Forgive me my tardiness in doing team reviews, they will be forthcoming soon.
Instead, I'm going to review each teams prospect picks from our latest Prospect Draft!
Jaskin-R Stl : An excellent pick, Jaskin has high-end offensive upside and is with a team noted for developing prospects properly. Factor in he is at a position of weakness around the league (RW), and it's a super-solid pick.
Kapanen-R Pit: Ditto what I said for Jaskin, though in truth, I had Kapanen rated slightly higher because Malkin/Crosby.
Clendening-D Chi: A third solid pick as Clendening has legit NHL offensive tools and has been marinating in the minors for a couple of years. With Leddy now out of the picture, Clendening could be dressable as soon as this season.
Ok, so it looks like I didn't hate anybody Brian drafted. Where oh where did I leave my outrage?
Bennett-C Cgy: One of the consensus top 3 picks available at the PRD (along with Draisaitl and Eichel), the Wolves should have a good one in Bennett.
Colberg-R NYI: Not a terrible pick, but I think Colberg is a reach. He was a 2nd rnd pick by Mtl, and ended up on the Island thanks to the Vanek deal. Colberg has decent hands and speed, but doesn't appear to have a high offensive ceiling. He might make a difference in his P4 season, but that is a long time to hold your breath for what will amount to a lower-tier winger.
Doherty-D SJ: I can understand the thinking; SJ has opening on the blue, Doherty is in the pipeline,, so....future Dan Boyle! Except that Doherty is 6'8" and 240lbs. He isn't a dancer. His career high in the AHL is 15 points. This has 'bust' written all over it, with only the long odds of him turning into a potential goon representing any thing like 'hope'.
So for the Wolves, I love the Bennett pick, can live with the Colberg pick, and point out the strong waft of colon coming from the Doherty selection.
When they aren't replacing both FPs, they are drafting a full 8 prospects at the draft!
Pearson-L LA: An excellent pick, Pearson may have some skating issues (he lacks anything like high-end speed), but he's a pure sniper who can make plays all over the ice. On a stacked LA squad he's already earned a role on a scoring line (with Toffoli and Carter). Could be dressable now.
Raffl-L Pha: Raffl is already 25 and has a total of 22 points in his 60+NHL games. He is what he is, a 3rd/4th liner with unspectacular ability. Stinkbomb of a pick.
Hayes-C NYR: Big, strong, and fast, his resume reads a lot like Chris Kreider's. He does have some warning flags though; his numbers at college were pumped up playing with College's best offensive player in a decade (Gaudreau), he is a 'late-bloomer' (already 22), and he has lots of competition for a wing spot on the Rangers (he is NOT a center). I don't hate the pick, but it wasn't 'awesome'.
Lazar-C Ott: Will fall somewhere between Brule and Peca in the undersized-checking-pivot-who-can-score role. Looks like an excellent 3rd line C at the NHL level, which makes him a very long shot at the FUNHL level. Kid has hustle though.
Rakell-C Ana: Anaheim has been patient with Rakell, letting him develop a scoring touch on the farm rather than rushing him. Biggest problem now is that while he is likely ready for a job on an NHL scoring line, Getzlaf and Kesler have him seriously roadblocked. Without powerplay time to boost his numbers, or wingers of decent caliber, Rakell is likely years away from being productive.
Nieto-R SJ: I hated this pick when it was made, and after looking at the evidence more, I don't hate it quite as much. He's a college player who put up ok numbers on a decent team, and he may have 20 goal potential in the upcoming seasons. Reminds me too much of the Tyler Kennedy/Devin Setoguchi types, small-fast wingers without big scoring touch who do a lot of little things right. Useful guys in your bottom six at the NHL level, but not so much at the FUNHL level.
Hanifin-D USNDP: LOVE this pick. Hanifin is in the conversation for 1st overall next year (albeit, ususally in the sense of 'after McDavid and Eichel, you should take Hanifin). Future blue-line stud, but you have to burn two years of his contract before you even know what horrible team he will be on.
Ouellette-D Det: Another solid pick. Ouellette has solid offensive upside, and his team is going to be replacing pieces of the blue soon (Kindl is all but traded already). Even with the Red Wings famously slow development program, Ouellette isn't so far away as he's already spent significant time on the farm.
