Analysis and Predictions for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft


The 2017 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 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 my eighth 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 went in X round at X position (ie, John Smith was #43 as predicted)–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (in the years I tracked it the number was a little higher than 25% and when you subtracted the first round it bottomed 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 this year ISS listed 220 players as being selected in the draft, so they’re divided by that number)):
Eye on the Sens (EOTS): 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 78.5 (165), 72.5 (153)=72.9 (153)
Hockey Prospects (HP): 74.2 (156), 72 (152), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 74.8 (154)=72.8 (152)
Future Considerations (FC): 73.8 (155), 71.1 (150), 68.7 (145), 69 (145), 69.2 (146), 70.1 (148)=70.3 (148)
Red Line Report (RLR): 73.8 (155), 73.9 (156), 67.7 (143), 64.7 (136), 73 (154), 66.8 (141)=69.9 (147)
International Scouting Service (ISS): 68.1 (150), 66.3 (146), 62.7 (138), 60 (132), 68.6 (151), 63.6 (140)=64.8 (142)

The differences aren’t particularly large, but they exist and remain consistent so there are meaningful differences between them.  My ranking methodology goes as follows: I take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then averaged to create his aggregate number). This gives me something I can use for comparison and my initial rough list is created accordingly. 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 don’t have the raw list vs the draft for every year, but I’m ahead of those I have (+6; the list had 148 (11), 157 (12), 150 (14), 162 (15), and 153 (16)). 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 draft guides provide–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 Service, Red Line Report, Future 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 used Corey Pronman, McKeen’sThe Hockey Writers, The 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 dependent on international tournament performances–this echoes a lot of NHL scouting and it’s 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 Filip Chytil 6 times; the two CHL players he’s sandwiched between were seen 20 and 26 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, making it impossible to include their goaltenders in the aggregate score so that they become simply a CS-like reference point.


This is considered to be a weak draft year; as such, teams can be expected either to be more conservative in their picks or to take more chances (there’s also a greater chance of disaster (the 2012 top-ten); granted that had GM’s followed the consensus only two would have been bombed).  Also of note, the rules for overage Europeans have always been different (any European under the age of 21 is eligible; those 21 and over are free agents). In terms of draft order this year, the Devils beat the odds again (ala 2011), which will help them recover from giving away the #9 picks in 2013 and 2014.

The guides have 119 players (54.8%) in common (including 19 first-round picks), with 167 players (76.9%) shared by three.  This is a continued illustration of both the broad agreement among the scouting community on top talent and an overall shared sentiment on player assessment.

For some perspective, here are some hits & misses from various sources (just from 2011 and 2012, since so much about recent drafts remains up in the air):
-all sources had Brandon Saad as a first-round pick, but 30 GM’s were dissuaded by his weak second half and let him drop to #43
-Stuart Percy (#25) was one of at least five first-round busts and HP had him in their top-20
-Nikita Kucherov (#58) is one of the best performers of the draft, but no one had him higher than a late second round pick (FC and ISS)
-In a re-draft Boone Jenner (#37) would certainly go in the first round and both FC and HP had him there
-Vincent Trocheck (#64) should have been a first-round pick, but the closest was an early second from FC
-Jean-Gabriel Pageau (#96) was only given proper credit by HP
-Johnny Gaudreau (#104) was only listed by two sources (RLR and ISS), with both having him as a late pick
-Andrew Shaw (#139) wasn’t listed by anyone, nor was Ondrej Palat (#208)
-Alexander Ruutu (#51) was left off every list except ISS; he’s struggled to establish himself in Finland (much less across the pond)
-Josh Shalla (#94) was the second player in the draft who was unlisted and he’s spent his career in the ECHL
-All sources wanted Viktor Arvidsson picked in the 2011 draft, but it wasn’t until 2014 that Nashville finally took a chance on him (the resistance was all related to his size)
-Henrik Samuelsson (#27) is the only confirmed first-round bust and everyone had him in at least in the second round (two had him in the first)
-Both Shane Gostisbehere (#78) and Colton Parayko (#86) are among the highest performing defensemen from this draft, but only the former was listed by anyone (CS in his case)

