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)

Reviewing NHL Draft Guides

It’s time for my annual review of NHL draft guides. Last year Future Considerations remained on top for casual fans, with Hockey Prospects keeping its crown for the hardcore draft folk. Have my conclusions changed? Let’s find out. Needless to say this isn’t intended as a comprehensive review of all draft guides–my focus is on those that cover the entire draft and that I’ve personally found most useful. Publications like McKeen’s are available ($15 with 124 profiles), but are not discussed below.

In my descriptions below I’ve ignored mock draft/future watch sections because for me they have no value–it’s pointless fluff–but they may be of interest to you so keep that in mind.  In brackets I’ve noted changes from last year. Let’s break it down:

International Scouting Service $10.00 (unchanged)
Scouts listed: 48 (41 NA, 7 EU) (-4)
Prospects listed: 210 (+10)
Prospect profiles: 110 (unchanged)
Miscellaneous: historical draft analysis

While ISS intelligently reduced its cost last year they still have frustrating eccentricities that lack any justification: why stop 7 players short of listing the entire draft? Why separate goaltenders from other players (they aren’t drafted separately)? The miscellaneous information they include is trivial because it’s all easily available online–that’s space that could be used to add profiles. You can applaud the change in cost, but other than that there’s not much value here (particularly as their predictions have been consistently among the worst over the years–see below).

Future Considerations $19.99 (unchanged)
Scouts listed: 29 (15 NA, 14 EU) (-7)
Prospects listed: 300 (+50)
Prospect profiles: 220 (+1)
Miscellaneous: none

This is the best value for casual fans, even with FC trimming its scouts substantially from the previous season (they have the biggest EU scouting staff, oddly enough). It wouldn’t hurt for them to add in some extra content (as they have in years past), but given the price point there’s no obligation for them to do so.

Hockey Prospects $49.99 (+$10.00)
Scouts listed: 28 (25 NA, 3 EU) (+8)
Prospects listed: 217 (unchanged)
Prospect profiles: 345 (-44)
Miscellaneous: game reports

The Mack Daddy of draft guides, this massive tome includes about 400 pages of material no one is ever going to need (game reports and future reports), but the remaining tonnage is well worth it. One quote from their website to keep in mind:

Don’t be fooled by the ‘scouts’ from some services who pretend to be in the rinks. In our travels to games throughout a season, there are approximately 30 NHL team scouts we see a minimum of 20 times per year. So we find it interesting that we haven’t run into some of these ‘scouts’ from other services for stretches of time ranging from four to nine years. In fact, we’ve never seen several of them ever.

I’m not sure who they are targeting here, but I will say they’ve been the most accurate draft predictor among the guides for quite some time (if not always by a large margin, see below). From a personal point of view I see the game reports as frivolous and think something more useful could be done with all that space. With that said, this is a great product.

Red Line Report $50.00 (unchanged)
Scouts listed: 12 (unchanged)
Prospects listed: 326 (+1)
Prospect profiles: 116 (plus 68 one-line notes) (unchanged)
Miscellaneous: potential older European picks

It looks like a kid made it in his parent’s basement, but RLR proudly trumpets its independent nature without providing any reasons why its opinion should be valued. In fairness I’m not sure what else RLR can do to sell itself beyond some eccentric views–championing lesser known or liked players (safely outside the first round). Overpriced and with limited content in a format that hasn’t changed in at least a decade, there’s really nothing to sell it save the few chuckles via its prospect “awards” (although repeating the same one-liners year after year starts to seem lazy). If it was priced between the ISS and the FC guide it would be worth picking up, but with such limited content and the high cost (along with middling predictive success), it’s a pass.

