Reviewing Ottawa’s 2014 NHL Draft

With the draft in the books it’s time to take a look at how the Ottawa Senators did.  While they were unable to get a first round pick, the Sens picked in the second round for the first time since 2011.  The normal Murray draft trends continued, as they selected a local kid (Summers), a player from the QMJHL (Perron), picked from Sweden (Englund) and US leagues (Eiserman), but did not take anyone from the WHL (a staple) or go completely off the board.  While the team failed to trade Jason Spezza, they did make a minor deal with Winnipeg in order to acquire the pick they took Summers with (giving up their 6th in 2015).   I’ve compiled all the scouting reports I have.  Here’s who was picked (acronyms: Red Line Report (RLR), International Scouting Service (ISS), Hockey Prospect‘s (HP), and Future Considerations (FC)):

2-40 Andreas Englund (DL 6’3 SuperElit Djurgarden 33-5-5-10) Ranked: HP 42 RLR 44 FC 63 ISS 67
Physical defenseman with good feet was picked ahead of projections; scouts question his puck-skills, but they did the same for Mikael Wikstrand so I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude on that.  He’ll play for Djurgarden in the fall (either their junior or men’s team, or more likely, both).
RLR: Huge rearguard is very powerful and still a bit raw.  Workhorse with a massive frame and wingspan.  Consistently mean and aggres- sive.  Plays with an edge and really drives right through his man on big hits.  Nasty with his stick around the crease.  Controls gaps well and steps up at the blue line to deliver big hits.  Loves the physical aspect of game and looks to initiate contact.  Wins all battles down low.  Eats up ice with long strides and is fast straight-ahead even if he isn’t overly quick or agile.  Has a keen sense for when to join the rush.  Not a natural puck rusher or PP quarterback – even if he does pick his spots well – but is adept at sneaking in the back door on PP.  Showed improved composure on outlets and clearings.  As his best when he plays the body, wins the puck, finds the tape, and joins the rush. Projection:  Pounding, physical presence on the blue line. Style compares to:  Alexei Emelin
ISS: Englund is a big, physical defenseman who shows strong toughness below the goal and when battling for pucks. Strong awareness and anticipation to step up and lay the body. Above average mobility for his size and good feet to quickly react and takeaway offensive room. Doesn’t possess many offensive weapons as he thrives in the defensive leadership role utilizing every inch of his 6.03 frame. Thrives playing in a similar role with Djurgardens Junior and Allsvenskan this year where he could focus on his shutdown game and defending his own zone. Elevated his game to a higher level with Sweden at the U18 World Championships, took on a leadership role on the backend and showed tremendous character in doing the little things needed to win.   Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Good Puck Skills  Average Shot   Average Offensive Play  Average Defensive Play  Excellent Physical Play  Very Good Competitiveness Very Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: Englund is really big kid who competes hard. He didn’t show us a huge amount of hockey sense but he can really skate. He was in a group of the ‘big three’ we needed to see more of coming into the season. He’s the best skater by far over Lagesson and Olas-Mattsson. The size, skating ability and compete level make it easy to rank him as a draftable player. He plays with heart and wants to make a difference every game. He could have a wide range of rankings amongst the NHL teams.
FC: A two-way defenseman who is more physical than technical, Englund is solid in his own zone and pretty dangerous on the opposing blueline. Englund demonstrates impressive mobility and speed. He is a powerful skater and gets going quickly. He is balanced and controlled on his skates, and can move well for his size. He demonstrates strength on the puck and the ability to escape pressure in his own zone. Englund makes a good first pass and sends his team quickly up ice with quick outlets. He is a little too aggressive at times in his own zone, but he was mostly smart with his decision making. He takes space away quickly and isn’t afraid to use his body to take a man off the puck. He contains his man well and is strong against some bigger forwards. He shuts players down well with his size and is impressive down low in his own end, with the ability to win pucks and earn his team possession. Englund edges out opposing forwards well into the corners. Very strong and harsh on opponents in front of the net. Can be very tenacious, especially in those little one-on-one battles. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Two-Way Defenseman

3-70 Miles Gendron (DL 6’2 USHS Rivers 22-6-13-19) Ranked: HP 73 RLR 77 ISS 121 FC 179
Mixed opinions from scouts on the former forward; there are questions about how well he’s adapted to being a defenseman, but these are early days in his development.  He’s slated to play in the BCHL in September and then go to the NCAA with University of Connecticut subsequently.
RLR: Wild young colt plays like a rover, which is understandable since he was a forward until a year ago.  Likes to wander and move up into the play – pushes the attack.  Is one of the best pure skaters in this draft with a long, fluid stride and terrific mobility.  Great first step burst and accelerates to full speed in two strides.  Crisp edging and balance with sharp stop/starts, directional change and recovery speed.  But backs in on his goalie constantly — as you would expect, he’s not yet confident in his gap control.  Also plays with only one hand on the stick too much and has very little understanding of defensive zone positioning and coverage down low.  Can either make crisp, pro style outlets or carry the puck up out of danger himself.  Has terrific puck skills and natural instincts.  A longterm project with an extremely high offensive ceiling. Projection:  Wildcard rover from the back end. Style compares to:  Nick Leddy
ISS: A gifted offensive player with natural play- making ability. An excellent skater with good speed who can change gears without hesitation and loves carrying the puck. Possesses a hard, accurate point shot that he can get off in no time and is adept at skating in from the blue-line and making cross-crease passes to his team-mates. Had played as a forward in the past and is a work in progress defensively who can sometimes create too many turnovers due to his high-risk approach. Tries to do too much on his own. Still needs to get stronger physically as he has a lanky frame. Was Green Bay’s 11th Round Pick, 177th Overall in 2014 USHL draft and has verbal with University of Connecticut, 2015-16.  Size/Strength  Good Skating   Excellent Puck Skills  Very Good Shot   Good Offensive Play  Very Good Defensive Play  Average Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Good Hockey Sense  Good
HP: Miles is an outstanding skater, especially for his size and he utilizes his size and speed to take the puck end to end. He has strong puck handling ability but likes to utilize his skating to his advantage. Miles is a bit of a project as he needs to get stronger and needs to improve defensively but he has the skating to recover when he goes out of position. He has signed on to join the Penticton Vees of the BCHL for one year before heading to the University of Connecticut in September 2015. He will be a long term project but could really pay off in the end to a team that remains patient.
FC: A very raw, but talented puck-moving defender. Made the switch to defense for his senior year and there have been many struggles. With his size, his exceptional skating ability and his ability to skate with the puck, he can be a dangerous puck rusher. Looks lost during some of his shifts as he struggles to find proper position. However, when he gets the puck on his stick, he has the ability to create offense quite quickly by making a strong, long-range breakout pass or carrying it out of his zone himself. Very creative, has impressive vision and is able to control the puck well with his skilled hands and reach. Might have the best skating ability on the East Coast. Has a decent wrist shot, but needs to improve his velocity and release of his slap shot. Playing as a defenseman might have been the wrong choice. After watching him closely since last summer, he has yet to develop any type of feel for the game from the backend. Has no idea how to keep a solid gap, and often has incredibly poor stick position. Could a move back to forward be in the cards? NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Offensive Blueliner

