May 2018 – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Month: May 2018

 

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This is the part where we break down all draft eligible prospects in the US leagues and look for potential fits for the Edmonton Oilers. Over the last 7 years before Chiarelli came, the Oilers used 14.5% of their picks on US leagues while the league average was 24.4%(1). It has grown over Chiarelli’s tenure, as the Oilers have selected 27.3% of their picks from US leagues (High-School, USHL, NCAA) while the league average is 24.7% over that time frame. Most of the 6 picks are in the later rounds though and their highest pick was Caleb Jones in the 4th round.

Either way, the new regime has looked at US leagues more. They’ve made good bets signing Drake Caggiula and Matt Benning who are in the NHL already. They’ve also acquired Cooper Marody and signed Nick Ellis, Joe Gambardella, Colin Larkin, and Shane Starrett to stock up the AHL group.

 

This year’s draft crop has potential stars in Quinn Hughes, and Oliver Wahlstrom with a solid group of potential impact players in Brady TkachukJoel FarabeeBode Wilde and Jake Wise.

I’d like to say that the US Development Program has been outstanding. There have been some impressive kids that have gone through the program like Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, Matthew Tkachuk, Charlie McAvoy, Dylan Larkin, Zach Werenski, Clayton Keller, Noah Hanifin, Alex Tuch, Jack Roslovic, Tage Thompson and many more upcoming. They have built a solid program that focuses on developing USA kids by exposing them to a variety of competitions. If I counted it right, this year had 29 USHL games, 1 NAHL, 15 NCAA games, and 17 international appearances.

 

With that in mind here is a list of the draft eligible forwards for the Oilers ordered based on future considerations’ top 100 ranking.

Rank Shoots Forwards Size Weight League GP G A P
FC 4 L Brady Tkachuk (C/W) 6’3 191 H-East 40 8 23 31
FC 5 R Oliver Wahlstrom (RW) 6’1 185 USDP 62 48 46 94
FC 15 L Joel Farabee (LW) 6’0 169 USDP 62 33 43 76
FC 40 R Jay O’Brien (C) 6’0 183 USHS-Prep 30 43 37 80
FC 57 L Sampo Ranta (LW/RW) 6’2 192 USHL 53 23 14 37
FC 63 L Jake Wise (LC) 5’10 190 USDP 38 11 32 43
FC 65 L Jack Drury (C) 5’11 179 USHL 56 24 41 65
FC 95 L Blake McLaughlin (C) 5’11 161 USHL 54 23 29 52
FC 87 R Tyler Madden (C) 5’10 152 USHL 50 15 19 34
FC 90 L Johnny Gruden (LW) 6’0 172 USDP 61 28 32 60
NR L Tyler Weiss (LW/C) 5’11 160 USDP 58 12 19 31

 

Players I like for the Oilers:

Whether the Oilers trade up or keep the 10OV, here are the players that may show up as candidates in top 10 picks:

 

Brady Tkachuk

There is a lot of buzz with him due to his brother’s breakout season at the NHL level as people like that the Tkachuk’s reputation of being irritating in a game. Brady is more of a physical presence that hits to hurt as opposed to a pest though. He played this year with Boston University and he is 6th in the league in assists per game but only 54th in goals per game thanks to a low 6.1 shooting percentage. Some are worried of his scoring, but he is 9th in the league in shots on goal per game and visually takes good chances near the net but he is just snake bit. He plays a throwback power forward game who takes pride in playing a smart 2-way heavy game that will grind you down with physical plays. He’s 7th overall in penalty minutes taken per game (61 PIMS or 1.52 PIMS/GP) although 2 of his penalties were 10-minute misconducts (his rank drops to 40th without those misconducts). He loves initiating/receiving physical plays and just smiles it off when a scrum surrounds him after a physical play. It may be viewed as negative, but based on @CodexRex’s insight from his work here, the NHL tends to give a competitive advantage to a team with aggressors as they get to commit more infractions but still end up with close to even in terms of penalty difference.

Brady has a big frame which means college route allows him to add to ~210 lbs. That is a positive as long as he keeps working his skating too. Personality wise, he brings a swagger/confidence in him. He has good straight-line speed without the puck which is good as a receiver on a 2 on 1 play off the rush. The big winger can reliably carry the puck in-transition, but it is not a strength. He is a smart puck mover who has a good recognition of developing plays around him. He can play an effective give-and-go, and dump-and-chase game. He does a lot of the greasy work on board battles and net front battles. He’s a very good player without the puck that can help you in the defensive zone assignments or in the forecheck as he has the quickness to be first on loose pucks and has a strong stick that can strip the puck off of opposing players. He will take the attention away from teammates because of his physical play while being a very good playmaker/puckmover and being a big body that can crash the net for tap ins, rebounds, and tip-ins/redirection.

In an era where speed is the priority and that defencemen are getting smaller, if he gets to play with a mobile 2way centre in a good system, he’ll have the tools to dominate the net front/board battles and will bring life to the high tempo physical brand of hockey and effective east-west game. Picking him around 5OV or better as some rankings suggest seems like a mistake but I believe it is a fair argument after that.

 

Oliver Wahlstrom

Wahlstrom has plenty of traits that remind you of Jordan Eberle. Has slick dangles, makes crisp passes and he is a good playmaker with a good vision. He can smartly find open spots (which is the big part that made him an effective goal scorer) and has good lateral mobility/quickness with an average straight-line speed. The big difference though is that Wahlstrom has an elite shot from a distance whether it’s a big one timer, wrist shot, or slap shot. No muffin shots from him. He has the size that he utilizes to play an effective power game (no “soft” plays) and has a better impact defensively although it’s not a strength.

Wahlstrom is a volume shooter and he is 3rd overall in terms of shots per game for all u18 USHL forward in history just behind Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews. If the Oilers are trading up, he’s McDavid’s ideal goal scoring winger at 5v5 and PP. He has shown the ability to play with a fast playmaking centre who likes to hold the puck a lot, in Jack Hughes.

 

Joel Farabee

Captain of USDP U18 group is a leader on the ice as he plays with a high work rate. You will notice a lot of takeaways from interceptions or puck battles, lots of breakaways or 2 on 1’s at 5 on 5 and PK as he’s very opportunistic that loves to feast on odd man rushes, and lots of time spent on shutdown duties as well as PK. He is the guy moved up and down the lineup to help spark offence. I believe he had a big role helping Jake Wise get back to form after missing half the season to injury.