-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 defenseman (D)
-I’ve noted size when I feel it’s important–forwards 5’10 and under, defensemen under 6’0, and goaltenders 6’0 or less (the NHL preference for size remains a factor); anyone who is 6’5 or taller is also noted; in general I’ve used HP’s sizes, as Mark Edwards waited until after the NHL combine to put out his guide

Draft Rankings

First Round
1. Nolan Patrick (1.25) – the consensus pick, but not a universal one (HP has him at #2); this is exactly the same scenario as 2012 when HP dissented from Nail Yakupov
2. Nico Hischier (1.75) – as above but reversed
3. Miro Heiskanen (D) (5.50) – the first defenseman on the list, he loses to Vilardi on aggregate only because he’s low-balled by one source (out of the top-ten)
4. Gabriel Vilardi (4.50) – each publication has its own selection here (this one matches ISS), but cumulatively he wins out (HP has him lowest, but still in the top-ten)
5. Cody Glass (6.25) – as high as #3 and low as #10
6. Casey Mittelstadt (6.75) – has a very tight range of predictions (5-8)
7. Cale Makar (D) (7.5) – undersized for a defender (5’11), the tier-2 product could fall, although HP is very high on him (#4)
8. Owen Tippett (11.5) – beats Necas head-to-head; a very wide range of predictions (5-22)
9. Elias Pettersson (12.75) – he edges out Necas because the latter plays in a worse league and his high ratings are more impressive than Rasmussen’s
10. Michael Rasmussen (12.25) – his size (6’5) is the kind of thing that attracts GMs and I think it will put him over Necas
11. Martin Necas (11.25) – a very narrow band of predictions (9-14)
12. Nicholas Suzuki (13.25) – RLR is a big fan; he’s 5’10
13. Juuso Valimaki (D) (15.00) – straightforwardly next
14. Klim Kostin (16.00) – the number one European for CS; missed a lot of the season due to injury, so much of this rating is based on his performance the year before
15. Timothy Liljegren (D) (17.00) – wins over Tolvanen because of his higher threshold (two top-ten picks from ISS and HP) and the latter’s size; it’s obvious most scouting reports are based just on his international play, with only one guide pointing out that he and Brannstrom (below) did things outside their comfort zone in that context because of the poor group of Swedish forwards in front of them
16. Eeli Tolvanen (17.00) – some teams will worry over his size (5’10)
17. Lias Andersson (17.5) – fairly wide range within the round (12-25)
18. Callan Foote (D) (18.00) – big blueliner has the same range as Andersson (12-25)
19. Erik Brannstrom (D) (21.5) – his size (5’9) will scare some teams away; his number is hurt by ISS putting him outside the first round (everyone else has him as a mid-first rounder), despite giving him a glowing assessment–two guides actually call him a top-ten talent
20. Kristian Vesalainen (19.00) – big Finn is a top-ten pick for one source, but one has him in the second
21. Isaac Ratcliffe (21.00) – at 6’5 GM’s will be eager to get their mits on him; he’s the final player universally selected for the first round
22. Ryan Poehling (22.25) – one source has the college player outside the first round
23. Nicolas Hague (D) (27.00) – the big blueliner (6’6) has his number thrown off by HP; everyone is worried about his skating
24. Kailer Yamamoto (24.75) – at 5’8 his size will likely throw off a number of GM’s (amusingly the source that has him in the second round did so at the last minute, because their profile of him still has him in the first round)
25. Robert Thomas (26.5) – beats Robertson head-to-head
26. Jason Robertson (25.75) – one top-ten pick and one selection in the second round; differences of opinion on his skating
27. Urho Vaakanainen (D) (32.00) – his number is thrown off by one source
28. Jake Oettinger (G) (30.33) – a second-rounder for one source, but with NHL size (6’4) he’s likely to be the first goalie to be picked
29. Kole Lind (31.25) – beats Bowers head-to-head
30. Shane Bowers (31.25) – picked as a late first-rounder by three sources
31. Henri Jokiharju (D) (35.00) – I put him ahead of DiPietro because the goaltender is on the small side; he beats Comtois head-to-head

Eleven other players were placed in the first round (the same as last year), with five of those getting placed by two sources (DiPietro, Comtois, Anderson-Dolan, Timmins, and Chytil).  By the numbers DiPietro should be above, but as I mentioned, I think his size as a goaltender (6’0) is going to slide him down further.

