skills and feel for shooting and scoring goals. The way he adjusts his angles, the way he gets his shot off (any shot, wrist, snapper, onetimer….) are all pro quality at 17. He’s also an underrated playmaker and is going to be the biggest powerplay threat in the OHL next season. Defensively, Foerster is generally good and puts in the work and hustle to not be limited to just a powerplay guy. He’s also pretty good at using his size as leverage. The skating is just average, with above average mobility, but he’s strong on his skates and I think there’s room to improve and refine his stride and speed with more training. I suspect his hockey sense is better than initially would appear, because the nuances he shows in his scoring touch and his ability to find scoring seams point to a guy who gets it offensively in terms of utilizing and creating time and space. Draft Range: I think that I am generally pretty favorable on Foerster, but there are scouts that ding him for his skating and well-roundedness on offense more than me which could drop him into the early second. Unlike some other wildcards in this draft, Foerster is a pretty safe bet to be a top 45 selection. Quite frankly, there just aren’t enough true blue chip scoring threats in this draft to overlook someone with his abilities. A huge boom or bust type pick, he starts getting on the radar roughly around the 20 pick but I would say he is most likely a 30-35 range player unless some teams really like him. 25. C/RW Dawson Mercer, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) [27/10/2001] [6'0", 179 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [42 GP, 24 G, 36 A, 60 Pts, 25 PIM, +5][NHL Comparable: Chris Kreider/Dustin Brown] Potential Peak: A faster Milan Lucic Projection: Borderline 2nd/3rd line power forward, 40+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; should translate into depth role if needed in theory Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 57.0 Report: A well-rounded player, Dawson Mercer is not likely to be a gamebreaking talent but his base level of ability makes him an intriguing pick in a draft that lacks a little in certainty. An above average skater overall (though he can fix his mechanics and polish it even further), Mercer plays pretty big for his weight class and is a capable defensive player. His ability to read and pressure the opposing teams is a huge plus, and his experience at both center and wing make him a flexible option anywhere in the lineup. Compared to a Jack Quinn, I would say Mercer is better defensively and is more likely to pressure shots and pick up the loose pucks partly due to that experience up the middle. I think his decision making offensively is generally good enough, but it is a point of concern that might limit his effectiveness in the pros. Draft Range: Mercer has had a lot of attention the last few years due to his productivity and the betting man would probably put him somewhere in that second grouping, somewhere in the teens. The general consensus is that his combination of floor and upside make him a pretty solid bet to be an NHLer at worst. Mercer is not going to be a s*xy pick, but with NHL teams in this particular range needing a sure hit, he’s very likely to hold to that range. That being said, there’s always a chance he drops like any other prospect. 26. C Brendan Brisson, Chicago Steel (USHL) [22/10/2001] [6'0", 185 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [45 GP, 24 G, 35 A, 59 Pts, 50 PIM, +17][NHL Comparable: Rick Nash] Potential Peak: Top line scoring winger Projection: 2nd line scoring winger, 45+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: High; proven to score at HS level, but adjustment to the USHL was not pretty Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 56.5 Report: The son of one of the most prominent NHLPA player agents ever, Brendan Brisson is one of the biggest risers on the draft board. The quick skating forward has a ton of hockey sense and creativity, and is able to use his smarts and his hands effectively in generating opportunities offensively. He’s also a very solid defensive player positionally, with active hands and solid back pressure. He is not a very physical player, not necessarily shying away but not engaging either. However, his smarts and good positioning allow him to get away with that particular weakpoint. More importantly, Brendan has a tendency to relax and play to the level of his competition, likely a side effect from playing on the league’s best team and not being challenged enough. Draft Range: From what I can gather, odds are getting pretty good that Brendan will hear his name called on the first day. His performance at the WJACs really shone a light on what he can do when he is being pushed and playing higher stakes games. There’s a chance that a team might even chance him in the teens (as you might have guessed, this is starting to become a pattern for basically every prospect in that 20-30 range). I would be surprised to see him slip out of the 1st round but at worst he will be a 2nd round selection. 