June 7, 2019

2019 NHL Draft Mailbag – V1

We’ve solicited questions on Twitter to help you get a better understanding of the 2019 NHL Draft class and it’s eligibles. We’ve compiled those questions into our first mailbag.



Ray Napientek, US-based scout – Zegras played a lot of minutes that most bottom six players would play on a loaded team. There is no doubt his skills play out as a top six forward in the NHL. As for center, I believe he has the skills to play down the middle and create for his wingers. His creativity will really set up his wingers nicely. On a loaded team up the middle, he can also play wing without skipping a beat. His tendency to overpass is not too much of a concern. As a playmaker, it’s easier to shoot more than to shoot less and try and become a playmaker. I just think he was playing the bottom six role more than he would on any other team.

Justin Froese, Western head scout – The upside of a player like Byram to provide early value on his ELC and into his prime is greater than Podkolzin’s in my eyes. Byram has the upside to be a cornerstone for the team that selects him and there are few defenders who bring to the table what he has the potential to do. Podkolzin is a little bit more raw and has some risk/reward elements with his style of play and contract situation but it is more of an ascension of Byram and others around him than a flop in stock from Podkolzin. If Vasili drops further than our rank it will be more about fit and comfort. He’s really close with NTDP and WHL skaters. It will be a matter of throwing it all against the wall and seeing how it falls, he’s the true wild card of the top 10.

Dennis Schellenberg, European head scout – Podkolzin maybe did see some slowing down in his progress and has been quiet offensively at the U18 Worlds, but it is not something that is worry me too much. I’d focus more on the other players in that range and how they have been good. For me, lots of players can be 3rd overall. Personally, I’d go for Byram.

Napientek – I think Beecher can sneak into the first round. His size, speed combo is very good. He showed the ability to get into scoring areas and did a nice job in his own end. The difference between the bottom first and high second in terms of skill is very close. Also, I the type of player he can become is what teams look for in terms of deep runs. Someone that can move up and down the lineup and still use his size when things get tight.

Schellenberg – The range from 20-40 is quite close and a lot of guys are close to each other, therefore, lots of things can happen. I wouldn’t mind if Beecher gets selected late first round but rather see him closer to 31 than 20. I’d go for the more talented prospects like Hoglander, Dorofeyev, Holmstrom and Kaliyev first.

Andy Lehoux, Quebec-based scout – Serdyuk displayed some high-end puck skills and excellent goalscoring abilities this past season. He has a great explosiveness with the puck and can be dangerous in transition. He’s still pretty raw and will need to polish quite a few aspects of his game, especially in his own end. I personally think his offensive ceiling is worth a gamble in the mid to late rounds.

Sergey Kuzin, Russian-based scout – I think main problem of Dorofeyev rankings is lack of hype around him. He didn’t played in national teams cause of his age and we’re seeing guys like Tomasino, Heinola, Brink, Leason, etc getting a lot of attention and moves up in rankings. Also Dorofeyev seems to stay in Russia for few more years and this would lower his rating a bit. He has had a good season without any standouts and he is still a legit prospect for 15-30 range.

Schellenberg – I’m with Sergey on Dorofeyev. He hasn’t been in the spotlight and did not play in big international games. That will probably have him dropped in some rankings. However, I don’t thin he should fall out of the first round mainly to his offensive upside.

Aaron Vickers, managing editor – I think every year we see one or two moves that certainly heighten the excitement of the NHL Draft and I don’t expect this year to be any different. I think we do see some teams moving up in the draft to select a particular player, sweetening things but adding some picks later in the draft. That’s not what you’re after, though. Do I see or expect a player to be moved for a top-10 pick? I’m not so sold on that. However, there are a pile of names floating around the rumour mill right now, including the likes of Phil Kessel, any number of Tampa Bay Lightning players, a few from the Calgary Flames, as well as Jacob Trouba and Jason Zucker. Certainly I would expect some movement of these players following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final and before free agency opens on July 1. What’s between? The NHL Draft.

Kuzin – Graeme Clarke. He didn’t have a lot of ice time cause of big names in Ottawa top-6, but he should have breakout season next year. His shot is lethal and his overall puck skills and hockey IQ is likeable. I’m very high on him.

Dylan Galloway, Eastern head scout – The OHL has a few different hidden gem type players in the mid to late rounds. Ethan Keppen is a player who has a few warts in his game but had a statistically good year on a bad Flint team. If he can iron out some of his issues he could be a very quality pick up for a team picking in the 3rd or 4th.

Joseph Aleong, Ontario-based scout – To add onto OHL late-round sleepers, I really like Nick Porco – didn’t have a lot of depth around him at first and he was inconsistent, but he’s a great skater with strong puck skills. He strikes me as the type to see a strong scoring increase in his final OHL seasons, and his skating ability alone is worth a mid- to late-round pick.

Lehoux – Xavier Simoneau. He is a threat in the offensive end, thanks to his incredible vision, high-end hockey IQ and shifty mitts. Also possesses a great agility and a tremendous compete, which will be key in his transition to the pro-level. Needs to add power to his lower and upper body, but could become an impact player at the NHL level.

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