Prospect Ramblings: NHL Draft wrap, Leafs Draft Strategy, CHL Import Draft

Peter Harling


2016 draft board

It’s a busy time of the year in hockey, and this past weekend was the Christmas morning equivalent for hockey prospects and hockey scouts as the hockey world converged in Buffalo New York for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. It was also yours truly first time at the draft.

The arena was packed for the first round and there was a collective thud as everyone there had their jaw drop to the floor when the Columbus Blue Jackets picked Pierre-Luc Dubois over the consensus third ranked Jesse Puljujarvi. As the third pick was announced, Patrik Laine was on the air with Sirius XM NHL Radio and shared in the reaction as his countrymen was passed over at the third spot, turning to look at the draft board and saying “woah”

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Laine learns on our show that countryman Puljujarvi doesn't go 3rd OA. Reaction…&quot;Wow.&quot; <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Aynsley Scott (@HockeyMinister) <a href="">June 24, 2016</a></blockquote>

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There was another “wow” moment at the fifth pick. After Dubois at three, Puljujarvi followed at four and the consensus feeling was that things would get back on track and Vancouver would select Matt Tkachuk. The Canucks reached the podium and selected from the London Knights…Olli Juolevi! Now it’s is not that this is a bad choice, but after the “London Knights” part most were convinced “Matthew Tkachuk” was going to follow.

The Flames were no doubt very happy to have Tkachuk available to them at the sixth position and Flames TV Tweeted out a interview with a classic Brian Burke quote. When describing Tkachuk and his on ice style he said “There is no nice way to say it, he has some dirt bag in him

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brian Burke shares his analysis of the <a href="">#NHLDraft</a> with <a href="">#Flames</a> TV!<a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) <a href="">June 26, 2016</a></blockquote>

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2016 Leafs DraftThere was some outcry from Leaf nation as well as past the Auston Matthews pick, a lot of fans were disappointed with the names the Leafs called out. Last year Toronto focused on skill and drafted several small but talented players, this year they seem to have gone the exact opposite direction. I have to admit, there was very little I knew about the names called out by the Leafs as few come from my neck of the woods and I was very confused by the seemingly reversal of their strategy. Most Leafs fans live in or around Toronto, and the Leafs only picked two players from the OHL who are both low profile players so fans in Toronto know very little about the new crop of prospects. That is not to say they are not very good. Here is Dobbers analysis on the 31st overall pick by Toronto Yegor Korshkov from the Prospect report: (A great source to get to know the drafted prospects)



Yegor Korshkov – Leafs take 31st. RW
From my Prospects Report:
Already passed over twice in NHL drafts, Korshkov is a 1996-born player who has been a bit of a slow developer but is a smooth skater with excellent balance. Owning a large frame at 6-3, Korshkov displays solid hockey sense, good passing, and offensive instincts to go along with a fair amount of pushback. One of Russia’s top scorers at the WJC, Korshkov lacks consistency in all three zones and on a shift-to-shift basis, but when he is motivated he can control the pace of play by throwing his body around and protecting the puck. Though his shot is only average, he is able to hold off defenders with a long stick and force himself into dangerous scoring areas. If this late bloomer continues to develop he could be a solid complimentary scorer.
Upside: Middle six winger (Sergei Kostitsyn) 15-20-35
Rank: 67

But after talking it over with my life long Leafs analyst (My Dad) he convinced me there was a method to their madness. Two things stand out from the Leafs draft strategy: The players they selected are generally very big and over age. Five of the Leafs 11 players selected have been passed over in previous drafts. Yegor Korshkov, Adam Brooks, and Jack Walker were all passed over in both 2014, and 2015, and Vladimir Bobylyov and Nikolai Chebykin are over age at 19 as well. By drafting older players, the Leafs may have a more confident opinion as to what type of asset they acquired as they are further along in their development. Furthermore these players may be ready to turn pro sooner rather than later.

{source} <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Korshkov, BTW, is a 19 year old who wasn't drafted last year. Played very well at the WJC. Could be pro ready sooner rather than later.</p>&mdash; Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) <a href="">June 25, 2016</a></blockquote>

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20 year old Adam Brooks was the regular season leading scorer from the WHL with a 120 point season in 72 games with Regina. Of his 120 points, 90 were primary points (That’s elite!). He is undersized at 5-10, 175 pounds but could make the jump to the AHL with Korshkov in September.

