NHL Draft Review: Atlantic Division

Introduction

Welcome to Part 3 of my four-part NHL Draft Reviews where I’ll be reviewing and grading every team at the 2020 Draft. Up today in Part 3 is the Atlantic Division teams!

I started this series by just writing my opinion on each pick in the draft but figured half-way in I should add some sort of quantifiable element to better understand each team’s draft pick value heading into the draft as well as how they fared compared to my rankings. So, this piece should read mostly as an opinionated write-up mixed in with some numbers.

Methodology

Evaluating Each Pick

For these reviews and grades, I tried to be mindful of value and based my assessments on what teams got versus the value of the picks they had. Obviously, I can’t be too hard on a team like the Bruins who came in with such little draft capital– nobody expected them to bring in a good haul. So, I decided to do my analysis on a pick-by-pick basis, and when analyzing a draft class as a whole, more weight was attributed to higher draft slots as the importance of those selections is much higher, often making or breaking a team’s prospect pool.

GSVA

To quantify draft pick value for each pick and the total value of each team’s picks, I used numbers from Dom Luszczyszyn of the Athletic in the article “By the numbers: Revisiting the true value of a draft pick“. Using his GSVA (game score value added) model, the draft values he derived measure the average number of wins a draft pick at that spot will provide his team over the first 7 seasons (how long the player is on team control). So, when you see GSVA commonly used in the article, it’s just to give you an idea of what that draft pick is worth as well as contextualizing it into actual NHL value. The value of a draft pick starts off at 17.5 GSVA for the first overall pick and diminishes to 0.1 by the last pick of the draft.

My Rankings in GSVA

I took GSVA a step further and assigned each of my top 62 ranked players (Ben’s Top 62 + Thoughts and Predictions!) the draft spot GSVA value that corresponds with that ranking. So, if I had a player ranked #32 on my list, they’d get a GSVA value of 2.7, which is the valuation for the 32nd overall pick. If a team took that player at spot #52, which has a GSVA of 1.5, then they’d be getting a surplus of +1.2 GSVA relative to my rankings. It’s not the be-all, end-all of rating systems but it does show how teams performed relative to my rankings. Since I only ranked 62 players, I could only evaluate a certain number of draft picks in this regard. I also evaluated all of the top 62 picks even if a team didn’t select one of my top 62. For these selections, I took the GSVA of the 63rd spot and assumed the player they took would have been ranked #63 on my list, since trying to rank these players after the fact would be biased and inaccurate.

Total Draft Pick Value

When we look and see that every team has an almost even number of picks, it appears as if the draft is somewhat even in terms of draft value. The reality couldn’t be further from that. In fact, the difference between the top and bottom teams in total draft value can be ten-fold. Ottawa led the way with 28.6 GSVA (after trades) while Vancouver, New York (Islanders), and Arizona all sat below the 2.0 mark.

Without further ado, here’s my draft review and grades for the Pacific Division teams!

Boston Bruins

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

2.2 GSVA, 28th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#58- Mason Lohrei (1.2 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.1

I was extremely surprised to hear Mason Lohrei announced as the selection for Boston. You don’t usually see D+1 defenders going in the 2nd round without a huge offensive season. Lohrei is 6’4″ and will need to bring a mobile two-way game to make this a worthwhile selection for Boston at 58.

#89- Trevor Kuntar (0.6 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Electing to add yet another overager in Kuntar, Boston is getting one who was an offensive dynamo last season. Kuntar led the Youngstown phantoms in scoring by a full 17 points. That’s very good value for Boston considering that Kuntar is tracking better than the majority of 3rd rounders from last year’s draft.

#151- Mason Langenbrunner (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Although he was a sub point-per-game defenseman in high school, Langenbrunner is born Sept 14th, exactly two days before the cut off. As a young player with only 165 pounds on his 6’2″ frame, Langenbrunner has a lot of time and room to fill out and grow physically. Don’t like the numbers, but the context surrounding Langenbrunner is good.

#182- Riley Duran (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Rounding out Boston’s selections is a fourth and final American player. Riley Duran was a relatively unknown product from New England whose production numbers aren’t astronomical, especially against better competition. If I was in charge of an NHL teams drafting I would be cautious about selecting these unknown high school players and Duran isn’t one I’d be willing to take a chance on.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Trevor Kuntar

Kuntar is the easy choice for me here. Every other player they drafted has question marks about their offensive game, a huge factor in determining a prospects progression and NHL likelihood. Kuntar wasn’t a remarkable pick for the late 3rd round but provided relatively fair value.