Switches between LW/2C with Jake Wise and leans to be the defensive conscious player on his line. Has some jam in his game that can play against physical grinding/heavy hockey game as he plays a fundamentally sound 2-way game, or wide open high scoring game as he has the skill/speed/finish to be lethal on the open ice. Drives offence for the 2nd line as he had the 3rd most primary points/game in 5v5 in the USHL. He uses good body leverage to protect the puck and uses his quick skating plus slick hands to elude bigger defenders. Plays on a net front role on the first PP unit but his point total is shy because the plays go through the main playmaker, Jack Hughes, and goal scorer, Oliver Wahlstrom, so they touch the puck a lot more. Farabee is the go to guy on the PK and leads his team in 5 short handed goals.

Farabee plays a north/south game and is lethal off the rush. He loves skating hard with the puck to create scoring chances crashing to the net. A problem with him is he’s 165 lbs and sometimes has a few moments where he falls over quite frequently on board-battles due to size mismatch. There were moments where he had off games and his skating looked average but on big games I’ve seen so far, he always looks prepared and looks like one of the most dynamic skaters on the ice. I think a lot of his weaknesses can be developed as he adds lower body strength at the NCAA. As for his size, I think he’s between 5’11-6’0 right now so give him 2-3 NCAA seasons (where he’ll play just ~40 games+WJC), then he’ll have more gym time to gradually add to 180-185 lbs. He has had experience playing 15GP 4-7-11 against college/university teams so it won’t be a hard transition to playing in a well-respected BU program at the NCAA next season. BU will also be a very deep team to play in which helps develop his abilities on playing with skilled teammates.

Farabee would be the most likely available pick in the first round among the group from US leagues listed. I wouldn’t want to miss out on the next wave of young kids who play with speed and skill.

 

Side note on Elite prospects USHL numbers:

Jake Guentzel 5’11-180 60GP 29G-44A-73P

Kyle Connor 6’1-180 56GP 34G-46A-80P

Joel Farabee 6’0-168 26GP 15G-25A-40P

 

For 2nd round Candidates:

Jake Wise

Wise could be the next Tyler Benson due to an early top-10 pick level of hype slowed down by an early injury, a broken collarbone with 24 games of recovery time, which could be troubling for his development year. Like Benson, he has a high-end/crafty playmaking ability with a great sense of the player movement around him and has a heavy but accurate wrist shot/good one timer. His shot should be utilized more but he prefers picking his spots to release elevated top shelf shots with a small sample 23% shooting percentage rather than being a volume shooter. He has an ability to score from one timers and has a good skating technique to receive a pass while efficiently turning and facing square to the net for a shot.

His biggest strength is his skating ability. When he’s going, he has an explosive first step, good lateral quickness, and a fast top-end speed with or without the puck. In the offensive zone, he loves to battle in front of the net to cash in from tips, redirections (Sedin tip) and rebound opportunities. Being in the bumper role really showcased his hand-eye coordination, slick puck handling ability, as well as the ability to think quickly and make plays with the puck in despite being in a heavy traffic area in front of the net.

Wise is a 2-way centre as he has good defensive awareness and his skating allows him to provide support in both sides of the ice. The team’s captain, Farabee, has been his line mate for most of his season and they have played a speedy and skilled oriented type of game while taking tougher matchups and PK shifts. Farabee’s high work rate in all 3 zones may have rubbed off on him which showed for a few stretches. Small players need skating to overcome size but for Jake Wise, he is already 190 lbs for a 5’10 centre (comparable size – Trocheck 5’10 182 lbs). He has a low centre of gravity which helps his balance and allows him to protect the puck better than players at that height.

Jake Wise will need time to regain his conditioning by having a proper offseason plus a good preseason start. I believe his ceiling is a versatile 2C who can play LW, so he should be rated around 20-30OV despite the injury risk but if he shows up on the Oilers’ 2nd round pick range, he could be a steal provided that he’ll have a healthy career.

 

For 3rd round Candidates

Blake McLaughlin

McLaughlin is primarily a playmaker who has a great vision to run a powerplay effectively. He has an accurate wrist shot even from a distance (17% shooting percentage-small sample) and he creates good chances but tends to pass up scoring opportunities because of his pass first mentality. He is a smart player that relies on being a quick and elusive skater to go with an excellent stickhandling ability to get around bigger opponents. He competes in all zones and plays in all situations for his team. Unfortunately, he’s a thin forward that can get pushed around and his skating lacks power in his stride to create separation or reach a high top-end speed.

A lot of the problems he has seems to stem from lack of strength. NCAA would be perfect for late developers as he can take the time to bulk up and get stronger. He will need to add an extra gear on his skating. This candidate will need a lot of projecting for the scouts. His work rate will determine if he reaches his floor and his skill and ability to score sets an idea about his possible ceiling which may be a middle 6 winger.

McLaughlin could be a sleeper pick because he is skilled with the puck, but he could be a bust depending on how long his development will take. A few has him ranked in the 2nd round but my take is he’ll be a good bet in the 3rd round pick range.

 

Sampo Ranta

Ranta is 7th overall in SOG and T-17th in goals in the league then leads his team in points per game. He is relied offensively on the top scoring line and top powerplay unit (was a transition option for the team because of skating and he is trusted to create his own shot). So far, he is committed to Univ. of Wisconsin where he can take the time to develop.

He reminds me of Slepyshev who is a speedy and skilled forward with one dominant skill, his shot. When he is on, his speed/hustle can force turnovers. He can play a simple power game and be strong on the boards in terms of puck protection/board battles. He can move the puck well but there is nothing much in terms of playmaking although that may be just because he knows he has a fantastic shot (shoot first mentality). Occasionally, off the offensive zone shift, he throws the unexpected tight-angle shots that leaves goaltenders unprepared. He has a heavy and accurate wrist shot, a big slapshot and a good one timer. His above average skating speed allowed his team to make the most out of 2v1 plays especially as a recipient of a pass as he can score one-timers and finish 1v1 plays well showcasing his good hands. His defensive side and forecheck has been inconsistent and he’s not bad but he leaves you wanting more. If his legs are going, he can cover a lot of the ice, but he doesn’t do it enough yet. It’s probably best not to get him out holding a lead but I do think it can be coached.

 

Candidates for 3rd to 4th round

Jay O’Brien

O’Brien surprised the spectators at the All-American Prospects Game when mid-game, he suddenly burst out and showcased his speed and it caught the opposition off-guard. From then on, he was on the radar for some scouts. Choosing to play at high school instead of the USHL may have been questionable but he did win the 2018 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Player of the Year award. Playing in high school allowed him to have more off-ice gym hours to add strength. The other benefit is that he is the best player in the league which allowed him to play what looked like half of the available shifts in all situations. It allowed him to get more touches with the puck as the puck goes through him a lot especially at 5 on 5.

