Prospect Profile: Kelly Summers

I haven’t written a profile since Pius Suter was in Ottawa’s camp last August, so we’re overdue. Summers isn’t signed yet, but I’m assuming he will be. He was drafted way back in 2014 and that was a very different time–Jason Spezza and Robin Lehner were still part of the team; Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch were still part of the future; Matt Kassian and a returning Joe Corvo were providing…laughter? Bryan Murray was the GM, Paul MacLean the coach, and trades were being made for a non-existent playoff run (alas Rob Vollman picked the team to win the President’s Trophy). When the season was over we were assured next season would be different. On my end of things I was making prescient analysis of prospects in Binghamton; Nichols wanted more two-way players; Jeremy Milks was still writing about the team; and Travis Yost was still at Hockeybuzz.

Kelly Summers DOB 1996 DR 6’2 7-189/14
CCHL Carleton Place 56-17-43-60 1.07 1st/5th in scoring (played with Andrew Sturtz)
NCAA Clarkson 33-6-4-10 0.30 2nd/10th
NCAA Clarkson 37-3-11-14 0.37 3rd/8th
NCAA Clarkson 39-3-14-17 0.43 2nd/9th (played with Nico Sturm)
NCAA Clarkson 40-6-24-30 0.75 1st/4th (ibid)

Local boy when drafted was projected as either a bottom or second-pairing two-way defenseman. While at Clarkson he was behind Detroit pick James de Haas (6-170/12, see below) and, sometimes, Flyer pick Terrance Amorosa (5-132/13), both of whom are left-hand shots. Summers‘ numbers aren’t overwhelming and he only lead the blueline in scoring his senior year, but they did steadily improve.

When looking at projections, who can we compare him too? Not many players drafted from tier-2 Canadian junior spend four years in college with steadily improving numbers (his senior year he was tied for 22nd in blueline scoring in the NCAA). In going through players drafted the five years before him (2009-2013) virtually no one has that exact trajectory:
2009: Kyle Bigos, Curtis Gedig, Jeremy Price
2010: Julian Melchiori, Benjamin Gallacher, Isaac Macleod
2011: Michael Paliotta, Josh Manson, Sam Jardine, Brennan Serville
2012: Reece Wilcox, Rhett Holland, James de Haas, Matthew Benning, Ben Hutton
2013: Carson Soucy, Dane Birks, Mike Williamson, Nolan De Jong
One free agent college player (Brady Lamb) also fit the same general profile

Virtually all of these players can easily be dismissed with just these two exceptions: Ben Hutton and teammate James de Haas. Why these two? Hutton is the simplest, as he was also drafted from the CCHL; his college numbers don’t track out the same way, but we’ll get back to that. De Haas was a BCHL grad and had the same four full years in college with steadily increasing numbers (including a final high as a senior). Let’s look at their numbers from the year they were drafted until they turned pro:

Ben Hutton: CCHL 0.75 NCAA 0.44 0.82 0.53
James de Haas: BCHL 0.45 NCAA 0.34 0.41 0.44 0.78

In both cases Summers had better junior numbers–indeed, his CCHL totals are generally better than all the above players listed–but his college numbers are lower then our two comparables (if ever so slightly from de Haas). Hutton‘s NCAA totals are very different–he was at Maine for three years where he lead the blueline in scoring every time (the team’s leading scorer was Dallas draft pick Devin Shore–no relation to the Sens draft pick Quentin). De Haas, on the other hand, spent four years at Clarkson (playing with Summers for two, as well as current BSen Ben Sexton as a freshman). Other than his first year he was the top scoring blueliner each season.

Hutton, whose comparison isn’t as apt, went straight to the NHL, so there are no AHL numbers to look at. De Haas, on the other hand, who is a much better match, spent half a season with Lehigh Valley this year (33-1-10-11, or 0.33), and I think those numbers–projecting to 25 points–are reasonable to expect for Summers (if a little lower, with variation depending on how he’s deployed). As an NHL prospect those scouting impressions when he was drafted haven’t changed, albeit he’s likely going to fit the lower projections, so a bottom-pairing player.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


Senators News & Notes

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The Sens initial dip into the free agency pool echoed their usual tendencies. They went back to the well with an familiar face, signing 35-year old goaltender Mike McKenna. They followed that up with a more impactful signing–one with another org connection as they picked up former Troy Mann player Paul Carey. The latter move I’m okay with–it could be a good one–but I’m concerned about the former.

Mike McKenna, GR, DOB 1983
2015-16 Portland .921 2.45
2016-17 Springfield/Syracuse .905 2.84
2017-18 Texas .909 2.64

The trend in his numbers is clear–he’s in decline–but a strong playoff run and org familiarity (he was with the Binghamton Senators in 2011-12) were enough for the Sens to sign the veteran. The worry, besides simply having three goaltenders on the roster, is that his save percentage (27th in the league this season and 33rd the year before) is not going to magically improve. The glass half full opinion would say he’s insurance for Filip Gustavsson/Marcus Hogberg without obviously needing the starter mantel. My issue with this idea is he’s not an elite goaltender so he represents mediocrity at best while taking development time away from one of the Swedes. If the BSens were going to be a top-AHL team I think you could make the argument about riding a veteran ‘tender for playoff success, but that’s not the case and with two talented prospects I’m not a fan of the three-headed monster in goal. How Troy Mann uses him will be interesting to watch, but if we were in the Kleinendorst era it would be McKenna-McKenna-McKenna all season.

Paul Carey, CL, DOB 1988
2015-16 Hershey 44-13-18-31 (0.70)
2016-17 Hershey 55-24-31-55 (1.00)
2017-18 NYR 60-7-7-14 (0.23)

Undrafted NCAA grad earned an NHL shot with the Rangers this past season which didn’t pan out for the 29-year old; that said, his AHL-numbers are solid (career 0.63) and adding a scoring veteran to a roster that’s struggled to score in four of the last five seasons is a good thing. A big plus for me is he’s not an agitator/goon (ala Tyler Randell/Eric Selleck/Zack Stortini etc) or a “good in the corners guy” (ala Mike Blunden), so he can genuinely play the game and (hopefully) produce. Troy Mann clearly trusts him so I’d expect him to get top minutes.

Eligible Players Not at Development Camp

I thought I’d briefly go over the five players who could have attended camp and did not:

  • Thomas Chabot – presumably the org told him he needn’t attend (a tendency for high-end, graduated prospects)
  • Francis Perron – presumably still recovering from injury (he last played January 27th)
  • Andreas Englund – could be injury-related, although he did play in Belleville’s final game
  • Macoy Erkamps – as above, although I’m sure the org wants to divest themselves of him at this stage
  • Filip Ahl – I assume he’s absent due to health reasons

Thoughts on the Development Camp Scrimmage

I don’t put much stock in development camp performances (I can vividly remember Eric Gryba skating through guys back in the day), but I thought I’d go over the scrimmage from a few days ago (which you can watch here; team white winning 6-3)–it was much more entertaining than last year’s. Incidentally, when the Sens began having a 5-on-5 scrimmage in camp they initially held it the first full day, which never made sense to me, so I’m glad this was further into it. It’s of note that the play-by-play guys (Steve Lloyd and A. J. Jakubec) spent air-time defending the Brady Tkachuk pick from fan-criticisms–something that would not have been the case even six-seven years ago.
First Period
-Chalpik’s zone entries remain the same–the wide swing around the boards going from one side to the other looking to dish the puck off at the half boards (very effective if his linemates know what he’s doing)
-Wolanin with a lazy turnover
-D’Astous threw a hit on Tralmaks and just bounced off
-Loheit goes for the knee on Lyle
1. (White) Jaros breaks up a pass, but three players converge on Burgess who makes a great pass to a wide open Crookshank who scores stick-side on Gustavsson
-Hogberg makes a nice save on White
-Formenton just misses receiving a nice pass through traffic from Chlapik for a breakaway
-Burzan wins a battle against Leier which leads to a scoring chance by Lynch (erased by a stick-check from Kuffner)
-White with a nice pass to Loheit who deflects it wide
-Jaros fires a bullet wide in the slot
-Kaldis takes away a scoring chance
2. (Red) Lyle deflects in Burzan’s pass
-Lillibridge flubs an open chance on the PP
3. (White) Great pass by Chlapik to Nurmi who puts it off the post and in on the PP
-Gustavsson with a great stop off Wolanin in the slot
4. (White) Batherson turns it over and Tralmaks beats Gustavsson with a deke
-Tychonick throws it up the middle to the wrong team (Tralmaks) and Gustavsson makes a nice save on Leier
5. (Red) Off the same play White deflects in Batherson’s centering pass
-Great stop by Hogberg off Stewart
-Stewart runs Kelly
-Gustavsson with a nice stop off Chlapik
-Jaros with a big hit on Jordan
-Gendron throws a blind backhander up the middle from his own goal and is very lucky it isn’t intercepted inside the blueline
Second Period
-Stewart runs Leier
-Lynch stopped by Hollett on a breakaway
-Novak hits the post
-Jordan out muscles and out skates D’Astous and gets a weak backhander on Gustavsson
-Scarfo stoned by Hollett on a mini-breakaway
-Novak misses the net with a one-timer in the slot
-Hollett stones Gruden
-Hollett stops Gruden on a penalty shot
6. (Red) Lajoie fans on a rebound into the open net, but the puck goes to Sturm who puts it in
-Scheid prevents a goal (wrap-around into an empty net as Daccord over commits)
-Chlapik stopped on an odd-man rush SH by Daccord
7. (White) Burgess with a one-timer off a pass by Crookshank
Third Period
-Mandolese with a nice save off Sturtz
-MacLeod knees Lajoie
-Mandolese stops Sturtz
-Daccord with a stop on Chlapik
-Kaldis makes a good defensively play on Jaros
8. (White) Tkachuk with an errant pass in his own zone which results in Jordan beating Daccord on a bad angle shot
-Mandolese stops an awkward Brown shot in close
9. (White) Nurmi beats Daccord with a bad angle shot
-Stewart blocks Gagne’s shot
-Stewart hurts White with a shot from the point

Scouting Reports on FA Signings

I dug up a couple of scouting reports on a pair of free agent players the Sens signed this past season (neither was ever ranked for the draft):

Aaron Luchuk 2015 report from HP (you can read an interview by Colin with him here):

He has good speed and will challenge defenders one on one. He has good puck handling ability…able to create offense with a deceptive shot. He works hard on the backcheck, keeping up with opposing forwards and was usually a key part of the Spitfires penalty kill. … His offensive upside is somewhat untapped playing behind several veterans, so as he moves up the depth chart he will be able to show more of the offense he displayed in minor midget.

