Sometimes, it’s not until late in the draft where you’ll find some of the best players. This has been the case for Ottawa a few times, with Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel and others all being drafted outside the top 100. Some of the NHL’s best don’t get picked until late either, such as Jamie Benn (129), Joe Pavelski (205) and Henrik Zetterberg (210) all falling back for one reason or another.
With the 2017 NHL Entry Draft beginning tomorrow, we wrap up our draft preview by looking at five forwards projected to go in the later rounds, with the potential to be a diamond in the rough.
As of now, the Senators own only two picks after the first two rounds, (#121 and #183), although more could be acquired between now and then.
Linus Nyman, Kingston Frontenacs - LW
|2013-14||Jokerit U16||Jr. C SM-sarja Q||9||11||7||18||4|
|Jokerit U16||Jr. C SM-sarja||32||13||37||50||18||Playoffs||9||5||9||14||12|
|2014-15||Jokerit U16||Jr. C SM-sarja||8||12||10||22||0|
|Jokerit U18||Jr. B SM-sarja||36||13||20||33||26||Playoffs||10||1||2||3||2|
|Finland U16 (all)||International-Jr||9||6||5||11||0||4|
|2015-16||Jokerit U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||43||13||23||36||12||30||Playoffs||2||2||0||2||2||0|
|Finland U18 (all)||International-Jr||4||3||4||7||2||2|
|2016-17||Finland U18||Hlinka Memorial||4||3||4||7||2||2|
Spending most of his junior career with the Jokerit franchise in Finland, Linus Nyman put up points while being praised for his two-way game. Listed at 5’9” and 158 lbs, though, he’s undersized and gets caught losing pucks battles because of how he gets knocked around. His biggest asset, however, is his speed, which could make him a worthwhile gamble for NHL teams.
Entering the CHL import draft, Nyman joined the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. Despite playing mostly behind fellow left winger Jason Robertson (Silver Seven’s mock draft selection), Nyman brought his game to a new level, recording 26 goals and 24 assists to lead all OHL rookies in goal scoring. His scoring continued into the playoffs as well (7 goals in 11 games), capping off his season with a nomination for rookie of the year. Nyman has also impressed internationally, leading team Finland in scoring at the Hlinka Memorial tournament and grabbing a silver medal as a key contributor at the U18 world juniors. One thing to note about Nyman is that he’s also young, which gives him an edge when adjusting for age (he won’t turn 18 until next month).
Fit with the Sens:
With a player with as high an upside as Nyman, he has the making of a potential steal. Although he’ll have to really bulk up, these types of traits can be worked upon. The Sens succeeded in the past with building up players’ strength (see Karlsson, Erik), which should make him a great future contributor for the organization.
(Double, you get to see some more Jason Robertson!)
Jonas Røndbjerg, Växjö Lakers HC J20 - RW
Although he has the potential to go in the top two or three rounds (Bob McKenzie recently projected him at spot #80), we couldn’t pass up profiling Røndbjerg. Hailing from Denmark, Røndbjerg was touted as a star in his native land, being moved up to their top professional league at age 15. His nationality also had him make the U20 world junior team at 16 years old; quite the exposure for such a young player.
Moving over to the more competitive league system in Sweden, Røndbjerg didn’t exactly light up the score sheet. He was never known for his scoring in Denmark either, in fact, since he’s best praised for his defensive two-way abilities. He positions himself smartly, and is very effective when it comes to making transitions through the neutral zone. His 31 points in 42 games in the SuperElit league is still impressive, although it masks the real value that Røndbjerg provides.
Fit with the Sens:
Røndbjerg’s defensive acumen as a right winger is uncommon, which should definitely draw the attention of some scouts and general managers in the mid rounds. Should he come to North America in a year or two, he could have the chance to learn from one of the best players that plays a similar style: Mark Stone. It could be the perfect learning experience for the young Dane, and could provide excellent value, especially if he falls to the Sens in the fourth round.
Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers - C
|2011-12||Lloydminster Heat Bantam AAA||AMBHL||28||7||19||26||42||Playoffs||9||4||2||6||8|
|2012-13||Lloydminster Heat Bantam AAA||AMBHL||31||20||66||86||66||Playoffs||3||5||2||7||10|
|2013-14||Lloydminster Bobcats Midget AAA||AMHL||31||17||33||50||42|
|2014-15||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||23||3||6||9||13||4|
|Canada Red U17||WHC-17||5||0||1||1||2|
|2015-16||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||67||17||43||60||72||-3|
|2016-17||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||71||27||67||94||57||12||Playoffs||11||0||12||12||16||0|
|2012-13||Team Northeast||Alberta Cup||5||2||2||4||8|
|2016-17||WHL All-Stars||Jr Super Series||2||0||0||0||0||0|
At first glance, looking at just his scoring totals, you would think Mason Shaw is a top ten pick in the draft. However, he’s a bit of a mixed bag prospect, who although comes with risks, has the potential for a very high reward. As you can probably tell by his statistics, Mason Shaw is an offensively gifted player. He has quick hands that he uses to maneuver around defenders, and a pass that sets up his linemates at even strength and on the power play. However, as you’ve probably guessed, he’s very undersized, standing at 5’8” and 173 lbs. He plays a lot around the perimeter, which is why he is where he is in the draft rankings. Many GMs believe this type of play won’t be able to translate well to the NHL, as the defence at the higher levels become a lot tighter. The vision and skill is there, but there’s still some cause for concern.
