Draft Grades: Pacific Division (part 2)

by Sam Stern on July 3, 2019

 

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Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the results of the 2019 NHL Draft, its time to start diving in to exactly what went down and how teams fared with their selections. Sam Stern takes on the Pacific division below, broken into two parts because of the sheer magnitude of information. 

You can find Part 1 here:

https://dobberprospects.com/draft-grades-pacific-division-part-1/

 

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LOS ANGELES KINGS

Round 1, pick 5: Alex Turcotte, C

Round 1, pick 22: Tobias Björnfot, D

Round 2, pick 33: Arthur Kaliyev, RW

Round 2, pick 50: Samuel Fagemo: LW

Round 3, pick 87: Lukas Parik, G

Round 4, pick 95: Jordan Spence, D

Round 4, pick 119: Kim Nousiainen, D

Round 6, pick 157: Braden Doyle, D

Round 7, pick 188: Andre Lee, C/LW

Day 1 Grade: A

Day 2 Grade: A

 

Day One:

Alex Turcotte

Turcotte is an offensive buzzsaw that owns the center lane, the front of the net and the boards. He’s one of the most competitive players in the class and possesses all the attributes that make a future superstar. He’s the most complete center in a very deep class down the middle. Turcotte is an ultra-competitive forward that only raises his level of play as the game intensifies. He is never intimidated to go to the front of the net, in fact, that’s exactly where he thrives. He has elite hockey sense and skating which makes him an option to play up anywhere in a team’s lineup. On top of being a world-class offensive prospect he’s the most mature defensive forward in this class. In terms of maturity, he may be the most complete player in the entire class. He’s a wonderful passer with elite vision and loves to make plays in close to the net, or even behind the goal line. If there’s a knock it’s that his release is just above average. He scores more of his goals from close range than he does by sniping a goalie from further out. If he wants to improve that part of his game — and it sounds like he does — he’ll have no problem doing so.

 

Tobias Bjornfot

Bjornfot doesn’t possess any star-level qualities and there were certainly players with higher ceilings/skill-level available here. That being said, this was still a good pick. Bjornfot is a very efficient and effective defenseman that projects as a fixture on a team’s middle-pairing. While he isn’t going to wow you on the score sheet, Bjornfot will impress with his play on the rush and in transition. The hallmark of Bjornfot’s game is how deadly he is on the breakout whether he wants to make a clean first pass or carry the puck into the zone. When he is on the ice his team ends up with controlled possession far more often than they dump the puck. He defends well using his skating ability and timing with his stick. There were higher upside picks available, but for hat this pick was, it was successful. 

 

Day Two Highlights:  

Arthur Kaliyev

I feel that this was one of the highest value picks in the entire draft. Due to perceived effort and consistency problems Kaliyev was one of the most divisive players available in the draft. He’s been labelled by some as a one-dimensional player as, of his 51 assists, just 28 were primary. Kaliyev could be found ranked anywhere from fifth to outside of the top-45 throughout the season. Regardless of ranking, he’s a supremely talented shooter — second best, for my money behind Cole Caufield — and an underrated passer. Kaliyev can score from anywhere on the ice and does a nice job of getting lost in coverage or finding a way to create room for himself off the rush. According to Mitch Brown’s CHL tracking data Kaliyev was in the 94th percentile in Expected Primary Points/60, the 90th percentile of Expected Goals/60 an even in the 88th percentile in Expected Primary Assists/60. In 67 games Kaliyev recorded 51 goals, 51 assists and 102 points in 67 games.

 

Sam Fagemo

Fagemo was my top-rated overaged player in this class. The winger enjoyed a successful season playing on Folunda’s top line in the SHL where he won both an SHL Championship and Champions Hockey League Championship. He recorded 14 goals, 11 assists and 25 points in 42 regular season games. He also went on to score six goals and add four assists in 16 playoff games. In the Champions Hockey League tournament he posted four goals and six assists in 11 games. Fagemo has an NHL-level release that he just loves to use form anywhere on the ice. He’s a capable passer with somewhat limited creativity, but he gets along just fine. What makes him a future NHL player is his ability ot get lost in coverage and the fact that he only needs one shot to burn the opposition.