Second Round
32. Michael DiPietro (G) (29.33) – two sources have him in the first round, with another in the second; on the small side as a goalie (6’0)
33. Maxime Comtois (34.75) – two first-round votes for him
34. Conor Timmins (D) (39.75) – a low ranking from HP really hurts his number
35. Pierre-Olivier Joseph (D) (36.00) – the first player with only one first-round placement; his number is thrown off by FC
36. Jaret Anderson-Dolan (35.25)
37. Jesper Boqvist (35.25) – the second player with just one first-round placement (has very tight rankings, 30-39)
38. Filip Chytil (48.25) – heavily split opinions–two first-round and two third round picks; scouting reports seem completely dependent on his international performances
39. Matthew Strome (49.75) – brother of Dylan and Ryan, opinions are varied (a first and third sandwiching two seconds); universal concern over his skating
40. Marcus Davidsson (54.75) – ISS puts his number way out of whack
41. Alexei Lipanov (44.25) – the first player on the list without a first-round prediction; not sure if the Russian factor still matters or not, but worth remembering
42. Grant Mismash (45.25) – universal second-round pick, but very different views on his competitiveness
43. Joshua Norris (48.00) – varied opinions as he gets a first and third round selection; beats Entwhistle head-to-head
44. MacKenzie Entwistle (51.00) – his number is submarined by one source; a lot of questions about his offensive upside
45. Keith Petruzzelli (G) (49.66) – FC hurts the big ‘tender’s (6’5) number
46. Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen (G) (48.00) – loses to Petruzzelli head-to-head
47. Nikita Popugayev/Popugaev (51.00) – last player with a first-round pick (his size, 6’5, undoubtedly a factor); a third-rounder for one; considered a boom or bust by all
48. Joni Ikonen (53.00) – universal second-round pick, but his size (5’10) could give GM’s pause
49. Jake Leschyshyn (54.00) – son of former NHLer Curtis, he beats Brook head-to-head
50. Joshua Brook (D) (54.25) – his number is thrown off by ISS
51. Stelio Mattheos (57.25) – FC throws his number off
52. Alex Formenton (53.25) – number boosted by ISS; one of the youngest players ranked in the draft, there are some questions about his offensive capabilities
53. Lucas Elvenes (55.5) – mid-second round or early third-round pick via sources
54. Morgan Frost (57.00) – ISS hurts his score
55. Dylan Samberg (D) (59.25) – FC wrecks his number
56. Morgan Geekie (62.75) – three second-round picks, the lone fourth throws off his total; the first overage player on the list
57. Aleksi Heponiemi (58.75) – at 5’10 his size might scare off GM’s
58. Robin Salo (D) (61.75) – FC is very high on him
59. Jack Studnicka (62.25) – riding high off ISS’ ranking
60. Ivan Lodina (64.5) – undersized forward (5’10) hurt by HP’s ranking; completely split opinions in the scouting profiles (two with red flags, two that gush)
61. Max Gildon (D) (70.75) – ranking thrown off by HP
62. Antoine Morand (63.50) – of the players remaining with two second-round selections those for the 5’10 forward are the highest, but he’s a late third-rounder to the other two sources

Ten other players received two second-round selections (Martin, Safin, Chekhovich, Gadjovich, Ruzicka, Tyszcha, Schnarr, Rasanen, Phillips, and Texier).

