I came to this year’s entry draft late (playoffs!) and then had a helluva time getting this thing surrounded. Never fear, the Bob McKenzie list is out and gives us some clarity about what the draft might look like this weekend. (BM list)
Among the things I noticed from Mr. McKenzie’s list:
- 23 OHL kids, 21 WHL. It is close this year.
- 18 USHL kids. This is the third junior league now.
- The Oilers probably like this list. If they arrive at No. 22 overall with Josh Norris, Kailer Yamamoto and Isaac Ratcliff available, that’s a nice group to choose from.
I always like to run my list against the BM list, to see what my list values more than the consensus. Usually I end up with a large number of small skill forwards. Let’s have a look.
- First Round: No. 22 overall—R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). I have him at No. 11, McKenzie’s list slots him at No. 24. Terrific talent. Smart, elusive, offensive. NHLE (36.2) compares well to any in this draft.
- Third Round: No. 82 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)—RC Morgan Geekie, Tri-City Americans (WHL). I have him No. 30, Geekie is No. 86 on the McKenzie list. C w/2-way rep and emerging offense. This is his second year of eligibility but his spike offensively (90 points from 25 a year ago).
- Third Round: No. 84 overall—LC Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). I have him No. 32, he is honorable mention on the BM list. Small skill C, terrific skills. He is small and not fast, but very productive.
- Fourth Round: No. 115 overall—LD Noel Hoefenmeyer, Ottawa 67s (OHL). I have him No. 40, McKenzie does not list him. Complete skills. Has good size and can defend well, and is a good passer. Unlikely to spend a lot of time on the power play, but the entire defense crop feels that way this year.
- Fifth Round: No. 126 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)—RC Alexander Chmelevski, Ottawa 67s (OHL). I have him No. 56, he does not appear on the BM list. Impressive skills, outststanding Top Prospects game.
- Sixth Round: No. 177 overall—F Andrey Altybarmakyan, St.Petersburg (MHL). I have him at No. 60. Undersized skill forward, his not being on the BM list should not come as a surprise. I think my list is the only one that has him this high.
- Seventh Round: No. 208 overall—RD Artyom Minulin, Swfit Current Broncos (WHL). Big defender with emerging skills. I have him No. 68.
Once again I can get through my entire draft without passing my top 70. Once again my list ends up with a giant group of small forwards. Don’t care. My list drafts Kailer Yamamoto, that means I win! We looked at Craig Button’s list in a similar fashion recently, and that is here. My final list is here.
We can see it coming from one mile away. The draft pauses at No. 22, with the Edmonton brass decided over Kailer Yamamoto and Isaac Ratcliffe. Who would you choose?
- Brock Otten, OHL Prospects on Ratcliffe: He is a very interesting prospect that is available this year. I could see him being drafted anywhere from 15 to 50. He has some extremely alluring qualities to NHL scouts. First thing you notice is his size at 6’6. And he skates very well, with good speed and acceleration. But he’s also not even 200 lbs yet. As he fills out, I don’t think we truly know how good he could be. Ratcliffe’s other best quality is his shot. He has an absolute rocket of a wrist shot and I think he’s got big time scoring potential. Once he’s able to add that aforementioned strength, he’ll be able to generate more scoring chances for himself as he can protect the puck better and look to be aggressive in driving the middle of the ice. His physical game is inconsistent and that’s another area of his game that will need to improve. Ditto for discipline. Source
- Ryan Biech, Nations Network, on Yamamoto: when to comes to actually selecting a player in the NHL Entry Draft, you have to be concerned about things like size. It’s not as easy as saying ‘he is really good, so let’s take him’. Yamamoto’s small stature has to be taken into consideration and is likely why he isn’t ranked higher. It will not be surprising to see the 5’8″ winger to be selected in the middle part of the first round or fall down a bit further. But there is no denying the talent that he possesses. He is easily one of the most talented players in this draft and if a team isn’t scared of that size risk, they may walk away with a top 6 forward that will just keep producing as he progresses up the ladder. Source
I am on team Yamamoto, have him No. 11 overall. It would be insanity to see him fall to No. 22, but that could be a major break for the Edmonton Oilers. We wait.