Parker Kelly 2017 report from HP:

…relies on his exceptional skating skills and work ethic to create space. His agility and explosiveness are impressive and this allows him to win the majority of his puck races. He is elusive in the cycle game and can evade defenders with his stops and starts. …[able] to keep his feet moving and create turnovers. He is a consistent pest, and he can both strip pucks from defenders and breakup passes with his smart defensive positioning. … When he does have the puck, he continues to keep his feet moving and strives in the cycle game. …not…overly creative but he has above average on-ice vision and has shown that he can make plays through traffic. In addition, he likes to shoot the puck in stride, utilizing a high leg kick, and these shots are a heavy and accurate, forcing goalies to make tough saves. …may not develop into a dominant offensive player, but we expect him to continue to progress

Ottawa’s European Drafting

Random thought: I wonder if the absence of Swedes the last two drafts is in response to the Mikael Wikstrand situation (from the fall of 2015). This is around the time Ary M gave the org the tagline risk-averse, which remains just as true today. I’ve often thought the Alexei Kaigorodov situation from 2006 was a catalyst for the org to avoid drafting Russians and while it’s hard to imagine them going for a complete Swedish ban they do shy away from risk, so it’s food for thought.

Free Agent Signings

I’ve been tracking FA signings (specifically those who haven’t played in the NHL from Europe, the NCAA, etc) and while there are many yet to come I thought it was reasonable to offer an update. We’ll start with Europe since that’s what I cover regularly (my most recent list of likely signings is here). From that list eleven players have been taken (highlighted below), with four others from prior lists (Vincent Praplan and Par Lindholm from my 2017 list; Juuso Ikonen from my 2016 list, and Yasin Ehliz from my 2015 list).

Europe (33): Vincent Praplan (SJ), Niclas Westerholm (Nsh), Lukas Radil (SJ), Yannick Rathgeb (NYI), Miroslav Svoboda (Nsh–originally drafted by Edm), Dominik Kahun (Chi), Michael Lindqvist (NYR), Juuso Ikonen (Wsh), Ville Meskanen (NYR), Filip Pyrochta (Nsh), Maximilian Kammerer (Wsh), Carl Persson (Nsh – attended Ott’s development camp in 2018), Lawrence Pilut (Buf), Igor Ozhiganov (Tor), Par Lindholm (Tor), Joel Persson (Edm), Saku Maenalanen (Car–originally drafted by Nsh), Juuso Riikola (Pit), Yegor Yakovlev (NJ), Kevin Lankinen (Chi), Patrik Rybar (Det), Ilya Lyubushkin (Ari), Michal Moravcik (Mtl), David Sklenicka (Mtl), Jacob Nilsson (Chi), Bogdan Kiselevich (Flo), Antti Suomela (SJ), Marcus Hogstrom (Cal), Yasin Ehliz (Cal), Brooks Macek (LVK), Martin Bakos (Bos), Michael Fora (Car), Veini Vehvilainen (Clb; drafted rather than signed)
NCAA (16): Zach Frye (SJ), Zach Whitecloud (VGK), Merrick Madsen (Ari–originally drafted by Phil), Cooper Marody (Edm–originally drafted by Phi), Cam Johnson (NJ), Mitch Reinke (Stl), Eric Robinson (Clb), Andrew Sturtz (Ott), Daniel Brickley (LA), Sheldon Rempal (LA), Josh Dickinson (Col), Tony Calderone (Dal), Karson Kuhlman (Bos), Andrew Oglevie (Buf), Jordan Gross (Ari), Ross Colton (TB)
CHL (6): Patrick Bajkov (Flo), Hayden Verbeek (Mtl), Tanner Jeannot (Nsh), Alexandre Alain (Mtl), Brad Morrison (LA–originally drafted by NYR), Aaron Luchuk (Ott)

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators Development Camp Invitees

Image result for parker kelly senators

The Sens are always in a rush to have their development camp right after the draft–perhaps it saves them money in some fashion, but for fans its a great opportunity to see new (and old) prospects play prior to summer vacations (for those who actually get vacations). I used to attend these all the time and if you get the chance they are a lot of fun. What I wanted to look at here are the free agent invitee’s on the Development Camp Roster (keeping in mind the majority of these players will never see the light of day again with the Sens):

Jonathan Aspirot DL DOB 99 QMJHL (Moncton) 67-7-19-26
Established a career high in PIMs this season (a theme as we’ll see), he finished third on the team in ppg with a fairly unremarkable numbers; I have absolutely no idea what he provides other than a warm body

Charles-Edouard D’Astous DL DOB 98 QMJHL (Rimouski) 59-18-38-56
The leading scorer among d-men for Rimouski (a team the Sens have drafted from before), he is tied for eighth in the league in D-ppg and fourth amongst those who are not drafted. It was a career year for the overager, but not without precedent (he had 40 points the previous season); like Stewart below he also accumulated far more PIMs than he normally has

Yanni Kaldis DR DOB 95 NCAA (Cornell) 33-4-15-19
Finished his sophomore season at Cornell (yet another team the Sens have drafted from) after a couple of years in the BCHL (where he put up good numbers that didn’t garner him draft attention); he’s the top scoring pure defensemen on his team (Alex Rauther is listed as a winger and blueliner, otherwise he’d be first by a nose)–I’m always happy to see skill so he’ll be an interesting one to watch

Graham Lillibridge DL DOB 99 USHL (Chicago) 56-4-41-45
At 5’9 he’s not at all the norm for the Sens; he finished well ahead of the other blueliners on his team and was second in ppg in the USHL. Committed to Yale, I applaud the Sens for giving someone like this a look (although I doubt they’d sign him)

Brady Lyle DR DOB 99 OHL (Owen Sound) 63-11-23-34
Steadily improving blueliner finished second in ppg on his team; he was universally picked for the 2017 draft (I had him pegged at #114), but wasn’t even discussed this year so presumably his stock has fallen

Ian Scheid DR DOB 95 NCAA (Mankato) 40-9-17-26
Didn’t show any ability in the USHL while putting up good numbers in both USHS and the NAHL; the last two years he’s been productive at Mankato; he finished second in ppg well behind LA draft pick Daniel Brickley; as a righthand shot he has extra appeal

Chase Stewart DR DOB 97 QMJHL (Rimouski) 53-5-35-29
After failing out of the OHL he wound up in the Q playing with Thomas Chabot the previous season; beyond a career year in his final stint in junior (not much of a feat) he also increased how much he fought (going from 4-5 fights a year up to 7). He was second on his team in scoring, well behind fellow invitee D’Astous. Since there’s no fighting at the camp I have no idea what he’s going to do, but the Sens love their tough guys

Luka Burzan
CL DOB 2000 WHL (Brandon) 72-15-25-40
Passed over in the draft (I had him at #80), his anemic production with Moose Jaw was enough to taint his success with Brandon (both teams that the Sens have drafted from in the past). Brandon had an enormously talented roster so there are reasons to question his sudden offensive production

Zach Jordan RW DOB 96 NCAA (Nebraska) 34-16-12-28
Big winger had an adequate USHL final season and then jumped from 2 points with Nebraska to 28 this season; it’s clear he’s riding the coattails of Detroit pick David Pope and Edmonton pick Tyler Vesel, but his size is going to tempt teams

Ryan Kuffner LW DOB 96 NCAA (Princeton) 36-29-23-52
Local boy who played with Gloucester finished up his junior season at Princeton (another org the Sens have picked from); he’s had a monster season where he lead the team in goals and was second in points (behind undrafted Max Veronneau–another local boy). His production, particularly as he’s always produced, may tempt the Sens

Robert Lynch CR DOB 98 QMJHL (Drummondville) 67-28-39-67
Enjoyed a career year with Drummondville (finished just behind first-round pick Nicolas Beaudin); first-rounder Joseph Veleno and undrafted Connor Bramwell contributed to his production, so it’s hard to say just where he is when it comes to skill

Gregor MacLeod LW DOB 98 QMJHL (Quebec) 54-19-26-45
QMJHLer had a modest career year playing for both Charlottetown and Quebec, his numbers spiking while playing with undrafted Matthew Boucher and Chicago pick Philipp Kurashev

Nico Sturm LW DOB 95 NCAA (Clarkson) 40-14-23-37
Not related to the former NHLer, the German national had middling seasons in the NAHL and USHL before heading into the NCAA where he’s had good numbers; his career year at Clarkson (playing with Sens prospect Kelly Summers) are given a boost by LA FA Sheldon Rempal, but as a big body there will always be interest

Eduards Tralmaks LW DOB 97 NCAA (Maine) 37-11-14-25
Lavian national has spent most of his career in various US systems; his only USHL season was unremarkable, but he put up better numbers in his freshmen year at Maine (tied for fourth in scoring and ppg); as a big body he’s going to be given an opportunity to impress

In all we have six NCAA players, five from the Q, and one each from the OHL, WHL, and USHL. In general invitees are never heard from again, but occasionally something comes out of it–Matt O’Connor attended long before the Sens signed him as a free agent and Parker Kelly attended before being signed this past season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Ottawa’s 2018 Draft

Image result for rock em sock em hockey 18 don cherry

In the midst of Ottawa’s ridiculous off-season the NHL entry draft has come and gone and the Sens had a eight picks as they attempt to…rebuild? Who really knows at this point. Trent Mann ran the board for the second straight year and some Mann-ish trends are now apparent: no Europeans (two years in a row through 12 picks), and staying safe–Mann doesn’t like taking chances so he’s content to pick players with limited upside if that limits the risk (you can read my review of last year’s draft here).

[I completely neglected to review my predictions for the Sens, so briefly: I nailed the Tkachuk pick; the following two selections were via draft deal deals so I wasn’t able to predict them, but I doubt I would have selected Bernard-Docker–who was much further down my list–nor Tychonick, who was much earlier; Gruden was supposed to be gone by their next pick so wasn’t included; Crookshank was ranked much, much later; Mandolese was much, much earlier; Novak wasn’t ranked by anyone; and Loheit didn’t make my list. This isn’t as on-target as last season, but as Mann moves away from the trends previously established adjusting takes some time.]

