Author Topic: 2017 Draft Watch  (Read 10980 times)

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Offline Nik the Trik

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2017 Draft Watch
« on: October 05, 2016, 08:01:26 AM »

Obviously it's very early for this and we don't know where the Leafs will be drafting but I thought it merited a thread at least in part just to mention that it looks like Jeff Marek is sort of being positioned as Sportsnet's Draft Guru. He released a very preliminary Top 31:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/sportsnets-2017-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings-october-jeff-marek/

Nothing new. Patrick #1, Liljegren #2.

Anyways, apparently they'll also be doing a draft-focused podcast so we're definitely going to have a ton of information throughout the year.
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Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 08:22:19 AM »
Nice to see Marek doing these instead of Cox, who I'm pretty sure Sportsnet just threw on the assignment when they got the NHL rights because he was the closest they had to Bob McKenzie.

Speaking of Bob, here's his 2017 early rankings: http://www.tsn.ca/mckenzie-s-pre-season-ranking-the-nolan-patrick-draft-1.567410

We've talked about this here and there before, but not a lot of defencemen present on these lists.

Online WhatIfGodWasALeaf

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 09:34:04 AM »
We've started to hear more rumblings about this draft recently, I wonder if it's as weak as is being made out.

I've even seen some people question Patrick's ceiling, for those that have seen him work, is he a franchise level prospect?

Offline Kaberle15

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2016, 12:03:51 PM »
It would be awesome to draft a defenceman...

2. Timothy Liljegren: The Swede is the undisputed top defenceman in this draft and, at this point, it's not even close.
A.K.A Gardiner51, Changed back to Kaberle15 now that he is retired.

Offline mr grieves

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 06:58:57 PM »
Looked up some reports on 2017 class defensemen who were in the mid-1st to mid-2nd round, according to NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings…. the scouting reports are from the Draft Site (long passages) and shorter takes are from Marek's rankings. 

NA9. Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City (WHL) — The two-way defenseman has brought more assertiveness to his game in his second WHL season. Valimaki (6-1, 204) has 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 38 games and has shown more offensive drive and confidence in his game… A solid, safe blueliner who excels in all areas... Smart mobile defenseman with excellent feet and feel for the defensive zone. captained the Finnish U-18 team vocally displays his high hockey IQ, keeping his teammates on task. Besides prototypical size, he great puck handling skills to go along with his agility. This season, he has boasted his offensive totals considerably. That would be a signal that he is improving at the offensive end. He even had a hat trick this season against Vancouver in the WHL. He is not a riverboat gambling rocket out of his own end leading the rush type player. On the contrary, he seems to always be the last one out of his end because he plays such a solid and safe defensive game. You will see him make a tape to tape outlet passes in transition, but rarely leads the throops out. He will activate and calmly keep it until he is all the way down low. He will have to continue to get more handles and more time with the puck, to gain more confidence as an offensive generator. It is hard to argue against his point a game pace in the Dub, but he still has to develop a bit more instinct as a confident attacker at the higher levels. It seems a bit harsh on my part to be asking for more, even though I have him on the cusp of the first half of the first round, but there is untapped potential there. Not overly physical, but clears out the front uses his size well down low. Has a big frame that can get bigger. Great vision, puck-handling and accurate will be the bonuses that will come along with his safe, consistent mistake free play play in his own end.

NA10. Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL) — Makar (5-11, 179), winner of the 2015-16 Alberta Junior Hockey League and Canadian Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year, has continued his stellar play and development. He's a dynamic skater with quickness and elusiveness with or without the puck… This small defender has all the making of a future NHL offenseman. Seems to be in constant motion, and able to intercept pucks and turn them in to quick strikes towards his opponent's net. Very undersized and will need plenty more muscle as he continues his development. Cleary one of the smarter and better offensively talented dee-men in the class. The PP QB on his Alberta Junior League team, and has a quick release of a point shot that he gets off without taking a big backswing. He displays strong wrists take enable him to get strenght on his shots and zip on his passes. After being selected to play in the World junior Challenge it what might have been viewed as a step up in competition compared to the players he faces in the AJHL, he looked dominant in many phases, using his lateral agility and athletic strides to cut through the neutral zone, activating to open space on the give and go, and reading ensuing plays and covering huge areas of the ice with his feet. His speed and good edging work in consort with his ability to handle the puck at top speed. When he is doesn't have the puck, he looks to jump on errant passes or ones sent cross ice changing possessions. Will pinch but always gets back in position in a few strides becuase he so quick. Holds a strong gap. This is a player who creates space and time and plays smart. More of long term development project but he is a player.

