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.

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The Picks

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

Puck77 Interview: Steve Kournianos of TheDraftAnalyst.com

Yesterday, I had the privilege to interview Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst). Kournianos is an NHL Draft Analyst for TheDraftAnalyst.com and he contributes for Sporting News NHL.

Kournianos has posted a ton of draft related content on his site including Rankings, Prospect Profiles and Mock Drafts. You should check out his content as you prepare to sit down to watch the draft this weekend.

In my interview with Kournianos, we touched on several different draft prospects who are eligible in the NHL Draft and some prospects who are eligible for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. So, let’s take a look at what he had to say. 

Interview

Josh: The USNTDP has many top prospects including Cole Caufield, Alex Turcotte and Jack Hughes. But, who are some draft prospects from the USNTDP who could be steals in the later rounds?  

Steve: I really like Patrick Moynihan, Owen Lindmark and Judd Caulfield. All did really well when given a chance in the top six. Moynihan can fly and wire it off the rush; Lindmark has a nonstop motor and is great off the cycle; Caulfield is a big-bodied two-way type with soft hands and underrated creativity. I also see defensemen Domenick Fensore and Marshall Warren being able to translate their speed, hands and playmaking into top-pairing roles when after two or three years in college.

Josh: While Jack Hughes is looking like the number one selection, the race between Kaapo Kakko and Hughes has gotten much tighter. What are some of the concerns that analysts have with Hughes?

Steve: I don’t know any notable analysts who have concerns. Only fans. I for one have zero concerns about Hughes.

Josh: Alex Newhook is sky-rocketing up draft rankings. Is there a chance that we could see Newhook be drafted before Trevor Zegras and Dylan Cozens?

Steve: Slim. It’s recency bias from the U18 words. Zegras or Cozens would have put up 150-point seasons in the BCHL.

Josh: In addition, do you believe that with Newhook playing in the BCHL, that it had a negative impact on his rankings earlier on this year?

Steve: My issue with Newhook had more to do with his frustration on the bench and his inconsistency fighting through tougher matchups. I don’t think league quality had anything to do with his slipping. Cale Makar and Tyson Jost were high picks from Canadian Jr. “A” because they were consistently dominant without any real concerns.

Josh: What do you think of Moritz Seider and what should NHL fans expect down the road with Seider? 

Steve: Seider is a hot topic and deservedly so. He is too good for his age group and held his own against adults. His hockey smarts and positioning impress me more than his size and mobility, which is what many are focusing in. I see a future No. 2 or No. 3 who eats up minutes and plays in all situations.

Josh: Last year, fans saw Joe Veleno fall and fall. Who do you believe might fall this year and why?

Steve: I think one of the WHL centers will drop. Dach, Cozens or Krebs. My money is on Krebs because of the Achilles tear coupled with the rise of Caufield, Seider, Knight and several others.

Josh: Alexis LaFrenière is projected to be the number one overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft. If you had to choose an NHLer (current or former) as a comparable, who would you select and why?

Steve: Lafrenière is a mix between John Tavares and Patrick Kane — a well-balanced, strong and brilliant decision maker like Tavares and finesse, elite puck control and hands like Kane. He’ll be among the NHL scoring leaders every year.

Josh: Aside from LaFrenière, who do you believe that fans should pay special attention to next season as they could be taken early on in the draft?

Steve: So many to list by I’m already partial to Russian winger Vasili Ponomaryov, the Czech kids — Jan Mysak, Adam Raska and Jaromir Pytlik. Also Anton Lundell from Finland, Dylan Holloway from Canada and a quintet of Minnesota high schoolers in Blake Biondi, Jake Boltmann, Carsen Richels, Cole Hansen and Jack Smith.

Thank You

Thank you Steve for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to interviewing you again in the future.

player profiles from hockey-reference.com

Puck77

2019 NHL Mock Draft: Picks 21-25

Part 5 of my 2019 NHL Mock draft is here, and this will feature picks 21-25. For a quick refresher, click here for part 1, here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4.

 

 

21st Overall Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins select Moritz Seider, Right Handed Defenseman, Adler Mannheim, DEL

The 6’4, 198 pound German from Zell (Mosel), Germany, is one of the rare commodities to come out of the German elite league, DEL. Although German hockey has been on the rise, very few 17/18 year olds have been selected as early as Moritz Seider likely will. His ranking has varied from as early as 10th and as late as 21st, with his average ranking being placed at 16.2.

