Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings Draft Analysis

The Detroit Red Wings turned the draft on its head with the sixth pick. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman provided the first “Hold my Beer” moment of the draft by taking the high rising, high-upside, right-handed defender Mortiz Seider from the DEL. The “Yzerplan” was fully underway.

Embed from Getty Images

The Picks

Moritz Seider, RHD, Alder Mannheim (DEL), Round 1, 6th overall

Embed from Getty Images

The big right-handed blue liner has been rising on draft boards over the last three months. Seider was often ranked as the second or third best defender in the draft come June, usually in the top-15. Taking the German born and trained Seider at sixth overall may have been a bit of reach at the draft time but in a few years we may realize Wings general manager Steve Yzerman’s genius. He’s a mobile, 6’4″ right shot defender who excelled in latter half of the year playing against men in the DEL (top German league). Seider possesses the ability to defend with efficiency. He uses his long reach and stick to disrupt plays and isn’t afraid to close out and engage physically. Offensively, he showed promise at the junior level and on the international stage, including during his men’s World Championship with the German national team. Although this may seem like a reach at the time of the draft, even Moritz Seider looked surprised to hear his name so early, but could end up being looked back upon in a much more positive light. Grade C+

Antti Tuomisto, RHD, Ässät U20 (Jr A SM-Liiga), Round 2, 35th overall

Another big, right-handed rearguard for Detroit. Another pick that may have been slightly higher than anticipated but a good player nonetheless. An interesting fact about Antti Tuomisto is that he was set to be promoted to the Liiga but declined the promotion because he wanted to preserve his NCAA eligibility. This led to his stock not being as high as it could have been. He has a big shot from the blue line and makes a good first pass in transition. More of a passer to transport the puck than a puck carrier but he’s a strong skater at 6’5″, 198lbs. Defensively he is solid and creates separation with his large frame. He doesn’t seek out big hits, rather he engages physically with purpose. He does have a bit of an edge to his game, being suspended for crossing the line at the U18s with a knee-on-knee. With the likelihood that he fills his large frame out and his advanced hockey IQ, his defensive positioning is likely to improve over time. Grade B-

Robert Mastrosimone, LW, Chicago Steel (USHL), Round 2, 54th overall

Embed from Getty Images

The first forward taken by the Red Wings was a smaller winger (5’10”, 170lbs) who was a goal scorer at the USHL. He is a decent skater but not could work on it. Robert Mastrosimone has a good first step but his top speed isn’t anything to ride home about. He has a good shot and excellent hands. He will need to learn when and when not to use his go-to move, the toe drag, to get around players. He uses the toe drag on shots as well which is an excellent skill to have as it changes the angle on the shot and deceives goalies with the shot. He will need to get stronger but the skill is there. Defensively, he’s inconsistent but shows a good ability to get his stick on passing lanes. He isn’t going to be a physical presence in the defensive zone but his stick work helps make up for it. Grade B+

Albert Johansson, LHD, Färjestad BK (SHL), Round 2, 60th Overall

A 6’0″ defender who skates well, see the ice and makes good crisp passes. Albert Johansson has a good first step, accelerates quickly and has good top-speed. He carries the puck well and has good hands as a blue liner. He has a good hard shot thats accurate from the point. Seems to get the puck through traffic more often than not. He isn’t afraid to shoot the puck and may need to hone in when to shoot it and when to pass it off. He’s very poised in his own end and does a decent job defending but could definitely work on his positioning when the opposition gains the zone and sustains pressure. He has very high hockey sense and the poise allows him to make good passes under pressure. He has a strong overall game but doesn’t “wow” anyone. Grade B

Albin Grewe, RW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL), Round 3, 66th Overall

Embed from Getty Images

Graded by most as a late-first/early-second round pick, Detroit getting Albin Grewe (pronounces Gre-vah) in the third round is a steal. The Swedish winger plays like a bulldog. He is built like a truck at just 6’0″ tall, 195lbs. He is a combination of grit and skill. Grewe has the ability to turn the momentum of a game on its head. He can get a big hit on he defensive end, get the puck through the neutral zone before dangling a defender and putting the puck top shelf. He’s often been compared to Brad Marchand and Tyler Bertuzzi stylistically and if he falls anywhere on that spectrum this third round pick will be a steal. Grade A

The Lottery Tickets: Round 4 and Beyond

Ethan Phillips, C, Sioux Falls (USHL), Round 4, 97th Overall

Good two-way center who is quite undersized. At just 5’9″ and 146lbs, Phillips will be a project. He excels defensively and could be a good penalty kill player at the next level. He was a big factor in the Sioux Falls’ USHL title this past year. He will be attending Boston University in the fall.

