Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 CHL Import Draft Review

On Wednesday, July 2, the Canadian Hockey League held its annual Import Draft. It is here, CHL teams get the opportunity to add import talent to their roster. There are two rounds of the draft, and a team can pass on their pick at any time. As per the new rules, import picks could not be traded. Goalies are also no longer allowed to be selected.

Just to remind you, CHL clubs are permitted to carry only two import players on their team or protected list every year. However, if a CHL team has an Import who was an NHL first round pick (such as London with Nikita Zadorov), they receive the opportunity to add another player to their protected list to cover should that first round import (like Zadorov) make the NHL.

While the Import Draft can be a bit of a crap shoot, many of the players drafted do come over and can have an impact. Let's breakdown the results of previous three Import Drafts.

In 2010
26 of 26 players selected came to the Ontario Hockey League (100%)
21 of 26 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (81%)
10 (open for debate) of 26 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (38%)

In 2011
17 of 20 players selected came to the OHL (85%)
17 of 20 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (85%)
10 (open for debate) of 20 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (50%)

In 2012
22 of 27 players selected came to the OHL (81%)
17 of 27 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (63%)
9 (open for debate) of the 20 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (33%)

In 2013
22 of 25 players selected came to the OHL (88%)
20 of 25 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (80%)
7 (open for debate) of the 25 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (28%)

This article will provide you with some information and scouting reports on those selected.

Of course this article wouldn't have been possible without the help of these experts:

Sean LaFortune was able to give his reflections on some of these players based on what he may have seen in the past and from what he was able to gather from various contacts. He's the man behind TheScout.ca and is also a scout for McKeen's Hockey. He's always quick to lend a helping hand with this blog and is a must follow on twitter (@SeanLafortune) for ANY junior hockey enthusiast.

Steve Cocker is one of ISS' main scouts in Europe. He can be followed on twitter (@scocker11).

Matt Grainda is one of ISS' USHL scouts and he can be followed on twitter too (@graindaiv)

Dan Stewart is the head scout for Future Considerations. He and the staff there were able to help out and I'm grateful for that.

Chapin Landvogt is also a writer for HockeysFuture, in addition to being a scout for Future Considerations. Give him a follow on twitter (@Csomichapin).

Alessandro Seren Rosso is a writer for practically everyone! He writes for HockeysFuture, and for the Hockey Writers and a variety of other sources. He is truly a Russian hockey expert. Follow him on twitter. (@AlexSerenRosso)

And of course our two anonymous European scouts (who chooses to remain that way for various reasons). Without their help, these articles wouldn't be possible year after year.

1. Sarnia Sting - Pavel Zacha - Forward
If he shows up, this could be one heck of a pick by the Sting. Zacha is considered to be a potential top 10, perhaps even top 5 pick for the 2015 NHL Draft. The big forward was a force for the Czech Republic internationally this year, suiting up at the U-18's and the U-20's. He also played the majority of the season against men in the Czech league. But his agent ruffled some feathers by stating his discontent about Sarnia taking his client. But we've heard that before.
Scouting Report:: Future Considerations (who ranks him 10th for 2015) says, "The top Czech prospect for the 2015 draft who is a big boy who is pretty physical for his age. He will hit you and he goes hard to the net and is relentless on the forecheck, which can be a scary sight for the opposing defensemen. He has a strong shot that is both hard and accurate. He prefers a shot to a pass…willing, but immature game defensively…good on PK where he gets his frame into lanes and just clears the puck when he gets the chance…patient player with good vision, soft hands and the ability to make one-on-one dekes…strong skater with good balance, but needs to get faster." Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Big,strong center plays excellent two-way game. Plays with poise and smartness in all three zones, strong hockey sense. Makes plenty of small things well, makes right decision both with and without the puck(even with the puck high in own zone under pressure). Improved skating in last 12 moths, first steps still needs improvement but has good speed and stride, agile for his size. Can finish checks hard, wins battles along the boards, very good defensively in own zone, uses size to knock opponents off the puck, can dominate physically. Uses long reach to keep opponents off the puck. Hands/puck skills good but not elite(by no means). Passes are firm and accurate, can move puck in all directions. Sees the ice really well and has playmaking skills. Can distribute the puck from tight areas. Very hard and accurate shot both, slap and wrist shot, lighning fast release of wrist shot. Good character and heart, strong effort every shift. Still think he lacks top line upside at NHL level and won´t be top point producer there, more of second line upside but kind of player you need on team to win the Cup. Still uncertain if he comes to Sarnia as he wanted to play somewhere alse but I think he will end up there after all(my opinion)."

4. Kitchener Rangers - Gustaf Franzen - Forward
The Rangers had pretty good luck the last time they took a Swedish forward who has captained or assumed a leadership role on their international teams (Franzen was the captain of the U-18 this year). Of course, assuming Franzen can have a Landeskog like impact might be a tad far fetched, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. Franzen, a late '96, is a highly touted prospect for the 2015 draft and currently considered a possible first round pick. He should add a lot to a young line up that needs help offensively.
Scouting Report: Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Love this guy. Really fun to watch and competes hard every shift at both side. Good speed, more agile and tough to contain with his east-west mobility. Strong puck control in tight. Always around the puck, smart, strong anticipation. Excellent vision and playmaking skills, distributes the puck well. Patient on PP, can make surprising saucer passes through traffic. Soft touch on his passes. Creates separation in corner and takes the puck straight to net or walks out into the open to shoot or setting-up the play. Has scoring instinct in close to the net but finishing is ?. Strong effort, disruptive on forecheck, skates hard to get the puck on puck pursuit, steals the puck with his stisk, effective on PK. Not very physical but gets involved in high traffic all the time and takes hits to make play." Meanwhile, the scouts at Future Considerations say, "a complete player, he takes great care of his responsibilities in both ends of the rink. His hockey sense is far beyond his peers, he's able to get open for passes in dangerous shooting areas at all times. He got everything going for him, good skater, quick release, fast and accurate wrist shot, good in the face off circle." ISS scout Steve Cocker says, "The Kitchener Rangers prospect and 2015 eligible Franzen is a leader in every sense of the word. His game is defined by his pit-bull mentality, overwhelming tempo, relentless battle and defensive consistency. Captain for team Sweden at the U18 World Championships, he was looked at to provide valuable minutes on special teams and in critical situations on both sides of the puck. His energetic speed and quick hands give him a good foundation for the offensive game but has shown some inconsistency when going toe-to-toe with physical defenders. Being named captain to his club team HV71 U20 last season as a 17 year old tells you all you need to know about his character and mental makeup. Expect him to adapt well early on in his OHL career while being able to fill roles and eventually flourish into an all-around leader."