He is an excellent transition option as he makes smart crisp 10-foot give-and-go passes and he utilizes short bursts of speed as well as go end-to-end through all the hacks and wacks along the way. He does rely a lot on stickwork like raising sticks, clipping opposing sticks in front of the net, and subtly hitting hands or legs with a stick. If there is a move he repeats and does successfully, it’s skating hard down the right-wing side, then make a move to change direction to face the center part of the offensive zone then release a quick wrister on the low blocker side then crash the net looking for rebounds. For the PK, he is a heck of an option. On a 5 on 3, he allowed the opponent to win the faceoff and he just exploded to skate hard to pressure the defenseman then skated to get to the other end. As for the PP, the team in general lacks structure and doesn’t allow for creativity. He will have to learn how to run a PP, become a better playmaker and learn how to do one-timers on the NCAA level next season if he wants to add that to his toolbox.

Right now, O’Brien is more of a 5v5 and PK guy because of the threat from his speed off the rush. He would be an excellent bet around 3rd round. Even though he has progressed well, there is a risk because he was playing in a lesser league.

 

Jack Drury

Son of Ted Drury who was the type that battled hard for the puck and his USA HoF uncle Chris Drury, who had 9 20-goal seasons including a Stanley cup. Jack Drury doesn’t have an identifiable dominant skill, but you can tell he plays a cerebral type of game and his best trait is he tends to outwork opponents on puck battles. His work ethic has been infectious, and it was recognized as he captained the USA team for Hlinka and his USHL team, Waterloo Blackhawks. A lot of his points are from creating chances after a puck battle. Broke the record for having the longest point streak in the USHL set by Jake Guentzel. Jack Drury scored 10th most in goals (2nd most game winning goals), 2nd most assists which leads to 4th overall in point total at the USHL.

A lot of Jack’s assists are due to forecheck that turns a board battle into a takeaway then his teammates scores, and he scores a lot of his goals battling to create space in front of the net. He looks small but most of the times, he ends up outworking opponents to the puck. He’s very reliable on the PK, strong on draws, and on the defensive zone, he works hard to battle for position and block shooting lanes. He is also an underrated threat as he scored the most short-handed goals in the league (5 G). At the PP, he is the main set-up guy for a very effective PP as he leads the league in goals and assists in that department.

He reminds me a bit of Nick Bonino, but I am scared because visually, he can turn out to be Anton Lander if he doesn’t figure out a way to add skills. His work ethic is top notch, he can run a PP because of his IQ, a number of his skills are above average, but he doesn’t have a threatening shot, no high-end top speed, no high-end hands, and he’s below average in terms of size. Yes, he broke a record (Guentzel point streak) and he’s one of the top point producers in the league. He said to his GM before, “he will outwork anyone the team has drafted” so maybe he will be better. Will that work ethic be enough to get him through? His production rate is telling me to draft him early in the 2nd round but his ceiling based on his skating and size would drop to 3rd or later rounds.

If I was with the Oilers, prioritize skilled players who has a higher ceiling over him. If they’re looking for a bottom 6 guy who is good on draws and can PK, Jack Drury has the right tools to fit that role.

 

Candidates for 5th and 6th round

Tyler Weiss

The USDP has employed a fast transition game for their forwards. A lesser known speedy forward is Tyler Weiss who has shown well as a versatile bottom 6 C/LW the u18s. USDP is a very deep team and it looks like he has a chance to do a lot more if he only played more minutes. So far, he has a very good skating ability that shows a good top-end speed (with and without the puck), good directional changes, and a good lateral mobility that he uses to evade defenders. He is quick to grab loose pucks and has shown good vision to set up scoring opportunities for teammates. I think he deserves a chance to play more. I think he will play in a good BU program next season although that team is deep so maybe he’ll still get less minutes. I want the Oilers to lean on speed for the future bottom 6 pieces and Tyler Weiss fits that mold. He’ll be a good bet in the second half of the draft.

 

Tyler Madden

Tyler has gained some recognition since his standout performance for the East squad as the MVP of the USHL prospects game and his World Junior a challenge performance (4GP 3-1-4). He plays a smart game and he’s an effective skater who impacts both ends of the ice. Transitions the puck with a good speed to back off defenders which opens space for his teammates and shows quick lateral skating that allows him to create space for himself in tight checking games. He can control his body off the rush to quickly change directions despite the speed that he skates at. He shoots at a top line rate in the league at 2.98 shots per game which he achieves because he tends to sneak into the open spots in front of the net and likes to dig in to battle for rebound opportunities. On the forecheck, he has a good sense in terms of positioning to angle off and close down passing lanes.

Background of his teams: He split his time between two teams. In his first team (Central Illinois), he led the team in points per game in points per game (18 6-8-14). His production rate has slowed down since he moved to a Tri-City Storm but he’s still the top scorer on the team in points per game (32 9-11-20). The deal with the new team though is that they have one of the lowest scoring team in the league, but the team is one of the best in terms of goals against allowed.

Weiss is fearless but at 152 lbs, I think he should focus on his strengths which is skating and his skill. If he adds a gear in his skating by working on his lower body power (so he can take tougher workload), I can see him as a speedy 3rd line RW who is a good puck mover and scores his goals near the net. I think he has the skill and IQ to complement skilled centres but that is where the uncertainty of the development part kicks in. The Oilers could use more right shot forwards, so he would be a good bet for our 5th round pick.

 

Here is a list of the draft eligible defencemen I like for the Oilers ordered based on future considerations’ top 100 ranking.

Rank Shoots Defencemen Size Weight League GP G A P
FC 6 L Quinn Hughes 5’10 175 Big-10 37 5 24 29
FC 12 R Bode Wilde 6’2 196 USDP 61 12 29 41
FC 12 L K’Andre Miller 6’5 207 USDP 58 9 20 29
FC 38 L Mattias Samuelsson 6’4 216 USDP 58 11 20 31
NR L Spencer Statsney 5’10 175 USDP 57 2 26 28

 

Players I like for the Oilers:

Quinn Hughes

Hughes is a college freshman that currently plays for Michigan University in the Big-10. He is a very strong playmaker and exemplifies the definition of a backend QB who happens to be 2nd on his team (below Cooper Marody) in 0.67 assists per game which happens to be 9th in the league over high picks like Casey Mittelstadt (who has 0.56/game). He is 7th in the league in terms of primary assists per game. In 5v5, he is almost tied with Casey Mittelstadt in the 8th spot for assists per game. He is a very strong playmaker and his numbers show it even as a freshman/rookie defenceman.