27. D William Wallinder, MODO Hockey (Swe-2) [28/07/2002] [6'4", 192 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [18 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, 2 PIM, +4][NHL Comparable: Rasmus Ristolainen] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing offensive defenseman, 35+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs much more polish on the defensive end to get more than a cup of coffee Offense: 8.5 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 56.5 Report: Wallinder is the type of player you create when you design a modern defenseman in a video game. At 6’4” William has the ranginess to be a capable 1 on 1 defender, and combined with his above average skating and mobility he has all the tools needed to eventually become an elite defenseman in the NHL. Offensively, Wallinder excels at jumping into the rush or using his passing abilities to open up lanes on the attack. He also has a heavy shot and is willing to play modern, positionless hockey when making plays in the offensive zone. Not necessarily a physical beast, Wallinder will need to grow into his frame but is very much capable of playing physical. Defensively, he is marked with inconsistency and sometimes a lack of interest and focus. When he is locked in, he shows flashes of that great shutdown play, but at this point he is mostly average with plenty of room for growth. Draft Range: A player who honestly is a good bet to be drafted higher than I would rank him, Wallinder has benefited greatly from the changes to the game and has the raw potential to be a star player in the mold of a (Conn Smythe winner) Victor Hedman. I think most NHL teams would look at an unfinished product like that and fully believe they can work with him on the details of the game. On the flip side, if he never really improves defensively he is likely to be a frustrating player in general due to his flaws and a general feeling that his potential is much higher than his performance. I expect him to be drafted in the middle (15 to 20) of the 1st round due to his ceiling, but I would be surprised to see him fall out of the round entirely and he becomes a major name to watch on the draft board starting somewhere in that 16 to 18 range if he hasn’t been selected already. 28. LW John-Jason Peterka, EHC Munchen (DEL) [14/01/2002] [5'11", 192 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A-] [42 GP, 7 G, 4 A, 11 Pts, 14 PIM, -6][NHL Comparable: T.J. Brodie] Potential Peak: Top pairing two-way defenseman Projection: 2nd pairing two-way defenseman, 25+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to continue developing his all-round game Offense: 8.5 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 56.5 Report: A speedster who plays with energy and pace, JJ Peterka is the 2nd of 3 well-regarded German prospects in this year’s draft. With quick hands and good playmaking and passing abilities, Peterka can create chances off the rush and drive the net. He will need to work on his edges and overall mobility, though his speed is very good. Decision-making is general decent, although his penchant for turnovers and rushed decision making when he’s not feeling hot are a concern for the next level. Peterka has some edge to his game, and plays with some intensity which is very nice to see despite his smaller size. Defensively, he has improved, although he could continue to work on his positioning and avoid cheating for offense. Draft Range: Peterka should be in line for a late 1st round selection, although at this range of the draft everything might as well be thrown out of the window. There’s some high-end skill there that leads me to believe he won’t slip too far if he does, in addition to his relentless motor. Some people might have him ranked higher if they feel his skating and skillset are underrated compared to his numbers here, but I don’t foresee him rising earlier than the middle of the 1st round.
  19. I agree, but I also think the hard part with Drysdale is it's difficult to see him as a big time offensive option. I think that scares guys because the expectation for a sub 6' defenseman is that he has to be super skilled, and Drysdale is more of a two way guy than an Erik Karlsson type even though he only weighs 170 pounds. Drysdale should be a top 4 guy for a large chunk of scouts, but compared to previous top D there's more scouts this year who are a little conflicted on him and his overall upside so the consensus is a little shakier than we're used to seeing.
  20. I would say that my rankings are pretty set. I don't foresee much changing as far as on ice components and I'm too lazy to go back if anything changes off the ice, so I'll make addendums of anything changes from that side and it'll reflect more on the mock drafts than anything. The defense this year is normal, it's not really top heavy or deep or anything. It's more spread out throughout the first round as a whole. I don't see a Seth Jones, Drew Doughty or Victor Hedman standout but you'll get a safe contributor. Would love to see Sanderson drop too but I don't see it happening, there's not enough guys with top pairing potential which gives him a ton a value and the only way we'd have a realistic shot without being undercut by someone else is to be knocked out in the qualifying rounds.