Value vs. My Rankings: -0.1 GSVA, 22nd highest

The Bruins had a late 2nd round selection and lost 0.1 value points for selecting one of my unranked players. That’s their only selection that registered on my rating system.

Grade: C

With the 28th highest draft capital, the Bruins couldn’t bring in too much of a haul, but they also certainly did not make any selections to maximize the return of their draft picks. They really could have waited a round or two on Lohrei. Kuntar, as seen above, was a good one, but Langenbrunner and Duran aren’t enough to bring them to an above average rating.

Buffalo Sabres

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

9.8 GSVA, 10th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#8- Jack Quinn (6.7 GSVA)

My rank: #11 (5.7 GSVA)

Diff: -1.0

What a controversial and bold pick this was for Buffalo. I was probably not alone when I assumed Rossi would be the selection following “from the Ottawa 67’s…” but there I was surprised that Quinn was announced. Jack Quinn is a fun player whose NHL goal scoring potential has grown on me, but I can’t justify Buffalo taking Quinn over Rossi or Perfetti.

#34- John-Jason Peterka (2.5 GSVA)

My rank: #36 (2.4 GSVA)

Diff: -0.1

A high-energy player who will be a prime candidate for any role in the NHL. While he lacks high NHL upside, he brings speed and a hard-nosed game that gave Buffalo fair value with their early 2nd round choice. Peterka was the 3rd German forward to go in the top 34.

#131- Matteo Costantini (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Costantini was a high scoring forward in the OJHL. It seems like he has some nice skill with 68 points in 50 GP. He’s an August 2002 birthdate as well. Costantini will head to Penticton (BCHL) for 2020-21 where he will look to improve his game in a slightly more difficult league.

#193- Albert Lyckasen (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

A D+1 defenseman with nearly a point per game in the SuperElit, Lyckasen was a great pick in the 7th round. I’m very interested to see how he handles himself against SHL or Allsvenskan competition but offensively Lyckasen is tracking like he was a 3rd rounder from 2019.

#216- Jakub Konecny (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Picked out of the Czech U20 league, Konecny has nice skill but really needs to ramp up his offensive game. The Czech U20 league isn’t a high quality league and he didn’t even manage 1.00 P/GP there last season.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: John-Jason Peterka

John-Jason Peterka was no doubt my favourite pick for Buffalo. He’s a safe player who has a full season of pro hockey experience already under his belt. I had Peterka ranked right in the same area at 36.

Value Vs. My Rankings: -1.1 GSVA, 27th highest

The Sabres lost 1.0 GSVA with the Quinn selection but considering the available players, this pick was a larger mistake than the value indicates. Peterka’s value was negligible at -0.1.

Grade: D

Overall, I was not a fan of Buffalo’s work. They’ve struggled with drafting over the past decade and nothing about this draft indicates to me that they will buck this trend. Taking Quinn over Rossi and Perfetti doesn’t make sense. They’ve seen pick after pick go to waste and they decide to reach on a player at 8 instead of taking one of two high-scoring centres. This will come back to haunt them.

Detroit Red Wings

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

18.4 GSVA, 4th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#4- Lucas Raymond (9.0 GSVA)

My rank: #5 (8.2 GSVA)

Diff: -0.8

I was not expecting Detroit to take Raymond here– I was sold on the fact they were taking Perfetti. Still, Raymond was my #5 ranked player and will be a cornerstone piece for Detroit in their rebuild. Raymond has had a promising start to the 2020-21 campaign and may just be an Elias Pettersson type player in a few years.

#32- William Wallinder (2.7 GSVA)

My rank: #33 (2.6 GSVA)

Diff: -0.1

A fair pick to open up the second round. Wallinder follows a common theme of this draft; tall, mobile defensemen with glaring holes in other areas of their games. I thought Wallinder would go to a team like Detroit who can afford to make some risky picks so this is a perfect fit for the Red Wings in that regard.