Cooper Moore, LHD, Brunswick High School (USHS-Prep), Round 5, 128th Overall

High school players are hard to project because the level of competition is generally low. This is a home run swing late in the draft. In a game where his team was down 6-3 with three minutes left in the third period, he put the team on his back and scored three goals, as a defenceman, to tie the game. He almost scored again in overtime which would have been his SIXTH goal of the game. This was a late round flyer that could pay off big time later. Moore is going to play in the BCHL next year and then at the University of North Dakota in 2020-21.

Elmer Söderblom, RW/LW, Frölunda HC J20 (SuperElit), Round 6, 159th Overall

The massive winger is an excellent stick handler. Although intimidating at 6’7″ and 220lbs, there seems to be more skill than grit in his game. Plays on the perimeter for the most part but likes to take the puck to the net with his stick handling prowess. Taking a flyer on a forward of this size and skill set is the perfect 6th round pick.

Gustav Berglund, RHD, Frölunda HC J20 (SuperElit), Round 6, 177th Overall

A right-handed defender who progressed through the junior ranks in Sweden through the year. Good size and talent but had a rough start to the year. He was living on his own and had a hard time adjusting initially but once he was sorted out by his team and coaches in Sweden he began to excel.

Kirill Tyutyayev, RW/LW, Avto Yekaterinburg (MHL), Round 7, 190th Overall

Tyutyayev dominated the MHL, the Russian junior league, this year. He was his teams leading scoring in the regular season and playoffs. A long-term project, he possesses good puck skills, a decent offensive game and potential to get better with time. A good 7th round swing for the fences.

Carter Gylander, G, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL), Round 7, 191st Overall

A goalie in the seventh round. He’s big, 6’5″, but needs to fill out his frame as he sits at 172lbs. Good numbers in a second tier Canadian junior league. He will return to Sherwood Park next season before he attends Colgate University in 2020-21.

Draft Summary

The Detroit Red Wings draft was a bit controversial. Taking Seider with players such as Trevor Zegras and Dylan Cozens still available. Seider is a good blue liner who could be a solid 2/3 defenceman who could be a strong defender and underrated offensive contributor. Based on public lists and rankings, it was a bit of a reach with the sixth overall pick.

The value that the Red Wings got in round two and three was good. Tuomisto, much like Seider, is a good player and excellent addition to the defensive pipeline for the Wings but may have been take slightly ahead of where he should have been. Mastrosimone and Johansson were high-upside picks who need to work on areas of their game but if they can harness the obvious skills they have and build on their weaknesses, they could be solid contributors with some time. Grewe may have been the steal of the draft. With many rankings and talent evaluators putting a late first round grade on him, getting the high-motor Swedish pinball could pay huge dividends within a few seasons.

Embed from Getty Images

Overall, Steve Yzerman began the “Yzerplan” with a high-risk, high-reward 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He took the guys that he, along with his scouting team in Detroit, seems the best player available in Seider and then continued to stock pile defenders who play a good two-way game and highly competitive forwards who have never ending motors. Yzerman had a directive of the type of players that he felt the Detroit organization needed and he did an excellent job sticking to his guns and filling them when he say fit.

 

For more the draft, prospects and the NHL in general you can follow me here at @TheTonyFerrari

All statistics and information courtesy of Hockey Reference, the NHL, Elite Prospects and Prospect Stats.

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

NHL Draft Profile: Spencer Knight

Spencer Knight is the top goalie among most draft aficionados. He was the unheralded backbone of one of the best USNTDP of all-time. His ability to stay calm, cool and collected paired with maybe the best athleticism for any player in the draft combine to make Knight a top prospect in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Embed from Getty Images

Name: Spencer Knight

Date of Birth: April 19, 2001

Nationality (Place of Birth): American (Darien, CT, USA)

Hieght: 6’3″

Weight: 198lbs

Catches: Left

Position: G

Rankings

Ranked #12 by TSN/McKenzie

Scouting Report

The top goaltender in the draft has been outstanding all year. He has shown all the tools that talent evaluators look for in a young goaltender. His mental make-up is strong and he does an excellent job staying poised. He doesn’t panic or get flustered after allowing a weak goal. He stays focused and is able to see around screens because he shows great awareness of the play. The American goaltender does an excellent job at keeping his back upright and keeping a solid base to ensure that he’s using his entire 6’3″ frame in the net. In the video below, you can see Knight hold his ground despite the Finnish players best attempt at poking the puck free.  