  21. Quick crib notes for the uninitiated: Style comparables are not be all end alls,they do not reflect a player's upside. Prospect grades are tied to Aggregate scores, with a max of 10 allocated to each skill. I reused my old categories for consistency. I would say the scaling goes roughly as such: 10: Generational level of ability, compared to the median draft-eligible player across all professional, collegiate, Jr. A and Major Junior leagues 9: Elite, compared to the median draft-eligible player across all professional, collegiate, Jr. A and Major Junior leagues 8: Good, compared to the median draft-eligible player across all professional, collegiate, Jr. A and Major Junior leagues 7: Average, compared to the median draft-eligible player across all professional, collegiate, Jr. A and Major Junior leagues 6: Below average, compared to the median draft-eligible player across all professional, collegiate, Jr. A and Major Junior leagues 5: Average Midget AAA/Jr. B level quality 4: Below average Midget AAA/Jr. B level quality 3: Average Bantam AAA quality (if you're draft eligible and still here, good luck) 2. Hobby player 1. You and me You will, obviously, not see anybody who has a rating below 6 ever. I haven't to my memory even had a player with a rating below 6.5 anywhere near the top 50 prospects (and I've never revealed the breakdowns for guys below that because I don't have that kind of time). I added draft ranges for a more detailed explanation, as I feel like a lot of times people want to know the why: why would teams draft certain players high, why did a guy fall, etc. I have added that in specifically for the high picks to give you guys some insight into the draft ranges of certain players, and how they can get bumps or docked from certain teams' evaluations to put them within specific areas of the draft. I will place a forewarning that my job requires me to focus on Bantam and Midget players as well as lower level junior players, so I don't feel as confident as far as my rankings this year and have had to rely on words from friends more than usual. But then again, I've never been the most accurate anyways. 😂 I'll update this section here with the future posts linked for easy access: Top 10 Rankings 11-31 Rankings 31-50, Overagers, Goalies Mock Draft(s)??? 1. LW Alexis Lafreniere, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) [11/10/2001] [6'1", 194 lbs][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: S] [52 GP, 35 G, 77 A, 112 Pts, 50 PIM, +41][Style Comparable: Jaromir Jagr] Potential Peak: Hockey Hall of Famer and franchise savior Projection: Elite top line forward, perennial 85+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: None; barring injuries, will spend at least a decade in the NHL Offense: 9.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 9.0 NHL-Readiness: 9.0 Potential: 9.5 Aggregate Score: 62.5 Report: The clear cut number 1. The best Quebecois draft product since Vincent Lecavalier without hyperbole (and the cream of the 2001-borns, one of the best QMJHL draft crops in history), Lafreniere is as close to a sure bet as you can get. There’s a possibility that one or two prospects eventually surpass him in this draft class as he’s not insurmountable and his potential is “just” franchise-altering, and not generational like a Connor McDavid, but a player who can anchor your franchise for 15 years is well within expectations. He’s on the same level as a Matthews/Eichel/MacKinnon level draft prospect. If your equivalent talents are all franchise players at such young ages, that bodes well. Talent-wise, he can do it all. The guy will score, will dish, will hit, will dazzle and his biggest limitation to his overall potential, skating, is still strong enough to be considered elite. Whenever next season starts, he will be in someone’s lineup (and in a top 6 role) and should be considered a frontrunner for the Calder. Draft Range: Some guys might believe he needs more work on his skating, which takes his skating down a notch. Even with that, his ranking is so secure he will go 1st overall regardless without much fuss, but those scouts will believe he isn’t quite at the level of previous franchise-caliber prospects like Matthews or MacKinnon. Which is always a possibility, considering that they’re basically Hart-level players at 23-25, and that is hard to guarantee for anyone. Either way, it's almost a certainty that Lafreniere goes 1st so the only question is which lucky team gets that 1st pick. 2. C Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves (OHL) [19/08/2002] [6'4", 215 lbs][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A+] [45 GP, 32 G, 50 A, 82 Pts, 44 PIM, +26][NHL Comparable: Evgeni Malkin] Potential Peak: Hockey Hall of Famer and franchise savior Projection: Top line scoring forward, 80+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Low; might need some developmental time and may underachieve compared to potential Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 8.5 Potential: 9.5 Aggregate Score: 60.5 Report: Byfield is as big a question mark for a guaranteed top 3 draft pick as there’s been in the last decade. In terms of raw potential, there is no one in this draft who has more “unicorn” rarity, as a guy who could be a future Hart candidate while sitting 6’4” and being arguably the most talented/gifted center in the draft. Think Evgeni Malkin levels of pure potential. He’d be a solid number 1 pick in many other drafts, but his weak finish to the season and his overall inconsistency make it difficult to see his floor beyond being an NHL player in some