FanPost

NHL Draft Watch: The Third Round

The Third Round

Accurately predicting who will get selected in what round beyond the second round is a very difficult business. There are so few scouting agencies that are have gone beyond their top 50 that picking those who will be drafted between 60-90 is quite difficult, however this attempt is made using two sources, Future Considerations Mid Term Report and the Central Scouting Rankings (also from mid term).

All Names link to their Elite Prospects page

Matej Beran

Age: 18

Height: 6"4

Weight: 207lbs

Nationality: Czech

Position: Centre

Shoots: Left

Current Team: Prince Edward Island Rocket

Current League: QMJHL

Current Stats: 68 Games, 22 Goals, 39 Assists, 61 Points, 68PIMS, -17

Matej Beran is a big player with decent offensive skills, however his skating is a cause of major concern for scouts. His skating is average for the junior leagues and in order to really perform at all on the professional stage he would need to dramatically improve his skating. This is not necessarily an impossible task as larger players can be taught how to skate better. He uses his size effectively to fight off checks but needs to learn to use his size in order to help defend his own end of the ice. Matej Beran would certainly be a long term project but could end up yielding reasonable results down the road.

Should we draft him?

The Dallas Stars have developed a long term mindset for most of their prospects so drafting a project player in the third is a possibility. Certainly you can not teach Beran's size while his skating could be improved upon along with his defensive responabilities. Matej Beran is a bit of a wild card in where he will be drafted but I think he will probably be taken in either the third or the fourth. I think he would be an intriguing prospect and someone we should consider carefully.

Dylan Blujus

Age: 18

Height: 6"3

Weight: 183lbs

Nationality: American

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Current Team: Brampton Battalion

Current League: OHL

Current Stats: 66 Games, 7 Goals, 27 Assists, 34 Points, 38 PIMs, +4

Dylan Blujus at the beginning of the season considered himself a defensive defenseman but now considers himself a two way defenseman. It is clear that over this season he has worked on his offensive skills, regularly playing the powerplay quarterback role for the Brampton Battalion this season. Though he has good size he is also aware than he needs to put more onto his frame in order to be an effective NHL defenseman. He has good skating ability, with good stick work and effective passing to help create offense. His one area of weakness is his lack of physicality, however both he and his coach aim to improve that before the draft and the next year in the juniors.

Should we draft him?

Dylan Blujus is ranked 53rd in the CSS North American skater's rankings and 67th in the overall rankings by Future Considerations. It's possible that he would be available by the time that the Stars draft in the third round. Getting a decent puck moving and smooth skating defenseman of his size in the third round would definitely be a steal. Again Dylan Blujus is another player that I see being drafted before our third round pick. However if we were to draft him he would end up adding to an impressive list of future Stars blueliners.

Coda Gordon

Age: 17

Height: 6"2

Weight: 174lbs

Nationality: Canadian

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Current Team: Swift Current Broncos

Current League: WHL

Current Stats: 66 Games, 30 Goals, 23 Assists, 53 Points, 12 PIMS, +2

Coda Gordon has been a surprise for the Broncos this season, passed over in the WHL draft he went to try out at the beginning of the season and is now on the Broncos top line. He models his game after Jason Spezza and considers his greatest strength to be his hockey sense, always managing to be in the right place at the right time. He is the 8th top rookie scorer in the WHL this season so far. He does however lack physicality and his skating can be improved upon.

Should we draft him?

Though he has put up impressive numbers and clearly has good hockey intelligence he would definitely end up being a project prospect. His numbers may be inflated by playing alongside some talented forwards on the Broncos top line. He would have to work on his size but could be an interesting prospect. Whether he is what we want in a Star's uniform is more questionable however.

Henri Ikonen

Age: 17

Height: 6"1

Weight: 190lbs

Nationaity: Finnish

Position: Left Wing/Centre

Shoots: Left

Current Team: Kal Pal U20/Kal Pal

Current League: JR A SM-Liiga/SM-Liiga

Current Stats:

Kal Pal U20: 37 Games, 17 Goals, 28 Assists, 45 Points, 18 PIMs, +12

Kal Pal: 8 Games, 1 Assist, 1 Points, 6 PIMs, -1

Henri Ikonen is another Finnish player who could be drafted between the 3rd and 4th rounds. He is a skilled winger who can play centre and has played well enough this season to be called up to the big club in the SM-Liiga. However it is very different to find any extensive reports on him beyond reviews on various HF boards discussing Finnish prospects.