7. Ottawa 67's - Artur Tyanulin - Forward
While undersized, Tyanulin appears to be quite the offensive dynamo. At the U-17's this year, he was the tournament's 3rd leading scorer and finished ahead of the likes of Mitchell Marner, Dylan Strome, and of course, Travis Konecny. If Tyanulin can help to give the 67's another balanced scoring line, he'll be a big improvement over Adrian Sloboda (who the 67's released to make this selection).
Scouting Report: Sean Lafortune says, "Tyanulin is a quick, spirited winger who lit the U17s on fire offensively in December. He's a skilled, undersized winger who puts on displays of skill and tenacity. Quick hands, heads up vision and a high work ethic, both with and without the puck. Despite his diminutive frame, he exploits his smallish statue to dart in and out of traffic, looking for loose pucks and playmaking options. Excellent edgework and pivots, always seems to play at a very high speed. The structure of the 67s lineup is still to be determined, but don't be shocked to see him lineup on the team’s top offensive line, given his combination of speed, puck skills, as he has the ability to break games open." Alessandro Seren Rosso says, "A smallish forward with good sense of hockey, excellent puck skills and good skating abilities, had a rocky season without much success in the MHL 2 and being then excluded from the national team. He didn’t progress too much this season, he was among the leaders of the national team and now it’s not even that easy for him to get a spot at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Most likely he’ll cross the pond as he can easily be a top line player in the CHL."

10. Belleville Bulls - David Pastrnak - Forward
The Bulls opted to take Pastrnak, a Czech forward (playing in Sweden) who the Bruins took 25th overall at the 2014 NHL draft. The stocky winger had success at the U-18's and the U-20's this year and appears to be a favourite among scouts. He would add a lot to the Bulls line up should he report, which seems to be up in the air at this point.
Scouting Report: Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Love him, prefer him over higher selected Czech Jakub Vrana. Such creative and instinctive player, you never know what he will do with the puck, makes surprising decisions. Great puck control, tough to contain in tight, very agile and shifty, quick changes of direction. Excellent stickhandler. Like his mentality on and off the ice, very determined, great passion. Very tenacious and always competes hard for puck when he loses the puck, wants to get it back immediately. Excellent passing touch and vision, makes saucer sets-up in traffic. Not afraid of contact at all, takes hit to make play and goes through checks despite of average size. Never gives up on play, loses puck but able to get it back immediately, aggressive and quick stick, steals pucks. Can score in many ways, has excellent hands in close and accurate shot with quick release." Future Considerations had him ranked 18th in 2014 and had this to say about him, "Pastrnak is a flashy, creative offensive talent who is dangerous every time he touches the puck. His game is a lot about handling the puck at high speed. He loves to collect some speed in the neutral zone and challenge his defender one on one. On the power play, he plays the left circle, passes the puck quite well and is constantly looking for the one-timer. His shot is lethal; it’s super hard and super accurate, and what’s amazing about it is that he doesn’t need too much space or time to release it. He’s not easily knocked off the puck. Pastrnak didn’t get much done in his own zone, as his defensive game has a way to go, but he is still a pretty hard-working player overall. Physically, there is not much to his game to write about. He does not like to get hit and rarely throws a big check of his own."

13. Mississauga Steelheads - William Nylander - Forward
While it's unlikely that he'll report, you never really know. He's currently a free agent in Sweden and seems very focused on playing in North America this year (be it the NHL or AHL). The Leafs, who drafted him 8th overall, may feel that it's best for him to play a year in the OHL. They could obviously keep pretty close tabs on him in Mississauga. It's far fetched, but not impossible. If your a Steelheads fan, cross your fingers because he's the dynamic offensive talent your organization is lacking.
Scouting Report: Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Dynamic offensive, game breaking skills, world class skills. Super quick and soft hands, can dangle and can beat even top D with nifty moves off the rush. Excellent hard, accurate wrist shot, lightning fast release, surprises goalies as he is tough to read(if he makes pass or shoots the puck, shoots from full speed with no indication). Fantastic vision and premium playmaking skills. So creative that he surprises own linemates with his saucer passes through traffic. Gains the zone easily and protects the puck well, absolutely elusive. Agile and great puck control in tight, often impossible to contain. Slows the play down and than sets-up chances with ridiculous passes through traffic at right time. Great stickhandler and dominant on PP. Doesn´t always compete hard without the puck and selfish at times, one-dimentional player(but of course superb in his role). Tends to make flashy individual plays at times instead of the most effective ones, overhandles the puck at times." Future Considerations had him ranked 4th for 2014 and had this to say about him, "An impressive dangler with the puck and flashy playmaker. Nylander likely possesses the quickest, most creative hands in the draft and can really dance around the offensive zone with the puck. He sees the ice like few kids his age can and has the ability to distribute the puck through the tightest of lanes. His feet add to his impressive offensive abilities as he is explosive and quick north to south as well as east to west. Nylander is always willing to go to the net and play in traffic both with and without the puck.This kid’s character has been called into question as he has been painted as a malcontent, a selfish kid who does not buy into the team mentality and full of self-serving attitude. His attitude and entitlement issues were the main reason for his team-hopping drama this past season. Nylander’s play on the ice mirrored his off-the ice attitude as he played the game selfishly many nights. He needs to learn to utilize his teammates more effectively going forward. His consistency will need to improve as he can have an impressive match one night, making you think this kid needs to be in the conversation for top spot in the draft and the next night, he is ineffective, easily pushed off the puck and only showing a flash or two of the effective game he displayed the previous night."

