Welcome to part 3 of this 3 part series on the prospects of the 2014 NHL draft. These prospects are the players ranked 21 through 30 in the February 2014 rankings. The March rankings are out, so for anyone who wants to see the most recent rankings, check out the ISS Website.
In part one,we looked at the players that the International Scouting Service has rated as the top 10 players. It looks like we feel that the bigger players in Virtanen and Ritchie are the guys that we would like to see in our colors.
During the second segment, we looked at the next batch of 10 players. The second group seems to be the most logical place for the Canucks to draft. The general consensus on the this pool was that we need some more European players, with Nikolaj Ehlers (39%) and Leon Draisaitl (27%) getting major consideration as potential Canucks.
In this installment we will look at another set of interesting prospects. This group may not be as well-known as the players in the first 2 articles, but there are some really talented youngsters here that could become Canucks. In addition to those prospects, we will explore a couple of the goaltending prospects that may have their names called in June.
21) Anton Karlsson (W): Karlsson has good size, plays with an edge, but has also shown some very good puck skills. Anton was a member of the 2014 Swedish WJ team, and many of us witnessed the irritating style that Karlsson plays. It isn’t much of a reach to see similarities between our own Alex Burrows and Anton Karlsson. Anton’s big brother is Erik Karlsson, but not that Erik Karlsson. Anton’s brother was a 2012 4th round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.
22) Adrian Kempe (C): Kempe is a boy among men. The 6’2" Swede has spent most of this season playing for Frolunda of the SHL where he has established himself as an aggressive player who always finishes his checks. Kempe projects as a power forward who plays a solid north-south game similar to Wayne Simmonds.
23) Dylan Larkin (W): Another current member of the USNDT, Larkin is a power forward who likes to drive the puck to the net. Dylan has a high level of compete, good speed, and a solid hockey IQ; Larkin looks like he will be a solid 3rd line contributor at the NHL level with current Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty as his ceiling.
24) Nikita Scherbak (W): This Russian player was an unknown when drafted in the CHL import draft this past spring. That quickly changed as Scherbak has been a star for the Saskatoon Blades. He is a gifted offensive player who led the Blades in goals, assists and points in his first year in North America. Scherbak is difficult to separate from the puck and has drawn comparisons to Kyle Okposo.
25) Anthony Deangelo (D): The OHL’s premier scoring defenseman, Deangelo is dynamite with the puck on his stick. The Sarnia Sting defenseman had 71 pts this season to lead all blueliners in scoring. He would be considered as a potential top 10 pick if he were a bit bigger (5’11", 165 lbs), and more committed to defense. Even though he may not be the biggest player on the ice, As far as NHL comparisons go, Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle comes to mind.
26) Alex Peters (D): Peters is a big boy, at 6’3" and 207 pounds. Alex is the youngest of the Peters boys, and the first to play outside of the crease (brothers Justin and Anthony are goalies). Alex has maintained the family reputation of keeping the puck out of the net as he has been a steady defensive defenseman for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL. Peters is never going to be an offensive threat, but could wind up being a serviceable every day NHLer like Karl Alzner.
27) Robby Fabbri (C): The current member of the Guelph Storm has put up great numbers for a 17 year old (45g-42a-87pts). The smallish Center is a high motor player who plays and thinks the game very quickly. Fabbri plays the game very similarly to former Storm player, Ryan Callahan. Hopefully teams don’t make the same mistake with Fabbri that they did with Callahan, passing over Callahan until the 3rd round.
28) Oskar Lindblom (W): The 6’2" forward from Sweden is an intriguing project. Lindblom is considered a powerful skater who has only scratched the surface of his potential. He has shown a willingness to play the game in the dirty areas which suggests that he could become the next generation of Johan Franzen if he continues to develop.
29) David Pastrnak (W): The Czech forward has been playing in Sweden for the past 2 seasons where he has averaged an average of .75 ppg while playing in the Allsvenskan for Sodertalje. Pastrnak is a relentless puck hound, both offensively and defensively although playing against mature hockey players has limited his effectiveness at times. Pastrnak also has some crafty hands and a great release which could see his draft stock continue to rise as we approach draft day. Fellow countryman Ales Hemsky is a good comparison for Pastrnak’s current skillset.
30) Jack Dougherty (D): This American defenseman is a member of the USNDP. Dougherty is a rugged blueliner who is never going to win the fastest skater competition, but has excellent positioning and as a result is never caught in a bad position on defense. Dougherty possesses a decent physical game, and is working diligently to become more of an offensive threat. Let’s consider him a Kris Russell/Marc Methot type of player for now.
A Couple of Goalies
I’d like to remind everyone that goaltending prospects are unpredictable, for every goalie that lives up to the hype there are 50 who never amount to anything. Additionally, there are so many goalies who garner no attention on draft day that end up surpassing those who were drafted… Take a look at the 2009 entry draft, and all of the goalies who were taken instead of Eddie Lack. I will continue to discuss the goaltenders with the NHLer who is most comparable, but don’t hold me to this if none of these guys amount to anything!
Thatcher Demko (NCAA): Demko is the top rated goaltender in this year’s draft. NHL central scouting has him rated an A level prospect (highest possible rating). Demko has the size (6’4") and skill to be an NHL starter. Additionally, he posted superb numbers as a true freshman at Boston College this season, posting a record of 14-4-3 with a 2.13 goals against and a save percentage of .921. Demko stacks up well with Coyotes netminder Mike Smith.
Edwin Minney (USHL): The future Michigan St. Spartan is currently playing for the USNDP. Edwin is 6’4" and 200 pounds, so he takes up a lot of the net! But that’s not all he offers, he is also very good at rebound control and tracking the puck. Minney hasn’t been putting up the outstanding numbers that we can see from some of the other prospects with a gaa over 4 this year, but he has tremendous upside and could be the next Ben Bishop.
Alex Nedeljkovic (OHL): The star goalie for the Plymouth Whalers appeared in 61 regular season games where he posted a 2.88 gaa which may not be great but his .925 tells you that he wasn’t the reason that his record was only 28-27-7. Nedeljkovic may not be the largest body in the draft as he’s ONLY 6’0", but his quickness determination more than make up for his average size. He is similar in stature and style to
St. Louis, Buffalo, Washington goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
Ville Husso (Liiga): This Finnish goalie is making his second pass through the NHL draft. Husso went undrafted last year and returns with the title of top ranked European goaltender in the 2014 draft. Husso has average size (6’1"), but possesses a very sound positioning in the butterfly. Fellow countryman Kari Lehtonen is a fair comparable for Ville.
Kaapo Kahkonen (Liiga): The second Finnish goalie making waves in this year’s draft has been referred to as a ‘third defenseman’. Kahkonen is the best puck-moving goaltender in this year’s draft. Kahkonen is not your typical butterfly goaltender, as he prefers to move vertically and then horizontally opposed to the usual swimming motion that most of his peers use to cover the net. This player is difficult to put a comparison on, but Sharks starter Antti Niemi comes to mind.