 

For his size, he moves fast, with a very technically sound stride. He’s not easily knocked off the puck, and doesn’t often get out-worked along the boards or in front of the net, but could still get better with more strength. His transitional game is very strong as well, thanks in part to his handling of the puck, along with his skating. He also has a very good up-ice pass. He has great shooting ability, with an accurate wrist shot, and smart slapshots (low on net for deflections or rebounds).

 

What he isn’t exactly good at and should look to improve is his mobility at the blueline, in order to open up more passing and/or shooting lanes. When the opposing team is moving the puck up ice on his side, he looks to throw big hits, but he doesn’t quite have the awareness to know when he should/shouldn’t step up, often times drawing himself out of position. He isn’t very good in his own end either, as he is not exactly positionally sound, but he has the size to win netfront battles as well as battles in the corner, which gives him a base for defensive coaches to build on at the next level.

 

He did not produce at a high level in the DEL (two goals, four assists for six points in 29 games) but it was his first real test against competition outside of his age group. Where he did shine, however, was at the international stage. He first played on the German U20 World Junior Championship D1-A (one step below the WJC) where he put up a goal and six assists (seven points) in five games, leading the German’s to qualify for next seasons WJC.

 

After that, he cracked the German IIHF World Championship roster, where he faced off against NHL competition, as well as top prospects Kappo Kakko and Jack Hughes. He scored two goals in five games before being injured by Ladislav Nagy of the Slovakian team. It’s important to note that he has had injury problems, mainly being with his shoulder, outside of the concussion he sustained at the IIHF World’s.

 

Pittsburgh hasn’t had a great defensive core for a few years now, and the recent trade involving defenseman Olli Maatta makes their defensive needs jump off the page even more here. Right handed defensemen are hard to find as well, and Seider is a very intriguing selection for them.

 

Future Role: He is a long-term project, according to multiple evaluations on him, but I think otherwise. While his defensive coverage isn’t the most attractive, he was getting a first taste of playing against men, and I believe that next season, he will get his feet set there and stand out. I expect him to be a top-four defenseman, with the offensive abilities to play top powerplay minutes.

 

22nd Overall Pick: Los Angeles Kings select Nils Hoglander, Left Winger, Rogle BK, SHL

Hoglander is another one in the group of undersized skaters, as he stands at just 5’9, and 185 pounds. He has been ranked as early as 19th and as late as 41st, with his average ranking at 28.2.

 

Hoglander is one of my favorite prospects, and here’s why. He is a really, really good skater, burning defenseman time and time again. He also has the edgework to dart wide, and then quickly cut towards the net for a great scoring chance. Despite being undersized, he has strong balance, and can battle along the boards just as good as everyone else, which is a major plus for teams who are looking into him. He can dice up defenders too, as he has great stickhandling abilities. He can make a move while going full speed as well, making him unpredictable and difficult to defend one on one.

 

Because of all that, defenders tend to back off a bit more, as to not get burned wide, which opens passing lanes for him to exploit. And he is a good passer, too. He has a great shot, very accurate, though it does lack the necessary power to find success in the NHL. Beyond that, he is an excellent forechecker, and despite his size, does not shy away from playing physical.

Similar to Torey Krug, he can throw heavy hits at times.

 

He is a hard working player at both ends of the ice, mixing his aggressiveness with his positioning in the defensive zone to create turnovers. Transitionally, he uses his speed to blast into the offensive zone and get to work. But despite all of his great qualities, he lacks offensive production. It astonishes me how a guy who is such a fantastic skater, with a very aggressive play style, along with creative offensive instincts to pair with great passing abilities and an accurate shot, lacks production. Playing against men in the SHL last season, he managed to only put up seven goals and seven assists (14 points) in 50 games. He’s also one of the older guys eligible in the draft, due to his late December birthday.

 

Future Role: His ceiling is becoming a top-six winger at the moment, but he has all the offensive tools, and if he can turn the production up to where he should be with his talent, he could very well be a future elite winger. Why’s that? Because he plays a very complete game, and only needs to mature, fine tune the smaller details, and bulk up. Even if his production remains underwhelming, he has third line capabilities. He’s a safe pick in the late stages of the first round.