4-100 Shane Eiserman (LW 6’2 USHL Dubuque 53-16-24-40) Ranked: ISS 48 FC 57 RLR 95 HP 97
Mixed feelings about Eiserman who dropped beyond anyone’s expectations (if not by much); some question his work-ethic, his skating, and whether he’s plateau’d, but projects as a rugged power forward and pest.  He’s committed to the University of New Hampshire (NCAA) in the fall.
RLR: One of the year’s biggest disappointments.  Could have challenged for the first round, but word is he developed quite an attitude.  His game has hit a plateau.  At his best, he’s an honest, hard-working, two-way winger who plays a pro style, north-south game.  Rugged and likes to initiate contact.  Does his best work down low in the offensive zone and is at his best when powering down the slot causing trouble and looking for rebounds.  But just like the movie “Groundhog Day,” his season became the same scenario game in and game out:  drive down the wing, lose the puck, lazily backcheck.  Rinse, repeat.  There was no variety or development, and we hear he doesn’t retain coaching well – a major red flag.  He’s a powerful skater with strength and balance, but needs to improve his first step quickness and lacks a top-end gear.  Uses his size/strength effectively along the walls and will sell out his body to clear the defensive zone consistently. Projection:  Rugged, physical 4th line grinder. Style compares to:  Travis Moen
ISS: Eiserman has come a long way in the past few years. His development with the US NTPD was strong and developed him into an extremely competitive player. He is a relentless and intimidating forechecker who can be like a bull in a china shop at times. He likes to battle and play the body as much as he possibly and that includes driving lanes right down the middle of the ice or the most direct route to the net, regardless of how many opponents occupy those lanes. It is not uncommon to see him mixing it up around the net and making life hard for opposing goaltenders. He has a strong powerful stride and shows great balance on his skates and can also show off a strong shot from time to time.  He can lose sight of other options other than the net at times and that can cost him here and there.  Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Good Shot   Very Good Offensive Play  Good Defensive Play  Good Physical Play  Very Good Competitiveness Very Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: The QMJHL draftee opted for the USNTDP for a season before leaving the national program for Dubuque after the 2012-2013 season. While with the national program he also represented Team USA at the 2013 U18’s, where he recorded one assist in six games during the tournament. Eiserman is a big, strong, physical power forward with the skill and skating ability to match. He is a heavy hitter, and is always looking to put a body on someone whenever given the chance. Some of the biggest hits viewed all season long came courtesy of Shane. High compete level at both ends of the ice, responsible defensively. He backchecks hard, always covers his assignment in the defensive zone, has good support, and is responsible with the puck in his own end. He always plays it safe and smart outleting the puck, and is very largely mistake-free in his own end. He’s a big body, and that combined with his high effort level leads to him winning most board battles. There are times where the effort level was in question, however, and was less consistent than you would like. Offensively, Shane has the skating ability, strength, and hands to bull his way through traffic. When he’s not bulldozing, he’s drawing defenders to him and dishing the puck off to teammates. He uses his line mates well and creates a lot of space for them and himself to operate. He often just simply overpowers defenders, plain and simple.  He has decent foot speed and mobility, but it could be improved. Once at full speed, though, he’s tough to stop. His offensive play did tail off a bit toward the end of the season, and he had a disappointing Clark Cup Playoff, registering only two assists in seven games. The dip was a bit concerning, as were the periods where it seemed like he could work harder, so it will be interesting to see how he responds at the University of New Hampshire next season. If he works hard and the effort is there, he could be a real good power forward at the NHL level, but the effort has to become much more consistent.
FC: A prototypical power forward, Eiserman has effective size and impressive skill with the puck. Eiserman is a very good skater with a powerful stride and highly effective acceleration coming down the wing. He is effective playing a north-south game, and likes to use his power and speed to take the puck down the wing and then find a lane to crash the net. Eiserman has a quick, powerful shot that he’ll use off the rush, and he is also very successful when driving the net from an outside lane. He does a good job finding his teammates off the rush, but there are times where his decision making with the puck fluctuates. He has a tendency to attempt to force the issue with the puck and will give it away or make a poor feed. Eiserman does a good job using his size both with and without the puck. He protects it well, and also does an exceptional job at getting in hard on the forecheck and banging players off the puck. Eiserman will return defensively, but at times, seems lost in his own zone and can improve his defensive game as well as his overall consistency. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Power Forward

7-189 Kelly Summers (DR 6’2 CCHL Carleton Place 56-17-43-60) Ranked: ISS 61 FC 66 HP 134 RLR 235
Taken well ahead of his rankings (excluding RLR), the blueliner, who may have skating issues to work on (ISS and FC have opposite opinions about it), but otherwise is thought well of.  He’ll play for Clarkson (NCAA) this upcoming season.
RLR: offers no scouting report on him
ISS: Possesses an excellent head for the game and makes smart decisions with the puck. A good skater with plus mobility and above-average play-making skills. Is an effective general with the man advantage and likes the puck on his stick. A reliable defensive zone player that can either carry the puck out thanks to his mobility and skating ability, or who can get the puck up quickly to his forwards. Plays with poise and confidence in all situations and can log a ton of minutes when required. Has a very high panic threshold when being pressured by opposing fore-checkers. Can be physical and has game in this regard, picked his spots to be physical especially on the offensive blue line when pinching. Front net presence was very good with a very active stick.  Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Very Good Shot   Very Good Offensive Play  Very Good Defensive Play  Good Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: offers no scouting report on him (despite the ranking)
FC: Summers is a good skater with excellent pivots and lateral movement. Uses his skating ability to get out of trouble and has no problem handling the puck. Always seemed to have his head up. Summers moves the puck extremely well. Good tape-to-tape passes and doesn’t take unnecessary chances coming out of his zone. His point shots always seem to find their way to the net. Strong sense of when to pinch and when to back off. He uses his big frame effectively in the corners, tying up his competition and winning puck battles. Summers is not a player who will get into many fights, but he will not shy away from contact either. Makes smart plays in his own end and has good vision quarterbacking the power play. Challenges rushing players one on one and wins the battles. He also uses his frame to battle at the front of the net and does not get out of position looking for big hits. It’s impressive how much he has worked on his skating since the beginning of the year. He has clearly been working on his foot work and improving his overall speed. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Two-Way Defenseman