So, I have Pearson, Hanifin and Oulette as being good to excellent picks, Rakell and Nieto being weak, if acceptable, and the rest as being a big heap of 'what the hell are you doing'?
This one is easy;
DalColle-R NYI: Excellent pick. He's big, strong, fast, was a top 6 pick ED pick, and the team has a huge need for his skillset. Even a smidgeon of development and he'll be a star, and it's at a position of weakness league wide.
The Great Whites
Duclair-C NYR: LOVE this pick. Duclair is an absolute blur on the ice, and he has a 50 goal season in the Q to show for it. Underrated going in to the draft, the Rangers absolutely stole him later in the draft (largely because GMs couldn't figure out why Patrick Roy who was his GM in jr avoided taking him). Downside is he might be another Brassard/Lombardi type, but the upside is something like Simon Gagne in his prime.
Jensen-R Vcr: Ugh. Had 21 points in 54 AHL games, which speaks to the lack of offensive ability the big Dane possesses as that is literally his best ever offensive output. He has nice size, and good wheels, but he won't ever score 20goals or 40 points. As a FUNHL prospect, I call Bust.
Lee-L NYI: a physical specimen, Lee is a prototype powerforward with a wide range of tools. He's close to nailing down a top 6 role right now.
Larsson-D NJ: Another very nice pick, Larsson was compared to Lidstrom in his draft year, but has struggled to bust into the NHL. Has a high-ceiling, and with a five year prospect contract, time is on his side.
Kuemper-G Min: I mean, I guess. Goalies are voodoo at the best of times, and Minny is going to have to play somebody in net behind Suter, so it could be Kuemper. That said, he has 'one and done' written all over him, and I'll be surprised if he is on a FUNHL roster next season.
No 'hail of goo' picks for the Ramapithicines, but you can't make me love Kuemper.
Like the Highlanders, this review is going to be brief;
Ehlers-L Wpg: An excellent pick. The tiny Dane has offensive skill to spare. Only things holding him back are his miniscule frame, and the fact he will play for Winnipeg where prospects go to die. Could lead the Jets in scoring before his prospect contract expires.
Lots to hate on here;
Clowe-R NJ: Clowe went undrafted for a reason. He's; old, slow, breaking down, and doesn't fight much anymore. He's the poor-man's David Clarckson without all the high-end skill. Sure, he might give you a week or two of duty subbing in for an injury, but outside of that his value is roughly that of what you'll find on the waiver wire every week. Bust.
Matteau-L NJ: Future 3rd line checking winger with off-ice entitlement issues. Bust.
Paajarvi-R StL: Defense-first checking winger without anything resembling an offensive skill. Could become an elite NHL shadow, but isn't ever likely to be draftable in the FUNHL. Bust.
Jankowski-C Cgy: I quite liked this pick, Jankowski has a high ceiling offensively, and has already had a few years development time to get his (grossly underweight) frame up to speed. Solid.
Ben Smith-R Chi: Is already 26 years old. He is what he is, a 3rd line checking winger with some speed. If he hadn't been a prospect I wouldn't have had him ranked. At all.
Fucale-G Mtl: I've thrown a lot of shade at the Barbarian picks so far (Jankowski excepted), but Fucale was IMO a fairly astute pick for late in the draft. He has a stellar resume for a goaltending prospect, but the biggest problem is going to be the presence of Carey Price ahead of him. That said, Fucale has legit NHL upside, it will probably require a move out of Montreal to see it.
So two picks I quite liked in Jankowski and Fucale, and 4 guys I think will make excellent waiver wire pick ups.
Here's the thing, Darrell and I have completely opposite philosophies for the prospect draft, and the result is I pretty much always hate his picks. I'm sure he's losing lots of sleep over this.
Backlund-C Cgy: Backlund is a marvellous possession player who can move the needle in the right direction and check the elite. I love him as a player, but his ceiling is somewhere around 50 points if everything goes right for him, and that makes him a borderline 3rd liner if you are happy with borderline production from your 3rd line.
Forsberg-L Nsh: A repeat pick (like Jankowski and, inexplicably, Ben Smith), Forsberg has an excellent offensive resume, but is on the worst possible team for exploiting those abilities. I avoid Nsh prospects on principle, but Forsberg is the only guy I'd make an exception for. Could lead the Preds team in scoring before his prospect contract is up.