 

What I Would Change:

The Kings did a masterful job throughout this draft. I wouldn’t change much, but I’ll be a little nitpicky here. I wouldn’t have selected a goaltender 87th overall with some of the high-upside skaters that were still available.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Round 2, pick 48: Artemi Knyazev, D

Round 2, pick 55: Dillon Hamaliuk, LW

Round 4, pick 108: Yegor Spiridonov, C

Round 6, pick 164: Timur Ibragimov, C

Round 6, pick 184: Santeri Hatakka, D

Day 1 Grade: N/A

Day 2 Grade: C+

 

Day Two Highlights:

Yegor Spirionov

Spiridonov centered the most dominant line in the MHL last season with Pavel Dorofeyev and Dmitri Sheshin on his wings. Dorofeyev brings such a well-rounded game that I think he could’ve gone in the top three rounds and it still would have made sense. He’s one of the vetter defensive forwards in the class on top of being quite skilled and an absolute workhorse along the boards, in front of the net and on the forecheck. Spiridonov’s work ethic coupled with his skill and vision make him a dangerous player whenever he’s on the ice. Of all the Sharks’ picks I’m most comfortable in saying that Spiridonov will be a successful NHL player.

 

What I Would Change:

When you’re selecting in the top-62 and you take a forward who’s best talent is being physical it just feels like a mistake. Maybe a decade ago this pick would have made a lot of sense. But, with so many skilled and intelligent players still on the board I’m left wondering why the Sharks opted for a forward that hits better than he facilitates offense.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Round 1, pick 10: Vasili Podkolzin, RW

Round 2, pick 40: Nils Höglander, LW

Round 4, pick 122: Ethan Keppen, LW

Round 5, pick 133: Carson Focht, C

Round 6, pick 156: Arturs Silvos, G

Round 6, pick 175: Karel Plasek, RW

Round 6, pick 180: Jack Malone, RW/C

Round 7, pick 195: Aidan McDonough, LW

Round 7, pick 215: Arvid Costmar, C

Day 1 Grade: B

Day 2 Grade: B+

 

Day One:

Vasili Podkolzin

There was no more divisive player in this class than Vasili Podkolzin. At his best Podkolzin is a bull in a china shop who can is adept at handling the puck at high speeds, has multiple moves, a quick decision maker and passer and has a rocket of a shot. At hi worst, he fades into the background for periods at a time, handles the puck with his head down and throws temper tantrums on the ice. At the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament Podkilzin’s performance left people feeling that he was a no-brainer third overall pick. But, an utter lack of production in league play and deficiencies in his game becoming apparent soured his stock for many people. The Canucks selecting him at 10th overall is right in the range that I had him coming into the draft, so this is a perfectly fine pick. He’s likely to spend the next couple of years in Russia, hopefully with a full-time role in the KHL. He’s a big of a coin-flip as a prospect right now, but there’s enough there to be optimistic.

 

Day Two Highlights:

Nils Hoglander

Hoglander was one of six forwards that I feel had no business falling out of the first round. At 5’9 189 lbs, Hoglander isn’t ever going to be the biggest player on the ice, but he plays like he is. Capable of throwing thunderous body checks, defenders quickly learn that they won’t be able to bully Hoglander off the puck. He’s a fantastic skater with exceptional puck skills, which helped Hoglander have a very successful season in the SHL with a somewhat limited role at times. Hoglander’s upside is that of a top-6 winger in the NHL who will create offensive for himself and those around him using his elite puck handling. With his ability to process the game at high speed and elite skating I’m optimistic that Hoglander will be part of the solution in Vancouver.

 

Ethan Keppen

Ethan Keppen was one of the lone bright spots on an abhorrent Flint Firebirds team. Keppen plays a game that translates to every level. He just loves to shoot the puck; his 219 shots on goal were 29th in the OHL. Keppen was the second leading scorer and goal scorer in Flint behind 2018 first round pick Ty Dellandrea and 20 year old Jacob Durham. Keppen is a big strong, dominant physical presence in front of the net and in the corners. He wants the puck and he’s going to get the puck. He has enough talent and vision to make plays around the net and finish them when given the opportunity.