Pick Variation

There’s general agreement among scouts over who is or isn’t an NHL-prospect; the arguments tend to be over the odds of that happening and the relative ceiling. This year they agree on 121 players (up 2 from last year, or 55.7% of the entire draft). What about unique selections (as in, no one else picked the player to be drafted)? By round:
First: none
Second: none
Third: 5 (1 RLR, 4 HP)
Fourth: 12 (2 FC, 2 ISS, 3 RLR, 5 HP)
Fifth: 17 (3 FC, 3 ISS, 5 RLR, 6 HP)
Sixth: 25 (8 FC, 10 ISS, 4 RLR, 3 HP)
Seventh: 34 (11 FC, 5 ISS, 11 RLR, 7 HP)
Total: 93 (24 FC, 20 ISS, 24 RLR, 25 HP)

This is slightly down from last year (by 5 players), with both FC and RLR radically cutting their eccentricity. The unique picks remain heavily European, American, and tier-2 leagues (so, presumably, players seen less frequently).

Predictive success

I’ve been reading and tracking these particular sources for a long time.  While I’m not that interested in how accurate they are in predicting player X taken at position X, I am interested in what percentage of the players included are taken in the draft.  Going back to 2011, here’s how they’ve done by percentage (best to worst):
HP: 74.2, 72.0, 69.2, 70.9, 75.8, 74.8, 70.9 (avg 72.5)
FC: 73.8, 71.1, 68.7, 69.0, 69.2, 70.1, 61.3 (avg 69.0)
RLR: 73.8, 73.9, 67.7, 64.7, 73.0, 66.8, 63.1 (avg 69.0)
ISS: 68.1, 66.3, 62.7, 60.0, 68.6, 63.6, 66.5 (avg 65.1)
Keep in mind these numbers don’t reflect who was right about how good prospects were, rather they reflect how closely their selections follow what NHL GMs do on draft day. This latter element is, for me, the most interesting.

So what’s the best value?  My opinion remains unchanged: for casual fans Future Considerations is the way to go, but for those with a deeper interest in the draft (or deeper pockets) you’re better off with Hockey Prospects.  Either way, both are excellent products and I highly recommend them.  As for ISS and RLR, both guides have their own unique frustrations which remain unchanged this year–the latter is more entertaining to read, but much more expensive, and neither offer the kind of value their competitors do (by limiting their prospect profiles to the first few rounds they’re competing with free resources online which seems like a very poor business decision).

A friendly reminder about both my patreon and support via donations: the work for this site involves many hours of labour (along with certain set costs) and any and all support makes a big difference.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Ottawa’s 2017 Draft

dorion's reward

This was not an inspiring draft for Ottawa, as Trent Mann’s first time running the board seemed timid and uninspired (reminding me most of 2014, but even that draft class had more skill). As for the Sens usual trends, we saw both the CHL and US systems involved as per usual, a continued commitment to avoiding smaller players, along with using later rounds for goalies. Variations included not drafting out of Sweden for the first time since 2007, as well as taking a USHL player in the first round. In terms of my mock draft the org had different ideas in the first round and all my first-selections after that were gone long before Ottawa made their pick (two of my options, however, were selected). Pierre Dorion was looking for credit for trying (and failing) to make a trade (!), which is more than a little embarrassing. Let’s dig into the players added to the system.

1-28/17 Shane Bowers C-L USHL (Waterloo) 60-22-29-51 t-1st pts (4th points-per-game)
A late first to second round round pick (26-41) with red flags attached. Nichols quotes his Lord and Saviour Corey Pronman:

[He] play[s] on both sides of the ice. The ultimate question with Bowers is his offensive ceiling. Some scouts I talk to swear by him as a potential frontline NHL player; other scouts, including myself, question whether he’ll be able to score much as an NHLer.

Grant McCagg (also via Nichols):

not a high-end talent but he’s a hard working, smart two-way guy

Red Line Report (RLR; also via Nichols):

Has the look of a solid third line, two-way NHL center one day, but we just don’t see any one exceptional carrying tool that leads us to believe he’ll be a difference-maker

International Scouting Report (ISS):

He competes hard. He skates through checks, goes to the net and not afraid to go into traffic. He is aware of his defensive responsibilities. He can play all forward positions and excels on the powerplay and penalty killing effectively. … mid-range NHL player with an upside.