capacity. Generally, he’s smart, uses his body really well, and has slick hands. Byfield can score, and he’s well-rounded overall. He's also generally an engaged defensive player and backchecks hard, using his stick well and being effective positionally. If there’s a criticism of his overall skillset in particular, he probably doesn’t have the same level of hockey sense and decision-making as some other top prospects, but it’s still very high-end so at this point we’re just nitpicking and he does have excellent vision when making plays offensively. He’s not as polished as we normally see at the top of this draft, but for that very reason I’m putting him 2nd overall because if he’s this good already, imagine what he can do with a good development team? He can probably play in the NHL next season, (kinda like Kirby Dach played in the NHL this season) but for his development he could really use a year absolutely destroying the OHL and WJCs. Draft Range: If certain teams think he’s more of an 8.0 in terms of NHL-readiness, or feel his skating isn’t quite among the top skaters in the draft, he has a chance to slip anywhere from 3 to as low as 5 or 6. I don’t feel that’s likely, because his position and skillset are at a huge premium in this league, but crazier things have happened. The betting odds are strongly that he falls no lower than 3. 3. LW/C Tim Stutzle, Adler Mannheim (DEL) [15/01/2002] [6'0", 179 lbs][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A+] [41 GP, 7 G, 27 A, 34 Pts, 12 PIM, +4][NHL Comparable: Mitch Marner] Potential Peak: All-Star scoring forward, franchise face type Projection: Top line scoring forward, 80+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; lots of skill, will need to adapt to the NHL-style of play Offense: 9.5 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.5 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 8.5 Potential: 9.5 Aggregate Score: 60.5 Report: The biggest riser among the elite prospects in this draft class, Stutzle is one of 3 prospects who have really put the DEL on the map as a real prospect development league. His bread and butter are his acceleration and pure playmaking instincts; nobody else in this draft is as electrifying offensively, with his ability to rush the puck, create chances either with his sniping and playmaking, and general control of the puck. He’s got the best acceleration/first steps in the draft, he’s got a ton of creativity and offensive awareness, and he will be a gamebreaker in the NHL very soon. He needs bulk first and foremost if he’s to continue playing against pros, and his defensive awareness is decent but not exceptional, but he brings so much else to the table that there’s nobody out there that wouldn’t take a chance on him. His balance is good but he gets bullied by bigger, older players sometimes, and more strength overall would help him stay on his feet and boost his skating speed to NHL-elite levels. The defense did improve over the year so as long as he continues to progress there he’s fine, and he already has a consistent motor and feel for the game. The biggest thing is he will need to utilize his shot more, and be more efficient with his game; he’s so dynamic as a playmaker that I think sometimes he passes up good chances looking for the perfect play. It is a thing to note, though we’ve seen plenty of players in that vein continue to succeed at the NHL level. Draft Range: I think most scouts have him rated pretty closely to what I have him at. A lot will depend on how scouts see Byfield and Drysdale, and whether they ding them or boost them more heavily for reasons, than anything with Stutzle. There’s a chance a team goes for the defenseman and Stutzle drops to 4, but there’s just as likely a chance that Byfield drops and Stutzle rises to fill the 2 spot. At this point he has basically an equal chance to go anywhere from 2 to 4, but no lower than 5. 4. D Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (OHL) [08/04/2002] [5'11", 170 lbs][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A+] [49 GP, 9 G, 38 A, 47 Pts, 24 PIM, +9][NHL Comparable: Duncan Keith] Potential Peak: Elite two-way defenseman and franchise player Projection: Top pairing two-way defenseman, perennial 45+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Low; good puck moving defensemen will find homes in today’s NHL Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.5 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 8.0 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 60.0 Report: The best defenseman in this draft in my mind, and it really isn’t that close. Drysdale is the prototypical modern NHL defenseman; not big, but smart, skilled and fast. His mobility and acceleration are elite and his passing and IQ make him an elite player on the breakout. He’s a strong positional defender with good gap control, and his performance at the WJCs has boosted his stock to the point that anywhere below top 5 would be a huge drop. Cale Makar recency bias also plays a little into this, as Makar and Quinn Hughes’ instant success has opened up doors for a lot of undersized, mobile defensemen who previously may have been undervalued in the draft. I would hazard a guess and say that the days of Erik Karlsson going 15th overall are going away, as those types of skill players are increasingly sought after. He needs to be stronger, obviously, as his limitations come from his stature (though he does get into the dirty areas). It also limits his offensive zone play, as his shot is not very threatening on its own (which is the biggest ding on his offense rating). But