Evaluating The Trade Between The Arizona Coyotes And Philadelphia Flyers

On the draft floor Friday night, the Arizona Coyotes chose to move up for their first round selection. The Philadelphia Flyers traded the 11th overall selection to the Arizona Coyotes for the 14th overall selection and the 45th overall selection.

Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes moved up to 11th overall to select Swedish defensemen Victor Söderström. Considered to be a mobile two-way defender, Söderström will help compliment a defence core that includes Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jakob Chychrun, with young prospects such as Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Filip Westerlund that are already knocking at the door. Having been compared to stars like Duncan Keith and Jaccob Slavin, Söderström could prove to be a steal and that seems to be what the Coyotes are thinking. Puck77’s own Niels Nielsen had Söderström ranked 8th overall as recently as April. Many hockey insiders such as Bob McKenzie and Cam Robinson had him around 14th overall in their final rankings. It is possible Söderström would have slipped to the Coyotes with the 14th overall pick, but that appears to be a risk that John Chayka and the Coyotes were unwilling to take.

Philadelphia Flyers

With the 14th selection, the Philadelphia Flyers opted to select defensemen Cameron York. From Anaheim, California, York is a smaller defensemen that plays a steady game. Compared to Mark Giordano and Zach Werenski, York adds to a young defence core in Philadelphia that already includes the likes of Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Travis Sanheim. This pick seems to be roughly where York was expected to go. York was the 12th ranked North American skater coming in. York ranked 18th in Bob McKenzie’s final rankings, and Sportsnet’s Sam Costentino had him going 18th in his mock draft.

Smart Idea To Trade Up?

Ultimately, these two teams perhaps jumped on these players a few picks earlier than they were expected to go, but that is what allowed this trade to happen. Both Coyotes’ general manager John Chayka and Flyers’ general manager Chuck Fletcher knew they had their guys, and it was probably a smart idea for both guys to ensure they got the players they wanted.

Of course, the full ramifications of the trade won’t be apparent for years to come. We won’t even know for sure who the Flyers select with the other pick they acquired until Saturday afternoon.

But, there have been plenty of deals over the years of teams trading up to acquire a player that work out in interesting ways. In 2011, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded up to 22nd overall (selected Tyler Biggs). In exchange, the Anaheim Ducks acquired the 30th overall pick (selected Rickard Rakell) and 39th overall (selected John Gibson). Clearly a fortuitous move for the Anaheim Ducks in hindsight. In 2014, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired the 20th overall pick (selected Nick Schmaltz) and the 179th overall pick (selected Ivan Nalimov) from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for the 27th overall pick (selected Nikolay Goldobin) and the 62nd overall pick which was later traded to Nashville.

These draft floor trades seem like small decisions at the time, but ultimately can provide a big impact for these teams moving forward.

player profiles – hockey-reference.com

Sweden

NHL Entry Draft: Top Swedish Draft Eligible Prospects

The biggest exporter of National Hockey League players from Europe is once again very notable, as the young Swedish prospects prepare to take on the next hurdle before the NHL.

Just 24 hours is all thats left before the National Hockey League Entry Draft starts in Vancouver and already its very clear that the Swedes are going to be dominating the European scene by the end of it. There is a lot of high-end talent, and its likely we’ll see at least seven or eight drafted before the second round is finished. And for that reason, I was struggling to narrow this list down to four. And the fact that players like Simon Holmström and Tobias Björnfot didn’t make this list should be all the proof that is needed to showcase just how deep and strong this Swedish draft class is.

Philip Broberg – AIK – Defender

He might be one of the most talked about prospects at the draft, and the feels are very mixed on him. When you look at his stats for the year, its not something that looks like a top-10 pick. Whereas many of the other top Europeans plays in the top division and dominate, Broberg has struggled to really find the production in the second tier of Swedish hockey.

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Only nine points in 42 games for a defender that has a lot of offensive strengths isn’t something that’s going to wow people. However, he is only 17 and is one of the youngest in the draft class (he turns 18 on June 25), and his size is already were it needs to be at 6’3″ and 200 lbs. And internationally he has been great against competition the same age with almost a point a game.

