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).

Notes

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:
Two-sources
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
One-source
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)

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5 Comments

  1. […] Analysis and Predictions for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft […]

  2. […] Analysis and Predictions for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft […]

  3. […] Analysis and Predictions for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft […]

  4. […] for overagers. In his case they didn’t come out of the blue for him (like they did for, say, Jermaine Loewen who was drafted this year)–he averaged 0.86 points-per-game in his previous two seasons. […]

  5. […] as good as Zibanejad’s in the playoffs; the pick wound up with Detroit (who picked Berggren slightly early); Loheit will almost certainly never be signed 5th (Jan Drozg) for Mike Condon (Pittsburgh) Condon: […]


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