March Madness 7-Round Mock Draft!

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2018 Mock Draft (Over-Agers Included!):

Howdy! This is my first full Mock including all over-agers eligible for the Draft, and a full 7 rounds. Given the import of this Draft for the Sabres’ future, it’s critical that we take this Mock Draft very seriously.

Kidding! This is likely to be as accurate as anyone else’s version so please include your thoughts or opinions in the Comments. Hell, leave your own Mock Draft if you’d like!

This is the first one I’ve done including older draft-eligibles, or over-agers. And there are a few good ones to consider.

Not a lot of big events have gone down since our last Mock Draft, but one tournament of note is worthy of mention. Got to see a lot of the U-18 5 Nations tournament in Michigan, and as you’d expect, some of the big names had amazing showings. Andrei Svechnikov (#2) and Oliver Wahlstrom (#6) proved to be the leading scorers in the tournament, and as you might have figured, the USA won on home ice, shutting out the Finns 4-0 in the final game after a thrilling come-from-behind win against Svechnikov and the Russians the night before.

Some of the other future high picks really impressed – Denisenko (#14) from the Russians, Americans Joel Farabee (#13) and K’Andre Miller (#23), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (#17) from Suomi and the Finns, as well as the Swedes’ Gustafsson (#35) and Berggren (#27). The Czechs didn’t have their full complement there, but Jakub Lauko (#43) showed well and Matej Blumel came out of nowhere to really produce a ton of points! He was like a different player from the one I saw at the USHL Top Prospects Game.

Most interesting, Adam Boqvist (#7) was not, IMO, the best Swedish defender on their team – I preferred Nils Lindqvist (#33) and Adam Ginning (#47), someone who I’ve not been a fan. Boqvist flashed really high-level skill here and there, but for a guy widely thought to be a Top 5 pick in the Draft, I wanted a lot more consistent domination. He improved as the tournament went on, but I think you might see him drop a few spots in the rankings as a reflection of his entire tournament. The premium skill and physical tools are still on display, but he had long lulls in his game where he was pedestrian. I’d say he’s still a Top 10 pick…but he’s edging closer to #10 than he is to #2.

The other item was that this showcase was a real coming out party for the presumptive #1 in next year’s NHL Draft…Jack Hughes, Quinn Hughes’ little (but taller) brother. He dominated in ways even Svechnikov did not, and if he was a couple inches taller – say 6’1 – they’d be talking about him as the next Eichel/Matthews. All in all, super fun tournament and helped me firm up a lot of the rankings I’d been conflicted about.

So, for this Draft, I’m adding in a college free agent to round out the selections as Jason Botterill seems to appreciate these "free" assets. I’ll throw in my favorite as of this morning, as this will supplement the Draft Class.

Josh Teves, LHD, Princeton, NCAA:

A smallish, (6’0 170#) slick defender who sees the entire ice extremely well. Springs transition easily, and accurately, with tape-to-tape passes but also can carry the puck up ice. Tremendous passer who finds the open guy and sees plays developing, allowing him to put a puck in space for teammates to skate into. Smart, clever puck-handler with a great motor. Very effective in his own zone. Not a dynamic skater by any means, but smooth strides and has nice lateral movement. The junior is the #2 defender in PPG for the entire NCAA as a member of the Princeton Tigers.

As is by now customary, I ran the Tankathon Lottery over at the site. This time I ran it 10 times, because…well, it’s fun. Tragically, 4th was the winner with BFLO slotting in there most often. But as the Draft begins to unfold, BFLO makes a move to gather more high-end picks. The Isles really want Filip Zadina to play with Barzal or Tavares (if they can keep him), and when he slips to #4, they come a-callin'. They are willing to give up #10 and #13 (from Calgary in the Hamonic deal), but to even out the value a bit, BFLO gives up one of their 4th rounders.

TRADE: BUF #4, #95 -> NYI #10, #13

So the Sabres slide down to nab a pair of picks in the Top 15. With Wahlstrom and Tkachuk still on the Board with the first 4 picks already completed, BFLO expects to be able to pick up one of the top-notch D at #10...and possibly, at #13 as well!

Now onto the Draft. And for clarity’s sake, ** = an over-age, or player who has been eligible for the draft for more than one year.


#1 VAN: Rasmus Dahlin, LHD, Frolunda, SWE

#2 NYR: Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie, OHL

#3 ARZ: Quinn Hughes, LHD, Michigan, NCAA

#4 NYI (BFLO): Filip Zadina, LW, Halifax, QMJHL

#5 OTT: Evan Bouchard, RHD, London, OHL

#6 EDM: Oliver Wahlstrom, C, US NTDP

#7 MTL: Adam Boqvist, RHD, Brynas, SWE

#8 DET: Brady Tkachuk, C/LW, Boston University, NCAA

#9 CHI: Ty Smith, LHD, Spokane, WHL

#10 BFLO (NYI): Noah Dobson, RHD, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL

#11 CAR: Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville, QMJHL

#12 CBJ: Bode Wilde, RHD, US NTDP

#13 BFLO (NYI/CAL): Joel Farabee, LW, US NTDP

#14 PHI (STL): Gregori Denisenko, LW, Yaroslavl, RUS

#15 COL: Alexander Alexeyev, LHD, Red Deer, WHL

#16 FLA: Dominik Bokk, RW, Vaxjo, SWE

#17 NJ: Jesse Kotkaniemi, C, Assat, FIN

#18 LAK: Vitali Kravtsov, W, Cheylabinsk, RUS

#19 ANA: Ryan McLeod, C, Mississauga, OHL

#20 DAL: Mattias Samuelsson, LHD, US NTDP

#21 OTT (PIT): Isac Lundestrom, C, Lulea, SWE

#22 SJ: Martin Kaut, RW, Paradubice, CZE

#23 PHI: K'Andre Miller, LHD, US NTDP

#24 MIN: Jett Woo, RHD, Moose Jaw, WHL

#25 TOR: Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint, OHL

#26 STL (WIN): Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat, FIN

#27 NYR (BOS): Jonatan Berggren, C/RW, Skelleftea, SWE

#28 WAS: Barrett Hayton, C, Sault St Marie, OHL

#29 DET (LVG): Rasmus Sandin, LHD, Sault St. Marie, OHL

#30 NYR (TB): Ryan Merkley, RHD, Guelph, OHL

#31 CHI (NAS): Nathan Dunkley, C, London, OHL


#32 FLA (ARZ): Nico Gross, LHD, Oshawa, OHL

#33 BFLO: Nils Lundkvist, RHD, Lulea, SWE

#34 DET (OTT): Sean Durzi, RHD, Owen Sound, OHL **

#35 VAN: David Gustafsson, C, HV71, SWE

#36 EDM: Jon Tychonick, LHD, Penticton, BCHL

#37 MTL: Jack McBain, C, Toronto Jr Canadiens, OJHL

#38 DET: Jared MacIssac, LHD, Halifax, QMJHL

#39 NYR: Filip Kral, LHD, Spokane, WHL

#40 MTL (CHI): Blake McLaughlin, C/RW, Chicago, USHL

#41 NYI: Akil Thomas, C/W, Niagara, OHL

#42 CAR: Filip Hallander, C/RW, Timra, SWE

#43 CBJ: Jakub Lauko, C, Chomutov, CZE

#44 NYI (CAL): Calen Addison, RHD, Lethbridge, WHL

#45 EDM (STL): Oliver Rodrigue, G, Drummondville, QMJHL

#46 COL: Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra, SWE

#47 WAS (FLA): Adam Ginning, LHD, Linkoping, SWE

#48 NYR (NJ): Kevin Bahl, LHD, Ottawa, OHL

#49 LAK: Jacob Bernard-Docker, RHD, Okotoks, AJHL

#50 ANA: Joey Keane, RHD, Barrie, OHL **

#51 DAL: Philip Kurashev, LW, Quebec, QMJHL

#52 PIT: Jake Wise, C, US NTDP

#53 TOR (SJ): Alec Regula, RHD, London, OHL

#54 PHI: Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa, OHL

#55 ARZ (MIN): Benoit Olivier-Groulx, C/W, Halifax, QMJHL

#56 MTL (TOR): Stan Demin, LHD, Wenatchee, BCHL

#57 WIN: Milos Roman, C/RW, Vancouver, WHL

#58 BOS: Alex Khovanov, C, Moncton, QMJHL

#59 MTL (WAS): Jakub Skarek, G, Dukla Jihlava, CZE

#60 LVG: Nando Eggenberger, RW, Davis, SWISS

#61 TB: Albin Eriksson, LW, Skelleftea, SWE

#62 COL (NAS): Cole Fonstad, C/W, Prince Albert, WHL


#63 ARZ: Filip Johanssen, RHD, Leksands, SWE

#64 MIN (BFLO): Cameron Hillis, C, Guelph, OHL

#65 PIT (OTT): Sampo Ranta, LW, Sioux City, USHL

#66 VAN: Jack Drury, C, Waterloo, USHL

#67 EDM: Gabriel Fortier, LW, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL

#68 MTL: Anderson MacDonald, LW, Sherbrooke, QMJHL

#69 DET: Sam Bucek, W, Chicago, USHL **

#70 NYR: Justus Annunen, G, Karpat, FIN

#71 CHI: Martin Fehervary, LHD, Malmo, SWE

#72 NYI: Giovanni Vallati, LHD, Kitchener, OHL

#73 CAR: Ty Emberson, RHD, US NTDP

#74 CBJ: Marcus Westfalt, C/W, Brynas, SWE

#75 CAL: Blade Jenkins, C, Saginaw, OHL

#76 STL: Xavier Bouchard, RHD, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL

#77 COL: Luka Burzan, C, Moose Jaw, WHL

#78 BOS (FLA): Merrick Rippon, LHD, Ottawa, OHL

#79 ANA (NJ): Jay O'Brien, C, Thayer, US HS

#80 LAK: Allan MacShane, C, Oshawa, OHL

#81 ANA: Nicolas Beaudin, LHD, Drummondville, QMJHL

#82 DAL: David Tendeck, G, Vancouver, WHL

#83 DET (PIT): Jesse Ylonen, RW, Blues, FIN

#84 TOR (SJ): Jacob Ragnarsson, LHD, Almtuna, SWE

#85 DET (PHI): Alexis Gravel, G, Halifax, QMJHL

#86 MIN: Tyler Madden, W, Central Illinois, USHL

#87 WAS (NJ/TOR): Jan Jenik, C/LW, Tygri Liberec, CZE

#88 WIN: Kody Clark, RW, Ottawa, OHL

#89 NYR (BOS): Caleb Everett, RHD, Saginaw, OHL

#90 CHI (WAS): Liam Foudy, C, London, OHL

#91 MIN (LVG): Toni Utunen, LHD, LeKi, FIN

#92 TB: Curtis Hall, C, Youngstown, USHL

#93 NAS: Mathias Emilio Petterssen, C, Muskegon, USHL


#94 ARZ: Ivan Prosvetov, G, Youngstown, USHL **

#95 NYI (BFLO): Pavel Gogolev, C, Peterborough, OHL

#96 OTT: Xavier Bernard, LHD, Drummondville, QMJHL

#97 LVG (PIT/VAN): Jack Perbix, C, Elk River, US HS

#98 EDM: Axel Andersson, RHD, Djurgartens, SWE

#99 MTL: Aidan Dudas, C, Owen Sound, OHL

#100 DET: Dmitri Zavgorodny, RW, Rimouski, QMJHL

#101 NYR: Riley Stotts, C, Calgary, WHL

#102 DAL (CHI): Samuel Fagemo, LW, Frolunda, SWE

#103 NYI: Slava Yeromenko, RHD, Calgary, WHL **

#104 CAR: Brenden Budy, C, Langley, BCHL

#105 NAS (CBJ): Christian Krygier, LHD, Chicago, USHL

#106 CAL: Patrick Giles, C, US NTDP

#107 STL: Slava Kotkov, W, Chicoutimi, QMJHL

#108 COL: Danila Zhuravlyov, LHD, Irbis Kazan, RUS

#109 CAL (FLA): Connor Corcoran, RHD, Windsor, OHL

#110 NJ: Lenni Killinen, RW, Espoo Blues, FIN

#111 COL (LAK): Lukas Dostal, G, Brno, CZE

#112 ANA: Jaichym Kondelik, C/RW, Muskegon, USHL

#113 DAL: Daniil Galenyuk, LHD, Yugry, RUS

#114 LVG (TB/PIT): Samuel Ersson, G, Brynas, SWE

#115 SJ: Oscar Back, C, Farjestad, SWE

#116 PHI: Adam Liska, RW, Kitchener, OHL

#117 BFLO (MIN): Nikita Rtischev, LW, CKSA Moskva, RUS

#118 TOR: Curtis Douglas, C, Windsor, OHL

#119 MTL (WIN): Riley Sutter, RW, Everett, WHL

#120 BOS: Patrick Khoderenko, C, Michigan State, NCAA **

#121 WAS: Igor Sokolov, LW, Cape Breton, QMJHL

#122 FLA (LVG): Sean Comrie, RHD, Spruce Grove, AJHL

#123 TB: Marcus Sylvegard, W, Malmo, SWE **

#124 CHI (NAS): Ryan O'Reilly, RW, Madison, USHL


#125 PHI (ARZ): Bulat Shafigullin, W, Reaktor, RUS

#126 BFLO: Kevin Mandolese, G, Cape Breton, QMJHL

#127 OTT: Logan Hutsko, RW, Boston College, NCAA **

#128 VAN: Matthew Kellenberger, RHD, Oakville, OJHL **

#129 MTL (EDM): Adam Samuelsson, LHD, US NTDP

#130 MTL: Austin Chorney, RHD, Chilliwack, BCHL

#131 PIT (DET): Santeri Salmela, LHD, KooKoo, FIN

#132 NYR: Ruslan Iskhakov, C, Trnava, SVK

#133 NAS (CHI): Gabriel Seger, C/LW, Vaxjo, SWE

#134 NYI: Keegan Karki, G, Muskegon, USHL

#135 LVG (CAR): Dennis Busby, RHD, Flint, OHL

#136 CHI (CBJ): Jacob Ingham, G, Mississauga, OHL

#137 NJ (ARZ/CAL): Scott Perunovich, LHD, MN-Duluth, NCAA **

#138 STL: Brady Lyle, RHD, North Bay, OHL **

#139 COL: Colin Schmidt, C, Wayzata, US HS

#140 FLA: Niklas Nordgren, RW, HIFK, FIN

#141 NJ: Amir Miftakov, G, Bars Kazan, RUS

#142 LAK: Libor Zabransky, LHD, Kelowna, WHL

#143 ANA: Matej Pekar, C, Muskegon, USHL

#144 DAL: Nikolai Kovalenko, W, Yaroslavl, RUS

#145 PIT: Jordan Kooy, G, London, OHL

#146 SJ: Michel Ivan, LHD, Acadie-Bathhurst, QMJHL

#147 PHI: Jacob Semik, LHD, Dubuque, USHL

#148 MIN: David Lilja, C, Karlskroga, SWE

#149 TOR: Ryan Chyziowski, LW, Medicine Hat, WHL

#150 WIN: Chase Wouters, RW, Saskatoon, WHL

#151 WIN (BOS): Akira Schmid, G, Langnau, SWISS

#152 MIN (WAS): Olof Lindblom, G, Djurgartens, SWE

#153 LVG: Zach Solow, W, Northeastern, NCAA **

#154 TB: Alexander Romanov, LHD, CKSA Moskva, RUS

#155 NAS: Jordan Harris, LHD, Kimball Union, US HS


#156 ARZ: Eric Florchuk, C, Victoria, WHL

#157 BFLO: Simon Johanssen, RHD, Djurgartens, SWE **

#158 OTT: Jesper Myrenberg, G, Linkoping, SWE

#159 VAN: Martin Pospisil, RW, Sioux City, USHL

#160 EDM: John Gruden, LW, US NTDP, USHL

#161 DET (MTL): Cole Krygier, LHD, Lincoln, USHL

#162 DET: Jack Randl, LW, Omaha, USHL

#163 NYR: Martin Bucko, RHD, Paradubice, CZE

#164 CHI: Tyler Weiss, C, US NTDP

#165 LAK (NYI): Artuu Nevasaari, RW, Karpat, FIN

#166 CAR: Paul Cotter, C, Lincoln, USHL

#167 CBJ: Adam McCormick, LHD, Cape Breton, QMJHL

#168 CAL: Chase Hartje, LHD, Moose Jaw, WHL

#169 STL: Alex Steeves, W, Dubuque, USHL

#170 COL: Michal Kvasnica, C, Mystek, CZE

#171 FLA: Kristian Reichel, C, Red Deer, WHL **

#172 NJ: Karel Plasek, W, Brno, CZE

#173 LAK: Jonathan Mor, G, US NTDP

#174 ANA: Samuel Salonen, LW, Sioux City, USHL

#175 DAL: Mikhail Bitzadhe, C/LW, Balashikha, RUS

#176 PIT: Yegor Sharangovich, C, Minsk, RUS **

#177 SJ: Krystof Hrabik, W, Tygri Liberec, CZE

#178 PHI: Jake Kucharski, G, Des Moines, USHL

#179 MIN: Daniel Kowalcyzk, LHD, Brno, CZE

#180 LVG (TOR): Matt Struthers, C, Owen Sound, OHL

#181 WIN: Angus Crookshank, LW, Langley, BCHL

#182 BOS: Jack Lagerstrom, RHD, Shattuck St Mary's, US HS

#183 WAS: Kirill Nizhnikov, RW, Barrie, OHL

#184 LVG: Semyon Der-Aguchinstev, C, Peterborough, OHL

#185 TB: Shawn Boudrias RW, Gatineau, QMJHL **

#186 SJ (NAS): Simon Kjellberg, LHD, Rogle, SWE


#187 ARZ: Austin Wong, W, Spruce Grove, AJHL

#188 BFLO: Jack DeBoer, C, US NTDP

#189 OTT: Zack Malik, LHD, Sudbury, OHL

#190 VAN: Jared Moe, G, Waterloo, USHL **

#191 EDM: Jesper Sellgren, LHD, Modo, SWE **

#192 PHI (MTL): Ryan Savage, W, Fargo, USHL

#193 DET: Grigori Dronov, LHD, Magnitogorsk, RUS **

#194 OTT (NYR): Mitchell Gibson, G, Lone Star, NAHL **

#195 CHI: Jeremi Gerber, W, Bern, SWISS

#196 NYI: Jackson Leppard, RW, Prince George, WHL

#197 CAR: Connor Roberts, C, Hamilton, OHL

#198 CBJ: Ivan Morozov, W, Mamonty Yugry, RUS

#199 CAL: Ben Helgeson, C, Hill-Murray, US HS

#200 STL: David Hrenak, G, St. Cloud State, NCAA **

#201 COL: Jaxon Nelson, C, Sioux Falls, USHL

#202 FLA: Miska Kukkonen, RHD, Ilves, FIN

#203 NJ: Spencer Stastney, LHD, US NTDP

#204 TB (LAK): Alexei Polodyan, RW, Neva, RUS **

#205 TOR (ANA): Carl Jakobsson, W, Farjestad, SWE

#206 DAL: Bogdan Zhiliyakov, LHD, Dynamo St Petersburg, RUS

#207 PIT: Jacob Pivonka, C, US NTDP

#208 SJ: Lukas Wernblom, LW, Modo, SWE

#209 PHI: David Levin, RW, Sudbury, OHL

#210 MIN: Wyatt Wylie, RHD, Everett, WHL

#211 TOR: Ben Kraws, G, Sioux City, USHL

#212 WIN: Ethan Manderville, RW, Kanata, BCHL

#213 BOS: Damian Giroux, C, Saginaw, OHL

#214 WAS: Ivan Muranov, F, Dynamo Moskva, RUS

#215 CAR (LVG): Jesse Korsenkorva, C, Karpat, FIN **

#216 TB: Kyle Topping, C, Kelowna, WHL

#217 NAS: Phillippe Lapointe, RW, Lincoln, USHL

The Sabres' Haul (including Josh Teves, mentioned above):

Noah Dobson, RHD, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL:

Smooth, steady, intelligent 2-way defender. Great size at 6’3, he’ll need to add some muscle as he’s a lanky player at 180# and will need that extra strength to handle big forwards, a task he’ll likely be given once he reaches the NHL. Hardly flashy, he’s precise in his positioning and manages to put himself in the right spot all over the ice. Excellent awareness in his own zone, always on the right side of the puck. One thing that stands out to me is his decision-making process, as it is so quick, especially in the O-zone, where he distributes the puck to the right guy as soon as it hits his stick. Recognizes opportunities in transition and jumps on them, can carry the puck, snapping off a quick first pass, or going tape-to-tape on a stretch pass.

Versatile, can play just about any role you want on the back-end, and do it well. Will be a minute-muncher in the NHL. A superb skater, he finished as the best in the on-ice testing portion at the CHL Top Prospects Game. Kid just does it all: defends, skates, moves the puck, drives transition, plays a mistake free game, but rarely flashes that highlight-reel play that some of his peers (Hughes, Boqvist) show. Even with that, he possesses a rocket of a shot that he gets through regularly, sees shooting lanes and attacks them. Has been effective for the Titan, putting up 66P in 62 games, and leading Quebec League defenders in PP points. Chipped in 3P in 5 games at the Hlinka this past summer, and should be a lock for Canada’s entry into the U-18s this spring. I’m not sure he’ll be a top pair guy, but very confident he’ll be an absolute stud of a 2nd pair D-man.

Joel Farabee, LW, US NTDP:

Dynamic, gritty wing who can snipe the puck with a crazy-quick release. Super smart, but smaller and slight (5'11 160#) so he'll need work in the weight room, but there is no doubt that whoever he’s playing against, he can score the puck. Great footwork, he’s got a ton of speed and the kind of relentless motor that makes him dangerous on every shift. Scored 77P in 66 games for US NTDP, while serving as the Captain on a team loaded with NHL draft picks. Can get his entire arsenal of shots off in a blink, including a nasty snapshot, is very accurate from outside the circles, and as he’s gotten stronger throughout the season, now can fire it hard enough to beat a goalie clean from the top of the slot. Not afraid to carry the puck in traffic, he can tie up defenders with his feet or a couple of head fakes, changing direction on a dime and with his excellent puck skills, will make opponents look bad.

Loves to attack the net despite his size. Nifty passer, always has his head up and his constant motion keeps the defense chasing, opening up passing lanes for him. He could stand to use his teammates more, however. Dogged defender who roars up ice on the backcheck and a determined on-puck defender. Busy stick, always tipping pucks or deflecting passes, and keeps his stick on puck. Shift-to-shift intensity always sky-high and won’t hesitate to take a pounding to make a play. Another speedy, skilled wing who could play alongside one of the Sabre centermen, AND a college-bound kid (Eichel's own Boston U) which should appeal to Botterill. Not trying to invoke nostalgia here, but this kid remains me of Avalanche-era Chris Drury.

Nils Lundkvist, RHD, Lulea, SWE:

Huge riser, this kid who I mentioned at the beginning of the post has come from out of nowhere to threaten the 1st round. A late birthday, he’s almost the doppelganger of Adam Boqvist – same size (5’11 170#), similar birthdays, both right-shot offensive-minded Swedes. The big difference is that Lundkvist has landed a permanent job on an SHL club in Lulea, including playing on their top PP, while Boqvist has struggled to maintain ice time in the SHL on a lesser team. Calm, nothing seems to rattle him. Makes dynamic plays at speed and under pressure, particularly capable of threading passes in transition through defenders to teammates driving to the net. Very strong spatial awareness, understands how to move opponents to create lanes for shots and passes, and then attacks those openings.

