Puck 77 NHL Draft Scouting Reports

We’ve compiled all of the scouting reports done by the various members of the Puck77 team for the NHL Draft here in one easy location so you can jump right to the player you want!

Our Top-12

1. 🇺🇸 Jack Hughes, C, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Jack Hughes by Tony Ferrari

2. 🇫🇮 Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga): Deep Dive Scouting Report of Kaapo Kakko by Tony Ferrari

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3. 🇺🇸 Alex Turcotte, C, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Alex Turcotte by Tony Ferrari

4. 🇨🇦 Bowen Byram, LHD, Vancouver Giants (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Bowen Byram by Tony Ferrari

5. 🇺🇸 Trevor Zegras, C/LW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Trevor Zegras by Tony Ferrari

6. 🇨🇦 Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Dylan Cozens by Tony Ferrari

7. 🇺🇸 Cole Caufield, LW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Cole Caufield by Tony Ferrari

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8. 🇨🇦 Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Kirby Dach by Tony Ferrari

9. 🇨🇦 Alex Newhook, C, Vancouver Grizzlies (BCHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Alex Newhook by Tony Ferrari

10. 🇨🇦 Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Peyton Krebs by Tony Ferrari

11. 🇺🇸 Matthew Boldy, RW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Matthew Boldy by Tony Ferrari

12. 🇷🇺 Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Vasili Podkolzin by Tony Ferrari

Other Intriguing Prospects

2019 NHL Draft: What makes Philip Tomasino such an intriguing prospect? by Spencer Loane

2019 NHL Draft Deep Dive: Arthur Kaliyev by Spencer Teixeira

NHL Draft Profile: Nolan Foote by Spencer Teixeira

Come back for more profiles as they are updated and added! Thanks for stopping by!

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. 

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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. 

Puck77

NHL Mock Draft Part Two: Selections 6-10

Part one is done, which looked at my prediction of the top-five National Hockey League entry draft selections, which means we are going through picks 6-10 for part two!

 

In this part I predict a trade, but other than that it is a straightforward prediction. For a quick refresher, Kappo Kakko went first, Jack Hughes went second, Cole Caufield at third, Alex Turcotte went fourth and Bowen Byram went fifth. 

 

Sixth Overall Pick: Detroit Red Wings trade back!

A trade kicks off part two, and it is a small one, but with a big impact. The Red Wings, I believe, are eyeing a prospect that should be available at 10th overall, owned by the Vancouver Canucks, and so they swap places, with Vancouver also eating Danny DeKeyser’s contract. Canucks fans have always complained about getting screwed over by the draft lottery, and so the team decides it’s time to move up, at the cost of DeKeyser’s hefty contract. Trade is Detroit’s 2019 sixth overall pick to Vancouver in exchange for the 10th overall pick, and Danny DeKeyser. So, here’s the pick:

 

Sixth Overall Pick: Vancouver Canucks select Trevor Zegras, Center/Both Wings, USNTDP

Zegras is like Alex Turcotte and Bowen Byram (who were selected in part one) in which he could arguably be the third overall pick. But with the Caufield selection at three, and Turcotte and Byram ultimately falling, Zegras is left available for the taking. (Why Detroit wouldn’t take him here will be explained when pick 10 rolls around).

For Vancouver, they have been dying to select a versatile, sure-fire future elite forward on draft day for a while. I know what you’re thinking, what about Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat? Pettersson was selected back in 2016, and needed a season before making the jump and, ultimately, becoming their best player. Boeser was everything but a sure-fire deal, being taken at 23rd overall in 2015. Horvat was drafted in 2013, at the tail end of the top 10 (ninth overall) and also wasn’t exactly a sure thing.

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So, it’s been a few years and the Canucks want more, and Zegras is probably the best forward (aside from Pettersson) that they have selected in the draft, and whether he ends up more vital to the team than Horvat and Boeser will be found out within a few years.

Zegras piled up 14 goals and 26 assists (40 points) in 27 games with the USNTDP juniors. The fact that he didn’t play up with Turcotte and Jack Hughes tells me he has about 1-2 years before making the jump to the NHL, but his playmaking ability is outstanding. He proved that when he played for the US National U-18 team for 60 games, where he put up 26 goals and 61 assists (87 points).