Hughes is an undersized but gifted offensive defenseman because of his composure in utilizing his dynamic skating, his incredible puck-handling, his strong playmaking, his puck-moving ability, and his hockey IQ. His agility allows him to get to spots to release a hard and accurate shot through traffic. He shoots 2.56 shots/game (3rd among all dmen in the Big-10 league) and can shoot more, but he shows a calm restraint, so he doesn’t shoot for the sake of it and always looks to keep the puck on his stick and looks for developing plays that leads to creating better scoring chances closer to the net. Early on, he was prone to the odd error due to holding on to the puck too long but as you watch him, it is recognizable that he prioritizes puck management and utilizes his strengths (skating/puck handling/vision) to make mistake free decisions when his team is with the puck. He is regarded as a guaranteed ticket to the offensive zone as he is an effective transition option due to being a smart puck rusher and an excellent puck mover. If a forward chooses to skate with the puck on the breakout, Hughes skates hard to ensure they employ a 4-man rush which increases likelihood of a controlled entry instead of a weak dump in. With the puck, his speed and elusiveness allow him to smoothly get around checkers in the defensive zone and transition the puck into the offensive zone.

On the forecheck, he has an explosive first step and a quick stick which he uses aggressively to be first on lose pucks which forced turnovers that quickly turns into a scoring chance for his team. He likes to get greasy in the offensive end when battling for the loose puck. This type of aggressive pressing game tends to prolong offensive zone shifts as he covers a lot of the ice. He’s a slippery player who likes to be creative and sets the tone as he takes control of the pace of the game. The space he creates from his skating opens passing lanes (which is the foundation that makes him a strong playmaker) that allows him to consistently utilize his hard, accurate passes and slick saucered cross-ice passes. He is fun to watch especially since has a few moments of brilliance of making an offensive zone shift toying the opponents and making it look like a PP shift.

On the defensive side, there is always a big risk because of his size. He has a quick stick to check oppositions in the neutral zone and his skating ability means dump and chase tactics will not work as much on him as he almost always wins puck recovery races. He will get beaten on board, net front and after the whistle battles though due to size mismatch but at least he shows willingness to battle hard for the inside position. He is 5’10 175 right now but since he is in the NCAA, he will be able to add up to 185-190 lbs and I think that will be a good weight for NHL (Ryan Ellis is 5’10-180lbs, Torey Krug 5’9-186, Kris Russell is 5’10-173, Tyson Barrie 5’10-190, 19 yo Victor Mete 5’10-181, 19 yo Samuel Girard 5’10-161). In terms of zone defence, early on, he had the odd concerning shifts where he struggled with gap control because he tried to outskate the opponent with the puck instead of standing his ground. Youth shows as he is very energetic as he just wants to pounce on the puck then transition hard end to end as a one-man breakout option that he is. This looks like a coachable issue and so far, he has looked strong defensively at the world championships as he used his strong skating and aggressive NZ play to easily pounce on loose pucks and intercept passes then quickly transition the puck in the offensive zone before it materialized into anything. His play has impressed a lot of NHL players from team USA with the way he played when he was thrown into the wolves against team Canada.

Usually, USNTDP products are very competitive with a mentality that won’t back down (from Steve Kournianos’ podcast). Hughes may be small, but he has some jam in his game as he showed one game that he fought back and was fired up after being a recipient of a big hit because of a suicide pass. He is fearless and plays bigger than his size which he has shown especially against older college players against top lines that may consist of 22 to 24-year-old players. He looks very confident and composed with the puck and plays with such a high energy (all-out on a high percentage of shifts seems like).

Moving forward, (comparing to Sam Girard’s path) Quinn Hughes looks ready to be an impact 3rd pairing defenceman with PP minutes at the NHL level already. Ideally, he stays 1-2 more years at NCAA, so he will have 2-3 offseason summers to gradually add to 185-190 lbs average weight. He has made strides defensively but it’s a tough position at the next level, so it might be ideal to dominate at a lower level before moving up. His d-partner, Joseph Cecconi, will be there for 1-2 more season/s but their other pairing might graduate soon which means Hughes will get the top pairing duty next season as a sophomore. Potential mid-1st round pick Bode Wilde will join next season as a freshman. 2017 1st round pick and 2-way centre Josh Norris, who was given the heavy shutdown role despite being a rookie/freshman, will be with the team which means there is talent despite top line centre’s (Cooper Marody) departure.

I fully expect him to be around 5-7OV (pretty sure he has equal offensive ceiling as Adam Boqvist). Strongly reminds me of Kris Letang with an extra gear in terms of skating. If he chooses to play 2-3 more years at NCAA against 23 under opposition, his ELC+3-year bridge could be a massive value contract. Despite being a left shot dman, he should be on the Oilers’ radar if they choose to trade up.

 

Bode Wilde

If the Oilers chooses to trade down, Bode Wilde is the player of interest for the Oilers especially for a thick 2way right handed dman. He is a fantastic skater for a big player like him. He took over Quinn Hughes role on the USDP team where pushing for offence has been promoted by the coach. He has a few moments of brilliance where he confidently takes the risk to make plays. He’s a very good puck rusher/puck mover/playmaker and can hammer a big shot. He is such a risk taker that it’s fun for fans to watch but it may be a headache for conservative coaches. Most players need time to get stronger but for his part, he just needs time to slow down the game in his head and take a few games where he plays conservatively to focus on his positioning. Some don’t like his defensive side, but I do think he is competent, he just needs to slow the game down in his head.

The University of Michigan commit will be able to follow the program that brought success to Jacob Trouba, and Zach Werenski to the NHL, and developed Quinn Hughes to be ranked top 5 contender on a lot of draft boards. A few people are split on him, but I do want him badly for the Oilers. His weaknesses are coachable, and he brings a lot of what the Oilers need long term. Might be a reach at 10 OV because he still has a few inconsistencies in his play but if the organization is patient enough to develop him properly, I see a top pairing upside in his game that can play in all-situations.

 

Side note:  Charlie McAvoy         Bode Wilde

USHL            23GP 3-16-19            25GP 3-13-16

USDP             63GP 7-33-40           61GP 12-29-41

 

For 2nd round Candidates

K’Andre Miller

Miller is a converted forward who has a smooth skating ability and can crank it up to hit a high speed off the rush because of his long fluid strides. Visually looks comfortable skating with the puck of the wing and into the offensive zone. He can move the puck as well as release a heavy shot. Will need time to hone his skills at that position because he has some moments of chaos. I believe he should be rated late in the first round. His combination of size, and skating ability is hard to pass up.