1-4 Brady Tkachuk (C/LW) DOB 99 6’3 NCAA (Boston U) 40-8-23-31 4th ppg
Son of the former NHLer, his numbers look a little better when you realize he’s second in ppg for players his age on his team (Shane Bowers is slightly ahead). This is a pick many Sens fans are not excited about, largely because of the talented players left available who were ignored for Tkachuk‘s perceived “intangibles” (shades of Curtis Lazar, although Tkachuk isn’t nearly that bad). For fans of actual numbers he does seem to make other players around him better, but this summarizes the general concerns about him:

there isn’t a meaningful (offensive) statistical category where Tkachuk has separated himself from the pack. When viewed through the lens of draft analytics, Tkachuk ranks in the bottom half of the first round or lower in expected likelihood of success; expected production; expected value; and situation, era, age, and league adjusted scoring

Scouts are effusive about him, but it’s all about old-time hockey stuff–they wax poetic about his intangibles, but there’s not a lot of substance. Since all the fluff is positive, let’s look at the concerns from scouts:

The biggest knock on his game at this time is his first-step


His burst could still be improved, but his advanced strength makes up for a lack of quickness in tight areas … He does have a habit of overplaying the puck at times, trying an extra move at the offensive blue line and losing possession, instead of dumping the puck deep and forechecking … defensively he could use his strength better. In his own zone, he’s not engaged every shift.


Weakness: overall quickness; consistency

My concern with Tkachuk me is that he’s someone useful in supporting talented players, but fourth overall picks are supposed to be the talented player. Over time this concern may go away, but I’m very leery about a player whose primary hype is over things like physicality and “meanness” because they so rarely yield results

1-26 Jacob Bernard-Docker (RD) DOB 2000 6’0 AJHL (Okotoks) 49-20-21-41 2nd ppg for D
I’m not sure what the hurry was for the Sens to pick him (reminds me of the wheeling and dealing to land Matt Puempel in ’11)–while he might not have been available at #48, he’s not first-round material either. Via Nichols we have:

a very solid two-way defenseman…but he’s not a real upside pick. He’s a good kid, plays a reliable game, can move the puck, but I don’t think he’s going to be an impact guy

That’s what a late-round pick is for. Of course, that’s just Pronman’s opinion, what about other scouts?

[one of the best at supporting] his partner … He’s quick to recognize his missed assignment…able to communicate effectively to his defensive partners during odd-man situations. … His wrist-shot is one of the better shots from the backend … he’s good at changing the angle…while laterally shifting positions or shooting. His first pass allows him to make accurate outlet passes but he’s also a capable puck distributor who can thread passes through high-traffic areas. His puck skills are a plus…though he’s a safer player in this aspect compared to some of the more dynamic offensive-minded defenseman … He’s not the most offensively gifted defender…but he’s versatile, smart, and well-rounded

They added that Tychnoick (below) has more upside. And

Positioning in his own zone is sound, although sometimes he appears to be guessing out there. Another drawback, according to scouts, is that he’s not very dynamic

They also thought his ability to get his shot off needed work. And

Good offensive player. Moves the puck well. Has great hands. Needs to improve strength to excel at the next level. Will need to improve defensive positioning and physicality to round out game.

Which sounds like a completely different player. The final guide see’s him as a second-pairing player who eats up minutes. I don’t hate this pick abstractly, but I’m concerned about where they picked this kind of player–one who could be a marginal pro that doesn’t offer anything that couldn’t be found by lower picks or inexpensive free agency.

2-48 Jonny Tychonick (DL) DOB 2000 6’0 BCHL (Penticton) 48-9-38-47 1st ppg for D
This is the kind of pick I can get behind–players with excellent numbers. What do the scouts say?

exceptional passing ability and impressive four-way mobility. His first-pass is one of the better passes in this class … impressive east-west movement … he does have a tendency to over-handle the puck in the neutral zone … [and] to shoot without traffic at times … he doesn’t control the tempo of a game at the rate he theoretically should considering his skills


His skating is remarkable … One of the most dynamic defenders in his draft class … his shot could stand to be crisper and more accurately utilized.

Otherwise there’s agreement on his offensive dynamism and concerns about his defensive play. Defense can be taught, so while scouts tend to fret over it like mother hens it’s not something I’m concerned with–it’s hard to score in the NHL, not defend.

4-95 Johnny Gruden (LW) DOB 2000 USHL (USNTDP Jr) 25-15-19-34 4th ppg
Not the son of NFL coach John Gruden, nothing at all stands out about him to me as he’s yet another “intangibles” player. Here are some scouting opinions.

he plays like a…power-forward despite his frame. He’s got a good first-step and is relentless on the forecheck … The big concern with Gruden’s game is if it’s translatable to the pro levels

And that’s my big concern. I mentioned at the time that he reminds me of Max McCormick and that’s not a player who helps you win–he just takes time away from players who do. And

has a nice stride that allows him to cover the ice with great energy … Occasionally,
he gets caught trying to do too much


Despite having solid all-around tools, lacks ultimate assets, which limits his potential a bit among smaller size.

The more you read about him the more he sounds like many other Sens draft picks (Shane EisermanVincent Dunn, etc), although his production makes the McCormick comparison seem the most apt. Max is a good player, but he’s a top-six AHL winger who can’t play on the powerplay and that’s not someone you ever need to draft–they are abundantly available all the time.

5-126 Angus Crookshank (LW) DOB 1999 5’11 BCHL (Langley) 42-22-23-45 2nd ppg
Wasn’t listed by many leaving me with just one scouting report to work with:

His speed ranges in a wide variety of gears that he can utilize with or without the puck … He owns a high level of skill. His puck control is super.

The above criticizes his strength, but that’s easily remedied. It’s hard to make much out of this–we can hope the scoring translates, but it will be a long time before he reaches even the minor leagues.

6-157 Kevin Mandolese (GL) DOB 2000 6’4 QMJHL (Cape Breton) .884 3.46 (best on his team)
Big Montrealer’s numbers are down from last year in the Q, but he plays on a team that’s poor defensively and beat his goaltending partner, so that’s a positive at least.

he’s not aggressive enough in his crease and stays too deep

A common issue for BSens goalie this past season, incidentally. And

Since his midget days, he has had the capacity to win games by himself, only to struggle in the next one. His rebound-control is associated with his consistency

This sounds like Chris Driedger‘s career. And

[has] a great blend of athleticism and aggressive play … can get himself into
trouble when he over-commits to the shot or challenges the shooter too much … must learn to focus better when the shooting pace is low.


Plays deeper in his crease and relies on his size to make saves. Positioning and tracking are good and consistent.

The final report is positive, but also comments on him staying too deep in his net. There’s clearly some disagreement on him (particularly his consistency), but he sounds like a shot in the dark–maybe he’ll pan out, maybe not, and that’s what late round picks are for. Whether the Sens needed another goaltender in the pipeline I’m not sure–I think it depends on how much faith you have in either Jordan Hollett (’17) or Joel Daccord (’15)–although frankly if the Sens would ever scout in Europe there are quality free agent goaltenders to pilfer without bothering to draft them.

7-188 Jakov Novak (C/LW) DOB 1998 6’3 NAHL (Janesville) 56-32-41-73 1st ppg
A local boy, it’s worth pointing out that Novak had a ridiculous amount of PIM’s relative to his teammates this season (something that wasn’t previously the case) and that’s an endearing quality to the Sens. He’s another player with just one scouting report to work with (in part, I think, because of how rarely scouts bother with the NAHL).

can play both wing and center due to explosive skating and agility … [gets] too involved after the whistle and can get to focused on trying to be that agitating presence instead of just playing his game

I like both the speed and offensive upside, although it’s harder to project from lesser leagues. The Sens went this route before with Todd Burgess (’16), whose ultimate fate we still don’t know (signs aren’t great, but there’s time left).

7-194 Luke Loheit (RW) DOB 2000 USHS (Minnetonka) 24-12-18-30 6th ppg
It’s not at all encouraging to see how far down the list he is when it comes to scoring on his own team and there’s only one scouting report on him.

played on a very deep roster … was called upon to play against other teams
top lines in a very tough conference … He has a long powerful skating stride … good instincts in his positioning and ability to read the play

Skating and defensive play are not in short supply so this doesn’t inspire much confidence. This is the biggest throwaway pick of the draft–I think he’ll disappear into the NCAA and like many Sens picks before him fade away without a thought afterwards.

This draft is heavily tier-2 (2 BCHL, AJHL, USHS, and NAHL), with a pick from the Q, NCAA, and USHL mixed in. Most of these players are going the college route and other than Tkachuk (who is probably a year away) are long-term picks. This is not what I expected at all, but given the metric ton of free agents signed (Parker KellyBoston Leier, Aaron Luchuk, Ryan Scarfo, and Andrew Sturtz) and trades made (Filip Gustavsson and Julius Bergman) for Belleville it seems like they want to sow the seeds for the future rather than worry about the present.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2018 NHL Draft

Image result for assessment

Another draft is in the books so it’s time to look at the prognostication and see how I (and the sources I use) did this year–you can read last year’s recap here. General Numbers: 92 Europeans, 73 Canadians, and 52 Americans were picked, which is on the low side for Canucks and high for Euro’s. As for the predictions, first let’s look at the numbers by round (not player X at position X, simply the correct player by round–I go into the why of this assessment here).
Acronyms: EOTS (Eye on the Sens), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), RLR (Red Line Report), ISS (International Scouting Service), and CS (Central Scouting).

First Round
HP: 26
EOTS: 24
FC: 23
RLR: 22
ISS: 21

This is similar to 2016‘s results. In terms of my misses: Noel, Wilde, Thomas, McLeod,  McIsaac, Samuelsson, and Woo (all picked the next round). In terms of surprises Filip Johansson’s pick stands out as no one had him pegged that early (I had him in the second). Every other player had at least one advocate for a first round selection.

Second Round
HP: 18
EOTS: 15
FC: 11
RLR: 10
ISS: 9

These are good numbers for HP and typical for me (a bit low for everyone else). The biggest surprise pick was Perunovich, who I excluded from my list because of his size (clearly not an issue for the Blues); while he was the biggest high riser (picked by just two sources, one of which had him as a seventh-rounder), other surprise picks include Romanov (#133), Lindbom (whom I also excluded due to size–also via two sources who had him in the fourth and fifth), and Iskhakov (#106). I had my first two complete misses, as both goaltender Rodrigue (#55) and big defenseman Kotkov (#61) fell out of the draft.

Third Round
EOTS: 12
HP: 8
ISS: 6

My number is on the high side for the round while the rest are average. This is where teams started swinging for the fences, as three players not on anyone’s radar were picked: Karlberg (not even CS ranked him), Eliasson (#11 CS), and Semykin (#25 CS). High risers included Dewar (I excluded him as he was a one-source overager), Karlsson (#193), Hutsko (#148), and Der-Arguchintsev (#146).

