Prospect Debate: Mid-Late Round Fliers

Artur Akhtyamov - The Draft Analyst

To conclude our three part prospect series (1-What About Number Eight?, 2-Who Do We Pick at 38?) McGee and I will talk about some late round fliers. The criteria to be eligible for this debate means they aren't on Bob McKenzie's final list of 100 prospects (93+7 HMs).

Feel free to chime in with who you're really hoping goes in the mid-late rounds.

Here are 10 of my favorite players to watch/hope they get taken by the Sabres as a home-run swing:

1.) Veeti Miettinen, RW, JR-Liiga

Born: 9/20/01

5'9, 159lbs

52gp, 42g, 73pts

I find it hard to believe that Veeti was omitted from the top 100. He is a prolific scorer (broke the u18 points record last year in the JR-Liiga) but even more than that he is one of the few sub-5'10 players in the draft who has the coveted "small but explosive speed" package. He can beat you with his hands, he can beat you with his feet, and he is excellent at using his footwork at creating space as a smaller player to get off his ridiculous wrist shot or to find a passing angle for a teammate.

Has an incredible motor and doesn't float in the defensive end. Going to St. Cloud State next year so will be able to adjust to the smaller ice and will be playing against older/bigger competition as well. I think he'd make an excellent 4th round pick for the Sabres.

2.) Dmitri Ovchinnikov, LW/C, MHL

Born: 8/19/02

5'10, 161lbs

54gp, 24g, 55pts

Not even on Central Scouting's European list anymore: Ovchinnikov is a blazing fast forward who split time between the wing/center this past year in the MHL. He lives in the high danger areas of the ice (which for the a rare thing) and is looking to complete passes there as well. He is a deft playmaker who doesn't have the stickhandling skills of his countryman Alexander Pashin, but is someone who is still able to take the puck from one end of the ice to the other on his stick or is able to move the puck up the ice with a pass.

He's rail thin, plays in the weaker conference in the MHL, and does have a frightening amount of secondary assists. But the MHL is on YouTube. Go and watch'll see that he's creating a lot of chances that aren't being cashed in and that mitigates the secondary assist red flag to me.

3.) Mitchell Miller, RHD, USHL

Born: 12/20/01

5'11, 194lbs

44gp, 8g, 33pts

This comes with the caveat of a thorough investigation by an NHL team into his past, especially the incident concerning a mentally differenced classmate. On the ice though: he's a very smooth skating, quick, and agile player. He is among the best stick handlers with the puck as a defensemen in the class, jumpstarts rushes with his quick first passes or with his great skating/stickhandling, and is very good in the offensive zone at finding soft spots to move into to make/receive a pass to dangerous areas of the ice.

Biggest concern is his ability to separate players from the puck in his own end. Not very good with his stick one-on-one and he lost too many board battles for my liking in the USHL. Not being that physical meant that he could be out-muscled for position in front of the net from time to time.But he's a smart player. Good gap control, when not defending the man with the puck he's great at using his stick to block passing lanes.

While I love me some Eamon's becoming more and more apparent he's looking as a late 2nd-early 3rd round player. Miller being available in the 4th would be a God-send...unless there's character concerns based off an in depth look at his past.

4.) Samuel Knazko, LHD, Jr-Liiga

Born: 8/7/02

6'0, 185lbs

48gp, 7g, 28pts

I don't know why he isn't up there with Jurmo when talking about the best defensemen in the Jr-Liiga. Very good skater, uber aggressive at both blue lines, a deft playmaker, and great vision. Has the size to be able to move people off the puck and is also very good with his stick. His aggressive nature can cause some odd-man rushes and sometimes he fails to support the puck carrier in transition...instead looking to join a rush himself. He'd be a fantastic pick in the mid-rounds.

5.) Oskar Magnusson, C/RW, SuperElit

Born: 1/31/02

5'10, 165lbs

38gp, 22g, 48pts

If I had to describe Oskar in one word it would be: Involved. Despite not being an elite skater...he has a motor that puts him in the middle of everything going on in the game. His stickhandling is very good and it allows him to navigate through layers in the offensive zone, but above all he's an all-situations player. He can play up-and-down a lineup and, despite playing on a pretty bad team, when he was on the ice Malmo looked to be competent against all ranges of competition.