Future Considerations (FC):

Bowers is a bit vanilla when it comes to his offensive game as he lacks flash or creativity and takes only what is available in front of him

Hockey Prospect (HP):

Shane plays a very detail oriented game in all three zones; rarely will he miss an assignment defensively or try to cheat up ice. Bowers isn’t going to make a lot of plays that jump out at you but he uses his elite skating and hockey sense to be in the right places at the right times and will take advantage of the chances he gets.

The commonalities are that Bowers is responsible defensively; most agree he has a limited offensive upside and that he’s very fast. One salient comment I read from an NHL scout was “high floor, low ceiling,” which sounds the Curtis Lazar alarm bells. For an organisation short on skill, using a pick on someone projected as a third-liner checker is a little depressing, although clearly the Sens believe his ceiling is higher than that. He’s slated to attend Boston University in the upcoming season.

2-47 Alex Formenton LW OHL (London) 65-16-18-34 11th pts (13th ppg)
Slotted evenly between the second and third round (32-66), he’s similar to Bowers above (as you’ll see below). Nichols quotes Pronman:

He has average creativity though, I wouldn’t expect him to become a big assists guy. … upon repeated viewings it became apparent that he had trouble finishing plays or paying the ultimate price to get to the scoring areas, perhaps because of his youth.

Red Line Report (via Nichols):

If he’s ever able to get his hands and brain to catch up with his feet, has the tools to be a fine two-way winger.

Hockey Prospect:

Offensively he has good tools. He gets his shot off quickly, and he has fairly good passing ability. His play below the hashmarks in the offensive zone improved as the season progressed.

Future Considerations:

he didn’t show much creativity with the puck when set up in the offensive zone and stuck to more of a cycle game. He’s very engaged defensively, hustling to cover the trailing player on the backcheck and was often the first forward back in his own end in tonight’s game.


Plays a 200-foot game. Strong backcheck and back pressure. Plays with a bit of an edge. Project as possible 3rd line forward in NHL with possible upside.

All agree he’s fast (although there’s disagreement on his lateral movement and overall agility); most see limited creativity at this stage, with some seeing hope for more in the future. Just like Bowers though, his ceiling is not high and he projects as a responsible energy player at best. If any pick this year demonstrates organisational fear of failure this is the one.

4-121 Drake Batherson C-R QMJHL (Cape Breton) 61-22-36-58 3rd pts (3rd ppg)
Overage center was only listed by half the draft guides (122/213) and as such there’s very little scouting material on him. Only HP has a report in what I have on hand:

[H]as the ability to change speeds, which makes him tough to handle for opposing defensemen. He has great hockey IQ and puck skills. He has the ability to make defenders miss him one-on-one with his slick hands. … He sees the ice really well, and he’s as good a scorer as he is a playmaker. He has really good patience with the puck…. … he’s way more effective in one-on-one battles along the boards and in front of the net [than in the past].

This all sounds good in the skill department, but it’s worth noting prospects who put up big numbers only as overagers are less likely to replicate those as pros–you also have to ask the question: how much of that production is due to his teammates who lead the team in scoring (Giovanni Fiore, who was signed as an FA by Anaheim, and Massimo Carozza)? On the plus side, at least the Sens picked a player whose principal element is skill (as they generally do out of the Q).

6-183 Jordan Hollett G-L WHL (Regina) 2.83 .901
Serving as the backup goaltender on the high flying Pats (behind the undrafted Tyler Brown), the 6’5/6’4 prospect improved slightly on his numbers in the last season (.887). Only slotted in the draft by half the guides, there are two scouting profiles to look at.

Future Considerations:

[S]ize and athleticism immediately jump out at you. … Hollett’s natural gifts make him an intriguing option but one who will need some time.