NA11. Nicholas Hague, D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) --  Evaluating Hague means checking a lot of boxes. A big bodied blueliner (6-foot-6) with a solid first season in the OHL under his belt. Many nights he was Mississauga’s best defenceman. Runs the power play, has a nasty streak and won the OHL’s academic award last season. Scouts have some concern about his skating while others maintain he’s a bona fide top-10 pick and the skating isn’t an issue at all. [Marek, Oct] … Potential big defender in more ways than one. NHL teams continue to have their love affair with huge men at the defensive position who have upside to be top four defenders, since in general the dee-men are getting smaller. For a fellow his size, he has excellent mobility and overall strength He puts his long stick in the passing lanes and covers ground pretty quickly. Uses his size along the wall and can throw devastating bodychecks. When on the back pedal, he doesn't pivot as quickly as smaller men, but attackers trying to go wide find out how strong he is and long his stick is. Enjoys playing with an edge. He is growing more of his offensive game, by activated on the rush, and attempting to handle the puck more and more. Still needs work and must hone his carries and be more frugal in the time he holds onto it. Not the finished product, but there will not be a shortage of NHL teams considering him before the bottom third of the first round

NA12. Cal Foote, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) -- The defenceman factory in Kelowna is still open for business. Now serving: the son of former NHLer Adam Foote. Cal Foote plays a sound defensive role but can also chip in offensively. He has a bullet from the point, but seems to always default to the pass first. He’s loved by his teammates and has captain material... Second generation stud blueliner has improved his skating and does a number of things for the Rockets. He's good with the puck but does he push the pace enough? Scouts wonder. [Marek, Nov]… The 6-3, 213-pound son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote probably won't be the physical presence his father was, but plays all situations and uses his smarts, reach and strength to contain his opponent and gain position. .. Big defenseman with a big point shot. Not necessarily a polished puck carrier, but is surprisingly agile going East-West, so he is excellent in his own end to cover attackers and space. uses his size to win wall and battle zone possessions and will clear the front. No mean streak, but is a really solid competitor for 60 minutes. Plays on both the penalty kill and the power play. Excellent hockey sense and reads his own end well. Stays square on rushers and takes them outside, using his stick to take way their time and space. Very good on his feet and light on his edging, and able to play strong on the puck. Has a good low shot that he places on the net. Needs to fill out and get stronger. The Kelowna system has developed many NHL defenders so he seems in a good position to improve and get selected fairly early. Great bloodlines with his father Adam Foote.

NA22. Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland (WHL) — In his first season in North America, Jokiharju (6-0, 176) has performed very well, with 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 44 games. He's an excellent skater, elusive with the puck and can beat the forecheck with a pass or his feet. He had three assists in seven games to help Finland win the gold medal at the 2016 World U-18 Championship.


EU6. Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK Helsinki (Fin) — Undersized defenseman who continues to shine impressively in every international showing. Although he is slightly built and in need of beef and more muscle, he is very athletic,and has shown himself an equal to the grown men playing against him in the Finnish pro league. He possesses high end mobility, agility, an excellent skating stride and vision and makes solid defensive zone reads. A four-direction skater who easily transitions to his back pedal and calmly handles the attacker when middle zone turnovers happen. He is very good around his own net,and has a very active stick, clogs lanes and either moves the puck to the right place in transitions, or will skate the puck out, even under pressure. Plays calm and makes good decisions under pressure in his own end. Anticipates well and reads and activates from the defensive position flawlessly, as he carries and passes the puck so well. A power play quarterback who distributes well and gets it on net when he shoots. The negatives is he may not be able to get that much bigger and needs girth and muscle. So he is what he is: a extremely agile puck carrier who simply is not a big man. Hasn't the NHL had room for a few of these?
EU8. Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (Liiga) His game includes a strong offensive element that can handle quarterbacking a power play. Solid all-around skills. [Marek, Oct]… An intelligent, two-way defender (6-0, 185) who can read the play well, has good vision and a strong skill set that includes skating, passing and an accurate shot. He is a reliable team player and has a sound defensive game.

EU10. Filip Westerlund, D, Frolunda (SHL) -- After Jacob Larsson found his spot in the Anaheim Ducks organization, Westerlund was given a chance with the Swedish powerhouse and has made the most of it, playing regular minutes in the country's top league—surprising considering the right-hand shot defenceman didn’t play big minutes with the U-20 team last season. His development year over year has been described as spectacular. He models his game after Sami Vatanen and has been compared to both Larsson and Erik Karlsson. — His hockey sense, puck control and intelligence stand out the most to scouts. Westerlund (5-11, 179) has poise and makes smart decisions. He averages 12 minutes per game on a strong Frolunda team.

EU16. Erik Brannstrom, D, HV71 (Sweden) — can’t find a quick summary on him, but here’s an article comparing him to Kimo Timonen.

Offline mr grieves

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2017, 10:47:18 AM »
The above might've been overkill...

A draft thought that fits in a small paragraph:

We often seem to assume that the only drafted defensemen who can move the needle before they hit the traditional "defenseman's prime" (26-27 or so), but, unless we're defining "move the needle" as "be a #1D who'll be a Norris candidate and on the national team by his early 20s," I don't think that's true. There are players drafted in the late-1st and into the mid-3rd who are in NHL lineups and are, by Corsi and GF%, legit top-4s by the time they're 21. Perhaps the Leafs can find one of those.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 02:29:45 PM »
Not knowing about this thread, I dumped some thoughts into another one titled exactly the same thing last year.