overall, he will be a top pairing RHD and those players are arguably the most valuable assets in the NHL. I don’t necessarily foresee him having the offensive upside of a guy like Quinn Hughes or Cale Makar (he’s not a phenomenal power play guy), but he’s got a lot of Scott Niedermayer in him and he’ll be a top pairing defenseman someday. Draft Range: A team that really likes Drysdale (and doesn’t love Byfield) might have him 2nd overall in their final rankings. He might lose marks if teams knock off points on his defense or NHL readiness (I wouldn’t but I can see some teams thinking he’s closer to an 8.0 on the D), which would put him in that 5-8 range with the likes of Perfetti and Rossi. That latter scenario isn’t super likely, however, but he’s the first elite prospect ranked to have a bit of a wider range in terms of draft possibilities. Expect him to go 4th or 5th, but keep in mind there’s always a small chance he might jump or slide a bit depending on individual team needs and opinions. 5. LW/RW Lucas Raymond, Frolunda HC (SHL) [28/03/2002] [5'11", 161 lbs][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A+] [33 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 Pts, 4 PIM, +6][NHL Comparable: Artemi Panarin] Potential Peak: All-Star scoring winger, perennial PPG player Projection: Top Line playmaking winger, 80+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to simplify and adapt to a smaller rink Offense: 9.5 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 7.5 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 8.5 Potential: 9.5 Aggregate Score: 60.0 Report: Raymond started the year as a top-3 prospect, and he held pretty steady there in terms of his own personal development. An elite offensive talent, with good feet and a good motor, Raymond has a flair for the dramatic and has been a staple of Swedish national teams as a focal point of their offense. His hands are silky and while his numbers don’t stand out, a large part of that was due to the minutes he received on a strong team meant to win rather than develop younger kids. Like Stutzle, Raymond needs to be stronger. His actual defensive IQ is not bad, though I wouldn’t classify him as elite, but part of his struggles at the pro level in that end are due to his lack of strength. His balance is very good and he can fight through checks pretty well if needed, but he doesn’t initiate contact as well. If he were playing in the CHL he’d likely be considered a more well-rounded player with his speed and stick, and everything else is considered to be NHL ready right now. More importantly, he has shown a bit of a negative propensity for playing on the perimeter at times, especially against older competition, which could limit his actual effectiveness. Draft Range: Part of what hurts Raymond’s rankings are the fact that there’s another player playing in Europe who has a very similar skillset, is a little more explosive as a skater, has a better engine and consistent motor, and has already shown the ability to produce playing against men. For that reason, it’s hard to see Raymond rise above Stutzle as they fill the same archetype but Stutzle has shown more at this stage on a regular basis in a very underrated league (the DEL gets a weak rap for not producing prospects in the past, but that's because hockey isn't a big sport in Germany yet. It's arguably as good if not better than the Swiss and Czech leagues at this point thanks to the money and caliber of players). That being said, in any other draft Raymond is a near guaranteed top 3 caliber player so that just speaks to the quality at the very top of this particular draft (after the top 10 or so, it slides back into a regular draft in terms of quality). If teams don’t like Raymond's penchant for playing on the perimeter, he could also slide into the 6-8 range. He’s a bit of a wildcard in that regard, but at the very least he should go somewhere in the top 6, and no lower than 8 or 9. 6. LW Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) [01/01/2002] [5'10", 180 lbs][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [61 GP, 37 G, 74 A, 111 Pts, 16 PIM, +49][NHL Comparable: Logan Couture/Sebastian Aho] Potential Peak: All-Star scoring forward, perennial PPG+ player Projection: Top Line scoring winger, 70+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; has a lot of good qualities but a few that need improvement Offense: 9.5 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 8.0 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 59.0 Report: Whatever you feel about skillset and projections, there’s no denying that Perfetti can produce (at the junior level) like no one else in the draft besides the guy sitting number 1. People started the year thinking he was a pure goalscorer, and while he can definitely finish Perfetti has shown this year that he is more than just a shooter. His hands, IQ, and ability to make space and capitalize on opportunities are NHL-caliber. On offense alone, he could be a top-6 NHL forward immediately. Defensively, he’s fairly intelligent and has potential to get better with his smarts and effort level. He battles and while he isn’t big he’s pretty good at leveraging his balance and driving the net or playing in the tough areas of the zone. Basically, anything related to scoring he has pretty much down. His skating is good, overall, but he will need to work on his top speed and acceleration. Right now he uses good edgework to create opportunities, a la Jeff Skinner, but it bears watching as he lacks a real top gear. An elite talent who, like you’ll be reading a couple more times, in almost any other draft is likely a guaranteed top 4 or 5 pick. Draft Range: Depending on how you feel about Perfetti in terms of intangibles and NHL-readiness, he might be a 4 or 5 overall pick (although this also requires a bit of a down opinion on a number of players ahead of him in my rankings). His sheer offensive dominance should keep him in the top 8, but he’s fairly equal to a number of players in that particular tier and a lot will come down to team preference. I could see him slipping as low as 9 if teams feel that Perfetti is more likely to be a winger rather than a center. I think the most likely option is that he, Rossi and Raymond are fighting for that 5 spot and Perfetti is most likely to be drafted anywhere from 5 to 7. 