#51- Theodor Niederbach (1.5 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.4

The Wings took their 3rd Swede of the draft in Theodor Niederbach. While he didn’t produce astounding results in 2019-20, he has come out guns blazing in 2020-21 so far. I wouldn’t have taken Niederbach this high but the well-rounded centre is already proving me wrong and his skill could carry him to an NHL 2C role.

#55- Cross Hanas (1.4 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.3

A wild, off-the-board pick that I admire for Detroit. I was really interested in Hanas as a potential steal in the middle rounds but never expected a team to take him this high. Hanas played down the lineup on a deep Portland team and never had a chance to show his full abilities. He’s also stick-thin at 6’1, 160, which should help is development moving forward as he adds a significant amount strength.

#63- Donovan Sebrango (1.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Sebrango was a key defenseman for the Kitchener Rangers last season and his play earned himself an invite to Canada’s World junior selection camp as an 18 year old, joining fellow 2020 draftees Drysdale, Scheider, Guhle, Cormier, O’Rourke and Hunt.

#70- Eemil Viro (0.9 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Viro was a bit of wildcard player. A 17 year-old already playing full-time in the Liiga should usually warrant more attention but Viro doesn’t really have any elements that make his game 2nd round worthy. He seems to have taken the worst qualities of both a risky offensive defenseman and a two-way defenseman and combined them into one skillset that doesn’t really work. He has talent but needs to find a go-to way to impact the game.

#97- Sam Stange (0.5 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Like Trevor Kuntar who went to Boston, Stange was a D+1 player who led the way for his USHL team. For the Musketeers, he finished 14 points ahead of 2nd on his team. Stange’s total numbers may be suffering from mediocre linemates but he has proven himself as a capable goal scorer in the USHL. He’ll head off to Wisconsin next season.

#107- Jan Bednar (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Bednar was the 2nd best goalie prospect coming into this year’s draft. He had a really bad season but remains a high potential goalie based on his previous accolades. He signed with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL but has yet to play a game there. He’s more likely than not to have a succcesful season there if he plays, making this a fair pick for Detroit.

#132- Alex Cotton (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

With as many critics as fans, Cotton is a unique player. He’s incredibly gifted at making plays from the blueline, being able to shoot and pass and knowing when to do each. However, Cotton really struggles both transitionally and defensively. He reminds me much of Evan Bouchard in his style but is nowhere near as talented. Cotton has a long ways to go to realize his potential but is still an overager that everybody knew would get drafted and one that brings more offensive upside than most.

#156- Kyle Aucoin (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

An offensive blackhole, Aucoin will struggle adapting to pro hockey if he doesn’t become a more proactive player. Not a pick I would endosre by Detroit here.

#187- Kienan Draper

My rank: N/A

Not at a fan of this player at all but we all know why he got drafted. Nice gesture for sure, but you’re still using an NHL draft choice, Detroit.

#203- Chase Bradley (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Don’t know much about Chase Bradley and this pick for Detroit. I like that they picked a 2002-born player out of a major league like the USHL.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: William Wallinder

Detroit really didn’t have a pick that overly excited me. Wallinder was their closest to fair value and brings a plate of high upside that makes him my favourite selection.

Value vs. My Rankings: -1.6 GSVA, 28th highest

Detroit had the 4th highest draft capital coming in and they failed to make the most of it. They did, however, manage to extract some high-upside players– just not ones that were slated to go earlier than they did.

Grade: C

Detroit had an okay draft– they didn’t make any awful selections early on but also didn’t find any value. I like every player they picked in the first three rounds but none of them were picked low enough for me to give Detroit props for. I wasn’t a huge fan of their last three selection and thought they really could have done more to bolster their prospect pool.

Florida Panthers

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

10.2 GSVA, 9th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#12- Anton Lundell (5.5 GSVA)

My rank: #13 (5.3 GSVA)

Diff: -0.2

Many are going to call this a steal– I think it’s a fine pick. Jarvis would have been my choice here but Anton Lundell was close. One of the best players in the draft at this point in time, Lundell will need to keep improving his offense and quickness if he wishes to translate to the NHL.

#43- Emil Heineman (1.9 GSVA)

My rank: #54 (1.4 GSVA)

Diff: -0.5

Heineman was virtually unknown last year. He had just 5 points in the SuperElit in 2018-19 before increasing that total to 41. A great forechecking winger and hard-nosed player, Heineman might have even more untapped offensive potential that he started to show last season.