16. Niagara IceDogs - Mikkel Aagaard - Forward
Aagaard is a forward from Denmark who has an impressive resume. He starred for the U-20 team this year and helped them to win the Division A crown, which qualifies Denmark for the main U-20 division again next year. He played on a line with 9th overall pick Nik Ehlers in that tournament, and actually led the team in scoring (over Ehlers and fellow terrific NHL prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand). The late '95 forward was passed over in this year's NHL draft but seems like someone who can help Niagara get more secondary scoring next year.
Scouting Report: HF's Chapin Landvogt says, "he's a pretty interesting prospect. 6'0" and on his way to 200 pounds, he just spent the entire season playing in Denmark's best league (which isn't saying much) and put up 12 goals and 10 assists in 49 games. He doesn't have a problem playing physical and can definitely go where it hurts to get things done. What he did have was a really big D1A U20 tournament as an 18 year old. There he had three goals and eight points in 5 games. He was one of the big reasons that the Danes will be at the WJC next year. It'd be real interesting if he goes over. With Aagaard, we're not talking about another Ehlers here. He's not even a Jensen. I can imagine him being a 20-15-35 player."

22. Owen Sound Attack - Petrus Palmu - Forward
Owen Sound opts for a miniature forward from Finland who plays out of the Jokerit program. The 5'6 would instantly become one of the OHL's smallest players should he make the Attack roster.
Scouting Report: ISS scout Steve Cocker says, "Despite Palmu's diminutive frame there is nothing small about his offensive skill-set, creativity and possession game which he has proven his effectiveness at the U17 International stage for Finland and with Jokerit B-SM. He is a player who needs the puck on his stick to make an impact and possesses elite level vision, puckhandling and creativity... highlight-reel waiting to happen. Expect him to continue his International dominance with Finland U18s at the Ivan Hlinka and World Championships. No doubt Petrus will need time to acclimate himself to the CHL game. He was unable to find his offensive rhythm when called up to Jokerit A-SM for a brief stint in the latter stages of the season. He needs to be given an offensive role and freedom on the puck in order to flourish in the OHL." Sean Lafortune says, "While the Owen Sound Attack are more known for tenacious, aggressive wingers with a high compete level, Dale Degray reached into Finland to inject a high skill winger with Petrus Palmu. A tiny but clever dynamo is a highly skilled playmaker. A talented skater who is fast and slipped, he possesses excellent lateral agility and an excellent change of pace. Plays the game at a high pace, can execute smart plays at full speed. Sneaky in one on one situations, powered by soft, quick hands and great in tight puck focus. While he may struggle a bit initially, which isn't uncommon for smaller CHL imports such at Pius Suter and Vladislav Kodola, but when the Attack are ready to challenge for a Western Conference championship, he should be primed to  play a key offensive role for the Attack."

25. Peterborough Petes - Dominik Masin - Defense
With Clark Seymour and Nelson Armstrong, the Petes have some big shoes to fill on the back-end. By selecting Masin, they've hopefully helped lesson the blow. Masin (pronounced "machine") was the 35th overall pick by Tampa Bay in this year's NHL draft and is considered to be a very solid stay at home defender. He captained a surprising Czech team at the U-18's and I think was a terrific pick by Peterborough.
Scouting Report: Future Considerations had him ranked 130th for this year's draft and had this to say, "He is a stay-at-home defenseman who doesn’t really fail when he goes to the blue line, but his offensive upside doesn’t go beyond the fact that his shot is hard and a bit accurate. His passes are just okay and so is his carrying of the puck. In his own zone, you will see him use both his stick and his large frame to steal pucks from opponent’s sticks. He’s the guy who will do the hard work back there and protect his goaltender as much as possible. He’s a hard worker and has good leadership abilities. He likes to get into the rough stuff if an opponent crosses the line and he feels the need to do something." Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Showed two faces during the season, solid and steady at international level but tended to play in role of puck moving, more offence oriented D in junior Extraleague which will never work for him, lacks above average puck skills and creativity to be that kind of player. I don´t see very high upside at NHL level, for me he is third pair D who could be used on PK, I wouldn´t select him that high in NHL draft, more of mid-round pick for me. Not punishing hitter, lacks mean streak but more of banger, pins opponents at the boards, wins battles taking the puck away, blocks shots, competes to keep crease clear. Not afraid to handle the puck and rush him up the ice but hands are average at best, not creative at all, misses some good passing lines holding on puck too long, lacks instinct. Thought process is all right but execution is lacking at times, passes lacks zip and accuracy at times. Most effective when he moves the puck quickly, has poise under pressure with puck on stick,reading in own zone is solid as well as decision making. He is not skilled enough to be PP guy at higher level, shot is only decent. His d-zone awareness is good, doesn´t make positional mistakes. Not the smoothest stride and not great forward speed but decent lateral mobility, turns fairly well, moves his feet and plays solid gap. Contains well in corner and tough to beat 1 on 1 off the rush, reads well and uses active stick. Good character and some leadership ability, plays with intensity, usually solid and steady defensively."