Merrill-D NJ: Like Forsberg, Merril sort of bucks the PV preference for drafting 'verteran' prospects, while also being an older prospect (22). Has had two decent cups of coffee in the AHL and some low grade NHL work. May not be a homerun, but sure looks like a stand-up double.
Backlund may end up being the PV's next 'Plekanec', but I honestly don't think the offense is there (and I think Plekanec actually hurt the PV as a prospect, but that is another argument). Forsberg and Merrill are both good bets to be productive guys moving forward, so for this year, I haven't got much hate for Darrell. Sleep well buddy.
The Knights Templar
I normally feel somewhere between Anakin Skywalker right before he confronts the sandpeople, and The Hulk's 'I'm always angry' when it comes to the rage induced by Mike's prospect picks, so given he made five this year, this could get interesting;
Kochlachev-C Bos: An undersized skill forward near the top of Boston's prospect list, he was rumoured to be part of the Iginla package Boston offered. He's logjammed by Bergeron and Kreijci, but otherwise, nothing not to like other than he may need a change of scenery.
Burakovsky-L Wsh: My biggest disappointment at the prospect draft was not getting a shot to draft Burakovsky. A skill winger with size and speed, he's got huge upside, and he looks good to make an impact in Washington sooner, rather than later. The only hate to throw here is at Mike for getting a guy I thought would fly under the radar.
Jurco-R Det: Somewhere in a secret Detroit warehouse, Ken Holland cracks open a pod to reveal the latest high-skill, scoring winger being groomed (albeit at a snail's pace) for a top six role on the Red Wings. My theory is that it takes the new clones 5 years to download all their Matrix-style mentally injected 'training'.
Ceci-D Ott: A re-draft, Ceci is very close to making the Senators as an offensive defenseman. At worst he should be dressable in the next two years as a depth guy, and his ceiling (with likely PP partner the sorcerous Karlsson) is as high as 2nd pair. He should be money.
Andersen-G Ana: Anaheim's goaltending situation is in flux, and Andersen has as good a shot as anyone at getting time in net. As goaltending prospects go, you can do a lot worse than picking a guy who will play behind that Ducks' D corps.
I'm still Bruce Banner? What the hell? I would make the argument that Kochlachev was a reach as high as he went, and that he would have been around much later, but if I mentally re-arranged him towards the middle of the picks instead of at the top I'd have to say Mike hit his picks out of the park, with Jurco and Burakovsky having huge upside, and Ceci and Andersen being safe projections to be contributors.
This looked to be a three player prospect draft at the top-top-end, and Chris had picks #2 and #3.
Eichel-C USNTDP: Future scoring machine with size, reach, and power. Is being considered in the same breath as Connor McDavid for top pick overall next year. The only downside to him is that Buffalo or Florida (or, sweet C'thulu no, Edmonton) are proving to be utterly abysmal at developing talent. Was my personal choice for 1st overall in the draft.
Draisaitl-C Edm: He'll end up somewhere between Jason Allison and Joe Thornton, a; big, strong, power pivot with elite playmaking abilities, and the Shakespearean flaw of being a merely average skater. The downside to him is that the Oilers are a dumpster fire management wise, and there is a very real chance he'll need a change of scenery to ever succeed.
So...one and if you squint hard, maybe two future FPs. Yeah, that's not a bad prospect draft.
For comparisons sake;
The Severed Heads
Honka-D Dal: I did pretty well with a similar player in Erik Karlsson. He's an undersized powerplay puck mover, and the only scouting knock on him is his size (5'10). He'll end up somewhere on the MA Bergeron (PP specialist only) Paul Coffey spectrum. Dallas is fast tracking his development by using a quirk of the CBA to get Honka on to an AHL team even though he is only 18.
DeAngelo-D TBay: His junior numbers were genuinely ridiculous for a defenseman, but like Honka, he is considered to be undersized. Unlike Honka, DeAngelo also has something of a reputation for being a hellraiser. Yzerman doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and DeAngelo's upside offensively is enormous.
Ok, so I have thrown a lot shade around (though, less than I expected I would, or have previously), next up a list of guys I thought should have been picked, but weren't.