Third Round
63. Luke Martin (D) (64.00) – Big collegiate defender has fairly tight rankings (51-75)
64. Ostap Safin (69.75) – 6’5 Czech gets one fourth round ranking; universal questions about his consistency
65. Ivan Chekhovich (70.75) – HP isn’t a fan; he’s 5’10
66. Adam Ruzicka (75.5) – big Slovak’s number is thrown off by RLR; every source questions his consistency
67. Jonah Gadjovich (70.75) – HP is high on him, while FC and RLR are not; lot’s of questions about his skating
68. Jarret Tyszka (D) (78.25) – HP’s ranking throws off his number
69. Dmitri Samorukov (D) (71.25) – universally slotted in the third round (between 63-65 among three sources)
70. Eemeli Rasanen (D) (83.00) – widely divergent opinions on the 6’6 defender (two seconds, a fourth, and a fifth); beats Schnarr head-to-head; universal questions about his skating; a lot of comparisons to Logan Stanley (1-18/16)
71. Nathan Schnarr (81.00) – gets two seconds and two fourths, but isn’t at the same ceiling
72. Markus Phillips (D) (83.75) – the second last player with two second round selections; some (but not universal) questions about his defensive play
73. Alexandre Texier (105.25) – no one has ever been drafted out of a league in France, which might be why FC has him ranked so low; the last player with two second round selections, he’ll win the Wouter Peeters obscurity award if he’s selected
74. Nicholas Henry (75.00) – ranking hurt by ISS; universal questions about his skating
75. Scott Reedy (78.75) – RLR’s number pushes him down
76. Kasper Kotkansalo (D) (80.25) – FC’s ranking hurts him
77. Alexander Chmelevski (88.25) – HP’s number is way out of whack compared to the others
78. Mario Ferraro (D) (73.00) – the first player not ranked by all four, his size (5’9) is certainly a factor (others have him listed at 5’11–an extra two inches would make a huge difference)
79. Ian Mitchell (D) (76.75) – HP is a huge fan; he’s 5’10
80. Mikey Anderson (D) (81.50) – number thrown off by HP
81. Cayden Primeau (G) (78.66) – son of former NHLer Keith; beats Skinner head-to-head
82. Stuart Skinner (G) (77.00) – universally slotted in the third round
83. Artyom Minulin (D) (84.75)
84. Mason Shaw (87.5) – size (5’9) could be an issue; widely disparate rankings (2nd to 5th round)
85. Ian Scott (87.66) – fairly tight band of rankings (74-98)
86. Reilly Walsh (D) (88.75) – size could be an issue (5’10)
87. Cal Fleury (D) (99.00) – RLR’s rating is way off the rest; everyone worries about his defensive play
88. Filip Westerlund (D) (91.50) – ranking thrown off by RLR; undersized at 5’11
89. David Farrance (D) (89.00) – size could be an issue (5’10)
90. Pavel Koltygin (89.25)
91. Kirill Slepets (95.25) – size could be a factor (5’10)
92. Ben Mirageas (D) (100.50)
93. Jonas Rondbjerg (110.00) – divided opinions, with FC’s ranking throwing off his number

Five players remaining have a single second-round selection (Toropchenko, Tommy Miller, Zetterlund, Knoepke, and Cockerill), and four have two third-round selections (Barratt, Hoefenmayer, Meireles, and Gallant).