28. Saginaw Spirit - Artem Artemov - Forward
This stocky Russian forward already plays in North America, suiting up for Chicago of the USHL last year. He actually had a terrific year as a 16/17 year old and was one of the highest scoring '97's in the league (16 goals, 17 assists). The Spirit hope that Artemov can add some scoring depth to a team that will need some players to step up this coming season.
Scouting Report: ISS scout Matt Grainda says, "Physically, Artemov is slightly smaller than a typical NHL/OHL forward but does have a rock solid base at around 200 lbs. He plays with a mixture of power/skill and likely has more offensive than defensive upside. Strength is one of his best qualities. The guy is tough to move in the offensive zone and has good body positioning to protect the puck. He is not necessarily a body-contact or tough player but certainly has the strength to do so. His creativity and hockey sense help him display his strong stick-handling skills. He can dance with the puck and likes to use this ability on the power play and while looking to beat other defenseman one-on-one. He is a pretty good playmaker and can thread the needle with a precision pass when the opportunity arises. His defensive play was on par with a typical player in the USHL. He could probably work a little harder and show some more toughness. Plays with a lot of patience and likes to move/float to the open ice looking to develop offensive chances."

31. Sudbury Wolves - Pavel Jenys - Forward
Sudbury opts for Czech forward Pavel Jenys, who was a 7th round selection by the Minnesota Wild this year. He saw some action against men this year in the Czech main league and should be able to jump into a top 9 role for the Wolves this year.
Scouting Report: Future Considerations had Jenys ranked 125th for this year's draft and had this to say about him, "Jenyš is a big forward who looked amazing early on this season, but a lack of ice time in the Extraliga eventually hurt him more than expected. He’s a force when he’s on the ice, and he’s got that kind of vision. He looks like he just knows what to do and when to do it. You’d expect him to be a great passer, but that’s not the case as he’s a shoot-first forward. His shot is a real great one with top-notch velocity and accuracy, one of the best I’ve seen all year. Even though he’s not the best puckhandler, he’s a pretty effective carrier who uses his size to his advantage. That also makes him stand out while off the puck in areas in front of the net or along the boards. Defensively, he needs to step up. He can do it, but it looks like he doesn’t want to do it all the time. His character is questionable, but when he wants to, he can really make a difference. Proper motivation is the key when it comes to him." Our anonymous Euro scout says, "What a waste of talent. He is big, has good wheels, can shoot the puck and can finish checks pretty hard however he is soft player who plays small game and doesn´ t get involved much in corner and loses too many battles for puck with smaller, weaker opponents. Goes straight to net without the puck but never drives the net with the puck, usually ends up behind the net. Finishes checks hard but rarely goes first to the board/into the corner. Crisp passes and can make nice cross passes into the speed when he has time but lacks poise and awareness when slightly pressured and limited vision. Not creative player, more of scorer. Lacks heart and hockey sense. Has power in stride, good speed, acceleration, balance. Decent stick in tight for his size. Heavy shot(usually from perimeter). Never cuts to net going off the wing in speed, always either ends up behind the net(with the puck) or makes blind(often) backhand pass across the net. Can finish checks hard but never goes into the corner/to the board first and unwilling to take hit to make play. Passes are crisp but needs to improve receiving the puck in speed." Sean Lafortune says, "A tenacious, big bodied pivot who brings an honest effort every time he touches the ice, Jenys lacks some flash to his game, however does contribute in multiple ways. Hard to play against, he keeps opponents honest as he will finish checks in punishing fashion. A decent stickhandler, he does flash moments of creativity, although will never be mistaken for a pure possession player. With the graduation of Radek Faksa and a litany of 94's that are expected to move on, Jenys will have every opportunity to earn himself quality ice in Sudbury."

34. Windsor Spitfires - Markus Soberg - Forward
Soberg is a Norwegian winger who has been playing in Sweden the last three years. He's played for Norway at the last 3 U-20's, and is a 6th round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets (in 2013). A '95, Soberg seems like a short term fix for the Spits as if he comes over, he'll likely only be a one year player for the team.
Scouting Report: Future Considerations had Soberg ranked 196th in 2013 and had this to say about him, "Soberg is a small, offensively skilled winger who plays a perimeter game all too often. He has shown some flashes that lead you to believe he has pro upside but needs to add both consistency and strength to his game in order to achieve that." Sean Lafortune says, "A pure finisher who has exhibited an ability to finish plays, Soberg will add depth to a Spitfires lineup that lacks just that. Not a pure possession player yet does flash with some sublime skill. A confident stickhandler who excels at orchestrating the play. Dangerous around the net, possesses a highly deceptive snap shot, one that allows him to finish off plays around the net. Not overly aggressive, yet does inject physicality from time to time, added strength and mass will certainly allow him to be more aggressive and confident when attempting to separate defenders from the puck. While he will have his struggles at first, it’s not unfair to expect a top 6 winger with finishing abilities, one who could realistically add 20-25 goals to the Spitfires lineup." Our second anonymous Euro scout says, "Ok size on a lean and skinny frame.. competes and works ok, lacks power and strength to be effective in battles along the boards.. drifts away at times when playing away from the puck and defensive focus can be improved.. very good skater, agile and fast.. good balance from a wide stance.. skilled, fine touch and controls puck well at top speed.. very good release.. more of a shooter than a passer.. likes to fire the puck coming down the wing in speed or backing up in the slot to fire a one timer.. good instincts, lurks around gets open and is always ready to fire his shot."