The Leafs also made a splash with a trade, acquiring prospect Kerby Rychel in exchange for Scott Harrington and a conditional fifth round pick. Leafs fans have to love this, Harrington made the Leafs to start the season last year, but missed significant time with an injury. His upside is not very high and his probability as a NHL player is in question. Rychel had asked for a trade after Columbus returned him to the AHL last year and he is a physical winger with upside who should be able to crack the Leafs roster full time next season. Again, our Prospect Report gives you excellent insight to these two prospects, (you should buy it) here is what we said on them;

TY – 13th, LY – 43rd
Rychel has made big strides over the past year. Although his production at the AHL level has only increased marginally (from 0.65 to 0.73 points-per-game), his performance in the NHL has been impressive. His power game may be better suited for the higher league. Also to his advantage is the fact that the Blue Jackets need his playing style in the lineup, as they only have one Scott Hartnell (and no, David Clarkson doesn’t count). Rychel, son of former NHLer Warren, should make the team in the fall, though the big numbers that he could potentially produce will be several years from coming to fruition.

Upside – Scott Hartnell (30-40-70+, 100+ PIM)
3YP (more likely) – (24-26-50, 90 PIM)
Certainty (NHLer; Upside) – 85%, 45%
Expected Arrival – This fall.
DobberHockey Fantasy Draft Advice – A middle-round option.


Another trade involving prospects had the Tampa Bay Lightning trade former first round pick Anthony DeAngelo to the Arizona Coyotes for the 37th overall pick. DeAngelo is a project as he has tremendous offensive ability, but was a scratch nine times last season as a "Coaches decision"….nine times!

nine times

This is certainly a red flag and his value has clearly dropped as one NHL team has given up on him, it does present a potential buy low opportunity. There is reason to believe that Shane Doan could possibly straighten DeAngelo out. With the addition of DeAngelo, the Coyotes added some very impressive talent to the organization in Clayton Keller, Jakob Chychrun, and Cam Dineen. Thats impressive!


With the NHL draft over, it is time to switch focus to the CHL Import Draft which begins on Tuesday at 11 am EST. You can follow the draft online here:

{source} <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">2016 <a href="">#CHL</a> Import Draft takes place on Tuesday June 28 beginning 11:00 AM ET.<br><br>Follow Live: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) <a href="">June 27, 2016</a></blockquote>

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The Kootenay Ice hold the first overall selection, but the CHL draft has traditionally been known to have plenty of “cooked deals” in advance of the draft. CHL General Managers attend events like the U-18 that was in North America this year to not only scout potential import players, but to meet with their agents to get a feel for how willing the player is to come to North America, and if they would come to their team. Some could call this tampering. Each team is only allowed to carry a maximum of two import players on their roster so the import draft is only two rounds. It is a potentially incredible source for an elite player and teams don’t want to waste a pick on a player who won’t come to North America, or are committed to the NCAA. The NHL Draft can also influence the Import draft, last season the Detroit Redwings selected Vili Saarijarvi, who managed to find his way to nearby Flint Michigan at the CHL Import draft.

There will be plenty of impact players on the board Tuesday, such as German Rubtsov (Phladelphia) Nico Hischler (2017), and  Jacob Cederholm (Winnipeg). Prospect Hockey has an incredible in depth four part series with scouting reports on import eligible prospects broken down by country, I really encourage you to read them and share.

{source} <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="de" dir="ltr">CHL Import Draft – Part 1 – <a href=""></a> <a href="">@CHLHockey</a> <a href="">#CHLImportDraft</a></p>&mdash; Prospects Hockey (@Prospect1Hockey) <a href="">June 27, 2016</a></blockquote>

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Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Timur Mukhanov 8.0 7.0
Alexander Pashin 7.0 2.5
Felix Unger Sörum 7.5 8.5
Charles-Alexis Legault 4 6.5
Alexander Pelevin 3 2
Tyler Tucker 5.0 6.0
Matt Kessel 4.0 7.5
Aatu Räty 8.0 7.0
Jackson Blake 6.0 6.0
Ryan Ufko 7.0 6.0