Fourth Round
94. Evan Barratt (107.75) – RLR throws off his ranking
95. Cameron Crotty (D) (104.00) – 6’4 blueliner is another player whose number is hurt by RLR
96. Alexei Toropchenko (103.00) – wildly variable rankings, from second-rounder to out of the draft altogether; gets the nod over Carson because his ceiling is higher
97. MacAuley Carson (103.00) – narrow rankings (81-123), but not listed by one source, with universal concerns about his skating
98. Jacob Paquette (D) (107.25)
99. Noel Hoefenmayer (D) (117.00) – mixed opinions (skating and defensive play), but has two third-round selections
100. Zachary Gallant (122.00) – much like Hoefenmayer, mixed opinions, but two third-round selections gives him more stable heights than other players
101. Tommy Miller (D) (118.50) – picks from second to sixth
102. Greg Meireles (119.75) – 5’9; his number takes a hit from HP; he’s the last player with two third-round selections
103. Joel Teasdale (108.25) – very tight numbers (86-123)
104. Lane Zablocki (112.50) – RLR knocks his number down
105. D’Artagnan Joly (111.50) – ranking hurt by ISS; seen as a boom or bust type of player, with FC and HP seemingly describing completely different players
106. Tyler Steenbergen (114.00) – three fourth-round selections; he’s overage and undersized (5’10)
107. Patrick Khodorenko (112.00) – not ranked by one source
108. Jack Rathbone (D) (106.66) – undersized (5’10) defender is not listed by one source
109. Kirill Maksimov/Maximov (118.50) – mixed opinions on him, ranging from the third to fifth round
110. Dylan Coghlan (D) (112.66) – overager isn’t listed by one source; beats Olson head-to-head
111. Kyle Olson (112.66) – a bit undersized (5’10)
112. Maxim Zhukov (G) (114.33) – third to fifth round rankings; most agree he has great tools, the question is between his ears
113. Gustav Lindstrom (D) (120.66) – two fourths, a sixth, and out of the draft
114. Brady Lyle (D) (121.50) – gets the nod over Kosorenkov and Studenic because all four sources have him drafted
115. Ivan Kosorenkov (116.66) – overage and undersized (5’10), he’s not listed by one source and inflated by another
116. Marian Studenic (118.00) – not listed by one source
117. Fabian Zetterlund (121.66) – wildly differing opinions, from the second round to out of the draft altogether
118. David Noel (D) (123.00) – third, fourth, sixth, and out of the draft entirely
119. Nate Knoepke (123.25) – a second-round selection, with the rest fifth or sixth
120. Tyler Inamoto (D) (123.5) – RLR skews his rating
121. Noah Cates (126.00) – beats others head-to-head
122. Adam Thilander/Tilander (D) (137.50) – his number is thrown off by HP
123. Rickard Hugg (135.00) – split opinions on him, with two fourth-round picks, a sixth, and undrafted; size could impact him (he’s 5’10)
124. Jocktan Chainey (D) (143.00) – FC misspelled his name (Chaney) causing me headaches; very mixed opinions (third, fourth, sixth, and seventh)

Four players remain with two fourth-round selections (Pratt, Dayton Rasmussen, Kemp, and Jones).

125. A. J. Pratt (143.00) – ranking hurt by HP
126. Philip Kemp (D) (141.33) – the highest threshold of double fourth-rounders left
127. Dayton Rasmussen (G) (124.00) – not listed by one source; beats Jones head-to-head
128. Benjamin Jones (141.75) – the last player with two fourth-round selections
129. Michael Karow (D) (124.33) – beats Virtanen head-to-head; not listed by one source
130. Santeri Virtanen (124.00) – not listed by one source
131. Clayton Phillips (D) (126.50) – a fifth-rounder for three sources; at 5’10 size is a factor
132. Scott Walford (D) (134.25) – fourth-to-sixth round range
133. Antoine Crete-Belzile (D) (128.33) – not listed by one source
134. Ryan Peckford (133.00) – not listed by one source
135. Michael Pastujov (134.33) – a third-rounder for one, out of the draft for another
136. Mark Rubinchik (D) (141) – fourth-to-sixth round picks; zero goals in 63-games is a bit off-putting, but everyone ranks him
137. Otto Latvala (D) (149.00) – 6’5 defender has three fifth-round selections with a very narrow overall range (135-165)
138. Austen Keating (156.00) – widely varied opinions, but the second last player with a fourth and fifth round selection
139. Shawn Boudrias 158.00) – the final player with a fourth and fifth round selection; some concerns about his skating
140. Tobias Geisser (D) (144.66) – the only player listed from the Swiss league, he’s unlisted by one source; he was originally a forward; he’s 6’4
141. Jonatan Asplund (D) (145.66) – not listed by one source
142. Ty Lewis (146.66) – overager not listed by one source
143. Corson Green (D) (149.66) – not listed by one source
144. Emil Westerlund (150.66) – a fourth-rounder for one, not listed by another
145. Will Warm (D) (159.25) – undersized (5’11) defender has huge variation (third to seventh)
146. Jordy Bellerive (151.66) – undersized (5’10) forward is not listed by one source
147. Matt Villalta (G) (152.33) – a third-rounder for one, not listed by another
148. Sami Moilanen (157.66) – undersized (5’8) is a fourth-rounder for one, unlisted by another
149. Linus Nyman (161.00) – undersized (5’9) forward is unlisted by one source who had concerns over his fitness level
150. Olle Eriksson Ek (G) (164.66) – fourth-rounder for one, unlisted by another
151. Kevin Hancock (164.66) – overager goes unlisted by one; he’s 5’10
152. Vladislav Yeryomenko (D) (165.00) – Belarussian is unlisted by one; questions about his ability to win puck-battles
153. Bryce Misley (166.33) – fourth-rounder for one, unlisted by another
154. Brett Davis (167.50) – the last player listed by all four sources
155. Drake Rymsha (166.66) – overager is a fourth-rounder for one