7-190 Francis Perron (C/LW 6’0 QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda 68-16-39-55) Ranked: RLR 78 ISS 110 FC 145 HP n/r
Taken well after his usual rankings, the playmaker is knocked below mostly for his size (a dubious quality the further we get into advanced statistical analysis).  He’ll spend a couple of seasons in the Q before the team has to make a decision on him.
RLR: Smooth skater with soft hands and a quick release, especially from the off wing.  Slightly built, but willing to battle for loose pucks and heads into traffic.  More a playmaker than a scorer, and looks to pass first before finding his own shot.  Soft passing touch off both sides of the blade, and can feather saucers through traffic even in short areas.  Makes good reads in transition and sets up numerous odd-man rushes.  Just starting to come into his own and rapidly gained confidence over the season’s second half.  Impressed us with his agility and instinctive offensive mind – thinks outside the box.  Slender frame and will need to add loads of upper body strength to be able to battle more effectively in tight quarters and push through checks at the next level. Projection:  Versatile 3rd line winger. Style compares to:  Reilly Smith
ISS: The first thing that stands out about Perron is his smooth fluid stride, good quickness and edge use.  He is a player with good offensive upside; good 1 on 1 skill set and shot, good read/anticipation on the offensive side of the puck, plus sees the ice well and has above average playmaking ability. The biggest weakness in his game is the lack of a physical game and a willingness to play in traffic.  He plays mainly in open areas, seemed unwilling to compete and battle for pucks, and unwilling to compete and battle for space.  He did play in all situations for Rouyn-Noranda and does utilize his speed, quick feet and stick well on the penalty kill.   Size/Strength  Average Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Good Shot   Good Offensive Play  Good Defensive Play  Average Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Average Hockey Sense  Good
HP: does not include him
FC: Perron is a small-framed, but skilled player. He is a really good skater, agile and shifty, not really powerful though and doesn’t have very good balance. Because of his frame, he is not a physical player. He will finish a check, but it doesn’t impact the game at all. He’s not the kind of guy to engage and he tries to avoid being hit as well. He plays at the point on the power play, where he displays really good, quick hands and nice vision. He can make good, accurate saucer passes and touch passes. Puts the puck into open space for teammates ahead of them being open, and can do so with pressure in his face. He has yet to find that shift-to-shift consistency, but has some flashes each and every game. He can finish plays as well as set them up. He is not a goal scorer per se as his shot is accurate, but not very hard. Perron is the kind of skilled guy who can become a late bloomer if he adds more weight and strength to his frame. He has a good skill set, but the transition to the next level is a question mark due to his size. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Playmaking Winger

Was it a good draft?  With three college-bound players it will be a long time before we know for certain–none of these players will be suiting up for the Sens or B-Sens in the near future.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2014 NHL Draft

In what was described as a weak draft, it’s time to look back over the events of the past two days and assess the collective prognostication.  Without further ado, here are the numbers from myself and the sources I used to make my predictions (I’m not concerned with Player X at position X, so what’s below is simply the correct player by round).  Acronyms: EOTS (Eye on the Sens), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), RLR (Red Line Report), and ISS (International Scouting Service).

First Round
EOTS/HP (and Bob McKenzie): 27/30
FC: 26/30
RLR/ISS: 24/30
Highly accurate numbers all around; everyone got Ivan Barbashev wrong, with the Russian falling out of the round (Roland McKeown was the next most surprising drop); every pick this round had at least one first round selection, so there were no genuine surprises.

Second Round
EOTS: 18/30
HP: 17/30
RLR/ISS/FC: 12/30
Solid numbers for the round; all but one player with a first round vote was taken here (Jack Glover being the exception); the biggest surprise pick was Alex Lintuniemi, whose highest selection was in the 5th round (FC) and was not included in the draft by ISS and HP; Vitek Vanecek also surprised (no one had him higher than fourth)

Third Round
EOTS/ISS: 8/30
HP/RLR: 7/30
FC: 3/30
Aussie Nathan Walker was an odd pick here, as Washington already had him on an AHL-deal this past season; Elvis Merzlikins only had one source put him in the draft (RLR in the sixth), as did Jonas Johansson (FC); Kyle Wood and Mark Friedman were also surprise picks

Fourth Round
HP/FC: 7/30
RLR: 5/30
EOTS: 4/30
ISS: 2/30
Quite a few unranked players were taken here (Christoffer Ehn, Devon Toews, Sam Lafferty, and Danton Heinin) and they were coupled with innumerable off-the-wall selections

Fifth Round
HP: 5/30
RLR/ISS: 3/30
FC: 2/30
EOTS: 1/30
Five more unranked players were taken (three Europeans and a pair of junior-B players), joining the mishmash of swings for the fences one expects in a weak draft; Gustav Forsling, a projected second-rounder for some, was finally picked

Sixth Round
HP: 4/30
ISS/FC: 2/30
EOTS/RLR: 0/30
Thirteen players (over a third of the round) taken were not ranked coming into the draft; Adam Ollas Mattsson, expected to go in the second round, was finally picked

Seventh Round
EOTS/ISS/RLR: 2/30
HP/FC: 1
Another nine unranked players were taken; the highly regarded Emil Johansson was finally selected, as was Spencer Watson

Total
HP: 71/210
EOTS: 60/210
FC/ISS/RLR: 53/210

Congratulations to HP whose 33% is quite high for by-round predictions.  The more important number is how many players selected were actually taken in the draft, and here’s how we all did (with variance from last year noted):
EOTS/HP: 149/210 (71%) +2%
FC: 145/210 (69%) +1%
RLR: 136/210 (64%) -3%
ISS: 132/210 (62%) -3%

Once again I finished tied with HP, so all credit to them (two years running).  It’s a slight improvement on last year for both, although my specific accuracy slipped slightly while HP’s improved.  I have to admit, if HP is at the top next year I may retire my own version of predictions (there’s not much point if my method can’t out pick a single source).

The highest ranked players to fall out of the draft were Vladimir Tkachev and Sebastian Aho, both of whom I had pegged for early in the third round, but their size seems to have scared teams away.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa 2014 Draft Thoughts

Just a brief thought on who the Sens may draft today and tomorrow.  Ottawa is a difficult team to predict, regularly taking players who are off the radar (Emil Sandin in 2008, Brad Peltz in 2009, Marcus Sorensen in 2010, Jordan Fransoo in 2011, Tim Boyle in 2012, and so on).  The best fans can do is look at player rankings and pay attention to what the organisation is saying and doing beforehand.  The mantra of best-player-available has been consistent.  The only firm trend the Sens have had under Bryan Murray has not picked from Europe unless it’s from Sweden.  I don’t think this is an actual “rule”, but clearly their scouting is strong in Sweden and circumstances have worked against Finnish or Czech or any other European league.  We can be assured there will be players from the CHL, US leagues, and Sweden taken, but not preclude other possibilities.

The Sens currently have the following picks: 2nd (40), 3rd (70), 4th (100), and 7th (190).  Here’s who they would pick according to each guide I’ve seen (Future Considerations, Hockey Prospect’s, ISS, and Red Line Report) and my own list list:
2nd: Markus Pettersson (FC), Julius Honka (ISS), Aaron Irving (RLR), Sebastian Aho (HP), Alex Nedelijkovic (me) – I don’t believe Pettersson or Honka will be available at this point and it’s unlikely the Sens will take a goalie (Nedelijkovic), so from this list I’d go with Aho
3rd: Nick Magyar (FC, ISS), Edwin Minney (RLR), Miro Keskitalo (HP), Oskar Lindblom (me) – my list (Lindblom) works here
4th: Michael Bunting (FC), Ryan Donato (ISS), Jonathan MacLeod (RLR), Matt Iacopelli (HP), Logan Halladay (me) – I don’t believe Bunting, Donato, or MacLeod will be available, so I’ll stick with my pick here (Halladay)
7th:  Nicholas Jones (FC), Ryan Hitchcock (ISS), Waltteri Hopponen (RLR), Arkhip Nekolenko (HP), Nikita Lyamkin (me) – the Sens won’t touch Russians and I don’t think Hitchcock or Hopponen will be available, so this defaults to Jones

Take it all with a grain of salt, and remember it’s likely the Sens will get a pick from trading Jason Spezza, but it’s food for thought.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Analysis and Predictions for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

The 2014 NHL draft is tomorrow and it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected.  Before we get to the list is a short preamble explaining my reasoning and methodology.