Next season, like with Caufield and Turcotte, he is committed to joining an NCAA club, and for him it’s Boston University. BU is well known in the hockey community thanks to Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle, just to name a few, so I feel that this is a big step in the right direction for Zegras.

Next Year’s Role: NCAA minutes, likely won’t join the NHL club at any point next season, unless he dominates with BU.

 

Seventh Overall Pick: Buffalo Sabres select Dylan Cozens, Center/Right Wing, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL

This is an excellent selection for the Sabres. But then again, if any of the aforementioned players were available here, and the Sabres picked them, it would be excellent. That’s just how strong the top-10 prospects are in this class.

Playing in the WHL last season with Lethbridge, Cozens put up 34 goals and 50 assists (84 points) in 68 games, along with four goals and four assists (eight points) in seven playoff games. Cozens is leading the next wave of power forwards, that is currently led by Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.

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Cozens is well balanced, with a good shot and good vision. But his defensive abilities, paired with his well-balanced scoring touch, prompted LastWordOnHockey’s Ben Kerr to believe he could be a first line center with a chance at winning the Selke Trophy. That’s big praise from a guy who does several scouting reports on all different players every year. Cozens could make the jump to the NHL off of a strong camp, but the chances are he needs another year or so to advance to the next level. 

Next Year’s Role: WHL time with Lethbridge, likely won’t join the club late in the season, but it is possible.

 

Eighth Overall Pick: Edmonton Oilers select Matthew Boldy, Left Wing, USNTDP


Why Matthew Boldy here? I know it’s a little off the board, and he is not the best player available. But that by no means says that he is not a good player. Boldy has good size (6’2”, 192 pounds), and he had a very good season with the USNTDP Juniors club. He racked up 17 goals and 26 assists (43 points) in 28 games, adding another 33 goals and 48 assists (81 points) in 64 games with the US National U-18 team. He might not be the best skater in the draft by any means, but as fellow Puck77 contributor Tony Ferrari points out, with some adjustment in his stride as well as a better first step and in general acceleration, he could wind up being one of the best players in the draft.

Now, when we head on over to Edmonton’s roster, we see they have a strong center core, both young and experienced (Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jujhar Khaira in the NHL, Ryan McLeod, Cooper Marody in their pool) as well as a solid bunch of right wingers with promise (Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi in NHL, Kailer Yamamoto, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Mafin in pool), as well as defenseman (Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse in NHL, Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov, Ethan Bear in pool).

As for left wings, they have Milan Lucic and Tobias Rieder on the NHL club, and Tyler Benson in their pool. That is a very weak core, relative to their other positions (outside of goaltending), and while some players may go and new players will come in within the time that Boldy will be in the juniors/minors developing, they should still get a headstart in building up that very weak left wing.

Boldy is a safer pick than some guys who may have higher upside, but regardless, he fills a pretty large need the Oilers have. This is not that much of a reach either, it’s just that he was in the shadows of the earlier USNTDP picks and is, in my opinion, overlooked by the general fan. I believe this would be a great selection for Edmonton. He has committed to Boston College (NCAA) next season, where he will not be in anyone’s shadow.

Next Year’s Role: NCAA minutes, no chance he joins the Oilers late in season barring major injuries and/or he dominates in Boston College.

 

9th Overall Pick: Anaheim selects Kirby Dach, Center, Saskatoon Blades, WHL

Dach going to the Ducks is a match made in heaven. We all know the frustrating in-your-face, kind of dirty style of play that the Ducks utilize. While Dach isn’t necessarily dirty, he is a big guy, standing at 6’4, 198 pounds, and can very easily use that frame to fit the bill of a Duck.

The Ducks core is aging, and their prospect pool is very weak. They go best player available at this selection, and it really couldn’t be better for Anaheim. His size isn’t the only thing that is enticing.

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Dach had 25 goals and 48 assists (73 points) in 62 games played with Saskatoon, as well as five goals and three assists (eight points) in 10 postseason games played. He did not play any international games this past season with Canada, which is why he “dropped” to ninth (he ranges anywhere from third to 13th in this class) but he is still an intriguing prospect.

The knock on Dach is three things: 1) His acceleration is not good enough to translate to the NHL at this moment and he needs to really improve in that area to be a successful player at the next level. 2) He tends to keep his head down when skating with the puck, and despite his size, has gotten destroyed by hits on several occasions. 3) Finally, a lot of experts and fellow contributors on the site say that he does not have a very high ceiling (potential), but does have a very good skill set, or in other words, a high floor.