Huge upside long-term project or bust.

Both agree he has the raw tools, but it’ll either come together or not and the sample size isn’t large enough for a firm indication either way. It’s clear the Sens are impressed by his girth–that raw physicality–because this version of the org has never drafted a back-up goaltender before (the fact he was playing on prospect Filip Ahl‘s team likely gave him more exposure to the org). He, along with Batherson above, is a shot in the dark, but of all the players here he has the most potential upside (with the flipside of busting equally present). He’ll play for Medicine Hat this upcoming season.

Other than Batherson none of these players is coming to a pro arena any time soon. Goaltenders need more development time anyway, but both Bowers and Formenton can be expected to spend a couple of years developing before going anywhere.  Batherson, as an overage player, should be in Belleville sooner than later.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2017 NHL Draft

What a wild ride this year’s draft was. With the dust settled it’s time to take stock and assess both prognostication and notable trends. This was perceived as a weak draft class and that always creates interesting variation. Without further ado, here are the prediction numbers (this isn’t about Player X at position X–I’ll demonstrate why below–it’s simply the correct player by round).  Acronyms: EOTS (Eye on the Sens), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), RLR (Red Line Report), and ISS (International Scouting Service).

First Round
EOTS/HP: 27/31
ISS: 26/31
FC: 25/31
RLR: 24/31
Just to show how pointless the player X at position X is, here’s the same lineup using that type of assessment: HP 9/31, ISS/FC 2/31, EOTS/RLR 1/31. As I’ve said in past years, this is the easiest round to predict and it shows in the broader totals. In terms of my misses, Ratcliffe (universally slotted in this round), Robertson (3 first-round picks), Hague (3 picks), and Lind (2 picks) were mine. The biggest surprise selection was Frost, whom no one had slotted so early (RLR came closest). It was interesting to see two big men (Ratcliffe and Hague) be left out.  Other first-round selections: DiPetroComtois, Anderson-DolanBoqvist, Timmins, StromePopugaev, and Davidsson. Incidentally, Bob McKenzie was also 27/31.

Second Round
EOTS/HP: 16/31
FC: 13/31
RLR: 12/31
ISS: 11/31
These are slightly lower numbers than last year. The biggest surprise pick was Luostarinen, as only HP listed him in the draft (and as a late pick)–he’s the first player not on my list. Lauzon also went much earlier than expected (fifth was as high as he was listed). This round was the beginning of the freefall for Strome and Elvenes (neither listed later than the third).

Third Round
RLR: 8/31
FC: 7/31
Prediction totals are on par for other years. Goaltender DiPietro was finally selected. This round had the first truly off-the-wall pick, with unranked Oskari Laaksonen getting taken (not sure what the pressure was to get him early, but clearly Buffalo felt it–all I can give you is that he’s a righthanded defenseman). We also got our first player that Central Scouting liked that no one else listed (undersized and overage Russian Altybarmakyan). Quite a few other players went earlier than expected.

Fourth Round
RLR: 7/31
HP: 6/31
EOTS: 5/31
ISS: 3/31
FC: 0/31
These numbers are roughly the norm (except for FC’s abysmal total). Strome finally landed here, but this is the round where NHL GMs started swinging for the fences: three unranked players were picked (KvacaLaavainen, and Kara), along with Crawley, Swayman and Makiniemi whom only CS had listed (four of the six are overage). Single-listings BrysonSoderlund and Setkov were also nabbed.

Fifth Round
HP/EOTS: 3/31
ISS/FC: 2/31
RLR: 1/31
Predictions bottom out here and for the rest of the draft (all slightly lower than normal). Elvenes was finally taken along with a lot more fence-swinging: SennFraser (CS), Hults, GunnarssonAho (a favourite of mine), Drozg, and Olund (CS). There were also single-selections FischerHowarthPetersonGalvas, ShvyryovGawankeFoo, and Dugan. Many of these are overage players.