With the advent of the NHL salary cap after the 2004-05 lockout, it became paramount for all organisations to invest in their scouting operations and draft well. Teams could no longer simply buy their way out of trouble or plug holes with expensive free agent talent. That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction, but the wide variety of sources are not created equal and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. It is my purpose here to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected in this year’s upcoming NHL entry draft.

This is my fifth year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class (well ahead of my sources), while in 2011 I picked 70% (again well ahead), 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report), and 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s).  What follows is a continuation of the same analysis.

My method is to take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, by different sources, those numbers are then added and averaged). This gives me a number I can use to compare that player to others. I then engage in further comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y has the higher median score, the latter is given the higher position (so 11, 30, 31, 38 vs 12, 13, 16, 69). Precise predictions (player X at pick #29) are much more difficult and rare outside the first round (25% is a very good ratio overall). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between assessing who the best player is versus who a team will draft. Some publications give weight to the latter, while other sources do not. My purpose here is to slot players where they will be picked rather than assessing who is the best.

Determining my Sources of Data

While a wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), not all are created equal. My preference is the professional scouting community itself and those sources that they rely on. For that purpose, the International Scouting Service (ISS), Kyle Woodlief’s Red Line Report (RLR), and Central Scouting (CS) are included. Central Scouting is the NHL’s own scouting service, while ISS and RLR are independent scouting services used within the NHL.

Rounding out my sources this year are the only two magazines to predict the entire draft: Aaron Vickers’ Future Considerations (FC) and Mark Edwards’ Hockey Prospect‘s (HP). They provide extensive predictions and are put together by knowledgeable hockey people.  I have used other sources in the past (Corey Pronman, The Hockey Writers, The Hockey News, etc), but have found they generally just muddy the waters so I’m keeping things tight this year.

It must be noted that both ISS and CS have inherent comparative problems. Central Scouting does not create a master list—players are divided into North American and European regions, and further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders. ISS separates their goaltenders into a separate ranking. These drawbacks are part of the reason I load up with the additional data.

Notes

Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), CS (Central Scouting), RLR (Red Line Report), HP (Hockey Prospect), and FC (Future Considerations). For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders and defenseman in the player comments.

Ranking depth: CS 394, RLR 320, ISS 220 (200 skaters and 20 goaltenders), HP 210+ (it’s not tallied beyond that), FC 210.

I compared the guides recently where I pointed out some of their difference (as well as what I thought made for the best buy).

This draft is considered a weak one without much depth, which makes rankings more tenuous than normal.  It also helps explain the larger than usual number of 25 and under Europeans signed as free agents beforehand (I’ve included a list of them at the end of the article).

A final comment: the most obvious struggle for accurate scouting assessment remains players in Europe, who are underrepresented in lists for the obvious reason that it’s more expensive to cover Europe.

First Round

My sources have 21 players in common for this round, with a total of 40 players selected for it; three different players are slotted at #1.

1. Sam Bennett (2.25) – despite not having the highest score, he’s the only player with multiple #1 selections (RLR and HP; also first with CS)
2. Aaron Ekblad (2.00) – defenseman has the identical score as Reinhart below, but CS’ score pushes him over the top
3. Sam Reinhart (2.00) – the last player who could go #1 (ISS)
4. Leon Draisaitl (5.25) – ties Dal Colle below, but gets the edge via CS
5. Michael Dal Colle (5.25) – the final player whom all sources list within the top-ten
6. William Nylander (7.00) – the first player out of Sweden; listed as high as #4 (FC)
7. Nikolaj Ehlers (7.25) – HP makes him their #4 pick in the draft
8. Nick Ritchie (7.5) – HP with the high of #5
9. Jake Virtanen (10.5) – two picks at #7, he drops largely because of HP’s #18
10. Hayden Fleury (11.0) – defenseman has a very narrow range (#9-#13)
11. Robby Fabbri (14.0) – score hurt by HP’s #24 (CS isn’t high on him either), he has two top-ten selections from ISS and RLR
12. Dylan Larkin (13.5)
13. Kevin Fiala (14.5) – ISS has him all the way down at #20
14. Brendan Perlini (15.0) – very split opinions; he’s the last player with a top-ten selection (#9 ISS)
15. Sonny Milano (15.5) – HP with the high (#12)
16. Alex Tuch (15.75) – gets the edge over Barbashev due to the Russian factor and CS love
17. Ivan Barbashev (15.75)
18. David Pastrnak (20.5) – score thrown off by ISS’ second round placement (#33), which is a heavy outlier compared to all other sources
19. Josh Ho-sang (30.25) – score tilted by HP’s third round placement (#61)
20. Jared McCann (18.75) – widely different placements (#12-#25)
21. Kasperi Kapanen (21.75) – widely divergent rankings for the first player playing in Finland (#13-#29)
22. Nikita Scherbak (21.75) – the second player carrying a second-round selection (FC)
23. Nikolay Goldobin (24.5) – RLR has him at #18
24. Conner Bleackley (25.25) – a second-rounder for RLR
25. Jakub Vrana (26.0) – the final player that all sources slot in the first round
26. Adrian Kempe (27.0) – second-rounder for RLR
27. Roland McKeown (40.25) – defenseman’s score thrown by HP’s third-round ranking (#83; against three first round selections)
28. Travis Sanheim (31.0) – HP loves the blueliner (#16)
29. Jack Dougherty (31.5) – defenseman’s number drops due to ISS (#42)
30. Nick Schmaltz (35.25) – edges out Kamenev (one of the other remaining player with two first-round selections) due to the Russian factor, while beating Lemieux head-to-head

Here are the other 10 players who received first-round selections: Lemieux (2), Kamenev (2), Honka, DeAngelo, Demko, Pettersson, Glover, MacInnis, Quenneville, and Cornel.  The list above has 28 players in common with Bob McKenzie‘s list (with Honka and Demko not making mine; Dougherty and Goldobin not making his).

Second Round

Of the players not listed above, there are only 3 players who only received 2nd round picks (McDonald, Point, and Nedelijkovic).