Next Year’s Role: Sticks with Saskatoon in the WHL all season, does not join NHL club at the end of Juniors.

 

10th Overall Pick: Detroit Red Wings (via Vancouver) selects Victor Soderstrom, Right-Handed Defenseman, Brynas IF, SHL

First off, right handed defenseman are a rare breed, and whenever you have a chance to grab one through the draft in the first round (especially at tenth overall), you take that guy.

In Detroit’s case, they had the sixth overall pick, but I would consider it a reach if they took Soderstrom there, because of all the talented forwards. You’re probably thinking, why would Detroit, a rebuilding team, trade back when they had talented forwards to choose from? Because they have young NHL centers in Dylan Larkin and Michael Rasmussen, as well as young NHL wingers in Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Bertuzzi. Not to mention, forward prospects in Taro Hirose, Filip Zadina, and Joseph Veleno.

How about young NHL defenseman, that are right handed? Madison Bowey in the NHL, and Filip Hronek as a prospect. Most of their defensive prospects are left handed, including their top D prospects in Jared McIsaac and Dennis Cholowski. So Detroit does not necessarily need forwards, and they do need a right handed defenseman, who happens to be (arguably) the second best D-man in the draft class, while also off-loading a bad contract.

Soderstrom started the season with Brynas IF’s junior team in the U-20 division, where he played 14 games, with one goal and seven assists (eight points). When he made the jump to the SHL, which is Sweden’s version of the NHL, he produced just four goals and three assists (seven points) in 44 games, with a not-so-good -11 +/-. But, the fact that he was constantly relied on and kept at the highest level as an 18-year-old against men says something.

Playing for Sweden at the World Junior Championships, he recorded one assist in four games, which was also underwhelming production. But what makes him arguably the best defenseman available after Byram is taken, is his well-rounded skill set. He is a very good skater, and has an ability to get shots on net through traffic consistently. He is good transitionally, with the IQ to know when to join the rush and attack, and when to stick back.

Despite being 5’11, 182 pounds, he does a good job using his body to win battles in front of the net or in the corners. His floor, offensively, is really low at the moment, but he is playing against men and not kids in his age group, so that sets him back a step. But he has the skating and shooting ability to give him a base in which NHL coaches can build upon once he makes the jump.

As he bulks up, and gets stronger, the more battles he will win along the boards and in front of the net defensively, and playing against men actually boosts his ceiling for his defensive game. If he’s finding success this early with his size in the SHL (and he bulks up), he could be a very reliable defenseman in his own end.

Next Year’s Role: Likely stays in Sweden. I don’t see him coming to North America to play AHL hockey, or CHL hockey. It’s best he stays in Europe one more year against tough competition to build up on his defensive game.

 

All stats via Elite Prospects

Rankings inspired by other contributors on Puck77

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Puck77’s First Mock NHL Entry Draft – Results & Notes

We had our first Puck77 Mock NHL Entry Draft.

In our draft, we did the first three rounds of the upcoming NHL Draft and we had some outside help. CJ Turtoro of All About The Jersey (New Jersey Devils blog), Ryan Quigley  of Knights On Ice (Vegas Golden Knights blog), Tom Hunter of Mile High Hockey (Colorado Avalanche blog), Steven Ellis of The Hockey News, Jesse Marshall of The Athletic, James Reeve of SenShot (Ottawa Senators blog) and Tip Of The Tower, Josh Walfish of Daily Hampshire Gazette, Jeff Chapman of Copper and Blue (Edmonton Oilers blog) and Drew Stevenson (Puck Prose) joined us as “GMs”.

Below are the picks! Take a look at who your team selected.

