The post World Junior draft season has begun as prospects will try to burst onto the scene or further their reputations as the year reaches closer to June and the 2017 NHL Draft. Prospects like Nico Hischier will begin to staple their individual impacts on scouts minds and overlooked players like Nick Suzuki or Joel Teasdale will trying to catch the attention of those who may have moved on to other up and coming draft eligible players.
While the World Juniors were ongoing in Toronto and Montreal, some CHL prospects were having great runs while the hockey world watched USA and Canada fight their way to the gold medal game.
Owen Tippett has been having a great year altogether, but during the World Juniors Tippett showcased tremendous skill and scoring ability. He scored seven points in four games including six goals. Tippett has a great ability to create offense and score goals from nothing. Tippett currently has 34 goals and 24 assists through 43 games this season.
Owen Tippett – 2 goals and 1 assist vs London
Victoriaville Tigres forward and NHL Draft prospect Maxime Comtois had his best month of the season during December scoring three goals and eight assists in ten games. Comtois has a large frame with room to grow along the way.
He can play a powerful game and contribute in great quantities on offense too. He doesn’t have the largest numbers this season but with the way he plays along the boards and down low, 32 points in 43 games ain’t bad.
Maxime Comtois – 2 goals vs Team Russia
Shortly after the World Juniors, the NHL announced their midterm rankings for 2017 NHL Draft prospects for North American and European skaters and goalies. Looking at where certain skaters and goalies are ranked there are spot-on evaluation, but there are also some rankings that are disagreeable.
Starting with the first slots for each group, Nolan Patrick should definitely remain in the first position for North American skaters, despite the injury setback that he has dealt with this season. When he was playing, Patrick showed scouts so much promise and skill that Nico Hischier has come close to showing us, but isn’t quite there yet.
The same goes for Timothy Liljegren in the EU skater section. Liljegren was magical during the U18 World Juniors and has had great success in Sweden. Until he can prove scouts wrong by playing poorly and making mistakes, Liljegren should remain at the number one position, when it comes to European skaters.
Goalies can be tough to read which can lead to difficulty when it comes to ranking them. From what I have seen among North American goalies, Jake Oettinger has impressed me the most. His terrific season with Boston College has mostly to do with his agility at such a large size. Michael DiPietro has also earned himself a top five ranking as well, I feel. He has plays such a smooth game and has great poise, especially at the tournament level.
European goalies have had a rich history of success at the NHL level and often come in great quantities. Olle Ek Eriksson is one goalie that I felt has showed the most on all levels thus far, therefore I would have ranked him first in the category. He had some great games during the World Juniors this year that showed his ability to cut angles down and quickness to make desperation saves.
Olle Eriksson Ek highlights
Sasha Chmelevski is a player that could make a run into the top 25 during the last half of the season. Chmelevski plays a fast and powerful game that puts the defense on their heels. He also has the hands to finish chances. He has had a great season with the 67’s this year with 17 goals and 13 assists, as well as fantastic tournament to start off the year at the Ivan Hlinka. It was there that he really stepped up and gave scouts glimpses of his full potential.
The NHL Draft is so close and once the final rankings are released, we’ll have a real idea of who will be going where once June comes around.