#74Ty Smilanic (0.8 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

I’ve never been Smilanic’s biggest fan but after seeing him on multiple 1st round lists, I never expected him to fall this low. This is a good pick for Florida. Much like Heineman, Smilanic can play a hard-nosed game but also brings in elite skating.

#87- Justin Sourdif (0.6 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Sourdif fits the trend of players Florida was selecting at this point as another forward who does more than just score. Sourdif gets very involved in the forecheck and can be trusted in two-way situations. Very good pick at 87.

#95Michael Benning (0.5 GSVA)

My rank: #53 (1.4 GSVA)

Diff: +0.9

Michael Benning put up 75 points in 54 AJHL games last season as a defenseman. I don’t think I need to say anymore for you to know this is a steal for Florida. Benning has many holes in his game but betting on those offensive skills is worth it.

#105- Zach Uens (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

After going undrafted, Uens had a very successful freshman campaign at Merrimack. He brought himself back into draft consideration with an 18 point season. Thought he was going to receive an invite to Canada’s selection camp roster but ultimately fell short.

#153- Kasper Puutio (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Puutio was the 1st overall selection in the 2019 CHL Import Draft and split his time between Swift Current and Everett of the WHL last season. In terms of Everett defenders, Seeley would have been my choice at 153 but Puutio is still a play-driver at the WHL level and a fine choice.

#198- Elliot Ekmark (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Listed as one of our draft steals for the late rounds, it was nice to see the 5’9″ Elliot Ekmark hear his name called. This was yet another win for Florida in the 2020 draft.

#212- Devon Levi (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

One of 5 goalies on Canada’s World Junior selection camp roster, Levi dominated the CCHL last season. Having never played past that level will be a huge obstacle in him making the team, but a .941 sv% there is remarkable. I assume Levi dropped to the 7th because of his size (6’0) so I like this pick a lot for Florida.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Michael Benning

Benning was always a prime candidate to fall on draft day. Lacking size, elite skating, and a defensive game usually doesn’t have NHL scouts raving about you. However, at some point you can’t overlook a player absolutely dominating the league is he playing in even if some important skills aren’t up to par. Benning is just that player and he shouldn’t have fallen as far as he did.

Value vs. My Rankings: +0.2 GSVA, 13th highest

Florida only finished at +0.2 (thanks to the Michael Benning pick) but likely had a better draft than that number indicates. Had I ranked more players, Smilanic, Sourdif, Uens, Puutio, Ekmark, and Levi all would have likely ranked in the positive.

Overall Grade: A

I loved this draft for the Panthers. I would have taken the flashy Seth Jarvis over Anton Lundell but Lundell is a safer player and still an excellent prospect. Heineman was a fine pick but the Panthers absolutely crushed the draft the rest of the way. They’ve brought in so many good forwards who have upside and can fit into the bottom six: Lundell, Heineman, Smilanic, and Sourdif all fit that description.

Montreal Canadiens

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

9.7 GSVA, 11th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#16- Kaiden Guhle (4.7 GSVA)

My rank: #29 (3.0 GSVA)

Diff: -1.7

Kaiden Guhle is a good player but he also happens to be a type of player who frequently disappoint. Everyone falls in love with the smooth-skating shutdown defender in the first round but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen teams make the same mistake on players who just don’t have the adequate situational awareness to become effective NHL players. I’m not saying Guhle won’t be that, it’s just the 16th pick is too high for his chances of becoming that.

#47- Luke Tuch (1.7 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.7

Tuch has little to no distinguishing aspects of his game and it’s hard to understand this selection for the Habs. I guess he is 6’2″ but Montreal should have been drafting for skill over in this spot. Tuch is a very replaceable player.

#48- Jan Mysak (1.7 GSVA)

My rank: #30 (2.9GSVA)

Diff: +1.2

The Habs finally made a value selection with Jan Mysak. My 30th ranked player and one with over a P/GP in his OHL stint last season, Mysak is a much better offensive player than the average 47th overall pick. I see him as a speedy winger in the NHL with no problem driving the net.

#102- Jack Smith (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The Minnesota High School product wasn’t a huge offensive presence when he played in higher competition. As a general rule of thumb, avoiding US high school players unless you are absolutely sold on them will help you prevent missing on draft picks, so I’m not going to get behind this pick for Montreal.