31. Brendan Lemieux (31.75)
32. Valdislav Kamenev (32.75) – the final player with two first-round selections (ISS, RLR), the Russian factor could push him further down
33. Julius Honka (31.50) – HP slots the defender in the first round (#23)
34. Thatcher Demko (32.0) – the top goalie for ISS and CS, FC has him in the first round (#22)
35. Anthony DeAngelo (32.25) – blueliner is a first-rounder for FC (#29)
36. Markus Pettersson (35.25) – defenseman is slightly behind McDonald in numbers, but his higher first-round placement (#25 from RLR) and the fact that goaltenders tend to slide slots him here
37. Mason McDonald (34.33) – the second goalie on the list (for both ISS and CS)
38. Ryan MacInnis (46.75) – suffers from RLR’s ranking (#87); ISS has him in the first round (#25)
39. Brayden Point (42.5) – while he has no first-round selections, he’s one of the only players consistently slotted in the second
40. Alex Nedelijkovic (46.33) – the next goaltender on the list
41. Jack Glover (46.5) – boosted by RLR (#23), he’s a third-rounder for HP (#66)
42. John Quenneville (47.5) – another RLR favourite (#24) that HP doesn’t agree with (#81)
43. Eric Cornel (51.5) – much as above, except FC likes him (#30) while HP doesn’t (#89)
44. Anton Karlsson (47.0) – Swede suffers from HP’s ranking (#67)
45. Brett Pollock (48.25) – only FC puts him in the third round (#68)
46. Justin Kirkland (49.25) – once again HP slots him in the third (#68)
47. Dominik Masin (68.5) – suffers from FC’s fifth-round slot (#130) which is a clear outlier from his second-round placement elsewhere
48. Josh Jacobs (54.75) – blueliner suffers from HP’s ranking (#69)
49. Adam Mattsson (86.0) – Swedish defender is punished by his FC ranking (#195), which is an outlier compared to his otherwise second-round slots
50. Andreas Englund (54.0) – split opinions on the Swedish defenseman, with RLR and HP having him in the second and FC and ISS in the third
51. Gustav Forsling (56.33) – Swedish defender is strangely not ranked by RLR
52. Vaclav Karabacek (60.5) – suffers from HP’s ranking (#79)
53. Ryan Collins (61.75) – defender hurt by HP’s ranking (#84)
54. Hunter Smith (62.25) – marks the beginnings of divisive opinions; two second-round picks, with a third (RLR) and fourth (FC)
55. Ryan Donato (62.5) – as above, with RLR putting him in the third and ISS in the fourth
56. Emil Johansson (63.33) – Swedish defenseman is put well out of the draft by RLR, but he’s a second-rounder for HP and ISS
57. Chase De Leo (64.0) – slightly less radical rankings, with two seconds and two thirds
58. Nicolas Aube-Kubel (67.5) – suffers from a fourth-round hit from RLR (#106)
59. Jayce Hawryluk (64.75) – two second-round picks with a third (FC) and fourth (ISS)
60. Dylan Sadowy (69.75) – yet another split opinion with two seconds (ISS, HP) and two fourths (RLR, FC)

There are eight players remaining with two second-round selections: MacLeod, Tkachev, Lammikko, Bunting, Eiserman, Hickey, Watson, and Lindblom.  Bob McKenzie and I have the differences mentioned in the first round, along with Martin (3rd), Foegele (4th), Thomas (3rd), Peters (3rd), MacLeod (3rd), Kase (3rd), Iverson (4th), and Walman (3rd); he excludes Sadowy, De Leo, Johansson, Collins (gets an “honourable mention”), Forsling, Mattsson, Jacobs, and Kirkland.

Third Round

61. Juho Lammikko (71.25) – hurt by FC’s ranking (#120)
62. Vladimir Tkachev (70.75) – a toss-up between he and MacLeod, but his scores are slightly better in comparison; oddly not ranked by CS
63. Jonathan MacLeod (70.5) – benefits from HP’s ranking (#50)
64. Jake Walman (64.0) – consistent third-round picks for the defenseman, but his number is boosted by HP (#55)
65. Sebastian Aho (62.0) – Finnish blueliner is oddly not ranked by RLR; he’s a second-rounder for HP (#40)
66. Michael Bunting (72.25) – a second-rounder for both ISS and HP
67. Spencer Watson (84.25) – ranking is thrown off by HP (#131)
68. Shane Eiserman (74.25) – either a second-round player (FC, ISS) or a fourth (RLR, HP)
69. Brandon Hickey (80.75) – defenseman is another two second, two fourth prospect (ISS, HP; RLR, FC)
70. Oskar Lindblom (108.0) – Swede’s number takes a pummelling from RLR (#203), but he’s a second-rounder for ISS and HP
71. Blake Siebenaler (70.25) – defender gets a second-round nod from FC (#49)
72. Brycen Martin (76.75) – blueliner is highly touted by FC (#39), he’s a fifth-round pick for HP (#132)
73. Alexis Vanier (82.5) – defenseman has a similar issue–#51 for FC, he’s #143 for ISS (gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie)
74. Connor Chatham (83.25) – RLR puts him in the fourth round (#119), gets a second-round nod from ISS (#54)
75. Aaron Irving (87.0) – blueliner is a second round pick for RLR (#40), but a sixth-rounder for HP (#151)
76. Alex Peters (85.0) – defender is a second-round pick for ISS (#47), the fifth for FC (#131)
77. Maxim Letunov (87.25) – second-round for HP (#51), he’s in the fifth for FC (#139)
78. Dysin Mayo (90.75) – defender is in the second round for RLR (#46), he’s in the fifth for ISS (#149)
79. Noah Rod (92.5) – Swede gets a second round nod from HP (#39), but is a sixth-rounder for FC (#165)
80. Aaron Haydon (94.25) – blueliner gets a similar split; #48 for FC, #158 for HP
81. Igor Shestyorkin (90.66) – goaltender goes unranked by ISS and CS; a second-round pick for RLR (#41)
82. Luc Snuggerud (102.75) – defenders ranking is hurt by HP (#179); a second-rounder for ISS (#56)
83. Ben Thomas (82.75) – defenseman gets three third-round votes with a fourth from FC (#94)
84. Jacob Middleton (81.33) – blueliner is not ranked by HP or CS, but gets a pair of third-round nods (FC, RLR)
85. Nick Magyar (84.75) – punished by RLR (#134), he’s otherwise solidly a third-rounder
86. Daniel Audette (90.25) – split between third and fourth picks (FC, RLR; ISS, HP)
87. Nelson Nogier (102.0) – blueliner is hurt by RLR’s ranking (#168)
88. Summers (87.0) – outside the draft for RLR, but a pair of early thirds from FC and ISS
89. Miles Gendron (111.75) – defenseman’s ranking is hurt by FC (#176)
90. Ondrej Kase (103.25) – ISS makes him a fifth-rounder (#150)

Five other players receive two third-round selections: Franklin (RLR, HP), Duke (HP, FC), Bishop (FC, ISS), Kulda (HP, ISS), and Gardiner (RLR, FC).