Fourth Round
HP: 8
ISS: 6
FC: 3

Numbers are in the normal range. Surprisingly there was just one off-the-board selection with overager Weatherby (#198 CS). High risers were Gibson (I left him out as he had just a sixth and seventh round nod), Hollowell (I excluded him because of size; two sources picked him), Gorniak (#210), Koumontzis (#164), Perbix (#161), and O’Reilly (#154).

Fifth Round
FC: 7
ISS: 3

Again the normal range of numbers. Lot’s of off-the-wall picks: Kukkonen (picked by no one), Pajuniemi (overager that no one had), Kruse (ibid), McGing (ibid), Hakkarainen (#179 CS), Durny (#9 CS), S. Johansson (#88 CS), and Chrona (no one had him). Along with the unexpected, the high risers were: Ersson (#214), Saigeon (received one seventh-round pick), Houde (ibid), and Busby (I excluded him due to size and injury; picked by two sources who had him in the fifth and seventh).

Sixth Round

Predictions crashed and burned here. Off-the-board: Holmberg (McKeen‘s had the overager, but no one else), Brattstrom (no one had the 21-year old), Kannok-Leipert (ibid), Kjellberg (ibid; son of former NHLer), Vehvilainen (highly touted by CS two drafts ago), Gorman (no one), Drew (ibid), Leonard (ibid), and Manukyan (ibid). High risers: Koepke (one seventh-round nod), , Boudrias (ibid), McFaul (ibid), Schutz (ibid), and Diliberatore (two seventh-round nods).

Seventh Round
HP: 6

Good numbers in general for the round. Swings for the fences: Kreu (no one had the huge blueliner), Novak (#214 CS), Kivenmaki (#102 CS), Slavin (no one had him), Siikanen (#70 CS), Shmakov (no one had the big ‘tender), Pakkila (#123 CS), Kinnunen (no one), Hentges (ibid), Kloucek (ibid), and Taylor (#25 CS). High risers: Kooy (two seventh-round nods), Wong (a sixth and seventh), Kucharski (ibid), Loheit (a seventh), Loewen (I excluded him because his numbers prior to this season were negligible; a fifth and seventh), Shen (also a fifth and seventh; he was highly touted by CS last year and was still #32 CS this time around), the Krygiers (#168 and #169), and Salda (#170).

Sum of Rounds (changes from last year noted)
HP: 72 (33.1%) (+6)
EOTS: 63 (29%) (-1)
FC: 57 (26.2%) (+7)
RLR: 54 (24.8%) (n/c)
ISS: 48 (22.1%) (-5)

As fun as the above is, the following is what I take seriously as the best assessment of who has their finger on the pulse of the draft.

Total Picks Taken in the Draft
HP: 162 (74.6%) (+3.7%)
EOTS: 155 (71.4%) (+3.2%)*
FC: 142 (65.4%) (+4.1%)
RLR: 139 (64.0%) (+0.9%)
ISS: 130 (59.9%) (-6.6%)**
* My “raw” list was at 150 (69.1%)
** 7 of their 10 goaltenders were picked, but as they weren’t included in their draft rankings I’ve excluded them

This is the third straight year HP finished ahead of me (the last time I had better numbers was 2015). Over the same period ISS has been the basement dweller and FC and RLR have alternated at third. The primary change, at least in terms of my performance, is ISS didn’t used to be this bad and using them is starting to hurt more than help. RLR has also experienced a significant drop and this is the second year FC has struggled. Why the change? It seems like HP has done a better job keeping up with NHL drafting trends while the others have not; it’s also possible HP simply has better scouts–until I really dig into their individual trends though I’m making educated guesses. That my own numbers haven’t drifted down further is due to my own efforts to keep up with what the NHL is actually doing at the draft (the last two drafts in particular I’ve done much better than the “raw” list). I was more skeptical about team’s taking smaller players than HP and that’s at least one reason for the differences (I excluded Lindbom, Perunovich, Vehvilainen, Hollowell, and Busby for that reason, for instance).

This draft represents the high water mark for HP in terms of total number of correct picks (but not their best percentage–this is their second best behind 2015–I still have the overall high with 78% from that year). In terms of my own picks moving forward clearly I need a weighted system to give HP’s selections more umph–I may also comb through McKeen’s numbers to see if adding them again is useful (I last used them in 2013).

The Biggest Surprises

So who was left high and dry at the end of the draft? Olivier Rodrigue (#55), the highest ranked goaltender going into the draft, was left on the board (the best for ISS and CS, a second-rounder for two others, and a fourth for the other)–given how many goaltenders were taken I’m not sure why he fell so hard. Also of note are monster blueliner Vladislav Kotkov (#61, who received two second-round picks), Danila Galenyuk (#76, another Russian who got a second), Luka Burzan (#80, also a second), Chase Wouters (#81, ibid), Nando Eggenberger (#91, Swiss was a first-round pick for one), and Egor Sokolov (#96, with a third-round selection). Of note is that most of these players were in North America, meaning there were plenty of scouting opportunities (Galenyuk and Eggenberger are the exceptions and the guide highest on the Swiss forward mentioned that few had seen him play outside of international tournaments).

Central Scouting Misses

As is typical for as long as I’ve covered this a number of CS-touted Europeans were ignored by NHL teams. The only notable change is that most had at least one guide along for the ride (albeit not ranked as high): Mikhail Bitsadze (#26, solitary sixth), Ivan Muranov (#34, solitary third), tiny Kristian Tanus (#35, fifth and a seventh), Michal Kvasnica (#40, solitary fourth), Ondrej Buchtela (#43), Bogdan Zhilyakov (#45, two sixths), and Fredrik Granberg (#49). As for goaltenders, Alexei Melnichuk (#8), Daniil Isayev (#9), and Daniel Dvorak (#10, solitary fifth) were left on the outside looking in.

As is the norm this CS-variation is not the case with the NA rankings, as it’s only later that players start falling off. From the top-100 only Linus Nyman (#89) and Maxim Golod (#97, solitary fifth) were not selected–both of whom are European, ironically enough. NA goaltending is similar as the first not selected was Christian Propp at #11.

A few highly ranked players from previous drafts who weren’t picked at the time did get picked this draft:
2016: Veini Vehvilainen (#3 CS at the time)
2017: Pavel Shen (#21 CS at the time) and Shawn Boudrias (#139 on my list at the time)

Trends via Unlisted Players

I thought I’d take a look at the various unlisted players to see if we can spot any trends beyond the usual eccentricities of 31 different organizations picking.

Marcus Karlberg (3-80/Clb; NR)
5’8 with good numbers in Swedish junior
Jesper Eliasson (3-84/Det; #11 CSEG)
6’3 ‘tender had limited international exposure while playing in Swedish junior
Dmitri Semykin (3-90/TB; #25 CSE)
6’3 righthanded blueliner with okay numbers in the MHL
Jasper Weatherby (4-102/SJ; #198 CSNA)
20-year old, 6’4 center headed to the NCAA after a big year in the BCHL
Miska Kukkonen (5-125/Buf; NR)
6’0 righthanded d-man who didn’t play much in Finnish junior (injuries at a guess)
Lauri Pajuniemi (5-132/NYR; NR)
6’0 winger passed through last year’s draft–spent most of the year playing in the men’s league as an 18-year old
Brandon Kruse (5-135/LVK; NR)
5’9 winger had a good year in the NCAA
Hugh McGing (5-138/STL; NR)
5’8 center has had two solid seasons in the NCAA
Michael Hakkarainen (5-139/Chi; #179 CSNA)
20-year old, 6’1 center had a career year in the USHL (et tu Nargo Nagtzaam?)
Roman Durny (5-147/Ana; #9 CSEG)
20-year old, 6’1 Slovak ‘tender had a solid year in the USHL
Simon Johansson (5-148/Min; #88 CSE)
6’2 righthanded blueliner had a good year in Swedish junior with some international exposure
Magnus Chrona (5-152/TB; NR)
6’4 Swede had good numbers in Swedish junior (no international exposure)
Pontus Holmberg (6-156/Tor; #154 McKeen’s)
5’10 Swede spent most of his time in Division I; drawing attention, presumably, through limited international action
Victor Brattstrom (6-160/Det; NR)
21-year old, 6’5 Swedish ‘tender had good numbers in the Allsvenskan
Alex Kannok-Leipert (6-161/Wsh; NR)
5’11 righthanded d-man had unremarkable number in the WHL
Simon Kjellberg (6-163/NYR; NR)
6’3 blueliner had unremarkable numbers in Swedish junior; son of the former NHLer who is a scout for the Rangers (seems like a Brad Peltz situation, ie, the team doing someone, in this case his dad, a favour)
Veini Vehvilainen (6-173/Clb; NR)
21-year old, 6’0 Finnish ‘tender is coming off a good year in the Liiga
Liam Gorman (6-177/Pit; NR)
6’3 center with decent numbers in US Prep
Hunter Drew (6-178/Ana; NR)
6’1 righthanded D put up a lot of PIMs in the Q
John Leonard (6-182/SJ; NR)
5’11 forward had good numbers in the NCAA
Artyom Manukyan (6-186/Van; NR)
20-year old 5’7 winger spent about half a season in the KHL with plenty of international exposure
William Worge Kreu (7-187/Buf; NR)
6’6 blueliner
Jakov Novak (7-188/Ott; #214 CSNA)
6’3 forward in the NAHL (which is not a great US junior league)
Otto Kivenmaki (7-191/Det; #102 CSE)
5’8 center had good junior numbers with some international exposure
Josiah Slavin (7-193/Chi; NR)
6’0 winger had middling USHL numbers
Patrik Siikanen (7-195/Edm; #70 CSE)
6’1 winger had okay numbers in Finnish junior
Shamil Shmakov (7-202/Col; NR)
6’6 goaltender had good numbers in the MHL
Eetu Pakkila (7-203/NJ; #123 CSE)
6’0 winger had solid numbers in Finnish junior with some international exposure
Santuu Kinnunen (7-207/Flo; NR)
6’2 righthanded blueliner had solid numbers in Finnish junior with limited international exposure
Sam Hentges (7-210/Min; NR)
6’0 center had decent numbers in an abbreviated USHL season
Milan Kloucek (7-213/Nsh; NR)
20-year old, 6’3 ‘tender had mostly good numbers in various Czech leagues
Ty Taylor (7-214/TB; #25 CSNAG)
6’3 ‘tender had good numbers in the BCHL

We have 16 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 8 goaltenders, so a high emphasis on position. Six of the eight defensemen are righthanded–a clear preference. Six of the sixteen forwards are smaller (versus one blueliner and one goaltender). Eighteen of the thirty-two players are overage, and twenty of them are in European leagues and I think it’s the latter factor that’s the larger one keeping them off lists. As for teams, Detroit and Tampa had the most of these picks (three each), with ten teams not taking any. On the undersized front, Columbus had the most (both of their players being smaller).