37. Barrie Colts - Rasmus Andersson - Defense
The Colts seem to have struck gold with this pick, again taking a high profile Swedish prospect (after taking Kempe last year). This one seems like he might actually report though. Andersson, a strong two-way defender is considered a first round prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft. He's excelled against men the last two years in the Swedish 2nd league (Allsvenskan) with Malmo. Funny enough, Andersson is a late '96 and an international teammate of Adrien Kempe. As Kempe was a first round pick by LA, the Colts can keep his rights without sacrificing a Euro pick. We all know how much the Kings love the OHL. Maybe, there's a glimmer of hope that he still shows up and has a friend and teammate in Andersson with him?
Scouting Report: Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Outstanding moving the puck, passes are very crisp and accurate, confident and decisive under pressure, makes right decision, reads well. Excellent vision and creative break out outlets hitting forwards in full speed. Joins the rush all the time and can lead rush. Goes end to end with the puck, dynamic wheels with the puck. Force the play offensively. Activates feet at the point on PP, moves well. Heavy one-timer from the point and excellent running the PP from the point. Strong on skates. Forward skating is very good but a bit heavy footed, not great lateral mobility and needs to work on foot speed. Aggressive and physical in own zone, good d-zone awareness, doesn´t make positional mistakes, battles hard to keep crease clear, ties man up in front of net." Future Considerations (who has him ranked 9th for 2015) says this about him, "Pretty versatile. Great positional play in the defensive zone. He's always where he should be. Tough to check. Dishes out punishment when encountering power forwards nested at the doorstep, but doesn't really hit you that much or that often. Offensively, he can use his speed to an advantage and he's also a great passer, thanks to both vision and technique. His shot is pretty hard and he's always willing to join the rush and go all the way. He's got a lot to work on though, but the final product seen in him is great. Balance and discipline are two of the things to improve." Sean Lafortune says, "Andersson is an intelligent game management type who reads the game instinctively and keeps things safe and secure in his own zone. A smart, methodical blueliner who interprets the game effortlessly, he limits mistakes and makes astute decisions in possession. Consistently makes safe, education decisions, reads the play and can stretch the ice, however usually opts for the safest path.  A mature, steading defender who demonstrates strong positioning as well as high patience in one on one situations. Mentally sharp, limits mental errors and is rarely pulled out of positioning. Footwork will be an area to monitor, as his edgework, pivots and skating stride are his biggest development need. Should be fair to expect him to come into Barrie and play within the Colts top 4 right off the bat."

40. North Bay Battalion - Hampus Olsson - Forward
With Vincent Praplan heading back to Europe, the Battalion had an opening to take the massive Olsson. At 6'5, 210lbs, he certainly fits the mold of a Stan Butler player. They must be hoping that Olsson can form part of an excellent checking line with fellow Swede Alex Henriksson. As a '95, Olsson is likely a one year and done player. He did play part of this year against men in the Allsvenskan (Swedish 2nd league).
Scouting Report: Sean Lafortune says, "An undrafted 95 born skater who will bring size and intensity to the Battalion's lineup. Not an outwardly flashy possession player, but takes hard routes to the net, protects the puck well in and is extremely tenacious on the cycle. Not a possession player, yet does pack a fairly lethal snapshot that can be lethal from the slot. Smart, positions himself intelligently and is quick to identify opportunities to finish plays. Willing to set up in front of the net and take a physical pounding to create offense. A bit of a plodding skater, the transition to the CHL may be a positive one for him, as he'll have less space to manage. Projects as a top 6 forward who should add some depth to a fairly underrated forward group." Our second anonymous Euro scout says, "Very good size.., strong and powerful.. works ok, a bit inconsistent in his efforts.. likes to get involved with his body and play a rather assertive game.. effective down low with his big, heavy frame.. drives to the net at times.. average skater, lacks some agility and speed is just ok from a quite short stride.. decision making and offensive skill is limited, lacks ability to finish of plays and make plays around the net."

43. Kingston Frontenacs - Juho Lammikko - Forward
The Fronts have had some good luck with Finnish players in recent years so they take Lammikko, a rugged winger who was a 3rd round pick of the Florida Panthers this NHL draft. He had a terrific U-18 tournament this year, leading the team in scoring. And he also played a good chunk of this year with Assat of the Finnish main league. At 6'2, 190lbs, the Fronts have to be hoping he can add some size and scoring punch to their top 9, something only Lawson Crouse really did last year.
Scouting Report: ISS scout Steve Cocker says, "The Assat product and Florida Panthers prospect Lammikko showed incredible consistency and upward trend throughout the past season. He possesses strong tools on both sides of the puck and determination to be a factor in all situations. He has developing offensive weapons with good hands, a heavy shot and a knack for producing in the slot as he utilizes his size and powerful frame to earn time and space. Displays a strong, powerful stride to navigate his way into the offensive zone with good possession and protection game. Juho is a driven forward who wants to make a difference whether on the scoresheet or doing what it takes defensively. Look for him to fill roles with Finland U20 in Lake Placid this August and potentially be a member of the returning U20 Champions in Montreal this Christmas." Our anonymous Euro scout says, "His shot and decent scoring touch is his best assets. Hard wrist shot with nice release and has nose for the net. Plays with determination around the net and takes pounding in front of net, drives the net. Solid effort at both sides and works for pucks in battles along the boards. Uses big body well, fairly strong on puck and willing to take hit. Average skater, good balance but not much of speed, acceleration, quickness. Not creative and won´t ooze you with his puck skills or hands. In my opinion one of several questionable second/third round pick from Europe in recent NHL draft(others: Masin, Bergman, Rod, Lintuniemi, Vaněček)." Future Considerations had Lammikko ranked 120th this year and had this to say about him, "Does not have any problems with the physical game. He is not overly active hitting opponents, however, he gets involved in the corners. He shows good vision on the power play, making skilled and smart passes. His shooting is solid as well; shots from surprising spots and does not hesitate to go to the net. He has really soft hands and good coordination. Lammikko knows where to be on the ice offensively. Defensively he does a solid job and shows a good compete level. His skating is something that could improve as he does not look overly fast or agile. His balance is excellent though."