Had his production rate been lower he'd have been someone who would've fallen down my rankings, but his ability to produce and his motor does show some upside in the pick.

6.) Anton Johannesson, LHD, SuperElit

Born: 3/26/02

5'9, 154lbs

20gp, 8g, 24pts

Pros: One of the best defenders in recent memory in the offensive zone to watch. Just so much fun when the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone. His ridiculously quick to get to a very good top speed and an extremely agile skater as well. His offensive game doesn't revolve around point shots but rather elusively getting around the first layer of the defense and then looking to take a wrist shot or create using a pass.

He is tiny, and his lack of size really hurts him in his own end. He has good gap control but when bigger players put their shoulder down to drive the net there was little he was able to do to separate them from the puck.

7.) Yevgeni Oksentyuk*, W, OHL

Born: 2/27/01

5'7, 157lbs

58gp, 33g, 78pts

There's not too much to say about Oksentyuk: he's a fantastic playmaker, a great skater, and was a huge reason why Flint became a good team in the OHL when they were one of the worst last year. Outproduced Ty Dellandrea this past year for goodness sakes! He's small and old. Other than that...he has everything you'd want from a prospect.

8.) Ethan Cardwell, C, OHL

Born: 8/30/02

5'10, 157lbs

53gp, 23g, 47pts

As Cardwell continues to put on muscle his skating continues to become more and more improved. While it's still not on a level that I'd like it is VASTLY improved from last year. He's always had a good shot, is creative with his playmaking, and is a play driver in transition with his ability to move the puck up the ice and suppress the puck from both blue lines defensively. Evan Vierling coming over pairing with Foerster probably hurts his production a bit, but if you want to gamble on the Nic Robertson "late birthday who explodes in the DY+1" then Cardwell is a very good candidate.

9.) Pavel Tyutnev, C, MHL

Born: 7/25/02

5'9, 185lbs

36gp, 13g, 22pts

He's super slick and such a fun prospect to watch. His ice time was limited throughout this year and he saw very little time on the PP. I don't know if he gets drafted or not, but I'd for sure take a 7th round gamble on his talent alone and see what his talent, skating, and late birthday can do in the DY+1 year. He reminds me a little bit of Sheshin last year...someone no one really clamored for getting picked in his DY but has become a popular overager talked about for the upcoming draft.

10.) Joe Miller, F, USHS-MN

Born: 9/15/02

5'9, 146lbs

25gp, 25g, 59pts

I feel like I'm the only one who has seen this kid play, because I do not know why he isn't talked about more. When I tell you that he may be the most fun player to watch in this draft...I'm not exaggerating. The moves this kid has in arsenal is ridiculous. He's not elite level fast, but he's also about 30 pounds from where he'll need to get to to be able to play in the NHL. Outside of watching him play I'd make my argument on three reasons:

1.) He's a Chicago Steel draft pick, and will be going to play for them next year (I assume). Players coming out of the Chicago Steel program this year: Brisson, Colangelo, Farrell, Fontaine. They are a powerhouse at producing NHL talent in the USHL.

2.) He's born on the cutoff date and has A LOT of room to grow and mature. Talk about a low risk, high reward type of pick in the 7th round.

3.) He's committed to the University of Minnesota. He's not going to play in the ECAC or WCHA...he's going to play in one of the premier college conferences in the country (the others being Hockey East and NCHC).

Jump on this bandwagon, people.


Artur Akhytamov, G, MHL

Born: 10/31/01

6'2, 170lbs

46gp, .931 SV%

I haven't tracked too many goalies as this is an off year for the Sabres to take a goalie in my own draft philosophy. I would take Akhtyamov here for a couple reasons:

1.) Russian prospects have no transfer agreement so he would only come over when he's ready to compete for an NHL level job, or for the starting goalie in the AHL at a minimum. So we're looking at realistically a 4-6 year development and getting to see Portillo/UPL with a healthy sample size.

2.) He's in a tier that's slotted for the 5th round and beyond. For skaters it's rare to hit on players in these rounds.

3.) Two plus years of very good goalie metrics with high GP. In my goalie model that is ideal. With above a .930 in the MHL that puts him on a very positive track.

Not to mention he was called up to be a backup in the KHL...AT 18! Let him be in an insurance policy to UPL and Portillo if he's still around in the 7th.

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.