First Round

  1. New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes, Centre, USNTDP (CJ Turtoro)
  2. New York Rangers – Kaapo Kakko, Right Wing, TPS (Connor Criscuola)
  3. Chicago Blackhawks – Alex Turcotte, Centre, USNTDP (Matthew Spagnuolo)
  4. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators) – Kirby Dach, Centre, Saskatoon (Tom Hunter)
  5. Los Angeles Kings – Bowen Byram, Defense, Vancouver (WallMaz)
  6. Detroit Red Wings – Trevor Zegras, Centre, USNTDP (Tony Ferrari)
  7. Buffalo Sabres – Cole Caufield, Right Wing, USNTDP (Jan Brentjens)
  8. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Cozens, Right Wing, Lethbridge (Ryan Boonstra)
  9. Anaheim Ducks – Matthew Boldy, Left Wing, USNTDP (Jacob Lariviére)
  10. Vancouver Canucks – Thomas Harley, Defense, Mississauga (Cody Rusan)
  11. Philadelphia Flyers – Arthur Kaliyev, Left Wing, Hamilton (Spencer Teixeira)
  12. Minnesota Wild – Vasili Podkolzin, Right Wing, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (Olli Huotari)
  13. Florida Panthers – Victor Söderström, Defense, Brynas IF (Jacob Langsam)
  14. Arizona Coyotes – Alex Newhook, Centre, Victoria (James Reeve)
  15. Montreal Canadiens – Cam York, Defense, USNTDP (Gabriel Béland)
  16. Colorado Avalanche – Peyton Krebs, Centre/Left Wing, Kootenay (Tom Hunter)
  17. Vegas Golden Knights – Spencer Knight, Goaltender, USNTDP (Ryan Quigley)
  18. Dallas Stars – Bobby Brink, Right Wing, USNTDP (Josh Tessler)
  19. Ottawa Senators (from Columbus Blue Jackets) – Philip Broberg, Defense, AIK (Daniel Gagnon)
  20. New York Rangers (from Winnipeg Jets) – Pavel Dorofeyev, Left Wing/Right Wing, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (Connor Criscuola)
  21. Pittsburgh Penguins – Ryan Suzuki, Centre, Barrie (Jesse Marshall)
  22. Los Angeles Kings (from Toronto Maple Leafs) – Nils Höglander, Left Wing, Rogle BK (WallMaz)
  23. New York Islanders – Brett Leason, Centre, Prince Albert (Jeff Chapman)
  24. Nashville Predators – Jakob Pelletier, Left Wing, Moncton (Steven Ellis)
  25. Washington Capitals – Philip Tomasino, Centre, Niagara (Drew Stevenson)
  26. Calgary Flames – Lassi Thomson, Defense, Kelowna (Alex Hobson)
  27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Raphaël Lavoie, Centre, Halifax (Kyle Pereira)
  28. Carolina Hurricanes – Samuel Poulin, Left Wing, Sherbrooke (Chris Bradley)
  29. St. Lous Blues – Moritz Seider, Defense, Adler Mannheim (Tony Ferrari)
  30. San Jose Sharks – Connor McMichael, Centre, London (Josh Walfish)
  31. Boston Bruins – Ville Heinola, Defense, Lukko (Josh Tessler)