 

23rd Overall Pick: New York Islanders select Raphael Lavoie, Right Wing/Center, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

While Hoglander is one of my favorite prospects, Lavoie is my favorite, outside the top-10, that is. The Chambly, Quebec native has great size (6’4, 198 pounds) with room to grow. He may not have blazing speed, but he can beat defenders wide with his very strong strides, and solid acceleration. He also has arguably the best balance in this draft, as he is very difficult to knock off the puck and beat in board battles, as well as in front of the net.

 

Lavoie is a sniper in the offensive zone. His wrist shot is fantastic, and his slapshot packs a ton of power. Going back to his ability to win positioning in front of the net, he is a master at scoring in tight in those areas, whether it’s off a deflection or he gathers the rebounds. His stickhandling also allows him to make a quick move near the goaltender to beat him and score that way. He is dangerous in the cycle, and when he sees a lane, he takes it. He can also be a playmaker, as he sees the ice well and puts the puck on the tape of a teammate.

 

Before his draft season, Lavoie was known to be a lesser defensive zone player, and looked at as mainly an offense-only forward. However, this season, he showed a nose for the puck, and backchecked with authority to get it on his stick. He battles hard along the boards for the puck, helping defensemen down low. He is willing to block shots, basically anything to help his team win, he’s up for the task. He is an effective transitional player as well. With Halifax, he was able to post 32 goals and 41 assists (73 points) in 62 games played. He has the versatility to play all three forward positions, but is more likely to play wing due to his still questionable defensive capabilities.

 

Future Role: If he can continue to show his improvements in the defensive zone while maintaining and improving upon his offensive skills, he could be a top 6 winger, with the ability to play both powerplay and penalty kill minutes.

 

24th Overall Pick: Nashville Predators select Philip Tomasino, Center, Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL

The 6’0, 180 pound center for the Niagara Ice Dogs, Tomasino was a former fifth overall selection in the Ontario Hockey League draft. Tomasino’s rankings vary, as do many of the late first rounders, and has been ranked as early as 18th and as late as 34th, with his average at 23.7.

 

Similar to Hoglander, Tomasino is an incredible skater, which often leads to defenders backing off and granting him space to either shoot or pass. However, he doesn’t quite have the balance that Hoglander has, and he is more easily knocked off the puck. His stickhandling is superb, and he can make quick plays with his stick and skates to open up a teammate for a pass. He has a more developed shot than Hoglander, but he still has more room to improve with his power. He isn’t afraid to push his way to the front of the net or the corners to battle for a screen or the puck. He is a very effective forechecker, forcing lots of turnovers, but doesn’t play the body too often in those scenarios. He is always moving in the offensive zone, never stopping even for a second. That energy is tangible, and lots of teams would love to have that kind of guy on the ice for their team.

 

However, with that playing style, he frustrates opponents, and if he runs into a Brad Marchand, or a Dustin Byfuglien (dirty player or big, physical player) he could be on the tail end of something awful. He must bulk up, more so than most other prospects.

 

Defensively he struggles. Because he is outmatched physically, he tends to reach for the puck often, which makes it too easy for the opponent to make a move to get by him. He also doesn’t read the play effectively enough, and isn’t always in the right position. However, he does try and support the defense down low, and with that effort, coaches can help him with everything else.

 

The reason why I continued to bring up Hoglander multiple times is because these two players play an eerily similar style, with a near identical skill set. Both are creative offensively, whether it be stickhandling, passing, or shooting. Both are hardworking, and constantly trying to get the puck on their sticks. However, where Hoglander has him beat is in his more physical and aggressive play, looking more for the body and not the puck. That’s why Hoglander is a more effective player in the defensive zone.

 

But, while Hoglander struggles to produce offensively, albeit in a tougher league, Tomasino does not. He put up 34 goals and 38 assists (72 points) in 67 games played. He produces more than Hoglander, which tells me he uses his offensive skills more effectively. But he has more holes in his game, which is why he is a couple spots lower.

 

Future Role: If he bulks up, it should fix a few of his developmental hurdles. He will have to be coached well to be a reliable player on the defensive end, but it’s mainly positioning that is the issue. All minor flaws, meaning he will likely make it, and slot in, at the worst, as a middle six center, with the chance to play first line if needed. Certainly good enough to play on the powerplay once he makes it.

 

25th Overall Selection: Washington Capitals select Thomas Harley, Left-Handed Defenseman, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL

Harley was highly thought of by several other contributors on Puck77, recently being ranked 21st overall by those writers. Overall, the 6’3, 183 pound, Syracuse, New York native Harley has been ranked as early as 18th and as late as 24th, with his average being 20.5. So, why does he drop to 25?