Fourth Round

91. Reid Gardiner (98.75) – very narrow range between the third and fourth round (#84-#118)
92. Clark Bishop (104.5) – gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie
93. Reid Duke (106.25)
94. C. J. Franklin (79.5) – another run through the draft; not listed by FC or ISS, he’s the last player with two-third round selections
95. Edgars Kulda (117.0) – overager not selected by FC, but two third-round picks slots him here
96. Matt Berkovitz (91.0) – defenseman not selected by ISS
97. Alex Schoenborn (98.0) – not picked by FC
98. Darby Llewellyn (100.0) – ISS with the high (#78) and no picks outside the fourth round
99. Ville Husso (108.0) – CS’ top goalie out of Europe, ISS ranks him highly but he’s a fourth or fifth-round pick otherwise; not picked last year
100. Logan Halladay (102.0) – goaltender’s rankings all over the place, with a second-round slot from HP (#59) down to the sixth-round for FC (#166)
101. Matthew Mistele (110.0) – a third and two fourth-round picks give him more consistency than those with a better score who follow
102. Austin Poganski (112.75) – three fourth-round picks (ISS is the outlier)
103. Alexandre Goulet (113.5) – his ranking is thrown off by RLR (#157)
104. Julien Nantel (108.5) – HP is a fan (#63)
105. Tyson Baillie (109.25) – RLR likes him (#71)
106. William Lagesson (112.66) – defenseman inexplicably not ranked by RLR; #71 for ISS
107. Rourke Chartier (111.75) – FC gives him the highest rank (#78)
108. Keagan Iverson (113.25) – ISS is a fan (#85)
109. Mike Amadio (111.5) – ISS puts him in the third round (#87)
110. Brett Lernout (116.25) – ISS has the blueliner in the third round (#83)
111. Nikita Tryamkin (100.5) – not ranked by either RLR or HP, ISS has the Russian defenseman in the third round (#66)
112. Dakota Joshua (98.0) – not ranked by FC or ISS
113. Edwin Minney (98.5) – RLR is a fan of the goaltender (#70)
114. Richard Nejezchleb (110.0) – ISS has him highest (#84); RLR does not list him
115. Francis Perron (110.0) – HP does not list him; RLR has him at #78
116. Max Willman (113.0) – FC and ISS do not list him
117. Warren Foegele (115.5) – ISS and HP do not list him
118. Hayden Lavigne (120.0) – ISS and RLR do not list the goaltender
119. Christian Jaros (134.33) – Swedish blueliner is not ranked by HP, but is listed high in the fourth round by RLR and ISS
120. Kaapo Kahkonen (130.66) – Finnish goaltender is hurt by HP’s ranking (#189); gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie

Twelve players remaining have two fourth-round (or better) selections: Wolff, Mangiapane, Iacopelli, Starrett, Pelletier, Jenkins, Moran, Holmstrom, Dvorak, Valiev, Fazleev, and Sharov.

Fifth Round

121. Nick Wolff (128.0) – defenseman’s number takes a hit from HP (#181)
122. Julien Pelletier (128.0) – has a third round pick (FC) to go along with a pair of fourths
123. Beau Starrett (127.75) – HP is not a fan (#174)
124. Brent Moran (133.66) – goaltender suffers from RLR’s ranking (#193)
125. Axel Holmstrom (140.33) – put out of the draft by RLR and not listed by ISS, his fourth-round scores by FC and HP are excellent
126. Kyle Jenkins (131.0) – defenseman is not listed by FC, but gets fourth-round picks from ISS and HP
127. Andrew Mangiapane (120.33) – not listed by ISS
128. Matt Iacopelli (123.33) – not listed by ISS
129. Alexander Sharov (176.0) – Russian put well out of the draft by RLR and not listed by ISS
130. Shane Gersich (120.5) – gets a second-round nod from RLR (#52)
131. Brandon Montour (125.25) – overage defenseman is a second-round pick for HP (#57)
132. Christian Dvorak (128.0) – a second-rounder for RLR (#38); “honourable mention” from McKenzie
133. Rinat Valiev (131.66) – defenseman suffers from RLR’s rating (#209), which is ironic because they were very high on him last year
134. Radel Fazleev (134.75) – bolstered by RLR’s ranking (#75)
135. Olivier Leblanc (133.75) – defenseman is among the last ranked in the draft by all sources
136. J. J. Piccinich (137.25) – hurt by HP’s ranking (#207)
137. Karson Kuhlman (143.5) – a third-round pick for RLR (#74)
138. Blake Hillman (120.5) – defenseman is not listed by FC and ISS
139. Colby Cave (121.0) – not listed by FC and HP; he was passed over last year as well
140. Dylan Gambrell (124.0) – not picked by FC and ISS
141. Pavel Kraskovsky (128.0) – FC leaves the Russian off their list
142. Miro Keskitalo (126.0) – Finnish blueliner not selected by FC and RLR
143. Matthew Highmore (126.5) – not ranked by ISS and HP
144. Stefan Leblanc (131.5) – unlisted by ISS and HP
145. Duncan MacIntyre (132.0) – blueliner left out by FC and HP
146. Lucas Wallmark (137.0) – plodding Swede was the highest ranked player not taken in the last draft; left off the ISS list
147. Joni Tuulola (147.0) – Finnish defenseman gets a high of #93 from ISS
148. Pierre Engvall (139.66) – Swede not listed by RLR
149. Luke Philp (137.25) – picked by all sources to be selected in the draft
150. Vladislav Gavrikov (146.66) – blueliner a third-rounder for FC (#80), he’s not listed by FC and not in the draft by RLR

Fifteen players have two fifth-round (or better) selections: Belpedio, Bayreuther, Donaghey, Bird, Pyrochta, Rosdahl, Baltisberger, Descheneau, Hitchcock, Muzito-Bagenda, Phelps, Pepin, Bergman, Jenys, and Halverson.

Sixth Round

151. Ryan Mantha (143.66) – a second-rounder for ISS (#59); he’s not listed by HP
152. Louis Belpedio (143.25) – defenseman gets a high of #111 from FC
153. Julius Bergman (173.0) – Swedish defenseman takes a hit from RLR which puts him out of the draft; not ranked by HP
154. Pavel Jenys (175.66) – RLR puts him out of the draft; HP does not rank him
155. Tyler Bird (146.0) – not ranked by ISS
156. Alexis Pepin (145.75) – FC with the high (#117) and RLR the low (#202)
157. Ryan Hitchcock (155.25) – all sources place him in the draft
158. Jaedon Descheneau (154.5) – as above; undersized forward went undrafted last year
159. Phil Baltisberger (152.33) – defenseman is not picked by HP
160. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda (157.0) – Swede goes unlisted by HP
161. Chase Phelps (163.66) – ISS leaves him off their list
162. Cody Donaghey (139.5) – defenseman is a fifth-rounder for HP and FC while being left off the other lists
163. Gavin Bayreuther (139.0) – as above
164. Brandon Halverson (186.0) – goaltender is listed outside the draft by RLR, but otherwise is a solid fifth-round pick
165. Kim Rosdahl (148.5) – the last player with two selections in the fifth (or higher); he goes unlisted by FC and ISS
166. Yegor Korshkov (137.5) – unlisted by FC and RLR
167. Dominic Turgeon (142.33) – HP has him in the fourth (#113), FC leaves him off their list
168. Filip Pyrochta (140.0) – defender a third from FC (#87), ISS puts him in the seventh and HP and RLR don’t list him
169. Blake Clarke (139.0) – doesn’t make the cut for FC and HP
170. Austin Lotz (146.0) – goaltender was passed over in the draft last year and ISS leaves him out this year
171. Brandon Prophet (150.5) – defender gets a fourth-round slot from FC (#113)
172. Anders Bjork (152.75) – a fourth-round nod from ISS (#104)
173. Rihards Bukarts (155.5) – a third-rounder for RLR (#86)
174. Riley Stadel (150.0) – defenseman has solid scores across the board, although FC has him out of the draft
175. Waltteri Hopponen (150.33) – buoyed by FC’s ranking (#73), he’s unranked by HP
176. Ryan Verbeek (155.0) – among the last players ranked in the draft by all sources; he’s a fourth-round pick from HP (#116)
177. Yannick Rathgeb (155.33) – defenseman’s rankings all over the place, with a fourth from FC (#109) and out of the draft for HP
178. Henrik Tornqvist (158.33) – Swede gets solid fifth-sixth round ranks except from RLR who doesn’t include him
179. Vitek Vanecek (160.5) – goaltender is given a pass by HP, but gets consistent numbers otherwise
180. Chase Perry (173.33) – goaltender is put out of the draft by RLR, while HP has him in the third round (#86)