Throughput the year, Knight showed that his maturity was well beyond his years. Often times with young goalies, sustained pressure from the opposition can lead to a break down in positioning and cause the young netminder to allow a goal that he would normally save. This isn’t often the case for Knight. He is able to harness his poise and focus in on tracking the puck while staying in good position. His eyes stay locked in on the puck and he is able to make multiple saves by kicking his pads out and closing down on the puck despite good movement from the opposing team. The video below if a perfect example of Knights ability to keep focused and dialed in on the puck. 

 

At the draft combine, many came away with the realization that Knight was among the best athletes in the draft. Knight shows his impressive athleticism with his ability to move laterally with precision and recover on plays that become a scramble in front of him. His lateral movement is extremely crisp and he rarely overshoots his positioning. He comes across the crease with a strong push. His ability to keep his upper body high while sliding over helps him stay big and cover the net as he transitions. Below you can see Knight unable to corral the loose puck in front of him but quickly recovers and uses his athleticism to make an outstanding save. 

Lower body strength and stability is an asset that goalies need and Spencer Knight has both. The future franchise netminder has the strength to keep his pad down and pinned to either post while still being able to stay upright and actively following the puck. The lower body strength aids in his push off from post-to-post and allows him to kick out his pads during a slide. As you can see below, Knight is able to use the aforementioned lower body strength to push off the right post and explode towards the recipient of the pass. His strong core allows him to stay upright long enough to make the marvelous save. 

When it comes to positioning, Knight is consistently stable. He plays a mature game which makes him far ahead of the curve for draft eligible goaltenders. The goalkeeper does a good job at absorbing the puck into his chest and not allowing egregious rebound more often than not. His reflexes have developed further throughout the year and he’s been able to track and catch shots quite well. When the puck is shot to his blocker side, he often deflects the puck into the corner or up into the net depending on the situation. Knight is able to track a pass through the middle of the ice and not over commit on a slide. He stops in perfect position and is able to make the save with ease as you can see in the video below.  

What the Detractors Say

While no 18-year-old goaltender is perfect, Spencer Knight does everything you’d like a goaltender to do. One of the few aspects of Knight’s game that scouts have picked on is his tendency to play fairly deep in his net at times. While he comes out to challenge shooters in one-on-one scenarios, he has sunken into his net at times during sustained pressure. While this hasn’t been an issue at junior level, it could become an issue at the next level as the athletic goalie moves forward. His athleticism helps him make up for the depth in which he plays at but he could stand to play a little higher in his crease.

Preseason Outlook

Having played in 14 games with the USNTDP U18 team a year early, many expected Knight to put on a show for the 2018-19 season. His positioning and athleticism allowed him to play up a level with success. Coming into the year, the young goaltender was considered the top goalie and he did nothing to change that fact.

Video courtesy of Justy Power YouTube

USNTDP Success

The top-tier prospect in net was outstanding this year on a stacked USNTDP team. With the high-powered offence, Knight certainly received his fair share of goal support but there was a number of times where Knight would put on a goaltending clinic. Early in the season Knight put together a masterful performance against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, ranked third in the NCAA at the time. Showing off all of his tools, this game signified his dominance and showed that he can read a play and play good positional hockey at a young age. In the video below, Knight makes an outstanding save on a slap shot from the circle. He shows excellent reflexes with the glove stage. 

Knight continued to put together good performances against both USHL and NCAA competition. He finished the year with a save percentage of .903 against USHL opponents but a .913 overall if you include the tougher NCAA schedule as well. This showed that he was able to play up to the competition and he benefitted from facing more steady work rather than the games in the USHL where his team often outshot the opposition by a wide margin.

Strong U18 World Championships

The world stage was where Knight shone brightest this year. At the U18 World Championships this year, Knight was able to dominate his peers. In his six games at the tournament, he allowed just 1.51 goals against average and had a sparkling .936 save percentage. However it was the save that he made that showed he would be an NHL goaltender sooner than many thought coming into the year.

Spencer Knight will be taken…

Somewhere in the 15-25 range most likely but there’s a chance he goes slightly earlier. Goalies are seldom drafted in the first round anymore but Knight is destined to be the exception. He’s one of the best American goaltending prospects in years and projects extremely well. His athleticism and mental fortitude will serve him well as he hopes to take the next step at Boston College next year. He is likely to step into a prominent role in the program despite being a freshman. His first task will be taking full control of the net and continuing to develop with the help of his Boston College athletic staff. The future franchise goaltender should, and likely will, be selected in the middle of the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

For more on the NHL, prospects and the NHL Draft, follow me here at @TheTonyFerrari on twitter!