 

3rd round Candidates

Mattias Samuelsson

Samuelsson is a cerebral defenceman who is relied on heavily by the coach. He has good mobility for his size when skating forward as he has very long strides although needs work on his lateral mobility and backwards skating. He makes up for the skating by utilizing his size and long reach to effectively break up plays and strip the puck off the opponent. USA’s U18 captain provides a steady/calming presence in the back end. Has made accurate headman passes which is useful because the USA team has a tonne of speedy forwards. He is not a detriment on the offensive end as he can calmly take and make a pass. Tends to be conservative on the offensive end and doesn’t overhandle the puck as he leans more to be the defensive conscious on his pairing. He has been relied on the be a QB occasionally and can handle it, but he won’t be the main playmaker.

He should be rated in the mid-late 2nd round and I believe he can become a solid shutdown defenceman in the future. I don’t mind picking a similar player that shoots right handed but since the Oilers have some depth on the LHD position, I’d go for a forward. If they wanted a defenceman in that area, maybe lean to one with a more well-rounded skillset to have a better chance of succeeding over the other LD prospects that we already have.

 

4th to 6th round Candidates

Spencer Stastney

Stastney is a smooth skating puck moving defenceman who had a much lesser role because of the 2 dmen ahead of him. Despite the usage, he still managed to produce well within the same range as Miller and Samuelsson. A bit skeptical to project his future because of his usage (I want to see more) but I feel that there is a chance to have a Caleb Jones type of season from him after being drafted when given the chance to take more of a feature role. USDP is just a really deep team full of puck movers and he is in the 3rd pair among the group.

 

Other interesting names of note:

Matej Pekar (6’0 165lbs C) – creative playmaking Czech forward who was named USHL rookie of the year. 9th in the league for 5v5 points (2nd overall in primary assists). Unranked in Future Considerations and there doesn’t seem to be a buzz around him.

 

 

FINAL WORD…

 

10th Overall Oilers Mock Draft (US league only)

1st Round – LW Joel Farabee

2nd Round – C Jake Wise

3rd Round – LW/C Blake McLaughlin

4th Round – No pick

5th Round – RHC Tyler Madden

6th Round – LD Spencer Statsney

7th Round – RHD Ty Emberson

 

 

 

To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

 

 

 

Appendix

NHL wide – US league picks Oilers-US league picks
Yr Picks available Picks from US % Picks available Picks from US % Players picked by Oilers by round
2017 217 50 23.0 7 2 28.6 6 Brind’Amour, 7 Kemp at USDP
2016 211 58 27.5 9 2 22.2 5 McPhee USHL, 7 Desharnais H-East
2015 211 50 23.7 6 2 33.3 4 Jones USDP, 6 Marino
2014 210 53 25.2 6 2 33.3
2013 211 57 27.0 10 1 10.0
2012 211 52 24.6 7 2 28.6
2011 211 51 24.2 9 1 11.1
2010 210 53 25.2 11 1 9.1
2009 211 53 25.1 7 1 14.3
2008 211 42 19.9 5 0 0.0

 

 

 

Disclaimer note: I do not claim to be an expert. It is my first time evaluating kids based on observing them from watching the games and highlights and supplementing with stats to provide me a good set of information to create a reasonable expectation for each prospect evaluated. – Rouel (@bpry8)

 

Side note on USDP: They are built like the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have a good combo of giant smooth skating defencemen who can move the puck in the backend and small interchangeable speedy/skilled forwards who can play both wing and centre.

2018 Edmonton Oilers Mock Draft

Man, was this hard to do. There are so many prospects I like it’s hard to just pick one or two each round. Like many GM’s my draft board has changed several times. Now that the combine is over I’ve changed my tune a bit for the Tenth overall pick. Plenty of talk of certain guys dropping it’s hard to guess who will even be there at #10 but we’ll give it a shot. I’m now going to assume that the Top 7 picks in no particular order are going to be:

Dahlin, Svechnikov, Hughes, Zadina, Tkachuk, Dobson and Wahlstrom. That means at #10 the Oilers would be potentially looking at guys like Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Joel Farabee, Ty Smith or ugh… Barrett Hayton (please no). With that said….

1st Round (10th overall)

TRADE DOWN! Seriously. Acquire a lower 1st rounder plus a roster player and/or more picks overall. Once you trade down you can take Bode Wilde, Dominik Bokk or even Ty Dellandrea last 1st round. This is assuming Noah Dobson is off the board. If he isn’t, run to the podium. If they don’t manage to trade down….

Who I would pick:

RW Vitaly Kravtsov. Whenever I project Top 10 players I always look for that WOW factor. Some ELITE qualities that are rare to find in each draft. From the first time I viewed him I was immediately drawn to Kravtsov. His skating, stickhandling and vision are all top notch. He is just a natural playmaker who has a knack for finding the open ice or the open man. His wrist shot is deadly and he has the ability to make defenders look silly. Sam Cosentino once said he has “sick skill” and he’s exactly right. He also broke Evgeni Kuznetsov’s rookie record for points in the KHL playoffs with 11 points in 16 games. Ironically enough that’s exactly who I have compared Kravtsov to – Kuznetsov.

Edmonton has never had a good history drafting Russians in the past but who cares. All it takes is one player to break that mould. They drafted Kirill Maksimov & Dima Samorukov and both of them seem to be trending well. I refuse to NOT draft a guy because of his nationality. There are 144 Million people in Russia and they’re not all the same. Vitali Kravtsov is not Nail Yakupov. You mean to tell me if this guy is the next Malkin, Ovechkin, Kuznetsov or Kucherov you still wouldn’t want him? C’mon. Kravtsov looks like a phenom who like Kuz might need a couple years to fill out physically but will be more than worth the wait. You imagine this talent playing with McDavid or Draisaitl? 

With all the talk of Kravtsov skyrocketing up the draft boards late I can’t say that I am surprised. In fact, I predicted it back in January…

No more Wilde?

I know I said before I would take Bode Wilde in my previous mock at #10 if all the other RD were gone but I changed my mind. I’m allowed to because the draft is still a week away. LOL. The combine just wrapped up along with team interviews and the World Junior roster for U.S. have been announced and he was left off. I still like Wilde as a prospect despite his defensive flaws but can’t justify taking him at #10. He has a great shot and is an excellent skater capable of quarterbacking a Powerplay but his decision making does need work which I’ve always conceded. Guys like Matt Dumba, Jake Gardiner & even Dustin Byfuglien were all in Top 20 scoring last year for defencemen and all 3 can be considered questionable decision makers at times with occassional defensive gaffes. Wilde could easily become a similar player to any of those three. Now if the Oilers do in fact trade down to mid-late 1st rd then I would be all for the pick. They need more RHD. But to be honest, Kravtsov who I’ve had a mancrush on since January is too good to pass up. 