Ten players remain who were selected by three sources.  Of those picked by only two, one was placed in the second-round (Cockerill), with ten others getting a third-round slot.

156. Brayden Gorda (D) (171.00) – gets a fourth-round nod
157. Cole Coskey (170.00)
158. Liam Hawel (173.33) – it’s not much to hang your hat on, but all three of his selections are in the sixth-round
159. Maxim Sushko (175.00) – ISS have him highest
160. Bobby Dow (178.66)
161. Venyamin Baranov (D) (181.33) – ISS has him highest
162. Tomas Vomacka (G) (187.33) – two sixth-round selections
163. Maxime Fortier (89.00) – overager is the first listed by only two sources; he’s also undersized (5’10); spent the season playing with Hischier which could be good or bad for him
164. Sebastian Walfridsson (95.50)
165. Scooter Brickey (D) (103.50)
166. Dylan Ferguson (G) (104.50)
167. Jakub Sirota (D) (109.50)
168. Matthew Murray (G) (109.50) – overage and undersized (6’0)
169. Alexander Volkov (114.50) – overage; got international exposure this year via the junior Canada/Russia Series
170. Emil Bemstrom (116.50)
171. German Poddubnyi (121.00)
172. Fedor Gordeev (D) (124.00) – he’s 6’6; some concerns about his skating and decision-making
173. Brannon McManus (125.00) – 5’9; questions about his intensity and offensive upside
174. Daniel Bukac (D) (126.50) – he’s 6’5
175. Matthew Kellenberger (D) (131.00)
176. Dereck Baribeau (G) (131.5) – he’s 6’5
177. Morgan Barron (132.00)
178. Jesse Koskankorva (134.00) – just slightly higher threshold than Salda
179. Radim Salda (D) (134.00)
180. Matt Anderson (D) (135.50) – undersized (5’11)
181. Yaroslav Alexeyeev/Alexeev (137.00) – Russian and 5’8 makes him a bit iffy to be picked
182. Calle Sjalin (D) (141.00)
183. Corey Andonovski (142.00)
184. Jordan Hollett (G) (145.50)
185. Finn Evans (148.00)
186. Alexis Binner (D) (148.50) – gets a third-round pick; he’s 6’4

Two players remain that were picked by three sources (Ahcan and Kvasnicka), Thirty-four players remain who were selected by two publications for the draft; one received a second-round pick (Cockerill) and one third (Solow).  Of those with just one selection, two were placed in the third round (Kovacevic and Smart).