Should we draft him?

Ikonen would take time to develop into a player that would be able to play well in the North American professional leagues. However he could potentially be a decent second or third line player. He is one of the top 15 scoring leaders in the JR A SM-Liiga despite his call up to the SM Liiga for 8 games. There is definitely potential there but it would take a while to refine it.

Brett Kulak

Age: 18

Height: 6"1

Weight: 175lbs

Nationality: Canadian

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Current Team: Vancouver Giants

Current League: WHL

Current Stats: 72 Games, 9 Goals, 15 Assists, 24 Points, 22 PIMs, +28

Firstly, those who may have clicked on the link to his elite prospects page may have noticed that it says he is only 5"9. Well, he was when they did the stats at the beginning of his WHL career at the end of last season. In just under a year he has grown 5 inches and developed into a decent two way defenseman. Considered this was his first full season in the WHL, he had played 3 games last season, he has proven himself and was rewarded with an invitation to the CHL top prospects game, admitted as a replacement for an injured Slater Koekkoek. Nothing to sneer at considered that only a year ago he was only 5"9 and being pushed around in the Canadian Midget leagues.

Should we draft him?

He is a smooth skating defenseman who in his rookie season in the WHL has shone and smooth skating defensemen who grow 5 inches in a single year could signal a classic late bloomer. Currently he is more of a shutdown defenseman who also plays time on the powerplay alongside being on the ice in offensive zone faceoffs. He is definitely an intriguing prospect considering the speed of his development. Again he is another player that could end up being a project and maybe out of our reach considering some scouting organisations suggest that he could be picked within the late second round.

Esa Lindell

Age: 17

Height: 6"2

Weight: 190lbs

Nationality: Finnish

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Current Team: Jokerit U20

Current League: JR A SM-Liiga

Current Stats: 48 Games, 21 Goals, 30 Assists, 51 Points, 16 PIMs, +24

I have mentioned Esa Lindell before in one of my earlier posts. Esa Lindell is one of the top ranked Finnish players heading into this draft and an offensive defenseman. His style of play is more like that of Daley than Gologoski and he has one of the highest total points in the JR A SM-Liiga. He however needs to refine his defensive game like many young defensemen with offensive talent. Esa Lindell is another player that could possibly fall to the fourth round but I imagine that he will be selected within the third.

Should we draft him?

Esa Lindell would definitely be a offensive boast to the stars blueline prospects, though in order to be effective at the professional level he would definitely have to refine his defensive game. It would definitely take some time for him to come to North America considering this is his first season in the JR A SM Liiga, though its possible he may be moved up to the SM Liiga next season which should aid his development. Essentially he is a project, like many other possible picks, with some reasonable offensive upside that needs to work on his defensive game. Something that can be seen in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkdbZY52mhY

Emil Lundberg

Age: 18

Height: 6"4

Weight: 209lbs

Nationality: Swedish

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Current Team: Södertälje

Current League: Allsvenskan

Current Stats: 51 Games, 6 Goals, 12 Assists, 18 Points, 12 PIMs

Emil Lundberg is a big physical player who has had some trouble at the beginning of the season putting up offensive numbers. He is hard working and willing to use and receive physicality in order to help his team. He might not be a significant offensive threat but he is a hard worker and is willing to use his size. He has spent the majority of this season playing in the adult leagues and has proven himself apt at being able to take and receive physical punishment and has used his large frame to push around the older men that he is playing against. Future considerations suggests that he may end up taking up a Tomas Holstrom type role at the NHL level. He is most likely going to be a third round pick but if he finishes the season strongly then he could end up being picked in the tail end of the second round.

Should we draft him?