7. D Jake Sanderson, USA-U18s (USNTDP) [08/07/2002] [6’1", 170 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [47 GP, 7 G, 22 A, 29 Pts, 12 PIM, +13][NHL Comparable: Ryan McDonagh] Potential Peak: All-Star two-way defenseman, in the mold of Ryan Suter Projection: Top pairing two-way defenseman, 35+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; hard to gauge where he is in development compared to peers Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.5 NHL-Readiness: 7.5 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 59.0 Report: This might be your first big surprise, but Sanderson is a guy who has done everything he could to pressure Drysdale as the best defenseman available. A local kid, I actually remember watching Jake (and older brother Ben) play within the NWCAA organization before Jake headed to the Edge program and then the US National Development team. An excellent all-around player, Jake is not likely to be an elite scorer, but his skillset is very promising as a potential minute muncher top pairing defender and play driver in the vein of a Charlie McAvoy. Sanderson skates well in all 4 directions and has very good top speed and footwork; he plays a very good defensive game predicated on a mixture of physicality and smarts. He gaps well, and any mistakes he makes are covered by his skating. Offensively, he doesn’t have the game breaking ability of a Drysdale but he moves the puck well, has an accurate pass, jumps into the play and is intelligent in his decision-making. He doesn’t have a huge weakness overall, but there is a lot of rawness to his game that makes you feel like he has even more to give. His potential is skyhigh as a result and more than a few NHL teams feel that they can be the organization to really unlock that potential. Draft Range: If you value bloodlines, he gets an even bigger intangibles bump. If you like something about him in his offense, defense, or physicality, and he gets another bump there, he can easily push into a team’s top 5. On the flip side, if you feel he’s more of a project in terms of readiness or his potential isn’t quite as high as some people have him, he could also be a guy who slides down into that 14-15 range. I think that lack of consensus is what makes him a bit of a riskier selection at the top, as we don’t really know what he will be. There’s a lot of volatility in his draft position and a whole lot will come down to fit and need in addition to his potential. I feel like Sanderson is a good bet to be a top 10 pick, but anything could happen really. Regardless, he’s going to need some time before he hits that potential so expect a few years before he makes an NHL lineup. 8. C Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67s (OHL) [23/09/2002] [5'9", 187 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [56 GP, 39 G, 81 A, 120 Pts, 40 PIM, +69][NHL Comparable: Claude Giroux] Potential Peak: Elite scoring forward and perennial All-Star Projection: Top line forward, 70+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; likely to play in the NHL, but isn’t well suited to a lower line role Offense: 9.0 Defense: 8.0 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 9.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 8.0 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 59.0 Report: Ignore the size, because Rossi doesn’t need it. The kid is built like a wild boar, thick and low to the ground and that gives him all the power he needs. A top talent who had a huge breakout year, Rossi is a fantastic playmaker first and foremost. His hands, smarts and balance also allow him to break open defenses and make him a very well rounded offensive threat. Besides Lafreniere, Rossi might have the most overall polish to his offensive game, as he doesn’t rely on sheer athleticism or raw skill to the same degree as a Perfetti or Raymond. Rossi’s intelligence also translates to his defensive positioning and stickwork. His low center of gravity is effective at both ends of the ice and he usually wins puck battles through lower body and core strength. When you watch him play, you really appreciate the little things he does to push play or generate opportunities, he's got so much nuance to his game. I don’t know whether he has the same gifts and raw potential of some of the other players in the top 8, but he will be an NHL scorer to some capacity. A top 5 caliber player in most other drafts. Draft Range: Depending on where you/NHL teams view his offensive skillset (you could argue he gets a bump there) and his NHL readiness (he is an older prospect and with his polish could be in the show sooner rather than later), he could swing higher in a team’s rankings, maybe even into the top 4 or 5. If a team feels like they want to go for other positions or such, or that his potential is more of a 2nd line talent (there's an argument there among the scouts), Rossi has a small chance of falling lower in the draft, but that’s very unlikely and at worst he should be a top 10-12 selection. Expect Rossi to be in play anywhere from 5 to 9 whenever the draft occurs. 