 

Let’s get into it. He gets to his to speed very quickly, due to his strong first steps. He is quick with his edges, allowing him to change from defense to offense with rapid pace. That also makes him effective when moving across the point area, opening up passing and shooting lanes. Harley reads the play very quickly on offense, and he’s able to find teammates with a quick and accurate pass. He keeps his shots low and on net, and has greatly improved his shooting abilities from last season, which widens his potential scoring down the road. He is great in transition, with the ability to make a great first pass. He, at times, acts like a fourth forward on the rush, which also boosts his potential offensive output down the road.

 

But what he is most known for is his defensive game. He is very rarely out of position, and knows where to be at almost all times. He shows good strength despite being just 183 pounds, and tends to win board battles as well as net-front battles. But here is why I have him being selected a bit lower than many expect him to. He struggles against faster, shiftier forwards on the rush, and with the way the game is evolving, he could be left in the dust. His worst nightmare would be facing Johnny Gaudreau, Connor McDavid, Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen, Patrick Kane, etc., the list goes on and on. Even some lesser known guys like Carl Hagelin could make him look bad. He has to improve that area of his game to be effective at the next level.

 

As for his production last season, Harley had 11 goals and 47 assists (58 points) in 68 games for Mississauga. He also played for Team Canada at the U18 WJC, where he posted one goal and three assists (four points) in seven games.

 

Future Role: He is a safe pick in a sense that he will very likely crack an NHL roster down the road. He is a complete player, with maturity and high hockey IQ. His problem is he can’t handle what the game is becoming. At best, he will be a second pair defenseman with powerplay time, but at worst, a third pair journeyman defenseman, still with powerplay time. That being said, if he doesn’t fix that glaring hole in his game, he will really have to milk his offensive abilities to keep an NHL spot.

 

All stats via Eliteprospects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

NHL Draft: German League Prospects For The Draft

Only seven days remain before the 2019 National Hockey League entry draft and prospects from all over the world will be gathered to see their fate. Among the prospects, there are a few of them that will be coming from Germany. 

The journey to the NHL is long and hard and while it’s still heavily dominated by the Canadian players, the Europeans are starting to gain more and more momentum. Over the next week or so, I will try to look at the players from the European leagues that could be stars in the NHL down the road and late round steals.

First up is Germany. We’ve seen quite a bit of top talent coming from Germany. Players like Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Philip Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche have been stellar in the NHL. On the international scene, German hockey has created near miracles, something that Puck77’s Wally Mazurek also focused on in his article from earlier this week. But how do the Germans stack up ahead of the 2019 entry draft and what players from their leagues is worth keeping a small eye on during the draft?

Moritz Seider – Adler Mannheim – Defender

The next German star of the NHL is well within the cards for 18-year-old Moritz Seider. Talks have him to being taken mid-first round and for good reason. The Mannheim defender has had a dream season, where his first of many great achievements came when, at the age of 17, he  took the German Under-20 team back to the World Juniors top division as its captain. To be the captain at that age is something unique, but his young age didn’t show in the tournament. He was a star player for the Germans, getting seven points in  five games for the Germans.

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In the domestic league, he helped Adler Mannheim win their seventh league title. And once again the young defender was a key part of it, playing 43 games for the club. While his points production wasn’t as good as it was at the junior levels, he held his own and played in all the 14 playoff games.

To end the season, he also got to shine doing the IIHF Worlds Championships, where he was playing extremely well for Germany, with strong play on the blue line on both sides of the zone. He never looked out of place on the German team and for a teenager playing against men and NHLers, that’s one of the biggest compliments to receive. Sadly, his tournament ended on a sour note as he was taken out with a minor injury against Slovakia.

Seider is possibly one of the best mid-to-late first rounders in a few years and with his size and speed he can become a great pick and, in my opinion, would be one of the major steals of the draft if he were to drop outside the top 20. He has all the tools and skills to become one of the better defenders in the league if he continues his development.

Simon Gnyp – Kölner Haie – Defender

Last year was a fantastic year for German hockey. Not only due to the success in the Worlds and Under-20 team getting promoted back to the Worlds Juniors, but also due to the success of the Under-18 team.