On the whole I was pretty happy with how things went. The goal remains to get ahead of HP (as I was in 2012 and 2015–we were tied 2013-14). A bit more research time would help so if I’m able to do that I will next year–while understanding the old school ‘character’ picks is a difficult exercise, the GMs who favour them are a dying breed so I think that’s less important than understanding the other elements.

My upcoming article will be Sens specific–we’ll go through who was picked and what scouts think of them (along with recent team trends)–I’ll also take a look at the Development Camp invitees (the roster was just announced). If you enjoy this content consider donating or supporting me on patreon–it all makes a big difference in me being able to invest the time in creating it.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa Senators Mock Draft

Image result for randy lee arrest

We start with a face we won’t be seeing at the draft, although there’s no doubt Randy Lee’s impute will have an effect regardless. With my massive draft article posted and with reference to my look at Ottawa’s draft tendencies last year, it’s time to make predictions for who the Sens will pick in the 2018 draft (you can see last year’s mock draft here). This is a difficult exercise because it’s impossible to know who will be available when the Sens pick, but it’s fun to speculate on the possibilities based on who we might expect to be available. As a quick refresher, here’s the basics of Sens tendencies:
-they only draft out of Sweden, the CHL, and the US leagues (Finnish forward Nurmi, from 2016, is the exception that proves the rule)
-size size size (the Sens have only picked one player under 6’0 since 2011–Dahlen, who was subsequently traded–their goaltenders are always at least 6’2)
-pick goaltenders late (since Lehner (09) no ‘tender has been picked earlier than the third round)
-at least 1 player from Sweden and the US systems (last year was an exception, in part due to only having 4 picks); there has also been at least 1 French-Canadian or QMJHL player picked since 2008

With that established, let’s take a look at who they might land.  I’ve listed sixish players around the pick based on my list and we’ll tackle them for probability (with the most likely in green).

First Round (1-4)
3. Filip Zadina (QMJHL) – I doubt he’ll be available, but he’s from the Q and there’s little reason to doubt the Sens would take him if available
4. Brady Tkachuk (NCAA) – Bob McKenzie says scouts like “that certain something” about him and nebulous qualities have a magical appeal to the org
5. Oliver Wahlstrom (USDP) – I think if they aren’t taking Tkachuk it’s more likely that they’ll pick one of the defensemen
6. Evan Bouchard (D) (OHL) – more typical NHL-size and a righthand shot; fits the org’s model better than Hughes and considered more talented than Dobson, so he’s the blueliner I’d guess if they take one
7. Noah Dobson (D) (QMJHL)
8. Quintin Hughes (D) (NCAA) – undersized (5’10)  with questions about his defensive capabilities–these are big red flags for the org so I’m not with the Silver Sevens’ pick here

First Round (1-22; from Pittsburgh)
20. Isac Lundestrom (SHL) – if he’s available he’s likely (if the org picked a defensemen with their first pick)
21. Bode Wilde (D) (USDP) – if he’s available and the Sens took a forward with their first pick, the righthand shot is likely
22. Alexander Alexeyev (D) (WHL) – he’s Russian and the org doesn’t pick them
23. Akil Thomas (OHL) – under 6’0 so it’s very unlikely the org would consider him
24. Rasmus Sandin (D) (OHL) – see above
25. Ty Dellandrea (OHL) – what I said about Lundestrom applies to him

Fourth Round (4-95)
93. Justus Annunen (Finn Jr) – he’s Finnish so I don’t think so
94. Nico Gross (D) (OHL) – this iteration of the org has never drafted a Swiss-player, although playing in the CHL may give him the camouflage necessary to be considered (ala the Czech players picked from the Q or the Slovak picked from Sweden)
95. Tyler Madden (USHL) – 5’11 so not in the org’s wheelhouse
96. Egor Sokolov (QMJHL) – he’s Russian, so no
97. Kevin Mandolese (G) (QMJHL) – I don’t think the org is picking a ‘tender this year
98. Danila Zhuravlyov (D) (MHL) – he’s Russian, so no
99. Ty Emberson (D) (USDP) – righthand shot, comes from the right place–he’s in the wheelhouse

Fifth Round (5-126)
124. Lenni Killinen (Finn Jr) – he’s Finnish, so no
126. Seth Barton (D) (BCHL) – righthand blueliner; if the Sens haven’t picked one yet, this would be the time
127. Ryan Chyzowski (WHL) – has NHL bloodlines and seems to fit the kind of players the org is likes
128. Connor Roberts (OHL) – he’s big which always appeals to the org
129. Riley Damiani (OHL) – 5’9 so no

Sixth Round (6-157)
155. Kristian Reichel (WHL) – has NHL bloodlines going for him, but the only Czech’s they’ve ever drafted have been from the Q so it’s a pass
156. Damien Giroux (OHL) – he’s 5’9 so no
157. Merrick Rippon (D) (OHL) – has ‘local boy’ going for him and the org loves that
158. Jack Randl (USHL) – under 6’0 so no
159. William Moskal (OHL) – nothing really stands out about him either way
160. Caleb Everett (D) (OHL) – if no blueliners have been taken yet, he’s another righthand shot

Seventh Round (7-188)
185. Ivan Prosvetov (G) (USHL) – Russian so no
187. David Lilja (Allsvenskan) – under 6’0 so no
188. Tim Berni (D) (NLB) – under 6’0 so no
189. Nikolai Kovalenko (MHL) – Russian so no
190. Alex Green (D) (NCAA) – yet another righthand shot; definitely the kind of player the org likes to take chances on (reminds me a little of Bryce Aneloski–not in terms of potential, but just who & what he is coming into the draft)
191. Yegor Sharangovich (KHL) – Russian so no (I know he’s Belarussian, but the org doesn’t know the difference)
192. Erik Portillo (G) (Swe Jr) – I mentioned I don’t think the org will pick a ‘tender because of how many they currently have in the system, but if they do a 6’6 one seems palatable
193. Linus Karlsson (Swe Jr) – offensive righthand center fits in the wheelhouse

Seventh Round (7-194; from NYR)
194. Akira Schmid (G) (Swi Jr) – he’s Swiss so no
195. Johan Sodergran (SHL/Swe Jr) – has great speed
196. Mike Callahan (D) (USHL) – gritty, but with a couple of blueliners taken I don’t think they’d take another
197. Isaac Johnson (WHL) – also in the team’s wheelhouse if Sodergran is gone

My List
1-4 Brady Tkachuk
1-22 Ty Dellandrea
4-95 Ty Emberson (D)
5-126 Ryan Chyzowski
6-157 Merrick Rippon (D)
7-188 Linus Karlsson
7-194 Johan Sodergran

In most draft years a third to half the players considered are actually already gone before the pick. There’s no one from the Q or who is French Canadian in my list, which is an issue, but otherwise this represents the kind of players the org will take.

My friends Ary M and Colin have posted many draft articles (check them out: first pick, second pick, top forwards, top defensemen, more forwards, even more forwards, and defensemen [and goalies]). The links include excellent data as well as scouting profiles, although they are more slanted to who is actually the best as opposed to reading the minds of the org. Like them I believe talent is what’s most important, but we know the Sens don’t operate that way.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


Analysis and Predictions for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft

The 2018 NHL draft is almost here so it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected. What follows is a long preamble, so for those simply interested in the list just scroll down. It’s worth noting that I am not a scout, simply someone who enjoys the draft.

Before we get into my list I’ll explain my methodology. With the advent of the salary cap in the NHL (2005) 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 agents.That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction. Sources covering the draft are not created equal, however, and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. My purpose is to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected (this is not unlike Bob McKenzie’s list, but my focus is the entire draft).

This is my ninth year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class which, as it happens, is very good. When I talk about successful predictions, I don’t mean player X was picked in X round at X position (ie, John Smith was #43 as predicted)–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (it’s never much higher than 25% and when you subtract the first round it bottoms out completely). These numbers and percentages reflect which players were selected in the draft, period. Here are the numbers from 2011 onwards (in brackets are the total number of players; until 2017 ISS listed 220 players as being selected in the draft, then only listed 200 that year, and gone back to 220 this year, so they are divided by that number or the total draft number, whichever is higher)):
Eye on the Sens (EOTS): 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 78.5 (165), 72.5 (153), 68.2 (148)=72.9 (153)
Hockey Prospects (HP): 74.2 (156), 72 (152), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 74.8 (154), 70.9 (154)=72.5 (153)
Future Considerations (FC): 73.8 (155), 71.1 (150), 68.7 (145), 69 (145), 69.2 (146), 70.1 (148), 61.3 (133)=69.0 (146)
Red Line Report (RLR): 73.8 (155), 73.9 (156), 67.7 (143), 64.7 (136), 73 (154), 66.8 (141), 63.1 (137)=69.0 (146)
International Scouting Service (ISS): 68.1 (150), 66.3 (146), 62.7 (138), 60 (132), 68.6 (151), 63.6 (140), 66.5 (131)=65.1 (141)

The differences aren’t particularly large (except for ISS), but they exist and remain consistent so there are meaningful differences between them. My ranking methodology goes as follows: I take the sum of the sources and produce an aggregate number (for example, player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then averaged to create the aggregate number, eg 23.66). This gives me something I can use for comparison and that creates my initial list. I then engage in comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y wins the head-to-head comparison, the latter is given the higher position (a head-to-head comparison works this way: 11, 30, 31, 38 loses to 12, 13, 16, 69, because the latter’s number is sunk by one bad score). I also put preference on those players picked by more sources (so a player picked by all or three guides is given preference over one picked by just one or two).

I don’t have the raw list vs the draft for every year, but I’m ahead in those I have (+9 currently; the list had 148 (2011), 157 (12), 150 (14), 162 (15), 153 (16). and 145 (17)–my 2013 file has, alas, vanished into the aether). It’s worth noting that there is a big difference between trying to assess who is the best player versus who will be drafted–my interest here is in figuring out who will be taken given the available data–the percentages above aren’t critiques of the guides (that’s a separate proposition), instead it simply shows how accurately they reflect the choices made by NHL teams.