There are three players with three selections in the fifth or sixth rounds: Kalapudas, Spinner, and Evans; no player remains that all sources pick to be drafted.

Seventh Round

181. Ryan Foss (177.25) – takes a pummeling from RLR putting him out of the draft; three sixth-round picks otherwise
182. Jake Evans (188.0) – RLR puts him well out of the draft
183. Steven Spinner (183.5) – hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
184. Antti Kalapudas (174.0) – Finn is not ranked by RLR
185. Dallas Valentine (159.33) – defenseman is a fourth-rounder for ISS (#104), but out of the draft for FC
186. Aleksander Mikulovich (183.25) – blueliner is the last player with three sources putting him in the draft; RLR has him on the outside looking in
187. Seamus Malone (162.0) – a third-rounder for FC (#62)
188. Arkhip Nekolenko (171.0) – Russian is a third-rounder for ISS (#76)
189. Michael Prapavessis (177.33) – defenseman is a third-rounder for HP (#82)
190. Nikita Lyamkin (159.33) – Russian blueliner is a third-rounder for HP (#86)
191. Daniel Walcott (168.0) – another defenseman who is a fourth-round pick for HP (#91)
192. Jaden Lindo (163.66) – ranking is hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
193. Kevin Elgestal (153.0) – a fourth-rounder for ISS (#101)
194. Josh Wesley (173.33) – defenseman’s ranking is hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
195. Mark Friedman (159.0) – blueliner is a fourth-rounder for HP (#109)
196. Chandler Yakimowicz (157.5) – yet another fourth-rounder for HP (#118); he’s the last player picked twice for the draft with a rank this high
197. Ryan Rehill (146.5) – defenseman is outside the draft for FC and ISS
198. Liam Pecararo (148.5) – outside the draft for ISS and HP
199. Dryden Hunt (150.5) – ranked by ISS and RLR
200. Maxim Lazarev (155.0) – ranked by RLR and HP
201. J. D. Dudek (173.0) – outside the draft for ISS and RLR
202. Zach Yon (156.0) – not ranked by FC and RLR
203. Hunter Garlent (156.5) – FC and ISS include him; pint-sized forward was passed over last year
204. Julio Billia (197.0) – goaltender’s rank is thrown by RLR putting him well out of the draft
205. Tanner MacMaster (162.5) – ranked by FC and ISS
206. Tomas Havlin (178.0) – defender picked by FC and ISS
207.  Mitch Slattery (183.0) – outside the draft for RLR and ISS
208. Ty Edmonds (168.0) – goaltender goes unranked from ISS and HP
209. Sam Ruopp (172.0) – blueliner is listed by RLR and HP
210. Dylan Malmqvist (211.66) – defenseman suffers from RLR; ISS has him in the fourth round (#109)

Just missing the cut: Joe Hicketts (the defenseman is picked by three sources, but all place him in the seventh round); there are 15 other players with at least two selections in the draft (none ranked higher than the fifth-round).  Of note, there are five players picked in the top-100 by just one source: Dexter Dancs (RLR #59), Tyler Sheehy (FC #76), Ilya Sorokin (RLR #90), Dmitri Sergeev (ISS #92), and Hayden Hodgson (HP #93); there are eleven more players uniquely selected to go in the fourth round.  As per usual there are a number of highly ranked Europeans from CS who did not make the list: Lawrence Pilut (#16), Nikita Cherepanov (#22), Leon Bristedt (#24), Andrei Kuzmenko (#26), Artur Boltanov (#29), Andreas Soderberg (#30), Eetu Sopanen (#31), Semyon Koshelev (#35), and David Kampf (#36); along with goaltenders Jonas Johansson (#2), Linus Soderstrom (#3), and Sorokin (#5; see RLR above). There’s no real comparable among their NA rankings among skaters (the highest not appearing is Daniel Moynihan at #77), but one goaltender is in the same boat (Kevin Reich #5).

Given the weakness of this year’s draft there’s been a slew of free agent signings out of Europe: David Wolf (Cal), Roman Will (Col), Borna Rendulic (Col), Dennis Everberg (Col), Johan Alm (Nsh), Melker Karlsson (SJ), Simon Hjalmarsson (Clb), Michael Keranen (Min), Dennis Rasmussen (Chi), Petr Zamorsky (NYR), Tomas Nosek (Det), and Iiro Pakarinen (Edm) [subsequently Jiri Sekac (Mtl)]; this is in addition to older players like Joakim Lindstrom (Stl), Jori Lehtera (Stl), and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Phi).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Assessing NHL Draft Guides

With all the major hockey draft guides out it’s time to compare what they offer versus their cost.  Each guide has two common elements: players listed numerically along with player profiles (sometimes comprehensive, sometimes selective).  The guides may have mock drafts, organisational comments, and/or a look at eligible overage players and European free agents.  Other elements often included are a look at top players for future drafts, but personally I don’t see the value in that information for these products.

The four publications that cover the entire draft have 121 players in common–that’s close to two-thirds (57%) of the entire class.  Red Line Report remains the most radical of the guides and taking it out leaves 136 players shared (64%).  In terms of unique selections, HP has the fewest (16), followed by FC (20), ISS (35), and RLR (40).  Most of these players are late round picks (5th to 7th rounds), with only 11 listed in the 4th round, 2 in the 3rd, and 1 in the 2nd–there is a high proportion of Europeans amongst the unique’s (the region scouts struggle with the most), with 36 of 111 being from across the pond (32%; it’s 52/226 otherwise, or 23%).