 

What I Would Change:

The Canucks started day two on the right foot by selecting Nils Hoglander and Ethan Keppen, but in the fifth round I feel that they left some talent on the board. They selected Carson Focht who is a bit of a long shot at this point. It’s fine to take a shot on an overager, but pick your spots. I think the Canucks would’ve been much better served selecting someone like Owen Lindmark, Marcus Kallionkieli, Sasha Mutala, Reece Newkirk and Josh Nodler who were all on the board.

 

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Round 1, pick 17: Peyton Krebs, C

Round 2, pick 41: Kaeden Korczak, D

Round 3, pick 79: Pavel Dorofeyev, LW/RW

Round 3, pick 86: Layton Ahac, D

Round 4, pick 110: Ryder Donovan, C

Round 5, pick 135: Isaiah Saville, G

Round 5, pick 139: Marcus Kallionkieli, F

Round 5, pick 141: Mason Primeau, C

Day 1 Grade: A

Day 2 Grade: A

 

Day One:

Peyton Krebs

Krebs was a consensus top-10 pick all season, but a torn achilles cause Krebs fall to the Knights at 17th. Because of his commitment to other areas of the game Krebs’ offensive ability seems to have been underrated by many of the mainstream pundits. Krebs is a machine, he exclusively makes the right decisions with the puck, is one of the best skaters in the class and has the puck skills and vision to be dangerous at all times. His shot isn’t exactly hard, but it’s accurate and he picks his spots well. He absolutely carried an atrocious Winnipeg Ice team this season. He was involved in 39.9% of their goals over the season. Better than Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach and Cody Glass during his draft-eligible season.

 

Day Two Highlights:

Pavel Dorofeyev

Dorofeyev falling to 79th is, in my opinion, the most egregious error made by every team in the league. He’s one of the most talented players in the entire class, personally, I had him ranked 14th. Seeing him drop the way he did is just astounding. His vision, passing, puck shill and shot are all off the charts. He’s a constant threat on the ice, he’s creative with the puck and he loves to attack the net. He can beat goalies cleanly with his shot, he knows where every player is on the ice. Dorofeyev is able to conceive plays well before they happen and has such a high talent level that he executes them with ease. His skating could use a little adjusting, but it isn’t nearly bad enough to make him a third round option. This is a pick that will make the Knights’ Brass look like geniuses in a few years. Other teams will rue the day they passed on him three times. 

 

Ryder Donovan

The best player in USHS-MN, Ryder Donovan is a massive forward who skates like the wind and loves to shoot the puck. He dominated the high school ranks this season and is well equipped to have a successful rookie campaign with the University of Wisconsin. He checks all the boxes for a player with a massive ceiling that you swing on after the first round. He’s strong enough to shrug off defenders in front of the net and skilled enough to lift the puck and torture goalies from in tight. His size and speed combination coupled with high end hands and vision leaves defenders answerless as he leads the charge on the rush. His shot is hard, accurate and he gets it off quickly. The big question is how well he’ll adjust to the intensity of play outside of high school hockey.

 

Marcus Kallionkieli

One third of the most dominant line in the USHL (with Bobby Brink and Martin Pospisil), Kallionkieli is a talented shooter, who puts himself in high-danger areas and punishes goalies with a quick release. He’s a one-time threat from the right dot and loves to work his way into the center of the ice and the mouth of the net. He’s not a dangerous passer, which leaves him as a bit of a one-dimensional prospect, but swinging on scoring talent in the fifth round is exactly what you’re supposed to do.

 

What I Would Change:

This is a nitpick, as I didn’t dislike this pick, but I think there were better options than Kaeden Korczak for the Knights at 41. Korczak thinks the game well, plays a well balanced game in that while he defends well, he also brings a lot to the table offensively. My problem is that while he’s good at everything he’s not great at anything. He strikes me more as a third round pick for that reason. I’m a firm believer in taking first round talent when it’s there in the second round. Yegor Afanasyev, Nick Robertson and even Matthew Robertson feel like better picks here.

 

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Thank you for reading, and check back in later this month for grades of the remaining divisions on draft day!

You can check out Sam Stern’s work on Twitter @aqualunggg