Prospect Ramblings: Player A or B

Tony Ferrari

2020-04-20

Yevgeny Oksentyuk celebrating a goal for the Flint Firebirds of the OHL (photo courtesy of the OHL)

 

This week, we’re going to have a bit of fun and debate some prospects! I’ll be expanding on a few of the answers to the question I recently tweeted out. I asked the Twitterverse to give me two players from the 2020 NHL Draft class and I would choose between them and give reasons as to why I would choose that player if the draft were today. Without further ado, let’s get at it! 

 

D Emil Andrae vs. D William Wallinder

 

 

I love this one because I don’t think there is a wrong answer here, rather it depends on one’s personal preference. These two are very close in my own personal rankings and the reason for that is because I know it will depend on what a team values when they make the draft pick to take one over the other. 

 

With Emil Andrae, you get a smooth-skating and smart defender who excels at both ends of the ice. He brings creativity and some offensive flair. His defensive game is quite good, especially considering that the biggest weakness that Andrae has is his size. His awareness in his own zone is good and he has an excellent stick. He gets into passing lanes quite well and when he gets the puck on his stick, he moves it up ice quickly. If he were 6’0″, this likely wouldn’t be a conversation but at 5’9″ there will be questions of whether he can play in the NHL until the day he cements himself as an NHLer. He is an intelligent player who sees the ice and attacks his opponent’s weaknesses. 

 

William Wallinder certainly doesn’t have the size issue. The 6’4″ defender has the size that NHL teams covet and the skating ability that makes players his size special. A fluid skater with excellent lateral movement and smooth transitional skating, Wallinder excels in transporting the puck from the defensive zone to the offensive zone and can do so with his passing ability or his natural puck rushing instincts. His instincts in the offensive zone are solid but unspectacular. He gets a lot of flak for his defensive play but he plays on a team that tends to be a bit hectic in their own end in general. He certainly needs to work on it but there have been plenty of instances when he does his job and the four others on the ice don’t do theirs. He is a physical specimen who has plenty of raw upside.