46. Oshawa Generals - Tobias Lindberg - Forward
A 4th rounder by the Ottawa Senators in 2013, Lindberg didn't have the greatest year in Sweden this year. He repeated the same league (J20) and actually saw a decrease in his goal production. He also saw less time with the men's team in the Allsvenskan. The 6'3 forward apparently has a terrific skill set, but the may not have the head to use it. A move to the OHL seems like a smart one for him as he tries to earn a contract from Ottawa. The Generals will certainly give him a chance as they attempt to replace the likes of Scott Laughton and Dylan Smoskowitz.
Scouting Report: Sean Lafortune says, "A big, powerful winger who injects physicality, Lindbrerg should add a healthy compete level and secondary scoring to the Generals lineup. A tireless and tenacious winger with a flair to getting the inside track on defenders and winning battles for the puck. Plays brave, crashes the crease, takes pucks to the net and creates offense by utilizing his frame and puck protection skills. Not a pure playmaker, he will operate best with a playmaker who can create offense. Adding strength and working on his footwork and agility will be areas to look at this year. Will be playing for an NHL contract in Oshawa this year." Our second anonymous Euro scout says, "Tall with a decent frame.. works, is physical and plays a assertive and determined game on some shifts but can be quiet and a non factor on other shifts.. attitude and discipline has been a concern – has shown a tendency to taking bad penalties and his body language can be questionable.. strong and effective in battles/along the boards when being on his game.. not a smooth skater and feets are a bit off but got good balance and speed as he gets going.. got some solid skill, sees the ice ok and can make decent moves and plays at high speed.. responsible and plays a solid 2 way game."

49. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - Gustav Bouramman - Defense
If Darnell Nurse cracks the Oilers this year, it's not a bad idea to have some additional depth on the back-end. Especially a guy who can run the powerplay, which Bouramann potentially can. The 6'0, '97 born defender, is a talented offensive blueliner who played for Sweden at this year's U-17's.
Scouting Report: The scouts at Future Considerations say, "Bouramman shows some impressive offensive skill, including great hand speed and elusiveness with the puck. He is a very quick skater with good foot-speed and acceleration up the wing. He handles the puck well and has the ability to beat players as he rushes the puck up the ice. He makes good first passes to clear the zone and doesn’t take much time to move it. He plays with plenty of grit and toughness in his own end. He isn't huge but he packs a heavy punch and makes some solid body-contact. He makes smart reads on defense and plays aggressively, but keeps his position." Sean Lafortune says, "Bouramman is a quick, agile defender who is extremely dangerous in possession. Reaches top speed with just a few powerful strides, he possesses sharp offensive instincts, breaking down plays and assessing. Has a knack for knowing when to join the attack and when to pivot back. Makes smart outlets and distributes the puck intuitively, will stretch the ice, but is not his primary goal. More of a stick to puck defender, yet he can show engagement down low, engaging physically and initiating contact. Will still need to continue to add defensive structure to his game, as he has a tenancy to play a run and gun style. Will get pulled out of position, over pursing in the defensive zone and loosing focus. While he has some rough areas to his game, it’s fair to expect a defender who will take a regular shift and positively impact the powerplay, while also giving them more depth in case the team loses Edmonton Oilers draft pick Darnell Nurse." Our second anonymous Euro scout says, "decent size..skinny.. needs to add power and strength to his frame.. defends ok but got inconsistent compete level..lacks assertiveness, tends to get too passive at times.. not a physical or hard guy to play against.. relies mostly on his smarts and stick.. good skater/feet.. moves really well on his skates.. highly skilled with the puck, smooth.. moves the puck well out of his zone.. likes to hang on to puck waiting for a play to develop.. accurate shot.. crafty, good vision and poise.. high risk/high reward type of player."

52. London Knights - Julius Bergman - Defense
The Knights, hoping to grab a high impact player, opt for an older one in Bergman. A '95, Bergman is likely a one year player for the Knights but he should help to run the team's powerplay and provide more defensive depth with the losses of Bell, Basso, and Austin. And if Zadorov makes Buffalo for good this time, he might have to assume a role on the club's top pairing. Bergman was a 2nd round pick of San Jose this year, so they'll likely be happy he's playing in the OHL after Chris Tierney's development as a prospect in London.
Scouting Report: Future considerations had Bergman ranked 90th for this year's draft and had this to say about him, "Provides a physical presence out on the ice. Good along the boards and stands up well to incoming opponents along the blueline. His game from juniors translated fluidly to Swedish pro last year, no major changes to his style of play. Generates solid scoring chances by following the play up the ice after turnovers in the neutral zone. Impressive instincts, he knows when a scoring chance is about to present itself and jumps on the opportunity. His crisp passing game one of his best assets." Our anonymous Euro scout hasn't seen Bergman in a year, but did have this to say about his game previous to that point, "“Puck moving D is very good with the puck but d-zone coverage and skating mobility average at best. Smart moving the puck, passes are both firm and soft, moves puck quickly and accurately, has very good vision. Excels in transition game, reads the play very well and makes creative break out passes out of zone. Nice puck skills, hands. Likes to join the rush occasionally or jump into the play. Rarely used on PP here but has ability to play as QB on the point, moves the puck quickly, can make creative cross-ice sets-up, sees passing lanes well. Defensive game and skating need lots of refining. Looked heavier on his skates, beaten a few times 1 on 1, caught flat-footed, foot work and foot speed is ?. Needs to take the body regularly and read the play better in own zone." Sean Lafortune says, "An agile, lively skater who generates a sharp acceleration burst from a wide stride, he plays a safe, smart two way game. Not blessed with elite offense tools yet shows an ability to play a safe, secure offensive game. More of a puck manager versus a pure offensive defender, he manages the game intuitively from the back end. Showed substantial improvement in his defensive structure, no longer chasing pucks and getting pulled out of possession, will patiently await forwards to enter the zone before forcing him to the outside. Should play significant minutes for the Knights this year for a Knights team that has lost a significant amount of depth on the back-end."

