It’s a busy time of year, College Hockey finals are in full swing, CHL playoffs are moving on to round two and the NHL and AHL seasons are winding down with all kinds of prospects getting a cup of coffee in the pro ranks as their seasons conclude.
With the majority of College Hockey teams done for the year, there has been a number of NHL drafted prospects sign their pro contracts and make the jump to pro. There has also been a number of free agent prospects signing NHL contracts as well. Be sure to read Hayden Soboleskis latest Prospects Ramblings where he covers all the most recent signings. If you missed DobberProspects Radio podcast episode 13 with Kevin LeBlanc we cover all the top free agent NCAA prospects, have a listen.
Coming up here on DobberProspects, On Monday our OHL editorial post by Kathryn Jean was posted, she looks at the big winners from the 2106-17 OHL Coaches Poll. Read it here
Wednesday we look at the WHL with Brayden Sully and Friday is the QMJHL with Mike Barrette, both those leagues will be starting round two by then so check in to hear their thoughts.
Recently the writers from each team here at DobberProspects contributed to our mock draft by selecting the players the team they cover will put on the protected list from expansion draft. Our Associate Editor and Vegas scout Paul Zwambag will be pouring over the lists and making his selections. That post will be coming out later this week, stay tuned.
The next episode of DobberProspect Radio is recording on Thursday night and Paul and I will be talking about prospects making the jump to pro as the season winds down and what that means for your fantasy keeper lists. We will also be joined by Goalie Guru Justin Goldman to talk prospect and keeper goalies and get some goalie scouting tips from the man himself.
The OHL Priority draft is being held this Saturday April 8th. A lot of speculation on the draft order hinges on top prospect Jack Hughes and where he intends to play. TSN Insider Darren Dreger reported on Twitter that Hughes has committed to the US NTDP
As per Pat Brisson (family advisor) Top 2001 OHL prospect Jack Hughes has decided to go to the US National Team Development Program…— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 3, 2017
Hughes, the number one ranked prospect, will join the second top ranked prospect in Alex Turcotte at the US NTDP. With top prospects turning pro after one season of NCAA recently such as Charlie McAvoy and Tyson Jost are we seeing the start of a trend where the top prospects elect out of playing CHL hockey? The NHL is getting younger and younger and scouts and agents are quick to say that the kids these days want it all right away and the current CHL/NHL agreement forces some prospects such as Dylan Strome to return to junior rather than making the jump to pro and playing in the AHL.
Back to the OHL draft, with Hughes out, here is what the top of the draft may look like
Barrie Colts – Ryan Suzuki: The younger brother of 2017 NHL Draft prospect and Owen Sound star Nick Suzuki, Ryan could be even better than his older brother!
Guelph Storm – Tag Bertuzzi: Bertuzzi is Guelph royalty as the son of Former Guelph star and NHL alumni Todd Bertuzzi and the Cousin of another Bertuzzi Guelph alumni, Tyler. A slam-dunk to go to the Storm.
North Bay Battalion – Jamieson Rees
Niagara IceDogs – Phil Tomasino
Saginaw Spirit – Nick Porco
Ottawa 67’s – Graeme Clarke
Some other interesting side notes to keep in mind, the Sarnia sting hold the rights to Quinton Hughes, Jacks brother, and may select him in hopes they can entice him to come and play with his brother. As always don’t under estimate the recruiting prowess of the London Knights and Windsor Spitfires and they may swing for the fences and select Hughes.
The good folks at the Scout.ca have their own mock draft which is much more thorough and a great read. Find it here
The Barrie Colts also hold the first overall selection in the CHL Import Draft as well. This will be a golden opportunity for them to add several elite prospects. Players to target for the Import Draft include:
Andrei Svechnikov – The 17-year-old is tearing up the USHL with over a point per game and is the brother of Detroit prospect Evgeni (More on him below).
Timothy Liljegren – The top ranked defensive prospect in the 2017 NHL Draft had a rough year playing in a limited role in the SHL, he may be seeking more ice time
Rasmus Dahlin – The sensational Swede defenceman drew rave reviews from his performance at the WJC and even some Erik Karlsson comparisons. It’s doubtful he comes to North America however.
Filip Zadina – Strong performances internationally for the Czech, has power forward potential
While it’s fun to speculate about such elite talent, chances are most of them don’t come to the CHL, there are always politics involved.
The OHL draft is always preordained for the first round. I learned that quickly when I attended the Kingston Frontenacs Draft live in 2012 and both Roland McKeown and Sam Bennett were already at the draft live in Kingston before they were selected.
In terms of the CHL Import Draft, some things to keep in mind are money, route to the NHL and age. Some of the higher end players can play pro hockey in Europe in the KHL, SHL, or Liiga and get paid. Another benefit to playing your draft year in Europe over the CHL is you can go straight from your draft year to the AHL. See the CHL/NHL transfer agreement problem from above. Another common reason some players may not report to North America is it is very far away from home. Remember these are kids and living in a foreign country half way across the world, different culture, language, food, religion can be overwhelming for a teenager.
Some key prospects played Monday night of note. Detroit Red Wings prospect Evgeni Svechnikov made his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators who had their top prospect Colin White making his NHL debut. Check out the Svechnikov game winning shootout goal
Buffalo Sabres top prospect Alex Nylander made his NHL debut tonight as well and he faced his older brother William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs. William had an assist and Alex was held off the score sheet and had no shots in 14:28 of ice time.
- Prospect Rambling: 2019 First Round Mid-Season Expectation vs Reality Grades
- Prospect Ramblings: Top 2020 Draft-Eligible Players at the WJC
- Prospects Ramblings: Prospects Making Noise
- Prospect Ramblings: Scouting Notes from Around the CHL
- Prospect Ramblings: Underrated European Prospects on Notable Draft Rankings
- Prospects Ramblings: Brogan Rafferty, Scouting Notes, Zayde Wisdom and Midseason Guide
- AHL Report - January 2020
- OHL Report: January 2019