Who I think the Oilers will pick:

LD Ty Smith. Quick, puck moving defenceman with great leadership qualities and ability to run a PP. He’s more of a safer pick than Wilde. He’s also smaller and not nearly as physical. Like Wilde he didn’t have a great U18’s tourney (or Prospect’s game for that matter). Even his playoffs were ‘meh’. I definitely feel like he’ll be a better Junior player than NHL’er but enough there to warrant the pick I guess. 

2nd Round (40th Overall)

Who I would pick: 

If Ryan Merkley is still there – HARD PASS. He’s awful defensively & has real attitude problems. If Ty Dellandrea is still there it’s a no-brainer. If Bokk, Berggren & Calen Addison are gone trade back later in the round. If not, make the pick – Philipp Kurashev. (6’0, 192)

The Swiss born Kurashev doesn’t seem to get much love from many experts but I love this player. I love how he thinks the game. He has tremendous vision, poise and has terrific hands. He is an explosive skater and capable of undressing you with a variety of moves. Such a slick hockey player who is so crafty on the ice. I think there is still considerable upside with him too as a lot of times he passes up a shot trying to make a cute pass instead. He has such a dangerous release once he gets a little more selfish his goal totals could sky rocket. Not the greatest faceoff guy but is very good defensively. Has played LW and may ultimately end up there in NHL. I’ll call him a C/LW with tremendous upside. Should be available right where Edmonton picks in the 2nd round. Big fan of this kid.

Watch the vision and shot release in particular here:

Who I think the Oilers will pick:

LW Sampo Ranta. Ranta is a fast player with and without the puck, has a good hard shot and excellent work ethic. Nice player but nearly as good as Kurashev in my opinion.

3rd Round (71st Overall)

Who I would pick:

The Oilers need more talent on the wings. There are plenty of quality American centers they could go with but I’d pick Pavel Gogolev of Peterborough. Gogolev has elite stick handling and playmaking ability. He will need to continue to work on his consistency but he can be a handful when he wants to be. Shoots the puck angry.

Who I think the Oilers will pick:

RW Pavel Gogolev. (6’0″, 170) I picked two correctly last year I think I have a beat on what type of player they look for in the OHL. (Samorukov, Maksimov, Niemelainen the last couple years).

One of the best hat-tricks you’ll find this year:

3rd-4th Round (Acquired in a trade)

I’m guessing Chiarelli will either move down in the 1st couple rounds to recover the 4th rounder he lost in the Montoya trade or acquire a 3rd-4th rounder some other way. If he does…

Who I would pick:

RW Riley Sutter. (6’3″, 200) The nephew of VP of Player Development for the Oilers Duane Sutter – is your typical Sutter in that he is hard working and reliable at both ends of the ice. He is a powerful skater and a tough physical presence in front of the net. He wins a lot of puck battles with his size and hustle but is still quick enough to beat defenders. He also scored the most goals in the WHL this year for an 18 yr old. Prototypical power forward who still has enough speed to compete in today’s NHL.

Throwback player who is tough to stop in close:

Who I think the Oilers will pick: RW Riley Sutter. Why not?

5th Round (133rd Overall)

Who I would pick:

RD Connor Corcoran. (6’2″, 185). Versatile defenceman who has played forward in the past.  Corcoran is smart, poised, is a good skater with a good shot and is plays a solid 2-way game. He’s 6’2″ 185 and doesn’t turn 18 till August. Plenty of value and some upside here playing for a rebuilding Windsor team. Good puckmover and excellent speed. 

Corcoran’s first NHL goal: (1:55 mark)

http://ontariohockeyleague.com/video/ohl-milestone-moments-week-ending-nov-1316

6th Round (164th Overall)

Who I would pick: 

C/LW Paul Cotter. (6’0″, 183). Booming shot, nifty moves and excellent speed. Versatile player. 

Quite the highlight package here:

7th Round (195th Overall)

Who I would pick:

G Jordan Kooy. (6’1″, 185). Playing for London, I’ve seen Kooy look absolutely fantastic many times. He is very athletic and has good fundamentals. Needs to work on his rebound control a bit but this kid looks the part and seeing the Oilers may not have a single goalie in the CHL with Skinner potentially turning pro it makes sense to pick a potential sleeper to develop down the road. I’m really high on Kooy.

RECAP:

1st round – RD Bode Wilde

2nd round – C/LW Philipp Kurashev

3rd round – RW Pavel Gogolev

3rd/4th rd – RW Riley Sutter

5th round – D Connor Corcoran

6th round – C/LW Paul Cotter

7th round – G Jordan Kooy

To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

 

By now everyone has read how good all these prospects are but let’s face it, every year almost EVERYONE is wrong about at least a couple of guys in the Top 10. The reality is not every single prospect is going to end up being a legit NHLer for whatever reason and some guys drafted later will end up being the better player. A lot has to do with how the player develops within a team’s organization and how willing the prospect is to work on his own inefficiencies in his game.

I’ve gone back and forth on this all year but am pretty confident in my evaluations now. I have changed my tune a bit on a few guys recently after watching the playoffs and U18 tourney. As usual, I value what I perceive as NHL translatable skills as opposed to Junior production which leads to too many mis-evaluations IMO. Of course, I’m going to be way off on certain guys but I enjoy breaking every player down and looking for potential weaknesses. Red flags are often overlooked come draft time as too many GM’s think they can develop the prospect properly despite it going against their better judgment.

Important to note in my comparisons that I compare them stylistically to certain players or their possible ceiling if they reach their maximum potential. Many of these kids may never get there. With that in mind, here’s how I rank the Top 31 players in this year’s draft. This isn’t a list of WHERE I think they will be drafted but just who the best 31 Prospects are in terms of projecting to the next level. Consider this a re-draft….5 years from now.

 

1. Rasmus Dahlin (LD) – All world defenceman who will revolutionize the position. Most points scored by a defenceman in the last 20 years is Erik Karlsson with 82 points. Dahlin has the ability to break that mark one day. Generational talent.

2. Andrei Svechnikov (RW) – 5 tool prospect who can beat you with speed or power, never takes a shift off and plays a complete 200 ft game. Total package who would be #1 in many other draft years. Might be better than Laine overall. Looks like Evgeni Malkin 2.0. No real weaknesses.

