FCHockey’s Spring rankings: 5 fallers
FCHockey has released their Spring rankings for the 2021 NHL Draft, and it’s safe to say there are some big changes.
The No. prospect, Luke Hughes, is holding on to that top spot for now, but from there, the movement starts at No. 2.
Dive into some of the biggest changes, we’ve highlighted five players that have made significant leaps on FCHockey’s draft board.
Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Winter rank: 13
Spring rank: 25
The race for the top prospect out of the QMJHL is very much alive, and while Zachary Bolduc still holds on to that spot for now, he is losing his grip on it. Bolduc came into the season as the QMJHL’s Rookie of the Year for 2019-20, and looked to build on that in his draft year. However, FCHockey’s scouts aren’t sold on the step forward he’s taken this season.
The centerman has 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 27 games, slightly ahead of his pace from last season. But after potting 30 goals in his rookie season, his 10 goals this year has raised some questions. With three challengers for the top QMJHL prospect title, we’re looking for more from Bolduc.
“Our reason for dropping Bolduc is the lack of consistency and highend skill shown on the offensive side of the puck in comparison to the players around him in this range,” FCHockey scout Dylan Galloway said. “He can show flashes, but overall lacks the real problem solving and creativity with the puck to be an offensive difference maker night in and night out.”
Oskar Olausson, RW, HV71 (SHL)
Winter rank: 30
Spring rank: 48
Oskar Olausson impressed earlier this season after surprising with three goals in his first three SHL games, and being the lone draft-eligible on Team Sweden at the 2021 World Junior Championship. Those turned out to be his only three SHL goals. While the skill is apparent with the right winger, there are some flags in his game that gives FCHockey’s scouts pause.
Olausson played 16 SHL games this season, scoring four points (three goals, one assist). He played another 16 games in the J20 Nationell, racking up 27 goals (14 goals, 13 assists) and finished his season with Sodertalje in the HockeyAllsvenskan, adding another six points (three goals, three assists) in 11 games.
“There’s no denying that Olausson is a dangerous player when he gets the puck in a scoring position,” FCHockey scout Derek Neumeier explained. “However, I would like to see him drive the play more by himself instead of having others create for him. There are also some real issues with his off-puck defending, especially for a player who is a little older for this draft.
“He’ll definitely get picked somewhere in the first two rounds, but the weaknesses in his game make him a bit of a risky prospect.”
Jack O’Brien, C, Lincoln Stars (USHL)
Winter rank: 35
Spring rank: Not ranked
After entering the season as a fringe first rounder, Jack O’Brien has had a slow season that has seen him slide down draft boards – and in this case out of FCHockey’s top-100. After waiting for the WHL season to start, O’Brien made the decision to head south, suting up for the USHL’s Lincoln Stars.
A big name getting some ice time was exciting for scouts, especially after watching him put up 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in his first 55 WHL games. This season however, he’s stuggled to get going offesnively, collecting only seven points (one goal, six assists) in 23 games.
“O’Brien has unfortunately taken quite a step back and because of his lack of offense,” FCHockey scout Dylan Krill said. “He has had a significant drop in our rankings, and out of our top 100. Although he is playing on a team that struggles to produce offense, O’Brien has not displayed the type of player he was last year, playing with Seth Jarvis. He does play a defensively reliable game and brings good energy, but nothing to make him someone to target in the top 100.”
Samu Salminen, C, Jokerit U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Winter rank: 53
Spring rank: Not ranked
One prospect where FCHockey differs greatly from the public scouting sphere, Samu Salminen is no longer ranked in the top-100, after numerous flags were evident by multiple scouts. While he’s put up some good numbers in the U20 SM-sarja, 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 17 games, our scouts didn’t see the transferable traits that would see that carry over to the North American Game.
However, Salminen still has some time to impress FCHockey’s scouts, as he will be suiting up for Team Finland at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship. Interestingly, Salminen recently committed to the University of Denver recently, so there will be time to get him acclimated to the North American game.
“While reviewing games from this past season at the U20 SM-sarja level, it was clear Salminen had an offensive touch and natural talent, however, there were a number of red flags in his game that gave us a lot of pause,” FCHockey scout Brandon Holmes said. “A number of our scouts, myself included, took issue with the mechanics of Salminen’s skating stride which greatly inhibited his ability to get up and down the ice efficiently, which could become more problematic with the quicker pace of North American ice.
“Furthermore, there were concerns with Salminen’s awareness in his own zone as well as some occasional signs of his defensive effort wavering throughout the course of matches, so for those reasons we felt we had to move Salminen down in our rankings.”
Connor Roulette, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Winter rank: 61
Spring rank: Not ranked
Another WHL player that came into the season looking like he could creep up into the first round, Connor Roulette is another player that has fallen out of the top 100 for FCHockey. This is another case of a player not taking that next, dynamic step that was hoped for in a player’s draft year.
Roulette started his season with three MJHL games, collecting a goal and an assist with the Selkirk Steelers. With the WHL getting underway, he has put up 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 11 games. Like Salminen, Roulette will have a chance to change scout’s minds at the World U18s next week.
“I truly think whoever takes a stab at Roulette could have a heck of a player if they are the ones who finally corrects his unsustainable style of play,” FCHockey scout Justin Froese explained. “Roulette is brilliant but as a placeholder skill, everything goes through his hands and his struggle to skill stack has been a sore spot. Junior numbers are cool and all, but he needs to pick up his pace of play and apply tactics that work at the next level, not against inferior competition.”
Other big fallers:
- Peter Reynolds, C, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) (34 to 68, -34)
- Matthew Knies, LW, Tri-City Storm (USHL) (48 to 76, -28)
- Daniil Lazutin, C, SKA-1946 (MHL) (59 to not ranked, -41)
- Talyn Boyko, G, Tri-City Amerians (WHL) (62 to not ranked, -38)
- Owen Murray, D, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) (61 to not ranked, -39)