#109- Blake Biondi (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Like Smith, Blake Biondi is another high school product but one I am absolutely sold on. He has played really well internationally to this point and definitely deserved to be picked in this range even if he does come with some uncertainty.

#124- Sean Farrell (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Farrell was an important part of a stacked Chicago Steel team, scoring 56 points in 44 games. This is an awesome pick for Montreal at the end of round 4. Based on talent alone, Farrell could be argued as a 1st rounder. He’s a classic case of sub 5’10”, well-rounded offensive players dropping in the draft despite high production.

#136- Jakub Dobes (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Dobes struggled in his 21 game USHL stint as a D+1 player. Sure his .946 save percentage in 10 NAHL games was encouraging, but that’s not a league you want D+1 goalies playing in. I’m sure Montreal fell in love with his technical abilities and potential because it sure doesn’t have to do with his past performance.

#171- Alexander Gordin (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Gordin was an awesome selection for the Habs here. In terms of D+1 success as an overage player, there wasn’t much difference between Gordin and Chinakhov who went 21st overall. Gordin produced 68 points in 59 GP for SKA’s MHL team, making these a steal in terms draft value

Conclusion

Favourite Selection:

I really liked the Mysak and Farrell selections but the Gordin one was the most fascinating to me. I really do not see much separation between Gordin and Chinakhov last season. Of course, Chinakhov has made a name for himself in the pro ranks hence the higher draft stock but Gordin will likely carve out a consistent role there soon enough and be seen as a 6th round steal.

Value vs. My Rankings: -1.1 GSVA, 26th

The selection of mediocre offensive players Kaiden Guhle and Luke Tuch hurt the Canadiens overall draft value. Mysak helped mitigate that as an excellent value selection but the Habs still finished in the negative at -1.1.

Grade: C

I have very mixed and confused feelings about his draft for the Habs. Blending low-upside traditional picks with small, skilled players makes it hard to understand exactly what they were looking for in their 2020 draft prospects. A lot of their draft success will depend on the eventual progression of top pick Kaiden Guhle.

 

Ottawa Senators

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

28.6 GSVA, 1st highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#3- Tim Stuetzle (10.2 GSVA)

My rank: #2 (12.3 GSVA)

Diff: +2.1

Stuetzle was the obvious choice for Ottawa here and anything else would have been a huge mistake. Fortunately, we knew that wasn’t going to happen and Ottawa took the German star who happens to have the best combination of speed and skill in the entire draft. Stuetzle still has some doubters but after a he dominates his second season of pro hockey, there will be no more.

#5- Jake Sanderson (8.2 GSVA)

My rank: #7 (7.1 GSVA)

Diff: -1.1

Options, options, options. The Senators could have gone so many different directions with this selection. They ultimately decided to take their top ranked defender in Jake Sanderson. While I like Sanderson and he brings with him extremely high top-four potential, I thought Ottawa should have taken Drysdale or Perfetti, but at the end of the day it’s close enough to be a forgivable pick for Ottawa.

#28- Ridly Greig (3.1 GSVA)

My rank: #23 (3.6 GSVA)

Diff: +0.5

Ridly Greig has been a riser all year and plays a rugged but skillful style of game. He’s still super young and skinny, being born in August 2002 and sitting at 5’11” and 159 lbs. I’d really bet on Greig showing us a lot more in 2020-21 than he did last season.

#33- Roby Jarventie (2.6 GSVA)

My rank: #45 (1.8 GSVA)

Diff: -0.8

I have long been a fan of the Finnish sniper but never expected to hear his name called so early. I’m not sure it’s a bad pick for Ottawa since they came away with a highly skilled, high-upside player but taking Jarventie at 33 was a bit of a reach in terms of value.

#44- Tyler Kleven (1.9 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.8

I entirely disagree with the scouting philosophy that went in to the Kleven selection, not only in selecting him but trading up to get him. I’m not sure why teams still bend over backwards for tall defenseman in this day and age, convincing themselves time and time again that they will turn out. Kleven would have been a nice pick in the 5th round but definitely not here.

