What higher strategy to begin the second half of the NHL season than to reply some readers? The world of prospects is all the time filled with questions and uncertainty, so it presents an amazing alternative to make a mailbag.
I requested you on Twitter about your prospect and NHL draft questions, and also you all responded (with questions), so let’s get to it.
From Grind Line Podcast: Why will Carter Mazur be a high six ahead within the NHL?
Prime six is perhaps aggressive, however Mazur has developed at a formidable fee within the NCAA since being drafted seventieth general within the 2021 NHL draft. After placing 38 factors in 41 video games for the College of Denver in serving to them to a nationwide title. He then joined Staff USA on the world juniors this previous summer time, scoring 5 objectives in 5 video games whereas being acknowledged as certainly one of his group’s finest gamers.
Whereas he’s a bit off his tempo from final 12 months in complete scoring, he has already exceeded his aim complete, scoring 17 in 26 video games thus far. Mazur is developing massive as a aim scorer, sitting second in faculty hockey. His help numbers are approach down this 12 months, which is a trigger for concern as a result of it is not usually a participant can succeed as a pure scorer until they’re on the elite degree, and Mazur is not fairly there.
Mazur might be an efficient backside six scorer who can contribute on the ability play. He has nice arms across the internet and understands find out how to discover some gentle spots within the offensive zone.
By Malcolm Ert: Which right-handed defenseman ought to the Canucks goal with the first-round choose they get within the Andrei Kuzmekno deal?
Vancouver strikes a participant for a primary spherical draft choose? Do not need to say who they transfer their first spherical choose for?
In actuality, the Canucks definitely look set to maneuver a few of their pending unrestricted free brokers, and the first-year Russian NHLer ought to be amongst these gamers, even when it was dialogue available in the market in regards to the group re-signing Kuzmenko. Assuming the commerce route is the place the Canadians go, there are two methods this might go down. They may look to get a draft choose, or they might look to seize a youthful participant.
Sticking with a defenseman such as you needed, he may go nearly anyplace within the draft. The 2023 NHL draft is not loaded with expertise, however some proper defensemen might be chosen. If the choose is a bit of increased on the board, a two-way defenseman who excels along with his skating, like Axel Sandin-Pellikka, might be the choose. They may look to seize David Reinbacher, a rising title within the prospect world who has a ton of instruments and dimension however appears like a little bit of a projection. Names like Oliver Bonk, Cameron Allen and Aram Minnetian may additionally work their approach into the dialog.
In the event that they go for younger drafted defensemen, some contender choices may embrace Vegas’ Kaedan Korczak or Los Angeles’ Jordan Spence by way of younger NHLers. Prospects that make sense in a bundle embrace Mason Lohrei from Boston, Roman Schmidt from the Lightning or Scott Morrow from Carolina.
From DSto: Might you see 14-year-old Nela Lopusanova being drafted by a CHL group in a couple of years?
It is a fascinating query. Lopusanova is likely one of the most prolific scorers on the U-16 Slovakian males’s degree, operating at a 3.1 points-per-game clip, good for fourth all-time for a participant 14 or underneath. She is a really skilled ahead who has proven the power to play towards males her age and excel.
Lopusanova put herself on the world map after main the Girls’s World Beneath-18 Championship in scoring as a 14-year-old, placing collectively one of the spectacular spotlight reels of any match in recent times. She scored one of the fluid “Michigan” objectives I’ve ever seen, and she or he routinely made defenders look foolish with the puck on her stick.
As for the unique query, will a CHL group contemplate bringing in Lopusanova? I do not know if it is going to occur, sadly. We have seen younger girls like Eve Gascon play video games within the CHL in recent times, however typically it has been goaltenders who get the chance. I hope the success of gamers like Gascon may give CHL squads the boldness to attempt to add a participant like Lopusanova. Nevertheless, sadly it’s unlikely.
From Rob: I see important disparities in varied rankings with smaller forwards like Jayden Perron, Gavin Brindley and William Whitelaw, every thing from the highest 15 to exterior the highest 50. What are the vital standards you utilize to gauge whether or not somebody can prosper the NHL?
It is a nice query and one I attempt to reply initially of my draft rankings to present some context as to why I favor sure gamers over others in comparison with different public analysts.
The primary issues I search for in a participant are intelligence, mobility, ability and the power to make gamers round them higher. Physics is efficacious however usually overrated as a result of hitting something that strikes is commonly a nasty determination. Useful health is the secret. You’ll be able to hit one other participant all you need, but when it is a second after a cross is made otherwise you’re simply hitting a man with no intention of getting the puck again, it is ineffective and infrequently takes you out of the sport to the purpose that it’s detrimental to your group’s success.
Actually, dimension is much less vital to me than others if the participant exhibits tendencies that will lead me to imagine they will get previous it (suppose Brayden Level). You need to see them set up physique place in board battles, hold themselves on the proper aspect of the puck and pressure their opponents into errors with their velocity and ability. Moreover, suppose a participant is 6-foot-6 however cannot skate. In that case, I am much less inclined to fee that participant as a result of peak would not equal expertise. Large will not be all the time good.
De Miguel: Contemplating the Sharks doubtless drafted a defenseman within the early second spherical, who do you suppose suits? I like Sandin-Pellikka and Reinbacher, however I can not see both of them going that far, sadly.
Hoping that the Sharks (or any group) will goal a particular place within the second spherical is a little bit of a idiot’s errand. What if the draft falls a bit of otherwise than anticipated, they usually goal that place earlier, or a participant they fee as a top-15 choose falls to choose 45?
That mentioned, this 12 months’s early second spherical might be the candy spot for defensemen. The 2023 NHL draft is a bit of weaker on the again finish with regards to sure first-rounders, however there might be some high-end blueliners to go within the late first or early second.
Caden Worth and David Reinbacher are extremely helpful. They might be long-term initiatives leading to a high-quality top-four defenseman. Luca Cagnoni and Tanner Molendyk have been fairly spectacular transition blueliners who’re nice skaters and might be fascinating initiatives. Cam Allen and Lukas Dragicevic have their followers and have been hyped as first-rounders at instances, however they’ve evident flaws pushing them down. This makes them fascinating choices if a group thinks they might repair or handle these flaws.
From Xavier: Who’re your high 10 offensive defensemen but to crack the NHL?
The sort of questions is all the time among the many most fascinating. Can we outline “cracking the NHL” as a participant enjoying one sport or securing a long-term function? Are we capturing for a clear sweep or a stability of chance to succeed in the NHL and discover success?
For this train, I will contemplate nearly any participant who hasn’t established themselves as a full-time NHLer (Brandt Clarke nonetheless counts). We are going to attempt to stability a participant’s likelihood of reaching the NHL and their benefit to be one of the best they might be.
So with out additional ado, right here is my arbitrary rating of offensive defensemen but to crack the NHL.
- Luke Hughes
- Brandt Clarke
- Pavel Mintyukov
- Olen Zellweger
- Simon Nemec
- Kevin Korchinski
- David Jiricek
- Scott Morrow
- Lane Hutson
- Denton Mateychuk