55. Erie Otters - Anton Karlsson - Forward
Erie returns to Sweden again this year, taking another highly scouted and NHL drafted Swedish player. Karlsson was a 3rd round pick of the Coyotes this year and was an assistant captain with Team Sweden at this year's U-18's. He's a hard working winger who can likely replace a lot of the things Michael Curtis brought to the team last year.
Scouting Report: ISS scout Steve Cocker says, "Despite a lacklustre U18 World Championships for Sweden based on his standards, Anton Karlsson proved his compete, battle and physical dominance on a consistent basis with Frölunda U20 this season. The Arizona Coyotes prospect can be an absolute beast along the wall as he lowers his shoulder and drives to the net while playing that North-South style. He does excellent work on the PP as he plants himself in the slot and is next to impossible to move for opposition defenders. Expect him to come into the OHL and quickly acclimate himself to the game as he is known to be a physically imposing forward who thrives in a crash and bang game." Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Enigma for me. Excellent physical tools and good skills but where is toolbox? Smooth skater with fluid stride, balance. Good speed but lacks ability to shift gears, uses one speed, doesn´t create separation. Controls the puck well both off the rush and in tight areas. Protects the puck well, tough to separate off the puck. Big, strong, finishes some checks but not very intense and physical, uses size to protect puck down low but doesn´t win enough battles along the boards. Intensity is lacking, passion, desire is ?. A bit of playmaking skills and has good passing touch(including ability to make backhand passes) but hardly seen on puck for longer periods, anticipation and ability to get puck on the fly is?. Decent effort backchecking though." Future Considerations had Karlsson ranked 35th this year and had this to say about him, "A solid two-way winger who never quits on a play and competes very hard in all three zones. Karlsson is an excellent skater, and he has good top speed and reaches it quickly. He’s not afraid to use his strong balance to muscle himself straight to the net. Shooting wise, Karlsson’s biggest asset is his quick release. He could work on both his slap shot and wrist shot; he’s good at quickly getting them off, but their accuracy and velocity is not great. Makes good, simple passes, but lacks creativity. He is strong and physical on the walls, playing a tough, gritty game and showing no fear in getting involved. He closes off lanes on the forecheck, and does a good job getting back quickly on defense to block a shot or clog the lanes in his own end. He is strong on the puck and makes good, simple plays off the rush. Strong on the cycle game and keeps pressure with possession down low. He gives a good effort in the physical game, finishing checks and using his size, but he sometimes goes out of position to make a hit."

73. Mississauga Steelheads - Lukas Haudum - Forward
With the selection of Haudum, the Steelheads now have the rights to three Import players. They released the rights to Artem Rasulov, but retained Sam Babintsev. Should Nylander report, Haudum and Babintsev will battle it out for a spot. If he doesn't, it would appear that Haudum and Babintsev can both stay. Haudum is an Austrian forward who led their U-18 in goal scoring this year. A '97 born, he's eligible for the NHL draft in 2015.
Scouting Report: HF's Chapin Landvogt says, "Lukas Haudum is not particularly big, but just had a pretty good year for Linz' U18 and U20 teams. I can't say how much buzz there is about him in Austria, but he had a pretty strong D1B U18 tournament and I know that a number of CHL and USHL scouts do visit those tournaments nowadays. I'd have to assume he was spotted there and that someone heard about him through connections in the Austrian hockey scene, likely through one of the many Canadians that coach or manage there. Expect Lukas Haudum - if he heads over - to be a bit like Maximilian Kammerer for the Regina Pats (who put up 5 points this past year, but had a terrific U-18 tournament)."

85. Peterborough Petes - Artyom Vladimirov - Defense
As mentioned, the Petes have some holes on defense so they use their 2nd Import pick on a defender too. Vladimirov is a 6'4 Russian defender who served as an assistant captain on their U-17 team this year. He was also a 1st round pick in the KHL draft this year.
Scouting Report: Alessandro Seren Rosso says, "A big defensive defenseman with good discipline, doesn’t play overly aggressive and never had problems with PIMs. He doesn’t join the rush and isn’t much of an offensive threat, he definitely has to improve his offensive skills, he can be a good player at junior level, we’ll see what he can do as a pro he might lack some offensive skills to actually succeed, at least at NHL level."

91. Sudbury Wolves - Ivan Kashtanov - Forward
While Sudbury took the assistant, the Wolves opt for the captain of the Russian U-17 team. Kashtanov is a stocky winger who was the 5th overall pick in this year's KHL draft. The Wolves have gotten pretty good production of their Euro's in recent years so they must be hoping Jenys and Kashtanov can team to play inside their top 9.
Scouting Report: Our anonymous Euro scout says, "Undersized but very thick body, very strong and mature physically, strong legs, strong on skates. Upside is due to it questionable, not sure if there is much space for improvement. Good hands/stick, good skill level. However maks plenty of individual plays, keeps the puck too long on stick. Not great speed, agile but lacks separation gear and average foot speed. Good puck control in tight and protects the puck fairly well. Soft touch on his passes. A bit feisty occasionally." Alessandro Seren Rosso says, "The most talented player of the bunch, one of the best prospects for 97 year. He’s not tall, but is very solid, great puck skills, skating, technique. He can score and mostly plays the off wing. A good goal scorer, but can pass the puck too and isn’t a liability on defense, he actually tries to get back and tries always hard. A very solid pick, but it’s yet to be seen if he’ll report. He’s also a leader and has been captain of his teams in several occasions, but needs to play more of a team game."