His major strength is his speed. One of the best skaters on the blue line that you will ever see and his ability to keep calm as he moves the puck up ice is amazing. Especially for someone his size. Where he needs to develop his game is in the defensive department, where despite a good frame, can get beaten and his lack of awareness has let him down on a few occasions this season. But if those problems can be ironed out he has all the tools to be a genuine top player in the league. And that potential is why I see him going within the first 10 picks. While it might change on a dime before tomorrow I would look for him to go to the Edmonton Oilers with the eighth selection. 

Nils Höglander – Rögle BK – Winger

His first full year in the SHL and while it wasn’t great on a team level or even production level, Höglander did gain a lot from the year, especially in terms of experience. Playing 50 games for Rögle is fantastic for a youngster and he managed to get some solid minutes as well. With 14 points to show for it and the chance to showcase his creative nature was something that he took full advantage of. With the Juniors team he had a nice showing with seven points in eight games, despite not being a part of the team that went to Vancouver.

One of the things that impressed me the most as a watched some games with him, was his sheer tenacity and grit despite not being the tallest guy on the ice. He plays a much bigger game than what his body type would have you believe and while his hands are silky smooth, he works harder than most on the backcheck and defensive zone. And if someone was in the middle of scrums or in the net front battles for Rögle it was typically Höglander who was a key part of it. He is like a terrier that will fight for everything, and that is something I could see taking him far in today’s game, when combined with his hands and creative and fast playing style.

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His downside is that despite his hands and offensive talents, he lacks something to make him a true force to be playing against. He doesn’t have the greatest shot, nor the best vision and he is sometimes lacking that last bit of power and physicality in his net battles to really get the right position. However, if he can get something like that, he is someone that could easily become a great player and valuable piece to any franchise and is no doubt going in the first round.

Victor Söderström – Brynäs IF – Defender

The second defender from Sweden that is no doubt going in the first round and it’s very likely that he is the best of the two. A great two-way player who has so much awareness and calm to his game. And where Broberg played in the second tier, Söderström played 40 games in the SHL. He had seven points for Brynäs in those games and while those stats aren’t overly great, it’s not smart to be fooled by them.

What Söderström brings isn’t points but reliability. He will always find the right pass, and breakout and his understanding of the game in terms of pure hockey IQ is potentially the best in the entire class. And if the other team has the puck he uses his skills and knowledge to get into the right areas to block a shot or find a way to win the puck battle despite his lacking size.

His weakness is his shot, and while its not awful by any means, he again tends to use his knowledge to get the puck through and to the net. But despite a lot of time on the power play, he never really got the points rolling, like his vision should allow him too.

While he is a two-way player, he is better on the defensive end and his lack of speed does mean he is more than likely relying on reading the play well and find the open pass, rather than bring the puck up ice himself. However, despite that his understanding of the game and fantastic vision combined with defensive abilities more than makes up for it and he is a sure top-20 in my eyes.

Samuel Fagemo – Frölunda HC – Winger

Champion of Europe and Sweden at the age of 18. Not too shabby for the Swedish forward who had an excellent year for the Swedish champions. He was fantastic in scoring 25 points in 42 regular season games, 10 points in 11 CHL games and 10 playoff points on Frölundas path to glory. No matter how you look at it, he was a star this season and while he might be one of the older players at the draft, he has shown all his talents this year to all of Sweden and Europe. But, he failed to really showcase it at the juniors where he was one of the bigger letdowns for a disappointing year for the Swedes. He was expected to be their goal scorer and he failed, and it clearly hurt his draft stock.

I was fortunate enough to get to see him live as Frölunda took on Aalborg Pirates in the CHL and I was left speechless by his game. Fast, strong on the puck and with one of the best shots I have seen live. His release and wrist shot is upper-class and he was sensational. He didn’t score in that game, but I’m pretty sure the crossbar will never be the same, as he hit it at least twice with unrivaled power.

He is a pure goal scorer but sadly it means that his weakness is his backchecking and defensive abilities. In that area he lacks a lot and if he is having an off day offensively, he won’t be amazing defensively. If he can get that little bit better in that end of the ice, he might be a steal for someone who seems to drop much further than his talents should allow him to.

Statistics provided by EliteProspects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

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

Which NHL Draft Prospects Are Underrated? Who Are Overrated?