Emil Lundberg I can see being an effective third line player at the NHL level, he does have offensive skill and nice hands but it is not high end level. He has the size to be a nuisance and strength to be hard to move from the front of the net. So far this season he has scored more points in the Allsvenskan than highly touted Swedish forward Filip Forsberg, though admittedly playing 8 more games than him. If the Stars are looking to develop a larger, more physical team with scoring ability throughout than Emil Lundberg might be a tempting option for the stars. As a big, physical winger who also has decent hands and a nose for the net he could be valuable. He might not crack the top two lines but he could provide a significant force in a bottom 6 role.

Nikolai Prokhorkin

Age: 18

Height: 6"2

Weight: 183lbs

Nationality: Russian

Position: Winger

Shoots: Left

Current Team: CSKA-Krasnaja Armija Moskva/CSKA Moskva

Current League: MHL/KHL

Current Stats:

CSKA-Krasnaja Armija Moskva:15 Games, 9 Goals, 17 Assists, 26 Points, 47 PIMs

CSKA Moskva: 15 Games, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Points, 4 PIMs

Nikolai Prokhorkin has been another victim of this season's injury bug with it limiting his time on the ice. He is a skilled winger with good size and has the ability to score goals and put points up. It is also noted that he plays very physically, even willing to drop the gloves. Something that is apparently unusual for young talented Russian forwards. Some predict that he could be taken in the late second round but more likely early in the third.

Should we draft him?

In my opinion Prokhorkin is unlikely to fall to the Star's third round pick. The Russian forward is too talented to drop beyond the 100 mark. It's possible that if our own second round pick is high that we might be tempted to draft him within the second rather than in the third. However its possible that with the NHL's fears of the ‘Russian' factor he might drop to our third because teams are unwilling to run the risk of him staying in Russia. However I highly doubt this possibility. Though the description is not used it appears to me that Nikolai Prokhorkin would fit the mould of a typical power forward. Whether he will be able to transfer this to a North American game, if he were to move to North America, is a different matter.

Chris Tierney

Age: 17

Height: 6"0

Weight: 170lbs

Nationality: Canadian

Position: Centre

Shoots: Left

Current Team: London Knights

Current League: OHL

Current Stats: 65 Games, 11 Goals, 23 Assists, 34 Points, 20 PIMs, +25

Chris Tierney is now in his second year with the London Knights and has blown away his previous years points total of 11 points in 47 games (3 Goals, 8 Assists) from his rookie season.. He is a good skater with good speed and both his first step and overall skating is good. This alongside his good hockey IQ makes him a talented playmaker, the set up man rather than the finisher. He is a natural centre but unfortunately has suffered due to the London Knights being stocked with a lot of talent, especially down the middle. They have 8 natural centres on their roster meaning that ice time is limited. It might be the case that a new environment on a less talented team might allow him to blossom. His main area of weakness is the fact that he shies away from physical contact, something that may come as he grows in size and muscle.

Should we draft him?

Looking at what I have read about Chris Tierney I think he could become a decent playmaker at least on the third line if not possibly earning a job as a part time/full time playmaker on the second line. I'm not certain he will be taken in the third, he may possibly drop to the fourth or fifth but I think he shows some talent that the Stars might be willing to take a risk on. He would also help out the Star's need for natural centres.

My Opinion

There are several players in the above list that I think could make a mark in the professional leagues in a few years. In particular I like both Finnish prospects named above, Esa Lindell and Henri Ikonen, though both would take their time getting to play in North America they both sound as if they have the skills and talents required to play well at the NHL level. If the Stars are changing the dynamic of this team to include bigger and more physical players then both Emil Lundberg and Matej Beran could be possible picks for the Dallas Stars. With Matej Beran its very possible that he could fall to either the fourth or the fifth rounds, so not picking him in the third might not mean that we won't have the opportunity later in the draft. I also think that, despite being a good prospect, that Dylan Blujus will probably have been drafted before our third round pick.

As I have already emphasised, predicting where these players will end up getting drafted is far harder beyond the second round. Some of the above could fall a couple of rounds or if they improve in the last part of the season and in their respective post seasons nip into the end of the second round.

This is a user-created FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Defending Big D. FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable hockey and Dallas Stars fans.

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