187. Samuel Bucek (152.00)
188. Denis Mikhnin (157.00) – undersized (5’10)
189. Zachary Lauzon (D) (157.50)
190. Matthew Wedman (159.50) – concerns about his skating and intensity
191. Brendan De Jong (D) (161.50) – overage; he’s 6’5
192. Aarne Talvitie (162.00)
193. Micah Miller (163.00) – HP is high on the 5’8 forward
194. Alex D’Orio (G) (165.00)
195. Dylan Plouffe (165.50)
196. Arnaud Durandeau (166.00)
197. Kaden Fulcher (G) (167.00)
198. Drake Batherson (167.50) – overage; gets a fourth-round pick
199. Emil Oksanen (170.00) – questions about his defensive play
200. Ryan O’Connell (D) (171.00)
201. Shaw Boomhower (172.00)
202. Tyce Thompson (173.50)
203. Noah Ganske (D) (176.50) – he’s 6’5, which gives him the nod over McIndoe
204. Ethan McIndoe (176.50)
205. Jacob Christiansen (D) (178.50) – gets a fifth-round pick
206. Isaac Johnson (181.50)
207. Mark Kastelic (186.00)
208. Parker Kelly (188.50)
209. Denis Smirnov (213.00) – overage and undersized (5’8); I picked him over a few other players because his college numbers are impressive
210. Daniil Tarasov (G) (200.50) – missed the entire season due to injury, but was highly touted in his pre-draft year
211. Johnathan Kovacevic (D) – overage NCAA defender; he’s 6’4 and that, decent freshman numbers, and the scouting material convinced me to put him in
212. Leon Gawanke (D) – German blueliner is a fourth-round pick for one; bit of a late-bloomer in terms of his performance during the season
213. Lauri Pajuniemi – Finn has a sixth-round selection, he gets in with solid international outings and a very impressive pre-draft year
214. Croix Evingson (D) – gets a sixth-round nod, the overage blueliner’s 6’5 frame and gaudy NAHL numbers is worth a flyer
215. Kale Howarth – another solitary sixth-round pick, he’s also a big overage player (6’4; this time in the BCHL); he’s a project teams may want to tuck away in the NCAA
216. Josh Wilkins – an overage sixth-rounder; he gets slotted in the draft due to scouting reports and the league he plays in (NCAA) versus the other candidates
217. Wojciech Stachowiak (192.00) – obscurity is sometimes a boon, so the only player from the German leagues takes the final slot

Size and scouting had me remove a few smaller players from my original list: out is 5’8 American defenseman Jack Ahcan (originally #159; three sources have him in the draft), 5’9 Czech defenseman David Kvasnicka (#165; also via three sources), 5’9 American Zach Solow (#186; two sources), and 5’8 overage Canadian Skylar McKenzie (#192; two sources).  Undersized players always have to show more and all of these players have potential red flags that I think will see them slide out of the draft.

Besides the above this leaves five other players with two-selections off the list (5’9 American Cockerill, the 5’6 American Tortora, the no-production and undersized (5’11) Canadian defenseman Golden, the no-production Canadian Pare, and the 5’7 Canadian Garreffa).  In total I took out two triple-selections and seven double-selections, adding in six single-selections.  Also left on the outside looking in is a single selection third-round blueliner (Smart), along with 13 players who received solitary fourth-round selections (blueliner Bodak, overage and undersized blueliner Leivermann, overage Dugan, overage Foo, Moyle, blueliner O’Grady, Ivanov, overage Belyayev, Kozlov, undersized Hrehorack, son of NHLer Brind’Amour, overage goaltender Mitens, and defenseman Kneen).

There are several other players on the list with flags attached to them, as we’ve seen NHL teams pass on productive scoring forwards who are small (Arvidsson, as mentioned above, but also players like Dante Salituro in 2015); so players like Nyman, Moilanen, and Shaw might fall further down the draft or out of it altogether.

Speaking of size, there are a few huge specimens not listed here, such as Danish defensemen Malte Sostrup-Setkov/Setkov (6’5, fifth-rounder for one source), 6’5 overage American forward Jack Adams (sixth-rounder), Swedish defenseman Henrik Malmstrom (6’6, #115 CSE), Canadian forward Justin Brazeau (6’5, #206 CSNA), German goaltender Benjamin Beck (6’7), and American defender Colin Baird (6’5).  There’s also former NHLer Martin Reichel’s son Thomas, who had decent numbers in Germany and is 6’3. These kinds of players are ones GM’s sometimes take shots in the dark with (ala 6’5 Troy Vance in the 2011 draft, or Alexander Ruutu as cited above).  For Bob McKenzie fans, there is only one player from his final list not included above: honorable mention overage forward Jack Badini (who got boosted largely on the strength of a strong playoff run in the USHL).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



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