As stated, Shaw’s offensive numbers are good. Really good. Like, up there with the top five picks. He tied for 7th in WHL scoring (tied with Cody Glass) and 5th in assists this past season, and played big minutes on a Medicine Hat Tigers team that finished second in the regular season standings. He played a ton on the power play, and brought his playmaking ability to the playoffs where he registered a dozen assists in eleven games. The same question remains though: will his style of play be able to translate to the NHL?
Fit with the Sens:
Risk vs reward is always a tricky balancing act, and as both sides grow larger, it becomes more difficult to make a decision. Although the Senators don’t have much need for a playmaking centre in the system (Logan Brown is in the same category despite the size difference), the potential of grabbing a star player with a late pick could be hard to pass up for Pierre Dorion and company.
Zach Solow, Dubuque Fighting Saints - C
|2013-14||St. Louis AAA Blues U16||T1EHL U16||37||13||12||25||12|
|Dubuque Fighting Saints||USHL||39||8||17||25||14||14||Playoffs||12||1||3||4||4||2|
|2016-17||Dubuque Fighting Saints||USHL||56||18||51||69||42||17||Playoffs||8||1||4||5||4||-4|
At 5’10, 180lbs, Zach Solow fits Colin and I’s philosophy: if you’re drafting prospects, identify those with top-six/top-four skill first and ask other questions later. Solow led the USHL in points this year — an achievement shared by top players like Jaden Schwartz and Kyle Connor in addition to a bunch of ‘misses’. In addition, Solow was named USA Hockey’s Junior Player of the Year, but is still ranked as a 6th/7th ranked player. Why? It’s hard to say! Most scouting reports identify his size as his main weakness, but note that he has a strong lower body that helps him win puck battles down low to go along with his terrific playmaking ability.
In addition to leading the USHL in points (69) and assists (51) as a first-time draft eligible forward, Solow also put up 4 points in the World Junior A Challenge and secured a position at Northeastern University next year. Solow was one of only 20 players to be above PPG in scoring, and finished second to consensus T10 pick Casey Middlestadt in PPG. Importantly, Solow also ranked 13th in adjusted primary points per game among ALL draft eligible players this season.
Fit with the Sens:
A playmaking right-shot centre is something that is valuable, especially when most Sens forwards having a better shot than playmaking ability with the exception of Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan. Solow could also play RW, a needed position that only features Gabriel Gagne (and potentially Colin White) in the organizational depth chart at the moment. Solow appears as a high-impact forward that could be had with a 6th round pick — a steal for someone with his credentials.
Joel Teasdale, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada - C
|2012-13||Mortagne Grand Ducs Bantam AAA||QBAAA||33||22||14||36||10||Playoffs||2||2||1||3||0|
|2013-14||Mortagne Noir et Or Bantam AAA||QBAAA||-||-||-||-||-|
|2014-15||Collège Antoine-Girouard Gaulois||QMAAA||29||8||13||21||14||-9|
|Canada Red U17||WHC-17||6||3||3||6||2|
|2008-09||Montreal Ice Storm||Brick Invitational||5||1||1||2||2|
|Team Québec Blue||QGC-16||5||4||2||6||0|
I often try to shy away from comparisons, but Joel Teasdale’s season reminds me of Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s. In his second QMJHL year, Teasdale (12th ov - QMJHL draft) ranked second amongst the surprising Blainville-Boisbriand Armada squad with 47 points in 60 games while playing against top competition. At 5’11, 200lbs, Teasdale is ranked as a 4th rounder and may go as high as the third round after a strong playoff performance. According to Future Considerations, Teasdale is a strong two-way player, but unlike Pageau, his skating and strength needs a bit of work:
A smart player who sees the ice very well…reliable at both ends of the rink and has the creativity and awareness to be a key offensive contributor…agile skater who gets from point A to point B in good time…has good quick hands and can skillfully make difficult plays in order to create offensive chances…has good tempo to his game and has the passion to compete consistently…protects the puck well and has good offensive instincts…a great hockey mind to find gaps between defensemen and use this open spaces to his advantage…possesses a decent shot that he can consistently use to hit his target…takes the puck to the net and fights through traffic on the way…trusted by his coaches in all situations and used in critical times when the game is on the line…hard on the forecheck and pressures the oppositions defense quickly leading to numerous turnovers…if he can improve his skating and strength he could develop into a very strong two-way pro player. (November 2016)
After putting up solid regular season point totals, Teasdale was a big reason why the Armada made it to the QMJHL Finals — putting up 15 points in 18 games. A trusted forward who wins puck battles, Teasdale was placed on a scoring line with CBJ first rounder Pierre-Luc Dubois in the second half of the season, which may have inflated his numbers. However, his highly ranked hockey sense and ability to play in all situations as a draft eligible forward is intriguing.
Fit with the Sens:
Unlike some of the other boom/bust prospects featured in this piece, Teasdale projects as a safer depth forward with potential offensive upside. Much like Pageau, the perfect scenario is a checking winger with the ability to fill in on L2 if needed, but forwards with high hockey IQ are always needed. As Sens head scout Trent Mann is based in the Q — a league where the Sens often select at least one player -- Teasdale is likely on the radar and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a 4th round selection.
Which of the five profiled players would you like the Sens to draft most?
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