Second Round

  1. Ottawa Senators – John Beecher, Centre, USNTDP (Daniel Gagnon)
  2. Los Angeles Kings – Brayden Tracey, Left Wing, Moose Jaw (WallMaz)
  3. New Jersey Devils – Matthew Robertson, Defense, Edmonton (CJ Turtoro)
  4. Detroit Red Wings – Albin Grewe, Right Wing/Left Wing, Djurgardens IF J20 (Tony Ferrari)
  5. Carolina Hurricanes (from Buffalo Sabres) – Nicholas Robertson, Left Wing, North Central Predators Mdgt AAA (Chris Bradley)
  6. Carolina Hurricanes (from New York Rangers) – Anttoni Honka, Defense, Jukurit (Chris Bradley)
  7. Edmonton Oilers – Egor Afanasyev, Left Wing, Muskegon (Ryan Boonstra)
  8. Anaheim Ducks – Nolan Foote, Left Wing, Kelowna (Jacob Lariviére)
  9. Vancouver Canucks – Ludvig Hedstrom, Defense, Djurgardens IF J20 (Cody Rusan)
  10. Philadelphia Flyers – Jackson LaCombe, Defense, Shattuck – St. Mary’s Prepatory – Minnesota (Spencer Teixeira)
  11. Minnesota Wild – Marshall Warren, Defense, USNTDP (Olli Huotari)
  12. Chicago Blackhawks – Mikko Kokkinen, Defense, Jukurit (Matthew Spagnuolo)
  13. Ottawa Senators – Kaeden Korczak, Defense, Kelowna (Daniel Gagnon)
  14. Arizona Coyotes – Jamieson Rees, Centre, Sarnia (James Reeve)
  15. Montreal Canadiens – Ilya Nikolayev, Centre, Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl (Gabriel Béland)
  16. Colorado Avalanche – Tobias Björnfot, Defense, Djurgardens IF J20 (Tom Hunter)
  17. Vegas Golden Knights – Jordan Spence, Defense, Moncton (Ryan Quigley)
  18. New York Rangers (from Dallas Stars) – Antti Tuomisto, Defense, Assat Jr. (Connor Criscuola)
  19. Montreal Canadiens (from Columbus Blue Jackets via Vegas Golden Knights) – Patrik Puistola, Right Wing, Tappara Jr. (Gabriel Béland)
  20. Winnipeg Jets – Henry Thrun, Defense, USNTDP (Justin Miner)
  21. Florida Panthers (from Pittsburgh Penguins) – Vladislav Firstov, Left Wing, Waterloo (Jacob Langsam)
  22. Toronto Maple Leafs – Vladislav Kolyachonok, Defense, Flint (Tyler Kuehl)
  23. Detroit Red Wings (from New York Islanders via Vegas Golden Knights) – Samuel Fagemo, Left Wing, Frolunda HC (Tony Ferrari)
  24. New Jersey Devils (from Nashville Predators) – Alex Beaucage, Right Wing, Rouyn-Noranda (Steven Ellis)
  25. Washington Capitals – Nathan Légaré, Right Wing, Baie-Comeau (Drew Stevenson)
  26. New York Islanders (from Calgary Flames) – William Constantinou, Defense, Kingston (Jeff Chapman)
  27. New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay Lightning) – Daniil Misyul, Defense, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Connor Criscuola)
  28. Carolina Hurricanes – Simon Holmström, Right Wing, HV71 (Chris Bradley)
  29. St. Louis Blues – Yegor Spiridonov, Center, Magnitogorsk 2 (Tony Ferrari)
  30. Detroit Red Wings (from San Jose Sharks) – Alex Vlasic, Defense, USNTDP (Tony Ferrari)
  31. New Jersey Devils (from Boston Bruins) – Ryan Johnson, Defense, Sioux Falls (CJ Turtoro)

Third Round

  1. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators) – Adam Beckman, Center, Spokane (Tom Hunter)
  2. Los Angeles Kings – Robert Mastrosimone – Left Wing, Chicago (WallMaz)
  3. Philadelphia Flyers (from New Jersey Devils via Edmonton Oilers) – Alexander Campbell, Left Wing, Victoria (Spencer Teixeira)
  4. Detroit Red Wings – Tuukka Tieksola, Right Wing, Karpat Jr. (Tony Ferrari)
  5. Buffalo Sabres – Artemi Kniazev, Defense, Chicoutimi (Jan Brentjens)
  6. New York Rangers – Shane Pinto, Centre, Tri-City (Connor Criscuola)
  7. Florida Panthers (from Edmonton Oilers) – David Levin, Left Wing/Right Wing, Sudbury (Jacob Langsam)
  8. New Jersey Devils (from Anaheim Ducks) – Karl Henriksson, Center, Frolunda Jr. (CJ Turtoro)
  9. Vancouver Canucks – Albert Johansson, Defense, Farjestad Jr. (Cody Rusan)
  10. Philadelphia Flyers – Dustin Wolf, Goaltender, Everett (Spencer Teixeira)
  11. Minnesota Wild – Hunter Jones, Goaltender, Peterborough (Olli Huotari)
  12. Arizona Coyotes (from Chicago Blackhawks) – Nikita Alexandrov, Centre, Charlottetown (James Reeve)
  13. Nashville Predators (from Florida Panthers) – Colten Ellis, Goaltender, Rimouski (Steven Ellis)
  14. Arizona Coyotes – Blake Murray, Centre, Sudbury (James Reeve)
  15. Montreal Canadiens – John Farinacci, Centre, Dexter School – High School – Massachusetts (Gabriel Béland)
  16. Colorado Avalanche – Trent Miner, Goaltender, Vancouver Canucks (Tom Hunter)
  17. Vegas Golden Knights – Cole Mackay, Right Wing, Sault Ste. Marie (Ryan Quigley)
  18. New Jersey Devils (from Dallas Stars) – Mads Søgaard, Goaltender, Medicine Hat (CJ Turtoro)
  19. Columbus Blue Jackets – Kirill Slepets, Right Wing, Yaroslavl 2 (Macalem Henley)
  20. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg Jets) – Drew Helleson, Defense, USNTDP (Ryan Quigley)
  21. Ottawa Senators (from Pittsburgh Penguins via Vegas Golden Knights) – Graeme Clarke, Right Wing, Ottawa (Daniel Gagnon)
  22. Toronto Maple Leafs – Martin Has, Defense, Tappara Jr. (Tyler Kuehl)
  23. Edmonton Oilers (from New York Islanders) – Hugo Alnefelt, Goaltender, HV 71 Jr. (Ryan Boonstra)
  24. Vegas Golden Knights (from Nashville Predators) – Leevi Aaltonen, Right Wing, Kalpa Jr. (Ryan Quigley)
  25. Los Angeles Kings (from Washington Capitals) – Michal Teply, Left Wing, Benatky N.J. (WallMaz)
  26. Calgary Flames – Nikita Okhotyuk, Defense, Ottawa (Alex Hobson)
  27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Maxim Cajkovic, Right Wing, Saint John (Kyle Pereira)
  28. Carolina Hurricanes – Pyotr Kochetkov, Goaltender, Ryazan (Chris Bradley)
  29. St. Louis Blues – Domenik Fensore, Defense, USNTDP (Tony Ferrari)
  30. San Jose Sharks – Zachary Jones, Defense, Tri-City (Josh Walfish)
  31. Boston Bruins – Bryce Brodzinski, Right Wing, Blaine High School – Minnesota (Josh Tessler)