Sixth Round
HP: 3/31
Chmelevski and Koltygin were finally taken. Unranked: WebbHolmLycksell, Guttman, Repo, and Palojarvi; CS-only selections McGregorBourque, J. Davidsson, Lakatos and Svetlakov; single-selections MeyerPateraPalmuAdams, Perbix, Maass, McGrewCampoli, and Brind’Amour.

Seventh Round
EOTS/HP: 2/31
FC: 1/31
RLR/ISS: 0/31
Chekhovich and Primeau were finally picked. Unranked: KalnyukV. Rasanen, Zaitsev, A. AnderssonVirtaMarthinsenHellicksonEss, Stucker, and Reilly; CS-only selections BrassardWalterholm, BerglundSveningsson, and Swaney; single-selections WeissbachEvingsonGilmourWalker, and Leivermann.

Totals (changes from last year noted)
HP: 66/217 (30.4%) (-2)
EOTS: 64/217 (29.4%) (+2)
RLR: 54/217 (24.8%) (+7)
FC: 50/217 (23.0%) (-14)
ISS: 53/200* (26.5%) (+3)
* ISS has a list of 20 goaltenders with no rankings attached to them and only 180 skaters listed, meaning they took far fewer risks than the other publications and can’t truly be compared

For the fourth year in a row HP was the most accurate by round, although it’s worth noting that if you eliminate the first round it’s just over 20%–it is, indeed, futile to try to completely emulate the league even round-by-round. The more important number is how many players selected were actually taken in the draft, and here’s how we all did (with variance from last year noted):

HP: 154/217 (70.9%) (-3.9%)
EOTS: 148/217 (68.2%) (-4.3%)*
RLR: 137/217 (63.1%) (-3.7%)
FC: 133/217 (61.3%) (-8.8%)
ISS: 131/200 (66.5%)** (-9 players)
* My “raw” list (as in, simply placing aggregate numbers consecutively) finishes with 145 picks, so the human factor made me a little more accurate
** Given that ISS choose not to predict the whole draft they get placed at the bottom (as, indeed, they picked the fewest correct players regardless)

This is on the low end for me, a slight record low for RLR, significantly low for FC, with ISS continuing to fumble at the bottom (despite the largest scouting staff).  HP finished on the lower end of their spectrum, but did impressively nonetheless.

The highest ranked player left hanging was Russian WHL-defenseman Artyom Minulin  (#83); you’d have to think the Russian-factor is the main reason he was left out as no one had him lower than a fourth-round pick.  Next up is another (this time undersized) Russian, Kirill Slepets (#91). Following him is the first North American player not selected, OHLer MacAuley Carson (#97), although unlike the two previous players he wasn’t universally picked. Twelve players picked by all sources were left hanging: Joel Teasdale, blueliner Tommy Miller, undersized Greg Meireles, defenseman Brady Lyle, blueliner Nate Knoepke, defender Adam Thilander, Russian blueliner Mark RubinchikA. J. Pratt, Finnish defender Otto LatvalaAusten KeatingShawn Boudrias, and undersized defender Will Warm–this is more than usual, albeit not hugely so (11 such players were left hanging in 2015).

Unlike last year, highly ranked players from the previous season were not taken. While some came in ranked (Fortier the highest), none were selected.

In past reviews I’ve talked about how much Central Scouting’s European and goaltending rankings are ignored, and it’s much the same this year.  North American skater rankings also didn’t hold up that well, as Minulin (#58) and Lewis (#59) were ignored (among others); NA goaltenders was the usual mixed bagged (Rasmussen was the highest ignored at #6); undersized EU ‘tender Ahman (#3) was left out, among the usual selective plucking; EU forwards Shen (#21) was the highest left out (followed by #22-#23 Slepets and Hugg). What is interesting is that 11 of the 16 players who only appeared on CS’ list were European–perhaps orgs paid a bit more attention to those rankings, or else simply shared CS’ opinion.