All stats and information provided by Elite ProspectsDobber Prospects and NHL.com

NHL Draft Profile Jack Hughes

The likely top overall pick in this years NHL draft doesn’t have as tight a grip on the top selection as he did at the start of the season. While Kappo Kakko has closed on Hughes position, the American center has solidified his spot as the next great player to come out of the US National Team Development Program. 

Embed from Getty Images

Name: Jack Hughes

Date of Birth: May 14th, 2001

Nationality (Place of Birth): American (Orlando, FL, USA)

Hieght: 5’10”

Weight: 170lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: Center

Rankings

Ranked #1 by TSN/McKenzie

Scouting Report

The above spider graph, courtesy of Kyle Pereira of Puck77, displays the available data from Will Scouch. As shown, Jack Hughes was a dominant force in many ways. He was exceptional at driving play at 5-on-5 and he is a powerplay wizard. Finishing no worse than third among the 11 prospects on the graph, Hughes clearly stands out. As a player who is able to attack the game in a variety of ways, Hughes will immediately step into and NHL locker room and be a contributor right away. 

At just 5’10” you would prefer Hughes to have more size but the way he plays the game, it’s not an issue. The diminutive center isn’t a perimeter player as many would assume due to his size, rather he lives in the middle of the ice. Hughes ability to get to the middle of the ice unabated is impressive. In the video below, Hughes begins the play by picking the puck up behind the net and then picks up some speed with the puck. At that point he makes an excellent breakout pass and then uses his speed to accelerate through the neutral zone before receiving a return pass. Hughes makes a few cuts and changes direction, cutting to the net. A pass back against the flow of direction which results in a goal. 

Tweet courtesy of @StarsStripesHKY

Hughes skating ability is otherworldly. His skating will be elite in the NHL already and he doesn’t have just straight line speed. His edge work is phenomenal as he is able to cut in either direction on a dime. He skates like a speedy NFL running back in the sense that he can make a move in any direction without notice. This skill is key in making Hughes transition game elite entering the NHL. His ability to create space with subtle changes in his skating whether it be changing direction or changing speeds is unmatched in this draft class.

With an electric offence game, Hughes has taken over games in a scorer and a playmaker role. His calling card is the ability to make the ice feel spacious for his teammates while controlling the puck and pushing the ice of play. His tape-to-rape passing ability is a thing of beauty. Whether backhand or forehand, the American is an extremely high-end passer who can break a game open by drawing defenders to him before threading a pass through traffic onto the stick of his teammates. Below you can see that Hughes displays excellent vision. After entering the offensive zone he drops a pass to the oncoming Cam York and then continues to the slot. Receiving the return pass from York, Hughes makes no mistake by putting the puck in the back of the net.

Tweet courtesy of @TSN_Sports

Defensively Hughes has all the tools to compete and excel in his own end. He may not be overly physical and won’t muscle an opponent off of the puck but he didn’t refrain from battling in the corners. More adept at using his good stick to pull the puck out of a scrum. His positioning in the defensive zone is good and he is skilled at recognizing a play and getting in the passing lanes braking up plays before they become dangerous.

Preseason Outlook

Coming into the 2018-19 season, Jack Hughes was touted as the clear number one prospect for this draft. His star had been on the rise for years. His play for the USNTDP team as well as both the U17 squads and U18 squads were absolutely outstanding. He was a force to be reckoned with regardless if he was playing with his age group or a year ahead.

Coming off of a season in which he was the highest scoring U17 player in USNDTP history, expectations started extremely high for the speedy center. Last season Hughes split time between the Under-17 and Under 18-teams. Excelling at both levels, Hughes put up 68 points in 37 games with Under 18s and 48 points in 24 games with the Under 17s. Capturing a gold medal at the U17 World Hockey Challenge and a silver medal at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. To say he had a dominant year would be an understatement.

Draft Year with USNTDP

Jack Hughes has dominated this year. He draft season almost couldn’t have gone better. His proficiency has been displayed at every level and every event he’s played in this year. A dominant performance with the USNTDP where he put up 112 points (34 G/74 A) in just 50 games was the prime destination to see him play. The skilled center was a force in every game he played. His skill was evident at all times, with and without the puck.