Under the leadership of captain Simon Gnyp, they also gained promotion to the top of Under-18 hockey. Like Seider, he also showed a great ability to get points from the blueline during this tournament as he grabbed eight points in just five games. A huge part of the reason for the promotion and its very likely that he will be a part of the World Juniors next winter for the Germans.

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Gnyp has somewhat been overshadowed by Sieder in a lot of the German prospect talks, but Gnyp has played 14 games in the DEL against the best that Germany has to offer, and at only 17-years-old that is a monumental achievement. And while he wasn’t a regular in the Kölner line-up, he did manage to find a lot of success on the Under-20 level at Kölner EC U20, where he had 35 points in just 29 games. Being a point a game in any league is good. But when it’s done as a freshman in the junior league its worth taking note of.

His one weakness is his size. At only 5’11″ and 179 lbs., he is on the smaller side when it comes to the NHL build for a defenseman. However, as we seen with players like Jared Spurgeon and Samuel Girard, its more than possible to break into the NHL even with a smaller frame. I see him going in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he turns out to be one of those picks that people look back on with a lot of pride in a few years as he dons an NHL uniform.

Nino Kinder – Eisbären Berlin U20 – Center

The top scorer of the German Under-18 team and another part of the aforementioned team that gained promotion, Nino Kinder’s nine points was a key part in their success. Especially since he always found a way to score the key goals in the tournament, with very important tallies against Kazakhstan and Denmark.

Within Germany, he has mostly been apart of the Under-20 team in Berlin although he has had a small taste of Men’s hockey with five DEL games to his name. In the Under-20 league, he has been good and shown a lot of nice signs with a lot of offense. With 41 points in 33 games, and 17 goals to his name, its clear to see that he can find the back of the net at the junior level in Germany.

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The major question now is if it can be transferred to the big leagues. Next season will be a very important year for him where he more than likely will feature more heavily in DEL. This is yet to be confirmed and this could scare off a lot of teams from looking his way despite a fine international showing, at least in the early rounds. I see him as a late pick, potentially even seventh round that by a team hoping that his skills at the junior levels will be showing as he takes the next step in his career.

Jan-Luca Schumacher – Jungadler Mannheim U20 – Center/winger

While Jan-Luca Schumacher has never played a game in DEL, his stats in the juniors in Germany is astonishing. Well over a point and a half per game in over 30 games for Mannheim tells the story of his talent.  A great playmaker at the junior levels, he has all the tools to go quite far. At only 17, he has time to grow as well and he might have as he has a smaller frame.

Schumacher was a major part of the U18 German team who won the promotion, where he got six points. And like Kinder, he also made some key contributions along the way.

Schumacher and Kinder are very similar players and they both are going to have to show that they can break into the men’s league and transfer their fantastic play to the senior level. And that is a lot easier said then done, so his lack of senior level might hurt his draft stock, since the pure junior players that tend to be picked in the first couple of rounds are playing in the juniors in North America. Therefore, I feel he would be another late round pick from a team looking for a steal.

Statistics Provided By EliteProspects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals 

 

Germany Is Quickly Becoming A Hockey Powerhouse

Germany in recent years have risen to become a great Hockey country. Established players like Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche stand out, but they have a lot of young talent.

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While there are many more great hockey countries (like Canada, USA, Sweden, Russia, Finland), I believe that Germany is quickly moving up in the hockey world ever since the 2018 Winter Olympics where they placed 2nd overall.

Who are the players in the NHL now?

This year, 2018-2019, there were eight German players in the NHL (via Elite Prospects). Six were skaters and the other two were goalies. All together they totaled 371 games played (5th most since 09-10). Their 68 goals, 98 assists and 166 points rank 2nd, 4th and 2nd respectively (since 09/10). It just shows how great this group is.

The players who played this year include: Leon Draisaitl – Edmonton Oilers (105 points), Dominik Kahun – Chicago Blackhawks (37 points), Tobias Rieder – Edmonton Oilers (11 points), Tom Kühnhackl – New York Islanders (nine points), Korbinian Holzer – Anaheim Ducks (four points), Nico Sturm – Minnesota Wild (zero points), Thomas Greiss – New York Islanders (2.28 GAA .927 SV%) and Philipp Grubauer – Colorado Avalanche (2.64 GAA .917 SV%).

It’s clear that Germany has a lot of talent in the NHL, but how many quality prospects do they have in the system?

Who are the most promising young players for Germany?