Notes From Several Of The GMs

In addition, several of the GMs submitted notes/commentary about their draft selections. Check out their notes.

Detroit Red Wings – Tony Ferrari

Detroit’s draft class from the first three round is a high upside masterpiece. With top selection Trevor Zegras being the premier playmaker in the draft, at least on par with Jack Hughes in that department, the Wings add a player that has a different element than anyone else in the system. Zegras is an elite playmaker unlike anyone else is their system. With Grewe and Fagemo, Detroit adds two wingers with good 200-foot games and high offensive upside. Both forwards have been projected as high as the first round so getting them where they went was a steal. Grewe is a bit undersized but doesn’t play like it. He attacks the puck carrier and drives to the net when he has it. A bit of a bulldog mentality. Fagemo is a speed machine and the fact that he’s an overager shouldn’t matter, he should have been drafted last year. His speed will carry him and his good hands will allow his offensive ability to show. Detroit finally gets some help on defence with the selection of Alex Vlasic out of the USNTDP. He’s an intriguing prospect with the size scouts covet and decent skating ability. He isn’t overly offensive but he’s not a black hole offensively. He has a lot to improve by the raw skills are there. Tuukka Tieksola is a player that many see as a player who could tune into something special down the line. He is a playmaker who is highly skilled. A third round selection that could be reminiscent mid-late round picks of Red Wings selections of years gone by.

Philadelphia Flyers – Spencer Teixeira

Arthur Kaliyev

Comparison – Zach Parise
Strong scoring presence, provides dynamic offensive tendencies (ie he’s not afraid to go anywhere in the offensive zone)

Jackson LaCombe

Comparison – Brent Burns
Speedy Dman with great offensive skills. Is a little inconsistent and playing at a high school
Level may have boosted his stats. All around great offensive player. (Boom/Bust pick, think Ryan Merkley or PK Subban)

Alexander Campbell

Comparison – Johnny Gaudreau
Extremely speedy centre with great hands, played with Alex Newhook in the BCHL. Defense is lacking

Dustin Wolf

Comparison – Frederik Andersen
One of the youngest players in the draft, Wolf has been a big contributor to Everett’s recent success. A goalie of fair size, Wolf is very calm in the net and isn’t shaken very often (from my understanding). (Warning: could be like Jack Campbell and take longer than expected to reach his potential)

Tampa Bay Lightning – Kyle Pereira

Raphaël Lavoie adds size to a relatively small forward core. With the likes of Alex Barre Boulet among other forward prospects likely to make the jump due to several depth forwards likely on their way out in free agency, they must add into their forward prospect pool.