Video courtesy of Hockey Prospect Center Youtube channel

With 74 assists, he proved that his playmaking ability is exceptional beyond belief. He was a constant threat to put the puck on the tape of a player in position to score. Passing from behind the net, across the ice or into the slot from the half wall, Hughes can make any pass. He was unwavering in his ability to make the smart and efficient pass from the defensive zone and then opening himself up for a return pass. An underrated part in Hughes game, much like many superstars, is the small passes that he makes to alleviate pressure from opposing players. This skill is both underrated and integral to a players capacity to play in all three zones.

His game is consistently rose to an even higher level at international tournaments. Whether it was his record setting performance in the U18 World Championships in April or the point-per-game pace he established at the World Juniors (U20) Championships just after Christmas, Hughes has proven to be a difference maker on every occasion.

Video courtesy of Puck Prodigy Youtube channel

U18’s and IIHF World Championships

The captain of an absolutely stacked American U18 team, Hughes shone like the star he is. The team ran into a hot goalie in Russia’s Yaroslav Askarov, a 2020 draft eligible goalie, in the semi-finals led to a disappointing bronze medal finish. Although the teams goals and expectation of a gold medal were not met, Hughes had an outstanding tournament. Hughes dominated in every facet of the game. His skating was on full display and his offensive precision was mouth-watering. Able to set players around him up or take control and score a goal at will, Hughes U18 tournament was absolutely dominate. 

The chemistry with Cole Caufield that was established throughout the season with the USNTDP was a major factor for both players record setting tournaments. While much was made of Caufield tying Alexander Ovechkin’s tournament record for goals (14 goals in seven games), Hughes was setting records of his own. After collecting 12 points at last year’s tournament, the 20 points he scored this year were good enough to eclipse Ovechkin’s all-time tournament record of 31 points with 32. Hughes’ nearly unprecedented run at the World U18 tournament helped earn him a spot on the Men’s IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Video courtesy of Hockey Prospect Center Youtube channel

Despite making the World Championship roster, Hughes was not able to make a difference for the American team. He wasn’t afforded the same opportunity as Kakko at the men’s tournament but it was a good eye-opening experience. Hughes had played a lot of hockey to this point and seemed a little bit gassed. In comparison, Kakko skipped the U18s in order to prepare for this tournament and ended up closing the gap on Hughes and even passed him in some evaluator’s eyes. Hughes struggled at times with the strength of the players from various men’s leagues around the world including the NHL. His best game may have come in his last game in which he had two assists. He finished with just three assists n the tournament. The young American played good for stretches but also clearly had his struggles when it came to competing physically. 

What the Detractors Say

There is no perfect player. Even some of the best in the world have their weaknesses. Many of Hughes is skills are impressive to say the least and will likely translate well to the NHL. The biggest knock on Hughes is the fact that he is a diminutive forward who isn’t a physical force on the ice. Hughes is also looked at as someone who can be seen floating in the defensive zone. This is often because he is almost always in position in his own end and floats in and out of passing lanes. Overall his biggest weakness is his size which is something that can’t be changed which means that it’s something a team will have to live with but the immense skill more than makes up for it.

Jack Hughes will be taken…

First overall most likely. Barring any major change or a catastrophic injury of some sort in training, there is little doubt that Hughes will be a New Jersey Devil come June’s NHL Entry Draft. While Kappo Kakko has closed the gap on the American, Hughes is still the top dog in this draft. While Kakko would likely be the top overall pick in many years, Hughes potential to be a franchise changing player has the Finn playing second fiddle.

Embed from Getty Images

This year’s top-ranked prospect is going to be an NHL star in all likelihood. His speed, skill and playmaking ability will almost assuredly be flying up the ice in the black and red (and sometimes green) of the New Jersey Devils. With a one-two punch down the middle of Hughes and 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier, the New Jersey Devils could be turning a page on the past and fully embrace the speed and skill, up-tempo offensive game of the modern NHL. Combining that with the possible re-signing of 2018 Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall, the Devils may return to legitimacy in less time than most pundits anticipate. Jack Hughes will be the catalyst for that.

For more on the NHL, prospects and the NHL Draft, follow me here at @TheTonyFerrari on twitter!

All stats and information provided by Hockey Reference, Elite ProspectsDobber Prospects and NHL.com

New York Rangers

New York Rangers: Who Should They Select At Pick #20?

The New York Rangers have two first-round picks in the 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the second overall pick and pick #20.