9. Alexander Holtz, Djurgardens IF (SHL) [23/01/2002] [6'0", 181 pds][Shoots Right][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [35 GP, 9 G, 7 A, 16 Pts, 12 PIM, -1][NHL Comparable: Patrik Laine] Potential Peak: All-Star scoring forward Projection: Top line scoring winger, 65+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Moderate; needs to continue to round out and polish his game Offense: 9.0 Defense: 7.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.5 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 8.0 Potential: 9.0 Aggregate Score: 58.0 Report: A natural sniper first and foremost. Holtz gets plus marks for having a scorer’s touch (maybe the best in the draft) and playing a hard-nosed, interior game. He also shows good use of misdirection and angles and overall has shown a highly developed knack for scoring in a variety of ways. He has good hands to boot, which keeps him unpredictable and allows him to be a good playmaker when needed. His board work is above average for his age, which puts him opposite compatriot Raymond in terms of style of play. Overall, I would classify Holtz as a smart player, with very good offensive IQ. Holtz will need to work on his skating, though he is good enough to play pro. While he is agile and elusive, his top speed and acceleration are just ok. He also will need to shore up his defense; the effort is consistently there, but he needs to iron out details in terms of positioning, aggressiveness (he tends to commit to the puck a little too far) and how to use his strength. Overall though, those limitations are normal and shouldn’t hold him back from being a top flight NHL scorer. He is one of those players with 40 goal potential, and you take that whenever you can get it. Draft Range: A lot depends on how scouts and teams view the other players in a top-heavy top 10. If teams think Holtz is NHL ready sooner than later, and/or give him bumps on other areas (physicality or offense the most likely) that gives him a slim shot at pushing as high as 4 or 5. If they ding his skating and like other players just a little more, he could theoretically slide into the 14-15 range. Neither of those two options seem very likely, and the betting odds are that he falls no lower than 9 or 10 due to his potential as a goal scorer. I think he’s pretty secure in that range and he should be in play as soon as the 6th pick is on the clock. 10. C Anton Lundell, HIFK (Liiga) [03/10/2001] [6'1", 188 pds][Shoots Left][PROSPECT GRADE: A] [44 GP, 10 G, 18 A, 28 Pts, 18 PIM, +11][NHL Comparable: Bo Horvat] Potential Peak: Elite two-way center, in the mold of a Bergeron/O’Reilly Projection: 2nd line two-way center, 55+ point player in his prime Bust Factor: Low; can play in a depth role if the offense never develops Offense: 8.5 Defense: 8.5 Physicality: 8.0 Skating: 8.0 Intangibles: 8.0 NHL-Readiness: 8.5 Potential: 8.5 Aggregate Score: 58.0 Report: There’s no other center in the first round of this draft with the two-way certainty of Lundell, and it’s honestly not that close either. I would go so far as to say he’s in the shortlist for best two-way player in the draft, period, across all positions. Lundell gets underrated a lot for not having the fancy offensive moves that some of the other top prospects possess, but his hockey sense and intelligence is right near the top of the draft. That makes him a very strong bet to be a top 6 forward on a championship team, and there’s still a decent possibility he surprises us given his skills. Across the board he makes good decisions at the right times, playing fast or slow depending on the needs of the situation, and his hands are very good and allow him to move the puck to the right spots. He has good accuracy on his shot, too, allowing him to just pick corners on goalies on his best days. His skating is solid, but he will need to work on his footspeed, acceleration and overall agility as he’s more of a north-south skater than an east-west player. That may be his biggest limitation; he’s strong and plays in the tough areas, and possesses a surprising amount of creativity that you might not expect seeing him at first. I think a lot of people think two-way centers mean they are lacking in that but Lundell really does have a strong sense of spacing and vision and that allows him to find open passing lanes or create space for his linemates. I don’t know if he’ll ever be the type of scorer that makes All-Star games, but he can be a coach’s dream and has the size and smarts to be an impact player in the NHL very soon. Draft Range: Very hard to say. On one hand, he does possess elite traits (hockey sense). On the other hand, with so many of his rivals in the top grouping playing at historically significant levels, he is in tough to break into that top 5. Depending on how teams view his NHL-readiness and potential, if they believe he can be a true 1st line center in the mold of a Toews and is ready to jump into the NHL in a year or even less, I can see a team having him ranked as high as 6 and right there with Perfetti, Rossi and Holtz. There’s a decent chance teams view his skating as closer to average, and feel that he is closer to a 14 or 15 prospect in this draft. Otherwise, I think 10th among skaters is fairly close to his true value in a star-studded top 10, and I would be surprised if he isn’t drafted somewhere in that 8 to 12 range.