The 2019 NHL entry draft is right round the corner, so I’ve decided to do another mock draft this year. I’ve learned a lot since the last time I tried this, and I guarantee you, if I knew then what I know now, Jesperi Kotkaniemi would not have been ranked 15th. Regardless, new year, new attempt. Before I start mocking up the draft, I wanted to show a few visuals on all the top players, pointing out some guys who may be late round steals, and others who may be picked earlier than you expect.

Who Goes Number One?

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It’s between Kaapo Kakko and Jack Hughes, as these two are the most talented in the draft. Hughes has been known to be the unanimous first overall selection for quite some time now, but Kakko has closed the gap. The New Jersey Devils hold the number one pick, and they can’t go wrong, but it’s important to note that they went with Switzerland native Nico Hischier over who everyone thought would be number one, American Nolan Patrick. Jack Hughes is similar to Patrick as he is American, and the anticipated first selection, whereas Kakko is similar to Hischier as he is playing in Europe and was expected to go second. With that in mind, Kakko has been tearing up the IIHF World Championships with team Finland, as Hughes has been quiet. The Devils have a record of going a little outside the box as Hischier has been better than Patrick, so why don’t they use the same method again?

Forwards To Watch

Before I get into the visual, I want to thank Will Scouch for gathering the data. You should definitely check out his website, link at the end of this article, as well as his public.tableau visual, which will also be linked at the end.

From the top of the circle graph, going clockwise, reads this: NHL escore, INV%, Goals For%, GF% Relative, Shots60, and ESP60. NHL eScore is a metric that marks the potential of a player, and the higher the score, the better the potential that player has. INV% represents Involvement %, which takes a players points per game and divides it by the whole teams points per game. Goals For% is the percentage of all goals that are scored by that player. GF% Relative is a players Goals For% relative to the rest of that players teammates. Shots60 is a players shot totals per 60 minutes. ESP60 is a players Even-Strength points per 60 minutes.

Now that the explanations are out of the way, let’s look at what players are better than their draft rankings may show.

I highlighted Alex Turcotte (yellow), Bobby Brink (light blue), Raphaël Lavoie (gold) and Albin Grewe (dark blue).

Turcotte

Our guys here at Puck77 got together and did their own draft rankings, and compiled several articles on these prospects. They ranked Turcotte 3rd, behind Hughes and Kakko, and quite honestly, he could be better in the future. The only thing holding him back is his current skill level. While Kakko and Hughes can both step into a top 6 role in the NHL today, Turcotte needs one more season. Generally speaking, you want someone NHL ready with the first two picks. He ranks almost even with Kakko and Hughes in potential, but exceed both in almost every other statistic. A few years down the line, he could very well turn out as the best player to come out of this draft class.

Brink

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Bobby Brink was ranked 13th among forwards, but may very well get taken in the top 10 in the upcoming draft. Brink is one of the highest rated forwards in NHL eScore, meaning he’s one of the brightest players in the class moving forward. The knock on him is his current NHL readiness, which could be a few years out. He doesn’t shoot the puck very often, but does rank high in the goal scoring metrics, and he is right up there with the best players in every stat. He might be considered a “reach”, but whichever team gets him is getting a great prospect, and over time, people will take back what they said about him being a reach.

Lavoie 

Raphaël Lavoie is a guy who is expected to go in the late picks of the first round, and whichever team gets him should consider themselves lucky. He is a wonderful prospect, despite being a couple years out. He is a future top 6 winger, and although he may not reach elite levels, he will be one of the steals of the draft. He needs to work on his shooting a bit, but he is solid in every area.

Grewe

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Finally, Albin Grewe. He is one of the most overlooked prospects in the draft, as he is, in some cases, projected to go in the second round. He has a high NHL eScore, which tells me he could very well be an elite forward a few years down the road. He’s one of the most well-rounded prospects in the draft, and it’s clear as his analytics are shown in a circle, because he is consistent in almost all data-points. He is a few years out of being NHL ready, and might need to be coddled with the first year or so when he is ready, but once he gets off and going, the sky’s the limit for him.

What About Defense?

Just like with forwards, I composed a visual using data gathered by Will Scouch for defenseman. I did, however, use a few different stats in this graph, as defensemen aren’t viewed the same as forwards. Here is that spider graph:

I used NHL eScore (top) and Shots60 (left) again, but the new ones are Offensive Cat% (left) and defensive cat% (bottom). Offensive Cat% is indicative of a player who pushes Goals For a lot. Defensive Cat% is the opposite, meaning the higher a players Defensive Cat% is, the worse. However, in this case, Defensive Cat% is inverted, and the higher, the better. Ultimately, it’s a players effectiveness in the offensive/defensive zone.