 

The second overall selection will be obvious, as everybody knows. They will take whomever the Devils don’t between Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko. As for Pick #20, they could go in a multitude of different directions, obviously based on who falls to them.

My personal preference is for them to target defense or center help, because their defense is still an issue and their center depth could be better, with Vladislav Namestikov and Ryan Strome not being long-term options. In terms of wingers, I think they have enough young wingers, especially with them likely getting Kakko at #2, so I wouldn’t pursue a winger unless somebody who was supposed to go top-10 falls. Here are some options at those two positions that I think could be realistic to fall to #20.

Moritz Seider, Defenseman, Mannheim Adler Mannheim

With the Rangers needing defense and needing some size on this team in general, I think a perfect guy to fit that mold is German defenseman Moritz Seider. At 6’3″ and 208 pounds, he has the size and physicality that is needed on this team and in the league, even with it shifting to a speed and skill game. Seider has the strength, physicality, and instincts to be a good defensive defenseman.

Embed from Getty Images

His offensive game won’t wow anybody at this level, but he did have 11 assists in 12 games at the most recent international junior competition, showing some potential there. His goal-scoring ability will likely be small, as his highest goal total at any level was six in 2017-18 in the Deutsche Nachwuchs Liga. However, I think an improvement in his offensive game would come if being drafted and developed by the Rangers, who have always done well with making guys that weren’t previously offensively-minded or two-way defensemen more productive offensively.

However, if he is drafted by the Rangers, I still would want Seider to prioritize being a stay-at-home defenseman first, because I think the Rangers do lack that right now, especially one that is physical and one with defense-first instincts.

Raphael Lavoie, Center, Halifax Mooseheads

If the Rangers target any more offense in this draft, I think it should be at the center position. One guy that could realistically be there is the Quebec Junior League’s Raphael Lavoie. Lavoie is a guy that could have risen into the Top 10 if he took a major leap, but is still a dominant offensive player.

He scored 32 goals and 41 assists during the regular season for Halifax, and added 20 goals and 32 assists in their playoff run leading the Mooseheads to the Memorial Cup finals.

Embed from Getty Images

Skill wise, he is a very good, straight forward skater that is tough to get off the puck and is good in terms of creating chances for teammates. Today’s game has evolved into young centers having this high end speed, and while I don’t think Lavoie has that, he still has good speed for his size (6’4″ and 200 pounds). His side-to-side speed and agility are one of his major issues he has to work on, especially in the defensive end of the ice. However, that is something that can be developed with good coaching.

His stick skills, vision, and speed for his size make him a good mold to be an NHL center, if he can improve the other aspects of his game. If the Rangers were to draft him, I think he would stay in Hartford for two or three years. But down the road, when guys like Namestikov and Strome probably will be gone, a player like Lavoie could be a decent second or third line center if developed properly, and with his size and skill I wouldn’t mind them taking a chance on him at 20 if he’s there.

Cam York, Defenseman, USNTDP Juniors

From a big-bodied defenseman in Seider to a smaller but quicker defenseman in Cam York, the Rangers could also take a chance on a guy who is more of the modern mold of the NHL, defensemen that can skate and join the rush on offense. At 5’11” and 172 pounds, I would imagine he’d have to bulk up a little bit to compete at the NHL level, but at 18 years old, he still has time to grow into his body more.

However, for that type of defenseman, he can be very good. Offensively his numbers have proven that, with 14 goals and 51 assists on the U.S. National U18 team. In 2015-16, he also had a season with 18 goals and 51 assists for Shattuck St. Mary’s Bantam.

Defensively, he skates well both straight forward and side to side, which is important against more athletic forwards in today’s NHL. He will need to work on his stick skills as a defender as well as his physicality due to not having a lot of size, but those are instincts that can be developed in the American Hockey League and in college hockey.

Whoever drafts York will have him as more of a project anyway. Like I said, he still has to grow into his body, plus he has already committed to the University of Michigan for this season. So between that, growing into his body ,and proving himself in the AHL, he will have a long way to go. However, his speed and offensive ability certainly make him similar to a lot of the new mold of NHL defensemen, and I would not mind if the Rangers decided to put a Cam York in New York.

Alex Newhook, Center, Victoria Grizzlies

One of the faster centers in this draft, Alex Newhook makes the final spot on this list. The Rangers have always loved faster centers, so Newhook could be a perfect fit. He has very good straight forward speed but even better side-to-side speed that would help out wingers that like to spread the ice and switch a lot in head coach David Quinn’s system.