In the past five years (14-18) there has been six German players selected in the NHL Entry Draft. This list includes: Leon Draisaitl (3rd overall, 2014), Frederik Tiffels (167th overall, 2015), Manuel Wiederer (150th overall, 2016), Leon Gawanke (136th overall, 2017), Dominik Bokk (25th overall, 2018) and finally Justin Schütz (170th overall, 2018). Only one of these players has made the NHL, Leon Draisaitl, but all of Manuel Wiederer, Leon Gawanke and Dominik Bokk have signed their ELC’s.

Now what does the draft pool look like for Germany? Well this year the top German prospect is defenseman, Moritz Seider. 

Moritz Seider

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I’m gonna hand this part off to, Tony Ferrari, one of our prospect gurus at Puck77. Ferrari recently wrote a profile post on Seider. Below, is a section from his profile.

“Moritz Seider is a very good two-way defenceman. He has developed into a very good player defensively over the course of this season while playing in the DEL, the top tier men’s league in Germany. He uses his size well and competes hard against men in the dirty areas of the ice. He is a very good skater who has good-to-great top end speed and good acceleration. He could improve that area with added strength as he physically matures. His edge work is exceptional for a player his size, able to change direction backwards and forwards as well as laterally. His transition from defending to attacking, or visa versa, is aided by his ability to recognize where the play is developing.

His physicality isn’t a strength but the fact that he positions himself well and keeps close gaps against the oncoming rush. He does an excellent job with his stick positioning, consistently disrupting the play. This forces opposition to the outside with consistency, limiting the dangerous chances. When engaged physically against larger, stronger men he can be pushed around a bit but the projection of his 6’4” frame would lead you to think that his physical development will lead to improvement in those areas.

Offensively, Seider is an excellent passer. He does an excellent job of facilitating the puck down low, putting the puck on the stick of his teammates in high-danger scoring areas. His crisp passing is an asset in both breaking out of his zone and entering the offensive zone as he consistently makes the mature and smart play. His NHL-ready wrist shot is used both to score and to create chances down low. He locates his shot well leading to hard, accurate shots around a screen in front of the net or he shoots the puck in an area that gives the goalie to leave a rebound available to be cleaned up by the net crashing forwards. His slap shot is hard but sometimes lacks consistent accuracy. Overall, he’s developed into a capable two-way defender that could be among the most mature in the draft class.”

Thanks to Tony for that excellent scouting report. Moritz Seider is clearly the best German player to enter the NHL draft since Leon Draisaitl.

Draft Eligible Germans

There are a lot more draft eligible players from Germany this year but I’ll only be covering the top five outside of Moritz Seider.

  1. Taro Jentzsch (LW/C) Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL. A power winger who has offensive upside and great vision. Questionable speed and 19 years old. 18G – 24A – 42P (53 GP)
  2. Nino Kinder (W/C) Eisbären Berlin, DEL. A playmaking forward who has a decent shot. Split time between the DEL and the U20 team. 17G – 24A – 41P (33 GP U20)
  3. Simon Gynp (LHD) Kölner Haie, DEL. Puck-Moving defenseman who has decent speed and a decent shot. Inconsistency in his game and needs to bulk up. Split time between the DEL and U20 team. 9G – 26A – 35P (29 GP U20)
  4. Tobias Ancicka (G) Eisbären Berlin, DEL. A smaller goalie (6’1″, 172 pounds), but can make a save when he needs to. Played for U20 but also DEL 2. 3.36 GAA and a .902 SV% (33 GP U20/DEL 2)
  5. Jan-Luca Schumacher (W/C) Jungadler Mannheim, DNL U20. A skilled playmaker with a smaller frame (5’10, 163 pounds), and needs to work on multiple parts of his game. 16G – 45A – 61P (34 GP U20).

Who Are The Top Draft Prospects For Next Year?

Next year you have guys like Tim Stützle (23G-32A-55P in 21 U20 games), who might be the best center since Leon Draisaitl to come out of the draft from Germany. You also have other talented players in John-Jason Peterka (45G-49A-94P in 48 Czech U20 games) and Lukas Reichel (11G-31A-42P in 32 U20 games).

Germany has a great future with young established NHL players (Leon Draisaitl) and young players making their way through the ranks of German hockey (Moritz Seider and Tim Stützle).

stats-from: Elite-Prospects

special thanks to: Tony Ferrari

photo credit – pixabay.com