Determining my Sources of Data

A wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), but not all are created equal. My preference is for guides covering the entire draft (as that’s my purpose here), but otherwise it’s simply based on results. For that purpose I use the International Scouting ServiceRed Line ReportFuture Considerations, and Hockey Prospect‘s, with Central Scouting (CS) as a reference point (keeping in mind historically NHL teams ignore CS’ European and goaltending rankings). In the past I’ve also used Corey Pronman, McKeen’sThe Hockey WritersThe Hockey News, and so on, but due to their various limitations I no longer do so. The area most guides struggle with is European scouting (presumably due to cost) and they are overly dependent on international tournament performances for their assessment (a limitation worth keeping in mind).  I’ll give one specific example to make the point: ISS actually lists how many times their scouts filed a report on a player and they saw Czech leaguer Martin Kaut 14 times; the two CHL players he’s sandwiched between were seen 33 and 43 times respectively–that’s a significant difference.

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 then further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders. As such it’s impossible to truly integrate CS into the aggregate number. ISS, on the other hand, separates only their goaltenders into a separate ranking, albeit this latter ranking no longer includes any reference to what round (if any) they expect the player to be taken in (it’s simply numbered 1 to 10), making it impossible to include their goaltenders in the aggregate score (so they become a CS-like reference point).


There are mixed feelings about this year’s draft class–a sense that elite talent falls off fairly quickly, but that there’s depth behind that (Bob McKenzie says there’s little difference between picks 20-65). Goaltending is considered particularly weak, which might mean unexpected selections or just fewer of them. The guides have 121 players (55.7%) in common (including 17 first-round picks), with 170 shared by three (78.34%), both of which are slightly higher than last year. This is, incidentally, the Year of the Small–I’ve never seen so many undersized players (particularly on defense) expected to be picked.
-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 (G) and defensemen (D)
-I’ve noted size where I feel it’s important (the NHL preference for size remains a factor); in general I’ve used HP’s sizes, as Mark Edwards’ waits until after the NHL combine to finalize those numbers

Draft Rankings

First Round

1. Rasmus Dahlin (D) (1.0) – the consensus pick (including Bob McKenzie)
2. Andrei Svechnikov (2.0) – the consensus #2 pick (for Bob as well)
3. Filip Zadina (3.25) – HP breaks the consensus by not having him third
4. Brady Tkachuk (3.75) – as above (Bob mentions scouts liking “that certain something” about him–nebulous qualities that lead to things like trading Adam Hall for Adam Larsson, no doubt)
5. Oliver Wahlstrom (5.75) – this is where divergence amongst sources truly begins, but no one has him later than 7th so he’s the next highest on the list
6. Evan Bouchard (D) (7.25) – everyone has him in the top-ten
7. Noah Dobson (D) (7.5)
8. Quinn Hughes (D) (7.75) – undersized (5’10) blueliners are difficult to place in the draft, but everyone still has him in the top-ten (with plenty of talk about him being the second best defenseman in the draft)
9. Adam Boqvist (D) (8.75) – a touch under 6’0 which puts him in the undersized category for blueliners; he’s the first name here with a pick outside the top-ten, but it’s only one
10. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (12.25) – Finn is a top-ten pick for one (Bob has him #5 and notes he’s the top-ranked center)
11. Barrett Hayton (13.5) – neck and neck with Smith below
12. Ty Smith (D) (13.75) – undersized for a defenseman (5’11), both FC and RLR are high on him, but he’s nudged out by score and head-to-head against Hayton
13. Joel Farabee (14.25)
14. Rasmus Kupari (16.5)
15. Martin Kaut (19.25) – it’s historically rare to have a tie-score this high in the draft, but Kaut’s pick-ceiling is higher, has NHL-size, and isn’t playing in Russia, so he comes first
16. Grigori Denisenko (19.25) – at 5’11 his size and the Russian factor puts him behind Kaut
17. Serron Noel (20.25) – this tie is almost exactly the same as the above, albeit Kravtsov is far from small, but Noel’s huge 6’5 frame is something else entirely
18. Vitali Kravtsov (20.25) – HP thinks he’s a top-ten pick, but he trails off quickly otherwise and him playing in the Russia makes him less appealing for some
19. Joseph Veleno (23.75) – sharply different opinions of him, with a top-ten and top-fifteen pick on the one side and two early second-round picks on the other
20. Isac Lundestrom (24.5) – yet another tie, but the Swede wins this one easily head-to-head
21. Bode Wilde (D) (24.5) – score propped up from a high FC ranking
22. Alexander Alexeyev (D) (26.75) – his score takes a dive from one source, as he otherwise ranks higher than Thomas
23. Akil Thomas (25.25) – a touch under 6’0 making him marginally undersized; outside the first round for one source
24. Rasmus Sandin (D) (28.25) – at 5’11 he’s undersized for a blueliner
25. Ty Dellandrea (29.0) – very close between he and Sandin
26. K’Andre Miller (D) (30.25) – gets the nod over Bokk because opinions on him are genuinely split
27. Dominik Bokk (30.0) – HP has him in their top-fifteen, which is well above anyone else
28. Ryan McLeod (31.5) – the last player with three first-round selections
29. Jared McIsaac (D) (32.75) – gets the nod over Samuelsson because one source’s ranking throws off his score
30. Mattias Samuelsson (D) (32.75) – son of former NHLer Kjell, the consensus puts him as a late first/early second rounder
31. Jett Woo (D) (38.75) – his score is wrecked by an arbitrary third-round pick; otherwise he has two firsts and an early second; at 6’0 he’s undersized for a D-man (Bob has him in the second round)

This round is comprised of 19 forward and 12 defensemen. Sixteen other players received first-round selections, including four with two (Breggren, Groulx, Marchenko, and Merkley). The overall number is higher than usual, with the number of double selections one lower than last year (which is still high). In terms of Bob’s list, only Foudy isn’t listed for me (making this our most similar selection ever).

Second Round

32. Benoit-Olivier Groulx (39.0) – another double first-rounder with a third thrown in
33. Kirill Marchenko (39.0) – big Russian winger is the only double first-round selection who doesn’t have a pick outside the second
34. Ryan Merkley (D) (41.5) – undersized at a smidge under 6’0, he’s the second last double first-round pick (McKeen’s also has him in the first round); Bob mentions he has well-known attitude problems
35. Jonatan Berggren (46.5) – his score is wrecked by a solitary and seemingly absurd third-round pick; otherwise he has two firsts (plus McKeen’s) and an early second; at 5’10 he’s undersized
36. Jonathan Tychonick (D) (34.5) – a touch under 6’0, he fits inside a very narrow band of early second-round picks
37. Jacob Olofsson (35.5) – gets a late first-round slot from FC
38. Jacob Bernard-Docker (D) (35.75) – a first-round pick for one; at 6’0 he’s under ideal size for a blueliner
39. Nils Lundkvist (D) (39.75) – a second-rounder for most, HP is very high on him; at 5’11 he’s undersized for a defenseman
40. Calen Addison (D) (40.0) – undersized at 5’10; one source is very high on him (McKeen’s also has him in the first round)
41. Liam Foudy (41.0) – gets one first-round selection (plus McKeen’s and Bob)
42. Jay O’Brien (41.75) – one first-round pick
43. Kevin Bahl (D) (43.5) – 6’6 defender gets a first-round pick
44. Jakub Lauko (43.75) – beats Ginning head-to-head, with both having wildly different rankings
45. Adam Ginning (D) (43.75)
46. Filip Hallander (48.25) – Swede is a second-rounder across the board
47. Jesse Ylonen (50.25) – the same goes for the Finn
48. Sean Durzi (D) (51.0) – the first player who doesn’t appear on a list (due, from what I can tell, to insufficient viewings because of injuries); undersized (5’11), but consistently in the second-round for everyone else
49. Jack McBain (52.75)
50. Nicolas Beaudin (D) (55.5) – undersized blueliner gets a first-round nod along with a third-round pick; beats Morozov on both the Russian factor and pure scouting exposure
51. Ivan Morozov (54.5)
52. Jake Wise (58.5) – opinions on the undersized (5’10) center are split between the second and third round
53. Filip Johansson (D) (63.75) – similar swing in opinions on the Swede
54. Allan McShane (64.5) – another undersized (5’11) forward
55. Olivier Rodrigue (G) (64.66) – the top goaltender for ISS (whatever that means), he gets a couple of second-round picks (second for Bob too), with a fourth for the other
56. Niklas Nordgren (66.75) – at 5’9 the Finn might fall out of the draft (ala Nyman and Moilanen last year), but he gets three second-round selections along with a fourth
57. Stanislav Demin (D) (67.25) – very mixed opinions on him, including a third and fourth-round selection
58. David Gustafsson (67.5) – strongly varied picks, from early second to third or fourth
59. Alec Regula (D) (68.0) – narrow band of picks in the late second/early third
60. Jack Drury (68.25) – slightly undersized (5’11)
61. Vladislav Kotkov (73.75) – big blueliner with hands has his number sunk by one ranking; despite issues with skating and (according to some) motivation, there’s little reason to doubt teams will want to take a chance on him
62. Kody Clark (83.25) – like Kotkov his number is tanked by a single bad ranking

This round consists of 18 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 1 goaltender. Just two other players (Ranta and Fonstad) received two second-round selections (which is below the norm).