Lavoie is also versatile, something that many teams covet, as he can play all three forward positions. It’s also a good thing that he has improved so quickly in his defensive zone work, making him a near complete player

Of the remaining players I looked into, Cajkovic had the most upside and was one of the more well rounded players. Once my pick rolled around, he was the BPA, and I could not pass up that kind of pick.

Arizona Coyotes – James Reeve

The Arizona Coyotes need to stock up on goalscoring forwards in this year’s draft. Rick Tocchet‘s team is build around one of the strongest defensive corps in the league and there are still a number of intriguing D prospects in the system. The offensive side of the ice, however, is somewhat lacking – particularly in front of the net. Newhook is a slam-dunk future NHLer that will continue his development in college – something the Yotes will have no issues with. Jamieson Rees is an underrated forward that fits the mould of the Coyotes, with GM John Chayka often taking a gamble on players he believes will develop further down the line. Blake Murray is arguably the biggest dark horse of the entire draft this year, with a penchant for goalscoring (30 in 50 games for Sudbury) but somewhat inconsistent play. If he can play consistently, something that will come with coaching, then he could easily be a steal in the third round.

Washington Capitals – Drew Stevenson

Caps draft selection thing: After several of restocking the blue-line cupboard, the Capitals now need to get game changers at forward. Philip Tomasino is not only one of the most prolific goal scorers in the draft, he’s also one of the youngest.

New York Rangers – Connor Criscuola

Kaapo Kakko was the consensus number two for the past year, and with his play at World Championship has brought himself into the discussion for #1. He’s only 18, but has dominated amongst men in the Liiga and now at the worlds.

San Jose Sharks – Josh Walfish

As the core of the Sharks gets older, no position group has more NHL experience than the centers. Looking to fortify that position for the future, San Jose was hopeful to use the depth at center in this draft to its advantage, and did so with Connor McMichael pick in the first round.

Two rounds later, the Sharks go back to a well that has been kind to it in the past and secures the rights to UMass commit Zac Jones. The Sharks had two prospects on last year’s team and watched how the Minutemen let their top-four defensemen bloom this season in their own way. They commit to the long-term project with the USHL’s Rookie of the Year and how much he can grow under Greg Carvel and Ben Barr in Amherst, Mass.

Carolina Hurricanes – Chris Bradley

Samuel Poulin, LW
Good size and physically ready for the pro game. Excellent bloodlines, son of ex-NHLer Patrick Poulin.
Excellent leadership abilities and a future power play specialist.
NHL comparison: Vladimir Tarasenko

Nicholas Robertson C/LW
Though still very early in the learning curve, has tremondous upside as a top-six NHL forward.
Small in stature, will need to add mass to his 5’9″ frame.
Very quick and agile, not many possess his first-step break. Patience is a must when developing Robertson.
NHL comparison: Yanni Gourde

Antonni Honka, D
Super-skilled with the puck. Wonderful skater and puck handler.
Future power play quarterback. Doesnt let his lack of size keep him from standing up opponents at the blueline.
NHL comparison: Jake Gardiner

Simon Holmstrom, LW
Sneaky-fast skater and very shifty. Injuries have held him back, but no denying his top-six line potential.
Has high-end offensive mindset, can improvise on the fly with the best of them.
NHL comparison: Jonathan Huberdeau

Pyotr Kochetkov, G
Surprisingly nimble given his stature (6’3″ 208lbs.).
Cool and poised under pressure, really found his game this year after being passed over the previous two NHL drafts
NHL comparison: Frederik Andersen

Dallas Stars – Josh Tessler

Even though the Stars only had one pick in the first three rounds, Bobby Brink is a great addition to their farm system. Great two-way forward and he’s great goal scorer. He’s a University of Denver commit and we’ll likely see some time on the USNTDP squad next season.

Boston Bruins – Josh Tessler

The Boston Bruins love drafting European defensemen, so I had to give them another. Ville Heinola is great puck-moving defenseman and will be a great fit for the Bruins down the road. 

In addition, Bryce Brodzinski is a solid late third round selection. He’s a big body forward, who can play at centre and right wing. Brodzinski had an excellent season for Blaine High School and is a University of Minnesota commit.