NHL Scout Analysis: How Canadian Lottery Teams Can Handle the Draft

NHL Scout Analysis: How Canadian Lottery Teams Can Handle the Draft

Montreal Canadiens are hosting their first in-person NHL draft since the pandemic began July 7-8. The city last hosted the Draft in 2009 when John Tavares went first overall to Islanders, followed by Victor Hedman to Tampa Bay, Matt Duchene to Colorado and Evander Kane to Atlanta Thrashers.

Montreal chose Louis Leblanc 18y Overall, unfortunately, it was a choice that never ended. This time around, though, they’ll have the first overall pick in their hosted draft and the chance to add a real influential player.

Habs fans must feel like they’ve been riding a roller coaster for the past two seasons. The first pandemic. Then a surprise run into the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. And then an incredibly turbulent journey was the 2021-22 season.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining.

Starting with Montreal at the top, here’s an early look at the potential draft targets for the four Canadian lottery teams, with Ottawa selected 7th, Winnipeg 14 and Vancouver 15, and what strategic discussions to consider in each of these draft slots.

Canada Montreal, the first comprehensive choice

Possible goals:

Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL), 6-foot-1, 191 pounds

Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP, 5-foot-10, 174 pounds

Juraj Slavkovsky, W, TPS Turku (Liiga), 6-foot-4, 218 pounds

Strategic discussion:

Three upscale horizons. All in different ways.

The first and second lines are worth their weight in gold. It is almost impossible to get it through deals unless you are willing to part with a large asset or venture capital. When teams have the opportunity to pick a place out of the top six, they have to cash in.

Slavkovsky does not fit the strategy. He’s a big, strong winger with a set goal and he played as he was. Top five picks in this draft. The first three will likely be chosen. Coyotes are the third overall pick and Slafkovsky will complement a player like Clayton Keller.

However, the decision does not become easier. The Hab will stare at Wright or Cole.

Shane Wright has been the #1 consensus forecasters have always been preparing for this draft, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride this season. I appreciate his 200-foot game. It is not only insulting. Wright can score big minutes with equal power, in the power game, in 4 on 4, 3 on 3, and PK. He has elite puck touch and the ability to play forehand and backhand. When he’s fully engaged, there’s not much he doesn’t like about his game. Wright has the potential to be a complete player. He’s the captain in Kingston and holds a 90 percent average in class. In short, there are no red flags of wisdom.

My only concern is its stability. There are nights controlled by 60 minutes. There are also nights that he starts on time and sets the tone for the first 20 minutes. There are also nights where he goes a long way without playing with his level. As he matures, he will need to work on the inconsistencies.

Cooley is a different prospect than Wright. Don’t be fooled by the difference in size between these two players. Cooley is one of the most competitive players in this draft category. When you combine elite puck skill with hockey feel, speed and drive, it easily becomes part of the #1 public choice conversation.

I went back and forth with my strategy. I originally came up with some trade scenarios, but in the end, none of them made sense.

By the end of my process, I felt like I was splitting my hair on Wright and Cole from a skillful perspective. The trump card for me reached my comfort level with consistency and competition.

Choice: Logan Cooley

Ottawa Senators, seventh general selection

Selection: Jonathan Licremaki, W., Djurgarden (SHL), 5ft-11, 165 lbs

Sooner rather than later, the Senators will roll into the corner and become a consistent team in the playoff. The survey crew has done a great job stocking the vaults and General Manager Pierre Dorion said he’s looking forward to adding some veterans to the core collection. It is time for the organization to take the next step.

They will have the opportunity to choose another key piece for their puzzle with hole number 7 in the draft.

Winger, Lekkerimaki isn’t as stubborn or detailed as some of the other forwards the Senators have on their NHL roster and pipeline. It will bring pure insult and contribute to the power game. When Sens needs a big goal or plays offensively, this kid will answer the bell. Another person on his line will be lifting heavy objects. He’ll do the scoring.

WINNIPEG JETS, 14th General Pick

The middle of the first round will be choppy. Winnipeg will receive calls for this selection and may place calls moving forward. Let’s say they pick at 14, though. For me it is always a ‘best player available’ approach. In this area there are many players who bring similar items.

Possible goals:

Marco Casper, front wheel drive, Ruggle (SHL), 6-foot-1, 183 lbs

Frank Nazar, front wheel drive, USNTDP, 5-foot-10, 175 lbs

Strategic discussion:

If Kasper was still available here it would be a great choice of aircraft. A responsible player primarily used to strength and play in this year’s SHL for Rogle. The PP is ready to make pucks out of the boards and go to the net for rebounds and tips. Far from rushing when he gets a pass, show he can shoot disc and record from a distance. He’s a natural midfielder who has shown he can play a winger this year by playing with men in the SHL.

For Nazar, I think it will be available in this slot.

This kid sounds to me like a potential Winnipeg Jet. An underdog who had to work for everything he earned over the years. He has never been the most exciting player on his teams knowing that the path to success comes through hard work, determination and most importantly dedication. He can play up and down the squad. He’s very competitive, plays fast and fast, gets into the net and has proven to have a better skill than he initially announced this season. He has a bit of a frenetic approach at times, but there is no doubt that he will bring the kind of reliable game that Gates aspires to be.

Pickaxe: Marco Casper

Casper is ahead of Nizar on my list. The floor draft is not a second place to guess your process. If Casper is gone, I will move on to the next name which is Nizar.

Vancouver Canc, 15 inclusive selection

Canucks will have options in this slot. There is a possibility that some names will fall into their arms if they suddenly fall into the draft. Some other names appear on the board naturally in the middle of the first round.

Possible goals:

Conor Jakee, C, Winnipeg (WHL), 6-foot-3, 196 pounds

Noah Ostlund, center, Djurgarden (SHL), 5ft-11, 163 pounds

Kevin Korchinsky, D, Seattle (WHL), 6-foot-2, 185 pounds

Strategic discussion:

Geekie is an interesting name to keep an eye on. His Winnipeg Ice team is in the middle of a deep playoff, so he’ll have a higher chance of impressing scouts in high-impact games. Additional views have the ability to positively and negatively affect the draft field. I don’t see him go down that hole, but if he did, the Canucks would have a chance to add a large center body with extra hands, vision, shooting, and overall perception of three areas.

Ostlund and Team Sweden won the gold at the last U-18 World Championships and were excellent. He is neither the biggest nor the heaviest player, but he has very good skill and great competition. Contagious player does not quit in any area. I’m not worried about his stature because he has time to add weight and muscle to his body. He’s an accomplished PP playmaker, aggressively leading the play. Over time he will complete a player like Vasily Podkolzin.

Korchinski is a precise nibble that can be used in all situations. It brings volume, length, and consistent competition. He’s not the nicest player to watch in motion, but his skating strides don’t stop him from getting ahead. More distributor than shooter, can effectively operate PP. His 61 assists in the regular season is an impressive number. The fact that he can be deployed in a variety of roles as well as his offensive rise makes him an attractive target.

Pickaxe: Kevin Korczynski

If Jake fell into their lap, it would be wise to recruit Canucks. However, the most likely scenario is that it comes down to a choice between Ostlund and Korchinski. I was taking Korchinsky in Vancouver.

Final Thoughts:

This draft will have some wild cards. Some teams will turn away from Russian-born players due to circumstances beyond the players’ control. It only takes one selection to interrupt the flow of the first round. For example, if Danila Yurov went earlier than expected, or He starts slipping, and moves on to draft word strategies for each team.

I expect this draft to have many moving parts. The central registry and who announces transactions, in addition to draft selections, can be occupied for 48 hours.

2022-05-11 15:58:00

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