Third Round

63. Sampo Ranta (72.25) – mixed opinions, with a couple of seconds, a third, and fourth-round pick
64. Cole Fonstad (75.75) – undersized (5’10) forward has the same mixed opinions as Ranta above
65. Albin Eriksson (82.75) – number gets sewered by one source, but he’s a first-round selection for another
66. Martin Fehervary (D) (86.75) – like Eriksson above one pick wrecks his total; gets a late second and a couple of thirds otherwise
67. Philipp Kurashev (71.0) – gets one second-round nod, but is otherwise solidly in the third
68. Jan Jenik (71.33) – the second player not ranked by one source (in this case not one of the better predictors); he slots all over the map (second, third, and fourth)
69. Jakub Skarek (G) (73.33) – big Czech goaltender is also ranked all over the place (ala Jenik)
70. Blake McLaughlin (75.25) – gets one second-round pick
71. Riley Sutter (91.0) – score wrecked by one pick, otherwise second to fourth
72. Oskar Back (94.25) – as above
73. Aidan Dudas (98.75) – as above
74. Riley Stotts (79.00) – has a second and fourth-round nod
75. Milos Roman (79.75) – universally placed in the third-round
76. Danila Galenyuk (D) (100.5) – score wrecked by one pick, otherwise second to fourth
77. Gabriel Fortier (83.0) – 5’10 forward is also universally slotted in the third (I wonder if he’ll suffer the fate of his brother Maxime who, at similar size and also from the Q, passed through two drafts despite predictions)
78. Cameron Hillis (84.0) – another undersized forward (5’10) gets a second and a fifth-round pick
79. Alexander Khovanov (84.25) – 5’11 forward also has a second and fifth
80. Luka Burzan (84.25) – second and a couple of fourths; a nose under 6’0
81. Chase Wouters (84.25) – just under 6’0; second and a fourth
82. Matej Pekar (85.75) – two early thirds and two fourths
83. Blade Jenkins (91.75) – number tanked by one ranking; otherwise a second and two-thirds
84. Jordan Harris (93.25) – as above
85. Bulat Shafigullin (88.66) – not picked by one source, he’s a second-rounder for another
86. Lukas Dostal (G) (92.0) – beats Ingham by being ranked by everyone (including a second-round nod)
87. Jacob Ingham (G) (87.5) – not ranked by one source and ISS’ number is about as relevant as peanut butter
88. Jachym Kondelik (90.33) – huge center (6’6) is evenly split between the third and fourth round
89. Jonathan Gruden (90.75) – just slightly under 6’0; three thirds and a fourth
90. Eric Florchuk (92.25) – number thrown off by a fifth; has two third-round picks
91. Nando Eggenberger (97.5) – tally thrown off by one pick; the final player with a first-round selection (this wild variation seems to be a product of most scouting viewings being limited to his intentional tournament play)
92. Curtis Hall (94.75) – evenly split between thirds and fourths
93. Justus Annunen (G) (95.33) – wild variance (second, third, and fifth)

This round consists of 25 forwards, 2 defensemen, and 4 goaltenders. Seven players remain with a (single) second-round selection; two with three third-round picks and another four with two.

Fourth Round

94. Nico Gross (D) (100.0) – blueliner beats Madden head-to-head (he’s in the same situation with one pick throwing off the consensus)
95. Tyler Madden (98.5) – undersized (5’11) forward has his number thrown off by one ranking; otherwise it’s all thirds
96. Egor Sokolov (90.33) – unranked by one source, he gets a third and two fourths otherwise
97. Kevin Mandolese (G) (99.33) – gets a second-rounder along with a pair of fourths and a teddy-bear from ISS
98. Danila Zhuravlyov (D) (99.75) – at 6’0 he’s a bit undersized for a blueliner; picks evenly split between the third and fifth rounds
99. Ty Emberson (D) (102.0) – gets a second-round selection
100. Axel Andersson (D) (103.25) – undersized at just under 6’0; gets a second-round pick
101. Xavier Bouchard (D) (103.75) – actually beats Andersson head-to-head, but I prefer the Swede’s draft-upside (Bouchard peaks as a mid-third-rounder)
102. Giovanni Vallati (D) (103.75) – like the other two defenseman above his number he’s hurt by a solitary fifth-round pick
103. Xavier Bernard (D) (104.75) – wins head-to-head; has a second-round selection
104. Amir Miftakhov (G) (104.66) – undersized (6’0), Russian, and unlisted by one source so could fall completely out of the draft
105. Filip Kral (D) (108.0) – evenly split between third and fifth-round picks
106. Ruslan Iskhakov (114.5) – only 5’8, the Russian is ranked from the second to the sixth-round, but could fall out completely
107. Anderson MacDonald (125.75) – sewered by one pick, he beats everyone who follows head-to-head
108. Curtis Douglas (116.75) – 6’8 (!)
109. Kyle Topping (116.75) – 5’11 forward is next head-to-head
110. Dmitri Zavgorodniy (130.75) – at 5’8 he could fall right out of the draft; gets a pair of third-round picks regardless
111. Declan Chisholm (D) (128.0) – evenly split between the fourth and fifth round
112. Mitchell Hoelscher (112.33) – not ranked by one source
113. Pavel Gogolev (119.0) – ranges from the third to the sixth
114. Paul Cotter (126.25) – number hurt by a sixth-round selection
115. Nathan Dunkley (123.75) – at 5’11 he’s undersized
116. Jacob Pivonka (113.66) – son of former NHLer Michal; not listed by one source
117. Krystof Hrabik (113.0) – not listed by one source
118. Adam Mascherin (142.5) – undersized (5’10) forward is re-entering the draft; his number is off because one source calls him a top-50 pick without putting him in their top-50; he’s unlisted by another (likely in error)
119. Egor Zamula (D) (135.75) – has his number sewered by one ranking
120. Dawson Barteaux (D) (141.0) – two fourths, a fifth, and a sixth
121. Justin Almeida (121.33) – at 5’9 he could fall through; not listed by one source
122. Marcus Westfalt (123.0) – two fourths and a fifth
123. Toni Utunen (D) (130.0) – undersized (5’10) blueliner ranges from fourth to sixth
124. Lenni Killinen (132.0) – the same range as Utunen

The round is comprised of 17 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. One second-round pick remains along with five who have two fourths.

Fifth Round

125. Alexis Gravel (G) (124.66) – the final player with a second-round selection, otherwise he’s slotted in the sixth-round (ISS gives him a jellybean)
126. Seth Barton (D) (127.0) – beats Chyzowksi head-to-head; not picked by one source
127. Ryan Chyzowski (127.0) – not listed by one source
128. Connor Roberts (129.66) – not listed by one source, otherwise all put him in the fifth
129. Riley Damiani (145.75) – the 5’9 forward has his total thrown off by one seventh-round selection; he also has a third and two fifth’s
130. Patrick Giles (145.25) – of the players picked by all sources, he’s next best head-to-head
131. Adam Samuelsson (D) (141.75) – 6’6 d-man is next among all sources head-to-head
132. Carson Focht (145.0) – wins the comparison
133. Alexander Romanov (D) (132.66) – undersized (5’11) isn’t picked by one source, but gets a third-round nod
134. Tristen Nielsen (137.66) – the last player with both a third and fourth-round pick; not included by one source
135. Wyatte Wylie (D) (138.66) – among players remaining with two fourth-round picks he scores the highest
136. Gavin Hain (136.66) – undersized (5’11) forward is next highest head-to-head amongst those with two fourth-round picks
137. Matthew Struthers (144.0) – next among double-fourths; not picked by one source
138. Riley Hughes (146.33) – the final double fourth-round pick
139. Lukas Wernblom (134.0) – 5’9 forward could fall out of the draft
140. Vladislav Yerymenko (D) (136.33) – undersized (smidge under 6’0) blueliner isn’t ranked by one source
141. Oliver Okuliar (134.66) – despite playing in a Slovak junior system no one is watching, performed well internationally and three sources included him (a third and two sixth’s)
142. Tyler Weiss (145.0) – undersized (5’10) forward isn’t ranked by one, but gets a third-round selection
143. Daniel Kurovsky (143.66) – beats Jensen head-to-head
144. Jack Jensen (142.33) – unranked by one source
145. Jackson Leppard (146.66) – not listed by one source
146. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (149.66) – three fifth-round selections, but at 5’10 he could slide out of the draft (he’s the second youngest player in the draft, incidentally)
147. Connor Corcoran (D) (149.75) – a fourth and two fifths and everyone has him in the draft
148. Logan Hutsko (148.0) – 5’9 forward goes from fourth to out of the draft
149. Liam Kirk (152.75) – all have him selected, ranging from fourth to sixth
150. Jack St. Ivany (D) (152.66) – mixed opinions on the blueliner
151. Alexander Steeves (153.66) – undersized (5’11), but beats Pettersen head-to-head
152. Mathias Emilo Pettersen (153.33) – even smaller (5’9) which could drop him out of the draft
153. Jared Moe (G) (153.0) – wild range of picks (highest is fourth)
154. Ryan O’Reilly (162.25) – picked by all to be taken, ranging from fourth to seventh
155. Kristian Reichel (162.75) – as above; son of NHLer Robert

The round consists of 22 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. Three players remain with third-round selections (all picked by just one source); eight players remain with fourth-round selections.

Sixth Round

156. Damien Giroux (155.0) – at 5’9 he’s another sink or swim pick; not selected by one source, but another has him in the fourth round
157. Merrick Rippon (D) (159.0) – from fourth to out of the draft
158. Jack Randl (160.0) – undersized (5’11); picked fifth to out of the draft
159. William Moskal (161.66) – fifth to out
160. Caleb Everett (D) (163.66) – beats Perbix on head-to head; a fourth-rounder for one source
161. Jackson Perbix (163.33) – gets a fourth-round nod
162. Adam Gajarsky (165.0) – undersized (5’10) he’s the last player with two fifth-round selections
163. Angus Crookshank (164.66) – undersized (5’11) he’s a fifth-rounder for one
164. Demetrios Koumontzis (165.0) – undersized (5’10) he ranges from the fourth to out altogether
165. Tyler Tucker (D) (172.25) – no one seems particularly enthused about him, but everyone puts him in the sixth round
166. Carl Jakobsson (174.33) – the last player picked by three that includes a fourth; the other two are sevenths so the enthusiasm is limited
167. Peetro Seppala (D) (176.0) – from fifth to out of the draft
168. Cole Krygier (D) (183.0) – beats his brother by being picked for the draft by all sources; son of former NHLer Todd
169. Christian Krygier (D) (177.66) – one source leaves him out of the draft, otherwise he and his brother are nearly identical in their pick-range (there isn’t much enthusiasm for either)
170. Radim Salda (D) (179.33) – on the smaller side of acceptable for D-men; gets a fifth
171. Sean Comrie (D) (179.66) – as Salda in terms of size, but less enthusiasm (sixth is as high as he goes)
172. Libor Zabransky (D) (180.33) – essentially the same profile as Comrie; the last player picked by three sources
173. Anton Malyshev (101.5) – the top-rated two-sourcer
174. Semyon Kizimov (108.0) – couple of fourth-round picks
175. Vladislav Syomin (D) (114.0)
176. Michal Ivan (D) (115.5)
177. Luke Henman (123.5) – under 6’0; gets a third-round pick
178. Joel Hofer (G) (124.5)
179. Joey Keane (D) (125.0)
180. Nathan Smith (128.5) – gets a third-round selection
181. Karel Plasek (131.0) – undersized (5’10), he gets a fourth-round nod
182. Santeri Salmela (D) (132.5)
183. Martin Pospisil (132.5) – gets a fourth-round selection
184. Brodi Stuart (134.0) – undersized (5’10)
185. Ivan Prosvetov (G) (135.5) – gets a third-round nod

The round is comprised of 16 forwards, 13 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. Three players remain with selections that are fifth-round or earlier; no players remain with anything higher than a third-round selection.