3. Brady Tkachuk (LW) – Prototypical power forward who possesses the leadership, determination and confidence to dominate. More well rounded than his older brother Matthew who is a pretty good player himself. He isn’t a pure sniper but has a good shot, is an excellent skater and plays a nasty game where he will get the ugly goals if he has to. Will drive teams nuts his grit and determination. Jamie Benn type for me.

4. Filip Zadina (RW) – Can do a lot of what Svechnikov can do just not quite as physically dominant as Svech but is a dynamic, pure sniper and elite playmaker. Only real potential red flag I see is his questionable decision making occasionally – he can be a puckhog so needs to use his teammates better at times. Maybe his ceiling is Vladimir Tarasenko.

5. Noah Dobson (RD) – Probably the closest thing to a true #1 NHL defenceman after Dahlin. Big, quick, smart and consistent on both sides of the puck. Dobson has all the tools to become an Alex Pietrangelo type though is a bit raw so made need a couple seasons to develop. Whenever that is, he should be able to contribute right away defensively until offence comes around at next level. Safer pick to me than the guys below him though they may ultimately end up scoring more points than him early in their careers.

6. Oliver Wahlstrom (RW) – Pure goal scorer with a heavy shot Wahlstrom is pretty close to Tkachuk in terms of overall talent. Both should have big impacts in the NHL but what separates the two is what is Wahlstrom’s only real weakness from what I can tell – compete level. While Tkachuk is going to bring it every shift every night Wahlstrom does take some shifts off and has been accused of coasting at times. If he can up his consistency and effort he could easily be a 30-40 goal scorer in NHL eventually. Young Corey Perry.

7. Quinn Hughes (LD) – New generational type in the Dahlin mould. Can walk thru a whole team thanks to his terrific skating but at what cost defensively? Appears to have a very high hockey IQ as he can make some great plays defensively with his wonderful anticipating and reading the play. Smaller player who is a risk taker but is very instinctive. There is bust potential with him but his elite skill and skating gives him the edge over guys like Boqvist, Ty Smith & Evan Bouchard for me. Needs to get stronger and work on defensive part of game to compliment a terrific offensive toolkit. Perhaps he is a more instinctive Shayne Gostisbehere.

8. Adam Boqvist (RD) – Has very similar skillset to Hughes and draws a lot of Erik Karlsson comparisons though is much smaller than him right now. No idea what his actual height and weight are as they seem to differ depending on the site. Has all the makings of being the next Karlsson, he even scored one more goal them EK did in his draft year. But he has defensive flaws including poor gap control and questionable defensive awareness at times plus he is the smallest of all the Top dmen. That all makes him the Biggest boom or bust in the draft for me. Could just be another Sami Vatanen which isn’t a bad thing but buyer beware.

9. Joel Farabee (LW) – Tremendous speed and a slick playmaker there’s plenty to like in Farabee. I love how good he is defensively too and he appears to have a very high hockey IQ. He could very well be another great USHL prospect to turn pro in a couple years just like Kyle Connor who he reminds me of. However, he does have a very light frame so he will need to bulk up like so many other young prospects. He’s committed to BU so is at least 2 years away but if a team is patient they could have a legit Top 6 player. Checks all the boxes for me. Work ethic is outstanding.

10. Vitali Kravtsov (RW) – Electric playmaker who could end up being the steal of the draft. Plenty of speed and skill to dominate at NHL level. Probably shouldn’t be rushed to NHL though for at least a couple years. Has followed a very similar path to Evgeny Kuznetsov in the KHL and could have a similar impact eventually if patient. Highlight reel player similar to Kupari but with better finishing ability. 6’2” currently needs to add a bit more weight & strength.

11. Evan Bouchard (RD) – LOVE him as an OHL’er, think he’ll underwhelm at NHL level. Gets so many points on PP with good shot from point. However, is not physical or flashy and is prone to mental mistakes defensively. I would bank on him being a solid NHL’er likely a 2nd pairing guy eventually but think he’s almost plateaued as a prospect. Great poise & leadership. Took me awhile to figure out exactly who he reminded me off but now I know – it’s a young Wade Redden.

12. Bode Wilde (RD) – Bode’s surname suits him as sometimes his game can be described as “Wild”. He has plenty of offensive talent but is a risk taker who hurts his team defensively at times. Regardless, he has a lot of flash in his game and tremendous upside if he can continue to work on his defense. I like this player a lot despite the obvious flaws which are mostly coachable. He has the size and is more physical than Bouchard though not nearly as patient. You can’t teach that athleticism and shot. I think he compares quite well to Matt Dumba in his draft year.

13. Joe Veleno (LHC) – Smoking Joe looks like your prototypical solid 2 way forward. He excels at both ends of the ice but I question his offensive upside. Smart, poised, solid all round. I’ve heard Jonathan Toews comparisons which might be a bit of a reach but I do expect Veleno to eventually be at least a solid 2nd-3rd line centerman in the NHL. Can play all situations and is an excellent skater.

14. Ty Dellandrea (RHC) – Many people will question why I have Dellandrea so high, especially ahead of guys like Kotkaniemi. The reason is I think he is this year’s Robert Thomas (who I was pounding the table for last year). While not quite as smart as Thomas, Dellandrea is very instinctive and just seems to have a knack for scoring. His Flint team last year was young but awful. Dellandrea stood out on Flint but also stood out at the Prospects Game scoring twice. He has all the tools, fast and skilled, is a RHC and an excellent faceoff guy. He plays in all situations. My favourite prospect outside of the Top 10 might not actually get drafted till the 2nd round. Matt Duchene but with a great attitude.

15. Ty Smith (LD) – Offensive defenceman with great leadership qualities who is good enough defensively to be considered one of the most well-rounded defencemen in his class. Excellent PP Quarterback capable of pinching in from point and scoring back door. A lot of Tyson Barrie similarities though he seems to be more reliable and makes better decisions. Needs to put on weight and get stronger. Had a poor showing at Prospects game and underwhelming tournament recently at U18 World’s. His playoff team was eliminated in the 1st round. Probably a #2 or #3 Dman is his ceiling.

16. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (C) – Kotkaniemi appears to be rising fast on draft boards late here but I’m struggling to understand why. He has skating issues especially at accelerating which I think will hinder his progress. I do see some Puljujarvi in him but Jesse was more powerful and had a much quicker first step than Jesperi. I think the fact JK is a C and the upper half of draft is weak at that position is why he’s ranked so high by others. I’m not convinced. Nice playmaker who could be a good player in NHL but I’m not seeing anything that warrants a Top 10 pick. Maybe I’m wrong. 