#61- Yegor Sokolov (1.1 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: +0.0

I was a bit surprised at the Sokolov selection and a bit torn on the merit of it. On one hand, Sokolov put up 92 point in 52 QMJHL games last season, including remarkable even strength numbers that rivalled Lafreniere’s. However, he is 20 years old and physically so far ahead of his competition at 6’5″ and 230 pounds. I’m very curious to see how he translates to the professional leagues because of this. If he has an excellent first season in the AHL, his status as a legit prospect is solidified.

#71- Levi Merilainen (0.9 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Completely unknown to me, Merilainen is a mystery selection. I don’t understand why they didn’t wait to select him, or at least another goalie in the later rounds considering the talent still available at 71.

My rank: N/A

#155- Eric Engstrand (0.2 GSVA)

Like Sokolov, Engstrand is a D+2 forward who tore up his junior league. Engstrand was the top offensive player on the Malmo Redhawks with 58 points in 37 games but it’s hard to gather too much information from that since top Swedish prospects usually never play their full D+2 season in the SuperElit. Still, I think this pick has some nice offensive upside.

My rank: N/A

#158- Philippe Daoust (0.2 GSVA)

Seems like a bit if weird pick selecting a 0.50 P/GP CHLer when players like James Hardie and Veeti Miettinen were available at this point. I can’t say any bad things about Daoust in terms of his on-ice play but a value pick this was not.

#181- Cole Reinhardt (0.2 GSVA)

A D+2 player with less than a point-per-game in junior hockey really scares me. He’s already filled out at 6’1″, 203 lbs. and seems on track to head back to Brandon for his overage year. I’m not sure why this was the choice for Ottawa when there will be better overage free agents the same age as Reinhardt available a year from now. 

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Ridly Greig

Ridly Greig started to get a lot of hype between the months of March and October, and deservingly so in my opinion. I think by the time he is ready to play pro hockey he will be the most dominant player in the WHL. He’s early on in his development curve and that must be taken into consideration.

Value vs. My Rankings: +0.1, 15th highest

Finishing just in the positive, Ottawa had a fair value draft all round, specifically with Stuetzle and Greig. 

Grade: B

Coming in with the highest draft value and still finishing 1st after trades, Ottawa was expected to bring in an absolute haul int his draft. For the first part of the draft, I think they largely succeeded in that– Stuetzle, Sanderson, Greig, and Jarventie was absolutely no laughing matter. The Kleven pick was a bad one and after that they really didn’t do anything that amazed me. They still get the benefit of the doubt because they did their best work where it matters most– at the top.

Tampa Bay Lightning

from eiteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

4.5 GSVA, 25th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#57- Jack Finley (1.3 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.2

Jack Finley is a towering forward who scored a lot of points alongside star teammate Adam Beckman. With his really late birthday and huge potential that his frame brings, I think Finley could see a lot of improvement over the next two years, making this look like really savvy pick for the Lightning.

#62- Gage Goncalves (1.1 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: +0.0

I didn’t have Gage Goncalves ranked in my top 62 but he wasn’t that far off. After a dismal draft season where he had 19 points, Goncalves came out flying in 2019-20 and racked up 71 points in 60 GP, better than most mid-rounders from previous years in their D+1 seasons.

#85- Maxim Groshev (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

A full time KHLer last year for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, Groshev scored 7 points in 35 games and made Russia’s World Junior team. Despite this, he never picked up much traction from NHL scouts and went in the late third round. Could be a really good pick for Tampa.

#93- Jack Thompson (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The Subury Wolves defenseman got off to a hot start and was nearly a consensus 2nd rounder at one point. Scouts cooled on him quickly and he ended up going 93 but Thompson has some underrated offensive tools from the point.

#116- Eamon Powell (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Considered by some to be the 2nd best defenseman on the USNTDP U18 team, Powell going at 116 was a coup for Tampa Bay. He is excellent offensively and brings a high-tempo style to the ice.

#147- Jaydon Dureau (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Dureau was an excellent secondary offensive weapon behind Seth Jarvis in Portland. As a D+1 player, he scored 70 points in 61 games, numbers very worthy of a draft selection. Dureau has improved a lot over his two WHL seasons and has the skill to match his production.

#157- Nick Capone (0.2 GSVA0

My rank: N/A

At barely over 0.5 P/GP in the USHL, I have a hard time getting behind this pick for Tampa Bay. Capone is built at 6’2″, 216 lbs but was not anywhere near the list of best players available at this point.