Skill wise, his stick handling and moves are good in front and around the net too, and help for both passing and shooting. Statistically, Newhook had a great year in the British Columbia Hockey League with Victoria, totaling 38 goals and 64 assists in 53 games, proving those skills.

Embed from Getty Images

The question surrounding Newhook is whether he can do it at tougher levels, as the BCHL isn’t thought of to be as strong of competition as other development leagues, so he would likely need more time to develop. He is committed to Boston College next year, where I would imagine he would stay for more than one year unless he makes a huge leap, and then I think he would transition to the AHL level.

Not to mention, at 5’10” and 190 pounds, he may need time to grow into his body too. Therefore, I think between that and him needing to improve his defense and his decision-making both with and without the puck, he will need time.

However, his speed and skill level show that he could fit as a sophisticated offensive center if he proves he can do it against tougher competition throughout college and the AHL. This pick would be a gamble if the Rangers make it, but he can be an ultimate boom if he can handle that higher competition with that kind of speed both straight forward and side-to-side.

Statistics provided by Eliteprospects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

 

 

Puck77

NHL Draft Profile Trevor Zegras

Possibly the best play-maker in the draft, even with full knowledge that Jack Hughes exists. The slick passing forward has played both at center and on the wing with the USNTDP but likely goes into the NHL as a left winger who drives play. Shifty, water bug who sometimes gets overly creative.

Embed from Getty Images

Name: Trevor Zegras

Date of Birth: March 20, 2001

Nationality (Place of Birth): American (Bedford, NY, USA)

Hieght: 6’0″

Weight: 178lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: LW/C

Rankings

Ranked #10 by TSN/McKenzie

Scouting Report

The above spider graph, courtesy of Kyle Pereira of Puck77, displays the available data from Will Scouch. As shown, Zegras is very good at driving the play and his production at 5-on-5 is very good. He could stand to shoot more but as an pure elite playmaker its expected that his goal and shot totals are lower. Overall Zegras isn’t the best at anything but still drives play very well and has an excellent on-ice Goals For%.

An excellent skater, Trevor Zegras has as elite edge work and agility. His shiftiness is aided by good speed on his skates. He can create separation in one-on-one scenarios in a number of ways. Zegras uses his agility and quick change of direction to break away and once he gets a step he has the skill and speed to make defenders pay. His skating is on display when he is shifted to the wing as he has excellent offensive awareness. He often leaves the defensive zone at the perfect time to put pressure in the opposition by attacking the blue-line. A tendency to overly trust his skill and skating has gotten the American water-bug into trouble at times.

Video courtesy of Draft Dynasty Youtube Channel

With his elite skating ability as one of his primary tools, he uses it to his advantage in all three zones. Transitional play is a strength of Zegras’ because of his tendency to take unique skating paths out of the defensive zone, patiently waiting for the smart and efficient play. This same ability is used to enter the offensive zone often times skating east-west looking for the opening to carry the puck into the zone. The the video below, Zegras does an excellent job of getting behind the defence and the using a burst of speed to beat the opponents to the outside and then unleashes a good, well placed shot on net for the goal.

Tweet courtesy of @DraftAnalyst

A hard worker defensively, his coverage low in the zone when playing in the middle is good. He supports his own blue-liners well and rarely over-commits to a player in the corner. The defensively underrated forward has good positioning and couples that with an active stick that’s constantly getting into passing lanes. Despite his lack of size and pure strength, the American forward is excellent at getting under the opponent skin. He seeks to engage physically and plays with an edge. His ability to create contact and still focus on the play at hand is a talent that infuriates his opponents.

Zegras can play center from a defensive perspective, although he will likely need to add some strength of he truly wants to play down the middle at the next level. On the wing, Zegras does an excellent job at supporting down the boards and closing the gap on defencemen with puck possession at the point.

Tweet courstesy of @StarsStripesHKY

The “wow factor” in Zegras game comes offensively with his play-making. His ability to identify a play before it happens is a testament to his outstanding hockey IQ and offensive awareness. His passing ability is the best in the entire draft class, with Jack Hughes being a close second. Zegras has the ability to make any pass and do it with consistency. In the video above, Zegras does an excellent job of rolling off the half wall to recive the pass before identifying a soft spot in the defensive coverage and completing a creative drop pass to an area allowing defenceman Cam York to step into the shot. His shot is decent but he relies on an accurate, quick release. He has soft hands and good puck handling ability that doesn’t disappear when Zegras is moving at top speed. Zegras has high upside offensively. If paired with a goal scorer, Zegras could have legitimate 80-plus point potential.