103. Kingston Frontenacs - Jarkko Parikka - Defense
The Fronts appear to have made a very shrewd pick here, taking Parikka a 6'0 '97 born defender. He's already adjusted to playing in North America after suiting up for Des Moines of the USHL this year. It's not common for a 16/17 year old defender to see regular ice time in that league, so that alone is impressive. He should be able to play a role for the team this year.
Scouting Report: ISS scout Matt Grainda says, " Parikka plays a nice two-way game and likely has upside onboth the offensive and defensive ends. He is a very smooth skater with excellent mobility in all directions with and without the puck. His hockey vision is solid and allows him to make a quality first pass coming out of his own end. Parikka knows where the puck needs to go and makes sure it gets there. He displays some physical tendencies down low in his own zone and has a nice active stick. He likes to get the puck on net with quickness when the opportunity to shoot comes around. Parikka displays solid communication with other teammates while calling for shots and passes. He is able to lead the breakout on the power play from the back end, showing his on-ice awareness and situational reads. He has developed his physical strength and it shows in his defensive play." Sean Lafortune says, "A smart, strong skating defender with good agility, Parikka is a heady, offensive minded defender who can add offensive depth to a squad. Thrives orchestrating on the powerplay, loves to attack and push the play. Effective on the powerplay, walking the line, heads up and assessing. Can be a bit to offensive minded at times, as he can take undue risks when attempting to jumpstart offense, but the tools are there. While he shouldn't be expected to be impactful right off the bat, he has the tools to be a serviceable OHL defender who can add offense to a team’s backend."

106. Oshawa Generals - Sonny Hertzberg - Defense
Last year the Generals took an offensive defenseman in the import draft hoping that he could help run their powerplay. Unfortunately the Jimi Kuronen experiment was a failure. This year they take Hertzberg, a 6'2 defender from Denmark who has been playing in Sweden. He was the top defenseman on the U-20 team that qualified for the main division this coming year and was the highest scoring defenseman at the tournament. I guess we'll see.
Scouting Report: HF's Chapin Landvogt says, "He's a Danish kid who has pretty decent size. Already 19, he had a real good year for the very talent-rich Frolunda program (check out my Swedish review of the draft at HF). He's not a big offensive weapon, but he's smart and been clearly coached pretty well along the line. He was a +35 this season. He also did really well with four points in five U20 D1A contests as Denmark's top defenseman at that tourney. He should be part of Denmark's WJC team this winter. Lefty shot. He's been in Sweden for at least four years now, so he's not your typical Danish player at this point." Our second anonymous Euro scout says, "Solid size on a decent frame.. competitive, assertive - goes in to situations with speed.. not overly physical but battles and defends well down low, good active stick.. good awareness, moves his head and picks up his guy.. good skater, strong on his feet, got solid speed and moves fine laterally and skating backwards.. barely average with the puck overall, can be ok at times with the puck but tends to turn pucks over under pressure and can miss simple passes too often."

112 - London Knights - Daniil Miromanov - Forward
Not your typical import pick, as Miromanov played major midget in Ontario this year (with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens). The 6'2 forward was the 3rd leading scorer on that team. If Nikita Zadorov is returned from Buffalo, it's not likely we'll see Miromanov in a Knights' uniform. But if he sticks, Miromanov will be thrown into the Hunters' blender for 4th line ice time.
Scouting Report: Sean Lafortune says, "A cerebral offensive presence for one of the top Midget programs in Ontario. Playing his first season in Ontario after moving from his native Russia for a higher level of competition. Displays good athleticism, nifty stickhandler able to make quick, skilled plays in traffic. Protects the puck, exploiting a tall, lanky frame. Best weapon is a crisp wristshot and snapshot that he can unload in top gear. Textbook smart, yet prone to lapses in decision making. Can be Jekyll and hide at times, dominating one shift and reluctant to compete the next. Must continue to upgrade his battle intensity and overall focus. Projects as a high end offensive forward, one who can play a top six role while adding that rare ability to finish plays. With the Knights loosing Tim Bender and potentially Nikita Zadarov, Miromanov could slip into the Knights bottom 6 forward core and develop into a fairly valuable import, it’s just a matter if he will get that opportunity."

115. Erie Otters - Igor Vladykovsky - Forward
The Otters had an extra Import pick to use because Andre Burakovsky is an NHL first rounder. They used it on Vladykovsky, a '95 born Russian who played in the NAHL last year with Springfield. It's pretty likely he never sees time in an Erie uniform as it seems pretty likely that the Otters will be rolling with Burakovsky and Karlsson this year.
Scouting Report: No joke, I must have talked to a dozen scouts who cover the USHL/NAHL and not a single one had notes on him. If he wasn't listed as playing in the NAHL last year, I would have thought that the Otters had made him up. EDIT, someone knows him! Alessandro Seren Rosso says, "Never been a top player in Russia he tried crossing the pond to improve his stock and get some NA experience. I didn’t see last year, but maybe he had some adaptation problems or something similar because he’s capable to be better than 5 points in a season. He has a decent frame and a good touch, but it’s a long way for him to have a successful pro career, even if he has a good nose for the net."


Anonymous said...

im confused. Sean lafortune has always been adamant that he doesnt scout from video but he has given his scouting reports on players at the U17s when he was not at the U17s this past season. im happy to see his reports but why the contradiction?

Brock Otten said...

That's my bad. That bit on Sean was copy and pasted from my intro to last year's Import Review, where Sean was at the U-17's. This year, he was simply providing me information based on what he's gathered from team scouts and other contacts. Sorry for the confusion. Hope you enjoyed the article.

Anonymous said...

k cool i know He said He went before but remember him saying not this year. i really enjoyed the article im glad so many great experts are willing to add their input its a great feature