17. Dominik Bokk (RW) – Bokk is probably a long-term project as he hasn’t really faced much quality competition playing in mostly Germany in his career. However, internationally he has show well and did play a season in Sweden this year where he dominated. His shot is an absolute cannon and NHL caliber. His passing and vision is incredible. He appears to be so smart, so savvy he just knows where to go on the ice at all times. I love this player’s game. So many NHL translatable skills. Not a burner but is a good skater. Like so many prospects he needs to get stronger, work on his defense and gain more experience against tougher competition but this kid looks like he’s going to be a helluva player. Maybe David Pastrnak?

18. Rasmus Kupari (C) – I love Kupari’s speed and agility but he doesn’t appear to be a great finisher. I’ve also heard the Aho comparisons but Kupari seems more like an energetic 3rd-4th liner than a Top 6 guy. Being a RHC helps his cause. Either way, could easily be a very solid NHLer with that speed. Can play in all situations and is a talented playmaker. Great vision and passing ability. 

19. Akil Thomas (RHC/W) – First off, I like Thomas better as a winger in the NHL. As a Center he seems to defer more but as a winger he seems to move his feet more and go harder to the net. He has blazing speed and a good shot when he uses it. The issue with Thomas is consistency. When he’s on he’s very good but sometimes he disappears for stretches, cheats too much in the defensive zone and overpasses at times. He’s the kind of player who makes you yearn for more. No question talent is there though. Typical mid 1st rounder who needs to get stronger and work on consistency. Enough Red Flags for me to consider a potential bust if doesn’t work hard to improve.

20. Rasmus Sandin (LD) – Many “experts” are all over the map on Sandin. I think he is probably one of the smartest if not THE smartest defenceman in this draft. So many good decisions all over the ice. He’s a bit limited skating wise on the rush but doesn’t appear to have any issues in reverse. He’s not flashy at all just solid at both ends of the rink. Excellent vision, poise, passing ability, shoots well. He’s just a smart, versatile defenceman reminiscent of Kimmo Timonen back in the day. He’s also a big talker on the ice. Loves to communicate. Possibly underrated player who is a 1st rounder for sure in my books. 10+ yr career as a very solid 2nd pairing defenceman is what I envision.

21. Barrett Hayton (C) – Hayton is a guy I could be dead wrong about but I don’t see a legit NHL prospect in him. I think his skating is average at best & seeing he plays on a stacked Soo team it opens ice up for him. Way too many buttonhooks and that curl & drag has become so predictable. He plays a solid 2-way game, is very smart and highly skilled perhaps he overcomes all that and becomes a Logan Couture type but I’m skeptical. Really needs to keep working on his skating but if he does he’ll make it to the NHL. Just too risky for me inside the Top 15-20.

22. Serron Noel (RW) – Noel is probably one of the most intriguing prospects for me in the 1st round as he is one of the biggest forwards in the draft (6’5”) and one of the fastest. His game is still a bit raw, he does have some consistency issues but I’ve seen him dominate games at times. Big, strong, physical with soft hands and some nice moves. If a team is patient with him he could be a force down the road. Reminds me a bit of Patrick Maroon. Boom or bust prospect for sure.

23. Ryan McLeod (C) – McLeod has intriguing skills but every time I watch him something seems “off”. His game screams “perimeter player” to me which doesn’t mean he can’t be effective but makes me question his will and desire. He’s not as physical as his brother Michael but he is a speedster who can make you pay if he gets around you. I often compare him stylistically to Dylan Larkin who is an effective NHL player. Just worry a bit about how bad he wants it. Excellent penalty killer and that speed should translate well to the next level.

24. Gregori Denisenko (LW) – Denisenko is extremely fast and highly skilled. He is electric offensively and at times reminds me a lot of Matt Barzal. However, there are Red flags with him though. For one, he likes to cheat in his own zone and is a defensive liability. Secondly, he appears to be more of a perimeter player and looks disinterested at times. He also needs to get stronger though they said the same about Barzal. High risk and a potential high reward pick.

25. Jonatan Berggren (C/W) – This kid is like a torpedo. He’s small but compact and has blazing speed. Highlight reel goals as he just walks around guys like they’re a pylon. Slick hands but not the biggest shot. Just an electric player he scores big goals on big stages. I see a lot of Kasperi Kapanen in him. He’ll probably end up being a winger in the NHL with that ridiculous speed. Loads of talent though his rambunctious style combined with his slight frame are a concern.

26. Martin Kaut (RW) – Kaut isn’t the flashiest player he is just a solid hockey player everywhere on the ice. More of a passer than shooter he is defensively responsible and can play in any situation. There’s nothing real elite about him but people took notice when he beat out Zadina for a spot the Czech Republic’s World Championship roster. Just looks like a pro and his style reminds me of a young Martin Havlat.

27. Jakub Lauko (C/LW) – Another speedster, Lauko isn’t also afraid to throw his weight around if need be. He has good offensive instincts and is responsible defensively. He also possesses a terrific shot with a lethal one-timer. I didn’t get to see a ton on him but based on his speed and shot alone this kid has a chance. One of the fastest skaters in this crop he also has good size and looks like a natural playmaker. Another real sleeper.

28. Isaac Lundestrom (LHC) – Lundestrom looks to be a creative center who could fill a variety of roles but with marginal speed there is always a chance he only becomes a fringe NHLer at best. Seems to be more of a passer than shooter. Has some grit and can play a variety of roles maybe he ends up being a Sami Pahlsson type player. Ceiling could be a Alexander Wennberg if continues to work on skating.

29. Filip Hallander – Hallander is a smart, solid all round center who plays a great a 200 ft game. His skating needs work but he has good positioning and vision to find the open spaces on the ice. He is very dangerous on the attack as he goes hard to the net. Doesn’t have game breaking ability but is productive. I see a bit of Alexander Steen in him. Might be a bit of a sleeper here.

30. Jared McIsaac (LD) – Big, physical Defenceman who’s got a good shot but is a defence first kind of player. Skates very well and is positionally sound. Limited offense thus far but a workhorse on D. Reminds me of Dion Phaneuf. The key for him being a Top 4 guy in NHL will be consistency and unlocking some of his offensive potential. Tools are there.

31. Jett Woo (RD) – Smart, skilled, fast battler. Woo is built like a tank. He is highly competitive, has some rare agility and is a gamer. Love his work ethic and he makes good decisions all over the ice. Has a good shot when he uses it. Offense likely limited at NHL level but this kid a warrior who could play on my team any day. Could he be the next Scott Stevens? Injury concerns with his aggressive style.

 

 

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