The first defenseman that’s anticipated to be taken first off the board is Bowen Byram. The reason for this is the fact that he is the closest to being in the NHL, and in some cases, may very well be in the NHL next season. Byram is great in the offensive zone, but isn’t great defensively, which is something he must work on to take that next step in his career path of being an elite defenseman. He also has the highest NHL eScore and he could be the best defenseman in this draft class.

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Defenseman To Watch

Its clear on the initial graph that Byram didn’t look the best, despite being the most ready and owning the highest upside. Let’s dive into the two players who own the highest Defensive Cat% on the graph, being Cam York and Marshall Warren.

York (yellow), is the best defenseman in the offensive zone, and ahead of Warren (violet) by a fraction, in the defensive end. Neither one takes many shots, but Warren, like York, still finds plenty of success offensively. York has higher upside (NHL eScore) than Warren by a lot, as Warren projects more as a bottom 4/middle pair defenseman, while York projects as a top 4/top 2 pair defenseman. However, at this point in their careers, both guys are the complete package, effective in both ends. If Warren can take big steps in the future, he very well could be a late steal, whereas York could be selected in the top 15, earlier than most expect him to go.

What Forwards Are Overrated?

When I looked at several top prospects while doing my off-season previews for Anaheim, one player alerted me. Vasili Podkolzin, who has been high on people’s rankings for a while, as well as here on Puck77 (ranked 5th among forwards), popped up as a Boom-or-Bust prospect. He played decent on an international level, and even made the jump to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL, the highest level of Russian hockey) as a 17 year old. The problem is, he didn’t really perform at a high level there, or in the VHL and MHL (two lower tier Russian leagues). Here’s Podkolzin highlighted on the spider graph.

Ranking very low in NHL eScore is an immediate red flag, because it shows that advanced analytics see’s him as a low potential player… that’s not good. Although not all information is shown (missing GF% and GF% Relative), he ranks low in INV%, showing he isn’t often involved in the offensive zone, and he ranks low in ESP60, meaning he hasn’t been great 5v5. He does shoot a lot, which is good, but everything else is a huge red flag. I think he could potentially drop outside of the first round, though it is highly unlikely due to his consistent high rankings from experts. To me, if he is taken earlier than 15th overall, he needs to take hefty strides next season, because he is not a strong option at that stage of the draft.

Who Are Overrated Defensemen?

I personally like a lot of the defensive prospects in this draft, but there are a few I feel are ranked above guys who I think are better than them, and are reflected in the spider graph. There’s also one defenseman who’s graphed as though he’s a later round pick, never mind a late first round pick. The two defenseman who are, to me, overrated, are Victor Söderstöm and Moritz Seider.

Söderstöm (Red), who was ranked 2nd among defenseman per Puck77, doesn’t compare well to a guy like Cam York who ranks 3rd. His NHL eScore isn’t the highest, though he is real close to being NHL ready. Unfortunately, there is no data on his Offensive or Defensive Cat%, but based on his low shot60 count and his relatively low potential (according to advanced analytics), he may not be the 2nd best defenseman after all.

As for Seider (teal), I really like him. However, based solely on analytics, he doesn’t project well at the NHL level, being, at best, a bottom 2 defensive pair guy. He also has a lackluster shot60 metric, and despite not having data for Offensive and Defensive Cat%, that tells me he may not be the most effective in the offensive zone. But again, I like Seider, and analytics isn’t everything. He could still emerge as one of the best defensemen in this draft class.

In Conclusion

This draft is full of great prospects, and there are several guys who went unmentioned that are going to be great NHLers in the future (Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Trevor Zegras, etc.,). The fact of the matter is lots of NHL general managers have their hands on the same analytics I have and might change their minds on draft prospects based on the analytics that they have at their disposal.

While analytics aren’t completely telling of a player’s performance, they can be used by general managers to find diamonds in the rough and avoid prospects who have a higher probability of turning into busts. 

Spider Graphs created by Kyle Pereira, Data obtained from Will Scouch

Will Scouch’s Public.Tableau Profile: https://public.tableau.com/profile/scouching#!/

Will Scouch’s website: https://www.scouching.ca/#

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks: Bob Murray Is On The Clock, Who Does He Draft?