  22. Just wanted to give a heads up that due to popular request, I'll be bringing back the Draft Thread for the first time in 3 years!

     

    I don't have an exact timetable but I hope to have the first part out soon, and to have all of it ready to go before the end of August.

     

    Thanks for the well wishes, just know that I appreciate seeing my name pop up in your guys' minds even when I haven't been able to do more than lurk. Stay safe.

    1. Heartbreaker

      Heartbreaker

      RAD! Looking forward to it!

  23. I've had a couple years more experience under my belt now so I feel like I've mellowed out a lot more with regards to player evaluation. A few years ago my ND lists were closer to real NHL lists in length, now I find I'm a lot more forgiving. Plus I'm a Flames homer, so doubly so for our guys! Having seen a ton of kids now, we can pretend all we want about drafting but the reality is no one ever really knows. The guys who clearly have the talent and clearly have the drive will always go top 10, but the rest of the kids are a complete guess. Some of them figure it out and will pass guys who had shown their stuff earlier and were drafted high as a result, some never will. All we can do is throw a dart at something we like and hope for the best. We're all just hoping the kids we like are 60-40 success rates rather than 50-50, because so much of development comes down to opportunity, organization, etc. It's very very difficult to separate bad drafting and scouting versus bad luck and bad development, and a guy who would've succeeded in one spot can easily fail elsewhere and vice versa. There's never a black and white answer and the people that pretend there is are both wrong and full of ****.
  24. I wouldn't really classify Pelletier as the stereotypical "safe" pick. That would be a Suzuki or Foote type player. Pelletier is more of a boom-bust guy a la Lavoie, Suzuki or Kaliyev. The difference is he has more work ethic than those 3 which makes him "safer" if such a thing exists. I would say that if he pans out you're looking at a Gallagher or Anthony Beauvillier type 2nd line player, maybe a DeBrincat level complementary 1st liner if you're incredibly lucky, so he's an interesting mix of upside versus safety, because I think a lot of guys would say Lavoie is "safer" due to his NHL size and the fact he could conceivably turn into a 4th line depth guy. The thing I like about the recent Flames drafting is they're swinging for the fences while still looking for players that fit their goals character-wise. There's by definition only one or two Gaudreaus every draft. If it were that easy to select a guy like that he'd be long gone before the pick, the reality is most guys like that bust just as well and if they were such sure things they're likely drafted in the top 5. Pelletier might just be another, smaller Bennett (which honestly is what he'd be looking at if his offense doesn't translate), but for where he stacks against his contemporaries one year later there's at best maybe one or two guys from the 28-45 range I would say had anywhere near as complete a season as Pelletier, which is a good sign. I'd very much say they went all or nothing because everything about the pick at the time screamed BPA rather than fit. If it wasn't about skill and character and potential, then why not just go with a big, skilled right-shot RW? From my standpoint, there's literally no worries about Pelletier as of yet. Every milestone he's needed to hit, he's hit. Matched up against his peers, he stands out as a guy who has maintained his status post draft unlike other picks in his range. Attitude-wise, he brings way more to the table than almost anyone else around his draft spot. I would have been really mad with Lavoie, or Foote, or Kaliyev, for various different reasons, but Pelletier (who while not my favorite choice at the time) is a good pick. Being bigger or having one elite skill means absolutely nothing in the long run, it doesn't even make you more NHL ready. Just look at the development curve for Nolan's older brother with Tampa Bay, he's not going to be close to a lineup spot until possibly 2021-22. Either way, where the Flames have really lost guys is at the NHL level, so we'll get a real litmus test for Pelletier in a year and a half. At that time I'm just hopeful they work to develop him instead of looking at him as "this is what he is, good enough for me" which they've been prone to do in the past.
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