In addition to the CS-only players, there were 24 players that appeared on no one’s list, 17 of whom were from Europe. This means 28 of the 40 players not listed by my primary sources come from European countries which is an affirmation of the struggles to scout there thoroughly (while EU players tend to lead this category, it’s not typically by such a massive proportion, 70%).

The other thing that’s apparent in the off-the-wall picks was the emphasis on position players (something I’ve noted previously).  Of the aforementioned 40 there were 20 defensemen and 5 goalies (so 25 of 40, or 62.5%).

I’d suspected smaller players would fall out of the draft and indeed many did–some I anticipated (like AhcanKvasnicka, Tortura, Garreffa, and Solow) and others I left in (like Nyman and Moilanen).  Several smaller players did get drafted (like McKenzie and Cockerill, both of whom I cut out, or Shaw and Brannstrom).  On the flip side, a few bigger men were left out (MalmstromBrazeau, and Ganske), but admittedly fewer than the former category.  The NHL still firmly believes in size.

This draft, in terms of prognostication, is closest to 2014 in overall performance, although since I’ve been doing this (2011 with all four of these publications) I haven’t had three with sub-140 players before.  I’m not sure there’s a conclusion to draw from this given the weak draft class, but it’s certainly something to watch going forward. Is it time to add a fifth publication? It’s possible, but I don’t know that any other actually predicts the entire draft–still, something I’ll think about for 2018.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa Senators Mock Draft

markus nurmi

Pictured above is the rarest of things: a prospect drafted from Finland (with Randy Lee looking like he’d rather be anywhere else).

With my massive draft article now posted as well as my look at Ottawa’s draft tendencies, it’s time to make predictions for who the Sens will pick in the 2017 draft. 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 possibilities based on who we might expect to be available. As a quick refresh, here’s the basics of what the Sens do: draft out of Sweden, draft out of the CHL, draft out of the US leagues; what they don’t do: draft Russians, draft smaller players, draft out of the rest of Europe, draft goaltenders early.  With that said, let’s take a look at who they might land.  I’ve listed six players around the pick based on my list (two just before, the actual number, and three after), and we’ll tackle them for probability (with the most likely in green).

First Round Pick (1-28)
26. Jason Robertson (OHL forward) – this is a popular online pick, but it’s unlikely he’ll drop to them
27. Urho Vaakanainen (D; Finland) – he plays in Finland and picking Markus Nurmi last year doesn’t convince me we’ll get a bunch of Finns this year (bus tickets for Mikko Ruutu cost money kids!)
28. Jake Oettinger (G; NCAA) – the Sens don’t draft goaltenders in the first round; they also don’t draft college players in the first round
29. Kole Lind (WHL forward) – the most probable pick
30. Shane Bowers (USHL forward) – the Sens have never drafted a USHL player in the first round (the closest is Colin White from the US developmental program, but Bowers doesn’t have that pedigree)
31. Henri Jokiharju (D; WHL) – I’m not convinced the Sens are over their aversion to taking Finns, so I think Conor Timmins (#33; D; OHL) is more likely (I have Maxime Comtois at #32, but think the Sens would take Timmins)

Second Round Pick (2-47; from Calgary)
45. Keith Petruzzeli (G; USHL) – Sens don’t really draft goalies in the second round either
46. Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen (G; Finland) – he’s Finnish and a goaltender, so no
47. Nikita Popugayev (or Popugaev) (D; WHL) – he’s Russian
48. Joni Ikonen (SWE forward) – he’s 5’10 and Finnish
49. Jake Leschyshyn (WHL forward) – the son of the former NHLer and Senator Curtis, he’s very much in Ottawa’s wheelhouse
50. Joshua Brook (D; WHL) – a plausible alternative to Leschyshyn