The 35-37-10 Anaheim Ducks had a season to forget.

They were ravaged by injuries to Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler (which may be career-ending) among others. The offensive production was nowhere to be found, and they went from one of the best defensive cores in the NHL to one of the worst in a season and a half. John Gibson is a great young goalie, but he’s no Carey Price, and his breaking point was far surpassed this season. But there’s still hope for this team, believe it or not. Sure, they are handcuffed with some awful contracts, but guys like Maxime Comtois, Ondrej Kase, Rickard Rakell and Sam Steel were bright spots. If they can get another high-end prospect in this draft, they could be back in the playoffs in 2 or 3 seasons time. So, who could they take at 9th overall? Here are some options.

Alex Turcotte, Center, USNTDP, USHL

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At this point in the draft, the 5’11, 194 pound Turcotte may already be off the board, as he could go as early as third overall.

The Island Lake, Illinois native dominated the USNTDP junior league, racking up 12 goals and 22 assists (34 points) in only 16 games. His performance with the USNTDP warranted a call-up to the US U18 National Team, where he continued dominating with 27 goals and 35 assists (62 points) in 37 games.

Next season, he is committed to the University of Wisconsin, which means he will not be playing at the NHL level next season regardless of how well he does in rookie camps in the offseason.

Over the last 2 seasons, he has played 14 World Junior Championship games with the US team, recording 6 goals and 8 assists (14 points), for exactly a point per game average.

It’s clear his level of play rises with the competition, and whoever drafts him should keep a close eye on his development in the NCAA. Using PNHLe, which calculates a players potential, Turcotte is very close to having superstar potential, and looks to be well on his way of elite potential.

Trevor Zegras, Center, USNTDP, USHL

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The 6 foot, 168 pound Zegras will likely be available at number 9, or taken a pick or two earlier, as not many people have him going top 5 in this draft.

That’s to no fault of his own, he’s been playing behind the seemingly unanimous first overall pick in Jack Hughes, and the guy named above, Turcotte, on the USNTDP team. But he still showed dominance at this level, putting up 14 goals and 26 assists (40 points) with the USNTDP Juniors before joining the US U18 National team, recording 26 goals and 61 assists (87 points) in 60 games. He played far more games than Turcotte, which allowed him to blow his stats out of the water. He added 9 assists in 5 World Junior Championship games with the US team, his first time playing in the WJC.

Like Turcotte, he already committed to a college, as he’s playing for Boston University next season.

Using PNHLe, he projects to be a top 6 center, although closer to 1st line potential, but isn’t quite in the elite potential yet, as Turcotte is. Like with Turcotte, next season in the NCAA will go a long way to decide who truly is the better prospect.

Victor Söderström, Right Defenseman, Brynas IF, SHL

The 5’11, 187 pound, right-handed defenseman Söderström, has already begun playing against men. He started the season with the Brynas IF U20 team in the SuperElit league, playing 14 games with 1 goal and 8 assists (9 points), before getting brought up to play against the big boys. The Swedish version of the NHL, the SHL boasts a boatload of talent, yet the two-way defenseman Söderström held his own, recording 4 goals and 3 assists (7 points) in 44 games. Söderström played 2 games in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with 1 goal and 1 assist, and in the WJC with Sweden, he played 4 games with 1 assist.

There is one problem, however. Now, this is all analytical and backed by statistics that not everyone uses to evaluate a prospect, but his PNHLe places him with a potential of second line defense, or worse.

Other sites, such as Last Word on Hockey and DobberProspects, projects that he has top 4 potential, however, so take that for what it’s worth. Arguably the second best defenseman in this draft, he has the talent to be a top 10 pick, and would be a good addition for the Ducks at 9th overall.

In Conclusion

If I were Bob Murray, General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks, I would look to move up a couple of spots, if possible, to ensure the Alex Turcotte selection.

But, if they are unable to move up, they have to hope he drops into their laps, which is unlikely.

Worst case scenario, they get a great defensive prospect in Söderström or a top forward prospect who may have been overlooked in this draft in Zegras. 

Check out where Turcotte, Zegras and Söderström rank on our top 31 rankings.

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All stats via dobberprospects

PNHLe projections via dobber prospects

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals