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Corona Special: Six-Round Mock Draft

DBTB -

So…Coronavirus. Seems to be a big deal. But no worries, it’s not like they canceled the…wait, they did WHAT? AND the CHL? AND every other major junior league? Holy Toledo.

OK. So let’s take a second to breathe.

This puts the Draft in a much different light. Essentially, it will be as if time stopped this week, and scouts who were looking to get a few last viewings of players either in Europe or North America will not get that opportunity. On top of that, the U-18 Worlds, which is typically the last major showcase for draft-eligibles in the Draft year, has also been called off. And the way this is going, I’ve got the think the Combine will be squelched as well. So a lot of scouts will come to the table without a complete picture of who they like and why. Which could make for some very wacky Draft Boards from team to team, especially given the closeness of many of the tiers in this Draft. That can create opportunities. Let’s hope the Sabres scouting operation have done their due diligence by this point and have a good sense of who and what they like about this class.

Now, assuming the NHL will not resume their season (I don’t expect them to), the draft order is broadly set much earlier than usual. That should give some teams more time to get their heads around who might be available at their draft position, and where their preferences lie. Of course, the Lottery is still to come (haven’t seen any word on when or how they’re going to do that) so the Top 3 remain in play. In this fictional world, the Sabres landed the 3rd overall selection. But not to fear, realists among us...at #7, or even at #10, they should be able to land a very capable player who can be a franchise fixture for a long time if they can develop him properly.

So, let's dig in, shall we? And remember to wash your hands!

ROUND ONE:

#1 DET: Alexis LaFreniere, LW, QMJHL

#2 LAK: Quinton Byfield, C, OHL

#3 BFLO: Tim Stutzle, C, GER

#4 OTT: Marco Rossi, C, OHL

#5 OTT (SJS): Jaime Drysdale, RHD, OHL

#6 ANA: Alexander Holtz, W, SWE

#7 NJD: Lucas Raymond, RW, SWE

#8 MTL: Jack Quinn, RW, OHL

#9 CHI: Jake Sanderson, LHD, US NTDP

#10 NJD (ARZ): Anton Lundell, C, FIN

#11 MIN: Cole Perfetti, C/W, OHL

TRADE: WIN #12, #162 -> NAS #18, #49

#12 NAS (WIN): Seth Jarvis, RW, WHL

#13 NYR: Jan Mysak, C, OHL

#14 FLA: Connor Zary, C, WHL

#15 CBJ: Dylan Holloway, C/W, NCAA

#16 CAL: Jacob Perreault, C/RW, OHL

#17 NJD (TBL/VAN): Joni Jurmo, LHD, FIN

#18 WIN (NAS): Braden Schneider, RHD, WHL

#19 CAR (TOR): Zion Nybeck, C/W, SWE

#20 EDM: Noel Gunler, W, SWE

#21 OTT (NYI): Slava Askarov, G, RUS

#22 DAL: Rodion Amirov, W, RUS

#23 NYR (CAR): Thomas Bordeleau, C, US NTDP

#24 MIN (PIT): Kaiden Guhle, LHD, WHL

#25 PHI: Lukas Reichel, W, GER

#26 SJS (TBL): Mavrik Bourque, C, QMJHL

#27 COL: William Wallinder, LHD, SWE

#28 LVG: Roby Jarventie, W, FIN

#29 WAS: Dawson Mercer, RW, QMJHL

#30 STL: Jean-Luc Foudy, C, OHL

#31 ANA (BOS): Michael Benning, LHD, AJHL

ROUND TWO:

#32 DET: Yan Kuznetsov, LHD, NCAA

#33 OTT: Topi Niemala, RHD, FIN

#34 SJS: Ty Smilanic, C, US NTDP

#35 LAK: Daniel Torgersson, RW, SWE

#36 ANA: Brandon Brisson, C, USHL

#37 NAS (NJD): Hendrix Lapierre, C, QMJHL

#38 BFLO: Martin Chromiak, LW/C, SVK

#39 MTL: Jeremie Poirer, LHD, QMJHL

#40 MTL (CHI): Vasily Ponomaryov, C/W, QMJHL

#41 ARZ: Danill Guschin, RW, USHL

#42 MIN: Tyson Foerster, C, OHL

#43 WIN: Helge Grans, RHD, SWE

#44 CAR (NYR): Ridly Greig, C/LW, WHL

#45 FLA: JJ Peterka, RW, GER

#46 OTT (CBJ): Jaromir Pytlik, C, OHL

#47 CAL: Theo Neiderbach, C, SWE

#48 LAK (VAN): Donovan Sebrango, LHD, OHL

#49 WIN (NAS): Justin Barron, RHD, QMJHL

#50 TOR: Ryan O’Rourke, LHD, OHL

#51 DET (EDM): Murat Khusnutdinov, C, RUS

#52 NYI: Luke Evangelista, RW, OHL

#53 OTT (DAL): Brock Faber, RHD, US NTDP

#54 CAR: Joel Blomqvist, G, FIN

#55 CHI (LVG/PIT): Luke Tuch, LW, US NTDP

#56 PHI: Jack Finley, C, WHL

#57 TBL: Sam Colangelo, RW, USHL

#58 SJS (WAS/COL): Will Villenueve, RHD, QMJHL

#59 LAK (LVG): Roni Hirvonen, C, FIN

#60 DET (WAS): Emil Andrae, LHD, SWE

#61 MTL (STL): Jake Neighbours, RW, WHL

#62 BOS: Shakir Mukhamadullin, LHD, RUS

ROUND THREE:

#63 DET: Kasper Simontaival, W, FIN

#64 OTT: Tyler Kleven, LHD, US

#65 DET (SJS): Drew Commesso, G, US NTDP

#66 LAK: Emil Viro, LHD, FIN

#67 ANA: Luke Prokop, RHD, WHL

#68 NJD: Justin Sourdif, C, WHL

#69 CAR (BFLO): Ruben Rafkin, RHD, OHL

#70 MTL: Simon Kubicek, RHD, WHL

#71 CHI: Ville Miettinen, RW, FIN

#72 WAS (COL/ARZ): Carter Savoie, LW, AJHL

#73 NAS (MIN): Leo Loof, LHD, SWE

#74 OTT (WIN): Antonio Stranges, C/LW, OHL

#75 CAR (NYR): Emil Heineman, F, SWE

#76 FLA: Lukas Cormier, LHD, QMJHL

#77 LAK (TOR/CBJ): Carson Bantle, LW, USHL

#78 CHI (CAL): Nick Malik, G, CZE

#79 VAN: Charlie Desroches, RHD, QMJHL

#80 NAS: Cross Hanas, LW, WHL

#81 COL (TOR): Dylan Peterson, C, US NTDP

#82 EDM: Connor McClennon, RW, WHL

#83 NYI: Christian Sedoff, LHD, WHL

#84 NYR (DAL): Eamon Powell, RHD, US NTDP

#85 CAR: Alexander Nikishin, LHD, RUS

#86 PIT: Simon Knak, RW, WHL

#87 TBL (SJS/PHI): Ryan Francis, RW, QMJHL

#88 TBL: Hugo Styf, LHD, SWE

#89 FLA (COL): Kasper Puutio, LHD, WHL

#90 LVG: Pavel Novak, W, WHL

#91 BOS: Will Cuylle, LW, OHL

#92 STL: Brandon Coe, RW OHL

#93 MTL (WAS): Dimitri Ovchinnikov, W, RUS

ROUND FOUR:

#94 TBL (DET): Daemon Hunt, LHD, WHL

#95 OTT: Anton Johannesson, LHD, SWE

#96 CAL (BFLO/MTL/SJS): Issak Phillips, LHD, OHL

#97 LAK: James Hardie, LW, OHL

#98 MTL (ANA): Lucas Ramberg, LHD, SWE

#99 NJD: Ronan Seeley, LHD, WHL

#100 BFLO: Brett Berard, LW, US NTDP

#101 MTL: Ryder Rolston, W, USHL

#102 CHI: Sean Farrell, W, USHL

#103 ARZ: Colby Ambrosio, C, USHL

#104 MIN: Blake Biondi, W, US HS

#105 MTL (WIN): Jan Bednar, G, CZE

#106 NYR: Oliver Suni, W, OHL

#107 FLA: Alexander Pashin, W, RUS

#108 CBJ: Oskar Magnusson, RW, SWE

#109 LAK (CAL): Jack Thompson, RHD, OHL

#110 VAN: Tristan Robins, C, WHL

#111 PHI (NAS): Maxime Groshev, RW, RUS

#112 TOR: Rory Kerins, C, OHL

#113 DET (EDM): Luke Reid, RHD, USHL

#114 NYI: Adam Raska, RW, QMJHL

#115 DAL: Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW, WHL

#116 NJD (CAR): Ty Tullio, C, OHL

#117 PIT: Ville Ottavainen, RHD, OHL

#118 ANA (PHI): Ivan Didkovsky, W, RUS

#119 TBL: Vsevolod Skotnikov, G, RUS

#120 COL: Joel Maatta, C, USHL

#121 TOR (LVG): Mitch Miller, LHD, USHL

#122 WAS: Cameron Butler, RW, OHL

#123 STL: Michal Gut, LW, WHL

#124 NJD (BOS): Evan Vierling, C, OHL

ROUND FIVE:

#125 DET: Theo Rochette, C, QMJHL

#126 SJS (OTT): Zayde Wisdom, RW, OHL

#127 SJS: Calle Clang, G, SWE

#128 LAK: Thimo Nickl, RHD, QMJHL

#129 ANA: Samuel Knazko, LHD, SVK

#130 NJD: Alex LaFerriere, RW, USHL

#131 BFLO: Ian Moore, RHD, US HS

#132 MTL: Marko Stacha, LHD, SVK

#133 CHI: Pavel Tyutnev, C, RUS

#134 ARZ: Ethan Cardwell, C, OHL

#135 MIN: Noah Ellis, RHD, USHL

#136 WIN: Daniel Ljungman, C, SWE

#137 NYR: Aidan Campbell, G, OHL

#138 MTL (FLA): Stephan Halliday, RW, USHL

#139 CBJ: Wyatt Schingoethe, C, USHL

#140 CAL: Max Glotzl, LHD, GER

#141 VAN: Tucker Tynan, G, OHL

#142 NAS: Joona Kiviniemi, LW, WHL

#143 FLA (TOR): Maxim Beryozkin, W, RUS

#144 EDM: Elliot Ekmark, C, SWE

#145 NYI: Bogdan Trineyev, W, RUS

#146 DAL: Alex Gaffney, C, USHL

#147 STL (CAR): Tomas Chlubna, RW, CZE

#148 PIT: Lucas Sjevkovsky, C/W, WHL

#149 PHI: Will Dufour, RW, QMJHL

#150 OTT (TBL): Logan Morrison, C, OHL

#151 COL: Lleyton Moore, LHD, OHL

#152 TOR (LVG): Jackson Kunz, C, US HS

#153 WAS: Juuso Maenpaa, C, FIN

#154 STL: Andrei Bakanov, W, OHL

#155 BOS: Jake Ratzlaff, RHD, US HS

ROUND SIX:

#156 DET: Artem Shlaine, C, US HS

#157 OTT: Tanner Dickinson, C, OHL

#158 OTT (SJS): Jesper Vikman, G, SWE

#159 LAK: Simon Andersson, C, SWE

#160 ANA: Devon Levi, G, CCHL

#161 NJD: Michel Krutil, RHD, CZE

#162 DAL (FLA/BFLO): Ethan Edwards, LHD, AJHL

#163 MTL: Nikita Shiuden, RW, RUS

#164 CHI: Kristof Papp, LW, USHL

#165 ARZ: Artur Akhtyamov, G, RUS

#166 MIN: Ethan Bowen, C, BCHL

#167 WIN: Jacob Truscott, LHD, US NTDP

#168 NYR: Brady Burns, C, QMJHL

#169 COL (FLA): Oskar Tellstrom, RW, SWE

#170 CBJ: Rhett Rhinehart, RHD, WHL

#171 CAL: Matt Choupani, C, USHL

#172 VAN: Landon Slaggert, C, US NTDP

#173 NAS: Cole O’Hara, RW, OJHL

#174 TOR: Pontus Johanssen, LHD, SWE

#175 EDM: Hayden Fowler, C, OHL

#176 NYI: Karel Klikorka, LHD, CZE

#177 DAL: Mateus Szurowski, C, SWE

#178 TOR (CAR): Garin Bjorklund, G, WHL

#179 PIT: Daniel Laatsch, LHD, US NTDP

#180 PHI: Brayden Krieger, LW, AJHL

#181 TBL: Ben King, C, WHL

#182 TOR (COL): Dmitri Zlodeyev, C, RUS

#183 LVG: Theo Nordlund, LHD, SWE

#184 LAK (WAS): Filip Wiberg, C, SWE

#185 OTT (EDM/STL): Ivan Ivan, C, QMJHL

#186 BOS: Ryan Alexander, C, OJHL

BUFFALO’s Haul:

1 #3: Tim Stutzle, C, GER: Everything you could hope for: size, speed, playmaking, skill. Standing at 6’1 and a sturdy 190#, this kid can play wing but you’re going to want him at center if you’re the Sabres. A dynamic, explosive skater with great burst and plenty of lateral mobility, he can shift gears smoothly, change direction on a dime and explode into the center of the ice to disrupt defensive structures. Great first couple strides, and with his lateral movement, he’s got tremendous quickness in tight spaces. His impressive skating is the foundation on which his high-end skill set rests on. Charmin-soft hands and great vision make him a terrific passer in traffic, able to hit cutting players in stride with fore- or backhand passes. Puts hard passes on the tape, and can send plenty of sauce cross-ice or low-high. Again, his wheels make this passing even more effective as he drives off defenders, pulls up and can open up lanes as the defense resets. What makes him even more dangerous to defend is that Stutzle can really rip the puck. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to overpass, rather than take the shot (something Eichel has struggled with from time to time) but his release is very quick, and its not a laser beam or especially heavy, the puck gets off his stick fast and he can pick corners with the best of them. He could stand to use that shot more often, but his speed and passing usually open up enough room to get a shot off without much trouble. Strong on his stick and his skates, he willingly engages in puck battles on the walls and in the corners and wins more than his share of them thanks to his excellent balance and quick feet. And remember, he’s winning these battles against men in their 20s and 30s…not the OHL where he’s overpowering 16-17 year-olds. Very smart player with excellent feel…he reads when players move around the ice and what opportunities that movement creates for him, and this applies defensively as well, as he seems to protect the middle of the ice from the center spot despite being one of the youngest players in the DEL. That great speed makes him a tenacious back-checker as well, and he disrupts a lot of plays in the NZ before opponents can set up. The top scorer in the DEL, the German Elite League, among players under 22 with 34P in 41 games, he plays big minutes for Adler Mannheim, the same club that produced last year’s #6 overall pick in Moritz Seider as well as Sabres legend Jochen Hecht. Dynamite at the U-18s with 9P in 5 games, and then a PPG guy as a 17 year old at the World Juniors for an undermanned German team, Stutzle has shined on the international stage as well. For a team that needs high-end skill and speed, this kid would be a great fit for the Sabres.

2 #38: Martin Chromiak, LW/C, SVK: A McGee favorite, I have Chromiak as a 1st round caliber player so this would be a steal. A stocky 6’0 185#, Chromiak is an exciting offensive player who does equally well shooting or passing the puck. The Slovak had a strong start to the season putting up 5P in 4 games at the Hlinka, then returned to his native Slovakia where he played in the senior Men’s League. Unfortunately for him, as with so many young players, he received very little ice time, managing to still finish in the Top 10 on his club in goals despite getting 4-5 minutes a night. After getting inexplicably cut from the Slovak’s World Junior team, he decided to come over to the OHL where he joined Kingston and superstar-in-waiting Shane Wright. Has since put up 33P in 27 games for the Frontenacs, making him a Top 10 player in PPG in the OHL. Chromiak’s game is high-octane offense. He’s a very good skater, not explosive or an absolute burner, but has light feet with excellent edgework that allows him to excel off the cycle, in traffic, or coming off the wall. His solid frame and footwork makes him a bear to take off the puck. He’s good along the walls and in the corners and able to not only win battles for pucks, but to make plays out of those battles. This speaks to his smarts – he’s got excellent anticipation in the offensive end and seems to develop an automatic chemistry with his linemates (see his beautiful sauce to his brand new teammate HERE). Sees openings and with his skating, can get through them in a blink to create odd-man situations or get loose for a shot. And that shot is no joke. A heavy, hard wrister with a killer release is his shot of choice, but he’s got a full arsenal including a really slick backhand around the net and a big-time one-timer. Now, Chromiak can be a bit of a slow-starter, and his effort level isn’t always A+ which can be a concern. He’s also got some deficiencies in his own zone, particularly can get caught puck-watching and lose his mark around the net. So there are some kinks to work out, but the fact is, Chromiak is one of the youngest players in this draft class, missing the cut-off by a couple of weeks. There’s a lot to like here.

4 #100: Brett Berard, LW, US NTDP: Smaller player but with some skill, some grit and a lot of room to grow. Only 5’9, 155# Berard is a smooth operator who can stickhandle his way through traffic and pinball off a few guys in the process. One of the top scorers for a NTDP team that lacks a lot of the star power of previous years, he’s put up 34P in 41 games and is their top goal scorer at evens as well as potting the most GWGs. A relentless motor makes him frustrating to play against, as he is constantly in motion and dogged in puck pursuit. Slippery skater, he’s got a good top gear, really nice lateral movement that lets him slip checks and weave through crowds. Has a great sense of leverage, especially when fighting for pucks in and around the crease area. Coupled with his superb balance, it’s really tough to take the puck from him. But he can burn up the wing as well. Capable of pulling away if he can get out in front of most defenders. Plays a very heads-up game…excellent passer, uses that ceaseless motion to his advantage as opponents get caught out of position chasing him. Berard is smart enough to identify open teammates and get them the puck on time. Very creative in the offensive end, particularly when it comes to manipulating defenses and outworking them. Has an edge to his game, loves contact and isn’t afraid to stand up to much larger opponents whether defending himself or his teammates. Another one of the youngest players in the class, Berard only missed the cut-off for the 2021 Draft by a few days. So there’s time to grow, both his game and physically. Committed to an excellent Providence College program, so he’ll get that opportunity to develop.

5 #131: Ian Moore, RHD, US HS: Slick puck transporter with size and plenty of room for development. Moore, a high school defender at prep powerhouse St. Mark outside of Boston, has great size at 6’3 but is extremely lean at 165#. Has great four-way skating and mobility, with the makings of a superb puck carrying D-Man. Tremendous transition player. Not a bruiser despite his size, he is more cerebral, using his length and smart positioning to close off plays as they enter his end, then uses his tremendous change of direction to collect the puck and get it up the ice in stride and on the tape. Dynamite penalty killer, he reads the play and uses that positioning to turn pucks over. He processes the game quickly in all three zones, something that came to him later than many, which likely explains why he is not playing for the NTDP or at another higher level. The kid’s no slouch on the offensive end either, pairing a rare skill of getting the puck on net with excellent vision and awareness while high in the zone. Doesn’t have a big shot, and he’s not a flashy player who is dangling his way through a crowd or delivering a big hit, but Moore has talent to burn and is his development will only accelerate as he joins the Harvard Crimson next season where young blueliners like Adam Fox, Jack Rathbone and Reilly Walsh have excelled. A bit of a project, but one that could pay off in 2-3 years.

7 #193: Victor Mancini, RHD, SWE: A rare case of an American kid going over to play in the Swedish junior leagues, Mancini is a big boy at 6’3 205# already, despite being a later birthday. Not a great skater but very smooth transitioning from forward to back, and vice versa. Lateral movement is solid but could use a bit lighter feet when he changes direction. Big body isn’t afraid to get physical and is always looking to move the puck out of trouble and up ice. Plays with an edge, can dominate smaller forwards down low and around the net, but isn’t just a bruiser…his understanding of defending transition and breaking up rushes is very good, both taking the body and using his stick to angle away trouble. First pass is sharp, and hard, sometimes difficult to handle for exiting forwards. Decisive with the puck. Has an absolute bomb from the point. Finds the net with frequency, reflected in the fact he’s 3rd in the Super Elit league in goals from a D-Man. Playing for a very good Frolunda team, he’s committed to Nebraska-Omaha for next season. A bit of a project, but kind of fits the sort of later-round blueliner Botterill’s been targeting.

7 #206: Danil Aimurzin, C/RW, RUS: Flown under the radar most of the year, this kid is a pure offensive production machine. The #2 draft-eligible scorer in the MHL – roughly the Russian equivalent of major junior – Aimurzin has put up 49P in 60 games, all the while doing it on one of the best teams in the entire MHL. Average size at 6’0 165#, Aimurzin hardly can be called a speedster. His first couple strides are slow, and he doesn’t have a ton of burst or a great change of direction. That said, he’s got a pretty good top speed once he gets moving up the ice. Where he excels is in the O-zone, where he seems to have a knack for finding open space even with his limited skating. Once there, he camps out (not unlike Skinner at times) yet somehow the puck seems to find him. And when it does, he can fire a laser beam that will sting a goalie and make defenders get out of the way. His shot is hard and fast, and remarkably accurate. Can pick corners with the best of them, and gets the puck up in a hurry, so even if he receives the puck in tight, it’s still going bar down. Soft hands let him handle difficult passes, and he knows what to do with it when he gets the puck. When he puts his mind to it, he’s a very slick passer, although he rarely uses that skill, only if the defense manages to take away the shot. A real savvy offensive player, he takes what the opposition gives him and puts up points every night. Already banked 2G in 2 playoff games. He’s a matador defensively, however, and will try to blow the zone whenever it looks like possession might change, often leaving his team out to dry. Not ideal, for sure. But in the last round? There’s some Olofsson about this kid – the killer shot, the offense-only – that I think merits taking a chance.

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.