Fourth Round Pick (4-121)
119. Nate Knoepke (D; USDP) – he fits Ottawa’s drafting trends (players in the US system proliferate from the fourth round onwards)
120. Tyler Inamoto (D; USDP) – see above
121. Noah Cates (US high school forward) – in the wheelhouse
122. Adam Thilander/Tilander (D; OHL) – also in the wheelhouse
123. Rickard Hugg (SWE forward) – at 5’10 he’s too small for Ottawa, so #124 Jocktan Chainey (D; QMJHL) is a reasonable option

Sixth Round Pick (6-183)
181. Yaroslav Alexeyeev/Alexeev (QMJHL forward) – he’s Russian
182. Calle Sjalin (D; SWE) – in the wheelhouse, although I don’t think the Sens have picked a Division 1 player before (he could easily slide to their pick)
183. Corey Andonovski (CISAA forward) – he comes from the kind of obscure league the Sens occasionally tap into (ala Colin Greening)
184. Jordan Hollett (G; WHL) – I’m a dubious because I can’t recall them drafting a backup goalie with so few games played before
185. Finn Evans (OJHL forward) – in the wheelhouse

It’s possible, depending on how things play out, that the options above would not include a player from Sweden and the inclination to pick one is strong (have to justify those European scouts somehow), so here are the possibilities that are close to the various picks: Jesper BoqvistLucas Elvenes; and Jonatan Asplund (D).


The Silver Seven’s Ary M and Colin have been doing a series of draft articles on the Sens and I thought I’d go through them.  Rather than compose a list as I have above they’d pushed out six articles covering forwards, defense, goaltenders, overage players, European defensemen, and late round forwards (I’m amazed at how many separate pieces they’ve pushed out on the topic).  Here are my thoughts:

European Defensemen
Jonatan Asplund (Swe SuperElit) – a possibility
Juho Korhonen (Finn Jun) – no (he’s 5’9); he’s also not listed by anyone
Otto Latvala (Finn Jun; WJC-18) – he’s Finnish so seems unlikely
Gustav Lindstrom (Swe Allsvenskan) – a possibility
Adam Thilander/Tilander (Swe SuperElit; WJC-18) – despite being smallish at 6’0 he is within the org’s range, so maybe
Giorgio Estephan (WHL; Buf 6-152/15) – he’s not on anyone’s radar (the Sens do go off-board occasionally, but with forwards it’s either off of back-to-back big numbers (Hoffman) or numbers plus grit (Smith))
Nikita Korostelev (OHL; Tor 7-185/15) – he’s Russian (and see the no radar above)
Denis Smirnov (NCAA) – he’s 5’8
Tim Soderlund (SHL) – he’s 5’9
Matt Timms (D) (OHL) – the Sens haven’t picked a D-man under 6’0 since 2009 (he’s 5’10); see the no radar above
Linus Weissbach (USHL) – he’s 5’9
Aleksi Heponiemi (WHL) – he’s 5’10
Joni Ikonen (Swe SuperElit) – no (see above)
Antoine Morand (QMJHL) – I think it’s unlikely (he’s 5’10)
Jason Robertson (OHL) – see above
Kailer Yamamoto (WHL) – he’s 5’8!
Late Round Forwards
Linus Nyman (OHL) – he’s 5’9
Jonas Rondbjerg (Swe SuperElit) – possibility
Mason Shaw (WHL) – 5’9
Zach Solow (USHL) – as above
Joel Teasdale (QMJHL) – possibility
Erik Brannstrom (SHL) – 5’9
Henri Jokiharju (WHL) – see above
Pierre-Olivier Joseph (QMJHL) – possible
Conor Timmins (OHL) – see above
Filip Westerlund (SHL) – 5’11 so not very likely
Adam Ahman (Swe SuperElit) – no chance (he’s 6’0)
Michael DiPietro (OHL) – as above
Olle Eriksson Ek (Swe SuperElit) – possibility
Lassi Lehtinen (Finn junior) – 5’11 and not listed by anyone other than CS
Jake Oettinger (NCAA) – see above

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)