He’s got impressive puck skills, and while he doesn’t have a heavy shot, he is an extremely accurate passer. Tremendous skater, flies up and down the ice with the puck on his stick. A bit of an edge to his game despite his small size. Has 5P in 23 games in the SHL – which makes him the #2 scoring draft eligible D-Man behind Dahlin - and put up 4P in 5 games at the recent U-18 5 Nations tournament. Will make some mistakes and can have the occasional bad breakdown in his own zone, but as a 17-year old playing against men in one of the best Leagues in the world, that’s pretty solid. He may eventually find his way into the 1st round, but for now, I’d happily slot him in here.

Nikita Rtischev, LW, CSKA Moskva, RUS:

Lanky, long power-winger who possesses a skill set that BFLO lacks in their pipeline. Good size (6’2 190#), very long. Like Farabee, understands space and how to use it to his advantage, whether to get off his heavy slapper or to hit teammates in stride with crisp passes. He’s got the strength to carry forwards around the ice on his back, smarts to find open areas and keeps his stick on the ice. That strength serves him well along the walls or in the corners, where he’s almost impossible to knock off the puck.

Not a banger by any means, he’s a nifty skater with good footwork who can dangle opponents and play a possession game, or fearlessly dump and retrieve pucks. Won’t blow you away with his speed but has more than adequate get-up-and-go. Has a tendency to hang on to the puck too long, or attempt very low percentage plays, which appears to be a desire to do too much. Simplifying his game would go a long way. A later birthday, he’s put up 30P in 45 games in the MHL – Russia’s answer to Juniors. I think there’s a lot of potential there, which is what you’re looking for in the middle rounds.

Kevin Mandolese, G, Cape Breton, QMJHL:

Another late birthday, this netminder has the requisite size (6’4 180#) and lateral movement to become a solid NHL goalie. A starter in his second season with the mediocre Screaming Eagles, Mandolese hasn’t put up sparkling numbers with a 3.46 GAA and .885 SV%. But it’s in bigger competitions where he really shines. He was dynamite in the World U-17s with a 2 GAA and a dazzling .931 SV%, and in my opinion was the best goalie at the CHL Top Prospects Game. Makes good reads and has quick feet, which help him get to the spot ahead of the play.

Always seems to be in position once he drops into the butterfly. Rarely if ever scrambles, excellent composure. A bit clunky handling the puck – almost Chad Johnson-like – but otherwise has a tremendous foundation. A good addition as Botterill rebuilds the goalie pipeline as he did in Pittsburgh.

Simon Johansson, RHD, Djurgartens, SWE **:

Over-age D-Man who’s seen some time in the SHL this season, but has really excelled in U-20, putting up 34P in 42 games, including 15 goals making him the 2nd leading scorer for his club. A converted forward, Johansson is a classic Swedish defender who makes smart, simple plays in his own zone while maintaining possession. While his defensive game has improved, where he really is noticeable is carrying the puck and attacking the net. He’s got a very quick release for a defender, and when he gets the puck in his wheel house, he’s can really unleash the heat. Scored 4G in 4 games as part of the Swedish U-19 team this year, so he’s a real threat to score from the back-end.

He’s got issues with his defensive game, as many converted forwards do, particularly away from the puck. He’s also not a burner, although his skating is more than adequate, especially with the puck on his stick and he’s got good size at 6’2, although a reed thin 170#. Will have time to develop in SWE and should get a regular shift for one of the SHL favorites in Djurgartens next year.

Jack DeBoer, C, US NTDP:

The son of Pete DeBoer, Sharks head coach, this big (6’2 190#) centerman has a lot of raw ability that is slowly emerging. Has a nose for the puck, is excellent in puck pursuit and retrieval, and at his size makes it tough for defenders along the wall. Hard, heavy shot he can get off with regularity from the top of the circles, good in the dot, plays a tough defensive game as well. Skating can be clunky at times, especially getting out of the blocks, but it’s improved a ton in the past year or so. Enrolled at Boston University, he’s a kid that will take 3 or 4 years in college to fully develop. But even with a limited, defensive role on the stacked NTDP team, he’s managed 33P in 68 games. So there’s some raw material to work with but it will be on him and the Sabres to develop his game.

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.