Here's Marek's update:
http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/sportsnets-2017-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings-march/

Anyway, if we were not landing Liljegren, I hoped we could snag Cale Makar. Unfortunately, it looks like he is rising higher than we are falling in the standings.

My Round 2-3 options:
Artyom Minulin: very smart RHD, excelling despite playing on a weak Swift Current squad, good all-round puck mover
Josh Brook: RHD, smart, smooth skating, distributes well, heavy wrister; points spiked this year compared to last
Conor Timmins: RHD on the SSM Greyhounds, heady, consistent, plays all situations
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 02:32:24 PM by herman »

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 02:38:30 PM »

I speak out of near total ignorance but that run on defenseman between 10-17 on Marek's list looks like a place to aim for. Doesn't seem to have much in the homerun-swing department but the chances of emerging with a solid D prospect seems reasonable.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
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Offline herman

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 02:42:14 PM »

I speak out of near total ignorance but that run on defenseman between 10-17 on Marek's list looks like a place to aim for. Doesn't seem to have much in the homerun-swing department but the chances of emerging with a solid D prospect seems reasonable.

Spinning a JvR/Bozak into one or two more of these picks would not be too shabby.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2017, 03:03:46 PM »

I speak out of near total ignorance but that run on defenseman between 10-17 on Marek's list looks like a place to aim for. Doesn't seem to have much in the homerun-swing department but the chances of emerging with a solid D prospect seems reasonable.

Spinning a JvR/Bozak into one or two more of these picks would not be too shabby.

I'm sure it's wishful thinking on my part but on the Marek/Wyshinski podcast Marek seemed to kind of say that there's a consensus forming on the top 2 with Patrick and Hischier but there's a degree of uncertainty after that.

So if you're wheeling and dealing looking to get into the top 15 it seems like there's a chance to trade into Liljegren territory? Again, wishful thinking on my part probably but I can dream.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
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Offline mr grieves

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2017, 03:10:54 PM »
Anyway, if we were not landing Liljegren, I hoped we could snag Cale Makar. Unfortunately, it looks like he is rising higher than we are falling in the standings.

My Round 2-3 options:
Artyom Minulin: very smart RHD, excelling despite playing on a weak Swift Current squad, good all-round puck mover
Josh Brook: RHD, smart, smooth skating, distributes well, heavy wrister; points spiked this year compared to last
Conor Timmins: RHD on the SSM Greyhounds, heady, consistent, plays all situations

It looks like a good year for Swedes and Finns who play defense.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2017, 03:20:19 PM »
I'm sure it's wishful thinking on my part but on the Marek/Wyshinski podcast Marek seemed to kind of say that there's a consensus forming on the top 2 with Patrick and Hischier but there's a degree of uncertainty after that.

So if you're wheeling and dealing looking to get into the top 15 it seems like there's a chance to trade into Liljegren territory? Again, wishful thinking on my part probably but I can dream.

New Jersey and Carolina might be my top teams to target with JvR or Bozak. They're both short on scoring depth, close to turning the corner, need wins next year for $$$, have defensive prospects to work with, both value the relatively cheap deals those two are on.

If the lottery goes poorly for them, they're still in the top 10, but JvR/Bozak will be immediately better than any pick there. Coupled with our likely 14-18th pick, I think we can move up (maybe into Vegas' slot as they're more quantity over quality at this point).

Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2017, 03:21:28 PM »
It'll be interesting to see how far Liljegren's stock falls. At the beginning of the season he was seen as going top-2 for sure, maybe even challenging for 1st overall. Now ISS has him ranked 5th. Hockeyprospect.com and Corey Pronman both have him 7th. McKeens has him 8th. Getting mono obviously hurt him and that's not something that he can control, but there's still been more than a few concerns about his hockey sense.

Offline herman

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2017, 03:49:05 PM »
It looks like a good year for Swedes and Finns who play defense.

Most of them, save for Liljegren, are lefties. I was initially targeting RHD because they're the Left Handed Pitchers of the NHL and I consider that more valuable down the line.

Offline mr grieves

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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2017, 04:41:14 PM »
It looks like a good year for Swedes and Finns who play defense.

Most of them, save for Liljegren, are lefties. I was initially targeting RHD because they're the Left Handed Pitchers of the NHL and I consider that more valuable down the line.

Yeah, that's why I'm hoping for Cal Foote or Cale Makar -- one of whom might be around in the 15-20 range -- and like the looks of Henri Jokiharju and Filip Westerlund in the 2nd round.

The latter sounds promising, based on Marek's November column:
Quote
Don’t Sleep On
Filip Westerlund, D, Frolunda (SHL) After Jacob Larsson found his spot in the Anaheim Ducks organization, Westerlund was given a chance with the Swedish powerhouse and has made the most of it, playing regular minutes in the country's top league—surprising considering the right-hand shot defenceman didn’t play big minutes with the U-20 team last season. His development year over year has been described as spectacular. He models his game after Sami Vatanen and has been compared to both Larsson and Erik Karlsson.


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Re: 2017 Draft Watch
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2017, 04:41:14 PM »