Preseason Outlook

Zegras finished last year as the top center on the USNTDP U17 team after both Hughes and Alex Turcotte were called up to the U18 squad. He took advantage of the extra playing time, showing off all of the offensive skills that are making him one of the top prospects in the 2019 NHL Draft. His playmaking and vision were key in filling in down the middle.

This season was set to begin with Zegras playing on the wing in the top-six but the injury to Alex Turcotte prevented that from happening. Zegras again filled in at center for Turcotte, slotted in behind Hughes. This would help raise his draft stock yet again as he displayed an ability to play center, at least on a part-time basis.

Started in the Middle, Moved to the Wing

The season for Trevor Zegras started in flux as he was moved from the wing to center before the season started to fill in for the Turcotte injury. Due to the circumstances, Zegras was fortunate to be able to display his full arsenal of skills. His underrated defensive game was on display early in the year. His early season on the second line of the USNTDP was productive. He was able to show off all of his offensive skills, both positively and negatively.

He showed his ability to make passes that no other players in this draft can make because his vision and willingness to take chances to make a play are at another level. Due to his inept passing ability, the passes often work out for Zegras. Where the negative began to show was when he would hold onto the puck too long. His desire to look for the perfect play often times comes at the cost of not taking scoring chances of his own. He has often passed up a good shot looking for a great pass even though it never presented itself. As a tendency that can be coached out of his game, this is a weakness that he dealt with all year and improved slightly as the year went on.

Tweet courtesy of @DraftAnalyst

After moving back to the wing upon Turcotte’s return to the lineup, Zegras moves back to the left wing. It was at this point that his offensive game took its biggest step as he was able to stay on the outside, complete royal road (through the slot) passes as he was able to open up to give himself roughly three quarters of the offensive zone. It’s at the point that Zegras gives himself the option to make the pass or drive to the net a draw defenders towards him. In all this year Was quite successful for Zegras. He put up impressive numbers with the USNTDP with 87 points in just 60 games.

World U18 Disappointment

Zegras performed in the shadow of the dynamic duo of Hughes and Coke Caufield as the third wheel on the line that dominated the tournament. Despite being the tertiary offensive force on the line, Zegras racked up nine assists in just five games. He continued to show off his dynamic skillset but the USA fell to Russia when their 16-year-old goaltender, Yaroslav Askarov, stepped up and stole the game from the Americans. Defeating their rival Canadians in the bronze medal game wasn’t enough to heal the wounds of missing out on a prime chance to win the U18 title with one of the best American teams ever to enter the tournament.

Video courtesy of Puck Prodigy Youtube channel

What the Detractors Say

There are two main complaints that scouts have had with Zegras. Neither is a major issue and both can be easily repaired in his game. The first of which being the lack of total strength. He has the strength to fight through defenders amongst his junior aged level peers, but he may need to put some weight and strength on his 6′ frame, creating a better balance structure. The second fault in Zegras’ game is a fault of many young players. Overconfidence in his ability. The young dynamo can sometimes attempt to be too perfect and he has held the puck for longer than he should have and passed up decent-to-good shots in pursuit of the perfect play/shot even though it won’t always be there. If a coach can get the playmaking wizard to be willing to settle for good chances over forcing great chances and he has a good summer or two post draft, he could easily be on an NHL roster in a couple of years.

Trevor Zegras will be taken…

In most rankings, Zegras is placed somewhere between four and ten. The forward is among a group of players that have settled into what’s been known as the “second tier”. Zegras is firmly in that group. Much of the decision making process in this range will likely be a stylistic preference for whichever team is on the clock.

Embed from Getty Images

A couple of fits within that range are the Detroit Red Wings (6th overall) and the Edmonton Oilers (8th overall). In Detroit he would be able to slot in as a center or winger but the important position that he would fill would be that of the primary playmaker. For as good of a playmaker that Dylan Larkin has become, it’s more of a testament to Larkin’s hard work and ability to adapt to what’s needed. Inserting a playmaker such as Zegras next to emerging offensive powers Andreas Athanasiou or Anthony Mantha, serious offensive magic could ensue.

As for Edmonton, Zegras could easily fill their need along the wing, paired with any combination Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. His ability to thread the needle and the Oilers center depth would be a welcome sign for a team with two elite finishers down the middle. While he is likely to be taken as a center, don’t be the shocked if he comes into camp at 6′ still 178lbs. The dynamic play maker had extensive time on the wing so he could start his NHL career there after a year in the NCAA with Boston University.