There are a few odd choices (or non-choices) from the publications and these are the most interesting:

Gustav Forsling: the Swedish defenseman is slated as a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick, but Red Line Report doesn’t include him at all–not in over 300 selections.  There’s no reasoning provided for that, he simply does not appear.  RLR is known for its strong opinions, but I can’t recall another time (since I started reading the publication back in 2010) where they’ve completely delisted a player that highly touted elsewhere

Sebastian Aho: the Finnish forward is a second or third round pick except (again) from RLR, who just like Forsling above do not have him listed

Emil Johansson: the Swedish blueliner is another 2nd-3rd round pick that RLR lists well outside of the draft (267)

Igor Sheshyrokin is a 2nd to 5th round pick most places, but ISS (and Central Scouting) do not list the Russian goaltender

Dexter Dancs: the winger is a second round pick in RLR’s eyes, but listed by no one else (not even CS)

Other picks with at least two third or fourth round selections that are excluded by a single publication (included in brackets): Matthew Berkovitz (ISS), Alex Schoenborn (FC), Francis Perron (HP), William Lagesson (RLR), Edgars Kulda (FC), Andrew Mangiapane (ISS), Matheson Iacopelli (ISS), Kelly Summers (RLR), Kyle Jenkins (FC), Rinat Valiev (HP), Christian Jaros (HP), and Axel Holmstrom (ISS).  Finally, there are two players slotted in the third round that appear in no other publication: Tyler Sheehy (FC) and Ilya Sorokin (RLR).

When looking for commonalities above we can see that RLR is usually involved and that most of the players are European.  The latter isn’t much of a surprise given the limited capacity these publications have to scout in Europe.

Finally, it’s time to assess the publications by their broad categories–I’ve arranged them by their cost (changes in price from last year are noted):

ISS $99.99 (+$40)
Players listed: 220 (divided between skaters and goaltenders)
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: yes, but only as a grade
Mock draft: yes
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR $50.00
Players listed: 315
Player profiles: top-115
Organisational assessment: yes
Mock draft: yes (two of them)
Overage eligible/European free agents: yes

Hockey Prospects $39.99
Players listed: 210
Player profiles: all (including additional players who do not make their top-210)
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: no
Overage eligible/European free agents: no
Other: includes game reports on players

Future Considerations $19.99
Players listed: 210
Player profiles: all
Organisational assessment: no
Mock draft: yes (including the second round)
Overage eligible/European free agents: no

RLR lists the most players, but offers the fewest scouting reports, while HP has the most scouting reports (above and beyond their list), but lacks any of the extras of the other guides.  Mock drafts aren’t a selling point for me and organisational assessments only matter if there’s reasoning behind them.  As such, of the extras only RLR’s are meaningful, but at their price point is not worth it for casual fans.  For my money Future Considerations remains the pick of the litter.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Hockey Prospect’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Hockey Prospect‘s draft guide is out and here are my thoughts on it (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy, this is how they’ve performed the last three years (compared to Red Line Report, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 69% (1st), 2012 72% (3rd), and 2011 47% (3rd).  [Note: A few readers are confused about the nature of "accuracy" when referring to any hockey guide's success in predicting the draft when their lists are (often) intended to simply list the best players in their opinion.  The “accuracy” I’m referring to is for fans in judging which list comes closest to how the draft plays out (so how accurately their list reflects what will actually happen at the draft)–it has nothing to do with the quality of any particular guide's scouting (which would be an entirely different question). If you’re interested in draft selection versus quality of player I suggest you check out my NHL Draft Success article from April to get a sense of it, but I don't data old enough from the guides to relate their predictions to draft success yet.] Here’s their top-30 list:

1          Bennett

2          Reinhart

3          Ekblad

4          Ehlers

5          Ritchie

6          Draisaitl

7          Dal Colle

8          Nylander

9          Larkin

10        Fleury

11        Tuch

12        Milano

13        Barbashev

14        Scherbak

15        Fiala

16        Sanheim

17        Pastrnak

18        Virtanen

19        Kapanen

20        Perlini

21        Kempe

22        Bleackley

23        Honka

24        Fabbri

25        McCann

26        Lemieux

27        Dougherty

28        Schmaltz

29        Goldobin

30        Vrana

The guide has 16 unique players listed (compared to the other big guides), all of whom are peppered throughout the sixth and seventh rounds; they have much more in common with the ISS and FC player lists than the more radical Red Line Report.  Despite the girth of the guide (nearly 700 pages) it does not include any specific organisational material or a mock draft.  The contents, beyond the list, consists of scouting profiles and lengthy game reports–the latter are the one unique element in the product, but I’m dubious of its value and would rather see that cut for other content.

In general I’m not fond of HP’s guide, as they offer less than FC at almost twice the price.  If they can repeat their accuracy from last season, however, it remains a useful resource.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Red Line Report’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Red Line Report is an independent scouting service who unapologetically does not aim to predict when and where players will be picked, but offers their opinion of who the best players are.  This is my look at their top-30 rankings and thoughts about the publication (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy here are their last three years (compared to Future Considerations, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 67% (3rd), 2012 73% (2nd), and 2011 44% (3rd).

1. Sam Bennett

2. Aaron Ekblad

3. Sam Reinhart

4. Leon Draisaitl

5. Michael Dal Colle

6. Nikolaj Ehlers

7. Jake Virtanen

8. Nick Ritchie

9. Robby Fabbri

10. Kevin Fiala

11. William Nylander

12. Nikita Scherbak

13. Haydn Fleury

14. David Pastrnak

15. Ivan Barbashev

16. Dylan Larkin

17. Sonny Milano

18. Nikolay Goldobin

19. Alex Tuch

20. Brendan Perlini

21. Jared McCann

22. Josh Ho-Sang

23. Jack Glover

24. John Quenneville

25. Markus Pettersson

26. Vladislav Kamenev

27. Roland McKeown

28. Jakub Vrana

29. Kasperi Kapanen

30. Brendan Lemieux

While the other comprehensive guides I’ve looked at offer full scouting reports on all listed players, RLR cuts it off at 115 (based, presumably, on the size of their print edition), although there are single lines through player 178.  This has always been a flaw in the guide, although it’s a handful more than last year; however it’s worth noting the guide lists more players than any other guide (only Central Scouting names more players).  There are significant differences in player lists compared to FC (126, so a 60% difference) and ISS (91, or 43%).

Since Ottawa has no first round pick, neither of the guide’s mock drafts offer insight.  They do offer this organisational analysis:

It seems as if the long-rumoured trade of center Jason Spezza might finally happen. Milan Michalek is expected to test free agency. The Senators should try to re-sign Ales Hemsky, particularly if Spezza is going to be dealt. The team’s defence looks set. It makes sense to move Spezza because the core of the team has grown a bit stale, but there is some risk because he generates a large chunk of offence and makes his wingers better. If Michalek does indeed go elsewhere, it becomes imperative to get scoring potential in any Spezza deal. The loss of Tim Murray will be felt at the draft table, and we’re not sure who will emerge with the most powerful voice in the war room now.

This isn’t very informative about the prospect pool or what the team would look to do at the draft, but it’s better than nothing.  On the plus side, the guide looks at a pair of older European players still eligible for the draft (Victor Arvidsson and Kasimir Kaskisuo), as well as European free agents who might be signed (they suggest ten players; it’s something I looked at a few weeks ago)–we both identified Michael Keranen who was just signed by Minnesota.

Overall I quite like Red Line Report, but it’s not inexpensive ($50) and does lack some of the scouting depth draft fans might want for prospects–it’s definitely not worth it for casual fans.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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