Seventh Round

186. Zachary Bouthillier (G) (135.0) – a couple of fifths
187. David Lilja (146.0) – a little under 6’0; his scouting reports are more impressive than Berni’s
188. Tim Berni (D) (139.0) – undersized (5’11) he may not have done enough in Switzerland to tempt a team to take him; he’s the final player with two fifths
189. Nikolai Kovalenko (66.0) – undersized (5’10) Russian who didn’t play in any intentional tournaments, meaning most of the scouts for guides have never seen him–the question is: has anyone from the NHL?
190. Alex Green (D) (74.0) – college D-man is a righthand shot who can move the puck, but this is his third time through the draft and there’s just one source picking him (who is very confident he’ll be taken, however)
191. Yegor Sharangovich (102.0) – an overage Russian who played in the KHL; a power forward with some hands, so he might engender some interest
192. Erik Portillo (G) (133.0) – enormous (6’6) ‘tender has a chance to go despite limited exposure
193. Linus Karlsson (134.0) – a glowing scouting report means despite the solitary selection there’s a chance he’ll go
194. Akira Schmid (G) (150.0) – good size along with some good results internationally mean there’s a chance the Swiss ‘tender will be taken
195. Johan Sodergran (152.0) – plenty of potential in the Swedish forward as great speed means he’s the kind of player GM’s can take a chance on
196. Mike Callahan (D) (153.5) – has that mix of grit and potential that will entice some GM’s
197. Isaac Johnson (158.5) – seems to have the general toolset required to tempt a team
198. David Hrenak (G) (118.0) – taking a flyer on a goaltender who has never been a starter is unlikely, but the scouting information on him is very positive and it is a weak year for goaltenders
199. Daniel Dvorak (G) (141.0) – reading between the lines it seems like one poor international tournament has the other guides down on him (again, the limitations of a small European scouting staff); while he has weaknesses, there’s certainly raw potential
200. Carl Berglund (161.0) – has pretty good numbers, but no international exposure seems to have kept him off other lists (I couldn’t find a decent scouting report for him)
201. Einar Emanuelsson (NR) – 5’10 overager is coming off a career year in the SHL
202. Martin Bodak (D) (136.0) – picked by two sources; much like Khodorenko below the issue seems to be whether his skills can translate at the next level
203. Patrick Khodorenko (158.0) – scouts aren’t sure his skill set will translate at the next level (despite good numbers)
204. Aiden McDonough (89.0) – raw power forward that scouts will have seen while watching O’Brien
205. Jeremi Gerber (105.0) – Swiss winger has good numbers and at least one source is excited about him
206. Matej Blumel (94.0) – 5’11 bombed out in the USHL, but was good internationally–what will matter more?
207. Arttu Nevasaari (163.0) – picked by two sources; the issue seems to be that the undersized (5’11) Finn can score, but scouts wonder if he can do anything else–that said, scoring is a rare commodity so I’m including him
208. Zach Solow (126.0) – mighty midget (5’9) is going through the draft yet again, but only one guide is picking him despite good production in the NCAA (he could easily slide out of the draft); he, like Nyman below, is a litmus test for how much the NHL has changed
209. Dennis Cesana (D) (161.0) – undersized (5’10) defensemen had great numbers in the AJHL; size could be a concern along with the level of play (do his skills translate?), but there are things to like (there’s just not a lot of material to work with in assessing him)
210. Jack Gorniak (167.0) – pretty mixed opinions on the undersized (5’10) player, but he has great speed which might be enough to tip the scales
211. Michael Kesselring (D) (167.0) – big and has some offensive upside; that potential outweighs other concerns
212. Ben Copeland (169.0) – undersized (5’10) overager had a career year, but his great speed is likely what will attract teams to him
213. Mason Snell (D) (171.0) – doesn’t have great size for a blueliner (6’0), but apparently has intriguing tools (“intangibles”)
214. Samuel Ersson (G) (171.5) – bit of a sleeper pick, but with a soft goaltending pool it’s possible
215. Vojtech Kropacek (181.0) – great speed with hands could make him a worthwhile risk
216. Adam Klapka (NR) – the 6’7, righthanded Czech forward had good numbers in that junior system, but with no international exposure no one outside CS was looking at him; at his size there’s a good chance someone will take a flyer on him
217. Linus Nyman (NR) – I had him in last year’s draft, but the 5’9 Finn wasn’t picked–he had big numbers in the OHL (third-highest among draft-eligible players), so if small-is-in he could very well be picked (his issues are apparently strength and skating, but there’s room for both to improve)

The final round consists of 19 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 5 goaltenders (for a total of 136 forwards, 65 defensemen, and 16 goaltenders). It was tough filling out the bottom end of this round as most of the multi-picked players have low rankings and the high ranked Central Scouting players who were not included don’t have remarkable numbers. The guides pushed hard on smaller players and NHL GM’s can still push back (Tampa can only pick so many times after all)–I expect some of them to fall through the cracks, but this draft is a true litmus test on whether the NHL is finally embracing smaller players or not. I feel a lot of trepidation in picking as many smaller players as I did and the goaltending pool is so uncertain there could be a lot of misses above.

Nearly Made It

Olof Lindbom (G) – one of two players excluded who were picked by three sources (and Bob in this case); at 6’0 it’s much less likely an NHL team will take a chance on him (DiPietro fell from a first-rounder to a third in 2017 because of size, just as highly ranked Veini Vehvilainen hasn’t been drafted yet, so it’s the kind of thing GM’s might not want to take a chance on)–keeping him out was by far the hardest decision I made
David Tendeck (G) – the other three-sourcer; he’s 6’1 and on the fringes for most–in a weak goaltending field I think he’ll slide out
Jermaine Loewen – picked by two sources; big, overage power forward coming off a career year, but as one of the oldest players in the draft puts questions marks around that output
Veini Vehvilainen (G) – 6’0 ‘tender mentioned above: if NHL teams are willing to take smaller goaltenders he’s near the top of the list, as he’s had good numbers in the Liiga this year and two years ago

On the Outside

A look at some players who are not included above and why:
Bogdan Zhilyakov (D) – thought to have taken a step back
Mac Hollowell (D) – at 5’9 there seems no chance he’ll be taken
Nikita Rtishchev – a Russian with some exposure, but like Muranov below he’s a checker and as there’s never a shortage of checkers who aren’t Russian so there’s no real pressure to pick him
Spencer Stastney (D) – despite NHL attitudes towards size starting to change, the 5’10 D-man is going to have to blow scouts away to be picked and that doesn’t seem to have happened
Scott Perunovich (D) – another 5’9 blueliner (Bob has him on his list, but I just don’t see it)
Carter Robinson (D) – nothing stands out about the blueliner
Samuel Bitten – a defense-first player who lacks speed isn’t that appealing
Ryan Savage – 5’11 forward who can’t skate and has limited talent; other than an NHL father and “intangibles” there’s no real appeal
Pavel Shen – Russian overager lacked much international exposure and if good numbers last year didn’t tempt a team I’m not sure what will have changed this year
Kristian Tanus – at 5’6 I just don’t think anyone will draft him
Dennis Busby (D) – undersized (5’10) blueliner who was hurt most of the season
Ivan Muranov – another Russian with no exposure; unlike Kovalenko (who made the list) he’s a plugger and there’s little reason for an NHL team to go abroad for that kind of player (one caveat: one source does think he has top-fifty talent, so keep that in mind)
Zachary Emond (G) – in a year of weak goalies he could be taken, but there’s no pressing reason to assume that he will be
Michal Kvasnica – another plugger–I don’t see the appeal
William Ennis (D) – defensive defenseman who may have already peaked
Jesper Sellgren (D) – no scouting report, so I have no idea why the undersized blueliner was picked
Roman Kalinchenko (D) – played in the WHL so not an unknown quantity and his numbers are pedestrian
Keegan Karki (G) – off-ice issues and mental make-up explain his solitary selection
Brett Stapley – good numbers for the overager in the BCHL, but with just the one scouting report to work with there wasn’t enough for me to include him
Juuso Ketola (D) – undersized Finn’s scouting report is filled with red flags
Jacob Ragnarsson (D) – no offensive upside and a smaller defensive d-man isn’t going to appeal to NHL GM’s (unless they have nostalgia for his father)
Linus Kronholm (D) – no exposure and being very raw mean it’s unlikely anyone will take a flier on him
Linus Nassen – a smaller (5’11) player with good smarts but an average skill-set; international exposure could help, but being picked seems unlikely
Hugo Leufvenius – conditioning and skill-ceiling concerns
Maxim Golod – the Russian import is a known quantity (along with smaller, 5’11) with red flags to join his potential, so he seems unlikely to be taken
Ethan Manderville – no offence and poor skating is not very appealing; does have the NHL dad, however
Connor Dewar – undersized (5’10) overager’s numbers improved a lot, but not enough to impress more than one guide
Owen Lalonde (D) – defensive defenseman with limited tools
Maxim Sorkin – defensive forward with limited offensive upside
Mikhail Bitsadze (26 CSE) – at 5’10 and with no numbers I don’t see it
Central Scouting
Dmitri Semykin (D) (25 CSE) – has a lot of raw potential, but with limited international exposure no one seems keen to pull the trigger on the big defenseman
Ondrej Buchtela (D) (43 CSE) – no exposure and unremarkable numbers
Fredrik Granberg
(D) (49 CSE) – defensive defenseman with limitations moving the puck
Danil Gizatullin (52 CSE) – 5’11, no exposure, but decent numbers
Danila Dyadenkin (54 CSE) – no exposure with brutal numbers
Jerry Turkulainen (61 CSE) – good numbers in the Liiga along with international exposure, but at 5’6 no one is biting

So that’s the list. I’d like to beat HP this year, but we shall see. It’s hard for someone interested in analytics to factor in the old school, eye-test NHL GM’s and figure out just how many of those remain and where their heads are at. I firmly believe skill is what wins so when I read about a player with that limitation it’s hard to accept that there are still GM’s out there who still buy into the “good-in-the-corners/room” mantra.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)