#186- Amir Miftakhov (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The D+2 goalie who shone for Russia at the World Juniors. He has played pretty much the entire last two seasons in the VHL and performed very well there. I try not to evaluate goalie prospects too much given my limited expertise in that area but Miftakhov seems like one you want to be drafting.

#217- Declan McDonnell (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

I was super excited to see Kitchener Rangers forward Declan McDonnell get selected with the very last pick in the draft. McDonnell is a hard-working winger who played a somewhat limited role for Kitchener.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Jaydon Dureau

Value vs. My Rankings: -0.2 GSVA, 22nd highest

Tampa Bay finished near 0.0 in terms of draft value versus my rankings. They likely had a better draft than this indicates given their success in the mid-rounds.

Grade: B+

Tampa Bay had a sneaky good draft, bringing all sorts of underrated players. Goncalves and Dureau both had impressive D+1 seasons in the WHL while players like Finley, Groshev, Thompson, Powell, Miftakhov, and McDonnell all have a strong chance to outperform their draft positions. Tampa added in every position and didn’t reach too far to select players they liked.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

9.3 GSVA, 13th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#15- Rodion Amirov (4.9 GSVA)

My rank: #19 (4.2 GSVA)

Diff: -0.7

Amirov defintely seems like Kyle Dubas pick. He is remarkably skilled and gets into the dirty areas of the ice. I’d say he’s very raw in his current state but he should make a good pro player in any role he is given. 

#59- Roni Hirvonen (1.2 GSVA)

My rank: #50 (1.6 GSVA)

Diff: +0.4

I didn’t have Hirvonen in the first round like I know many did, but grabbing him at 59 was a huge value play for the Leafs. He was one of the best forwards still available and had a pretty solid season in the Liiga last year. I am a little concerned about his lack of dynamism given his small stature and average skating but there is work that can be done there.

#64- Topi Niemela (1.1 GSVA)

My rank: #39 (2.2 GSVA)

Diff: +1.1

Niemela has already established himself as an effective defenseman in the Liiga. He doesn’t really stand out in any way so I see why he fell to 64, but this was a slam dunk pick for Toronto, measuring at a +1.1 versus my rankings.

 

#106- Artur Akhtyamov (0.4 GVSA)

My rank: N/A

#122- William Villeneuve (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: #47 (1.7 GSVA)

Diff: +1.4

I absolutely loved this pick for Toronto. Villeneuve has been one of my favourite prospects since he entered the QMJHL. He commands the game from the back end and while he isn’t an elite skater he was probably a top 3 defenseman in the QMJHL in overall player and certainly much better than teammate Jeremie Poirier who has always been ranked higher.

#137- Dmitri Ovchinnikov (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The Leafs traded up to select Ovchinnikov, a tiny player at 5’9″ and less than 160 pounds but ridiculously skilled and one of the fastest players in the draft. He was ranked so low on Central Scouting’s final list that I was worried team’s were going pass on him, so I’m glad Toronto stepped up.

#168- Veeti Miettinen (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: #51 (1.5 GSVA)

Diff: +1.3

The Leafs somehow managed to get my #51 ranked player with the 168th selection. Miettinen is way too good to fall this far. I can’t believe NHL teams let that happen. In terms of production vs. peers there’s no doubt Miettinen ranked in the top 30 forwards of this class. I get he’s small, but I have a feeling exposure worked its way into Miettinen’s draft stock, having never played pro hockey before.

#177- Axel Rindell (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

A D+2 defender who had a breakout offensive season in the Liiga, Rindell makes sense for the Leafs here. I’m not sure he’s as good as his 2019-20 numbers would indicate and he didn’t make Finland’s World Junior team but certainly is still a good pick at 177.

#180- Joe Miller (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Don’t know much about Joe Miller. He was one day away from being eligible for the 2021 draft and led the way offensively for his Minnesota high school team.

#189- John Fusco (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Going for the second overage defenseman, this time taking Fusco out of high school. Don’t really know anything about him but as long as the Leafs have confidence in at least one of Fusco’s abilities, this pick makes sense to me.

#195- Wyatt Schingoethe (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

#213- Ryan Tverberg (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Dipping into the OJHL ranks for their last pick, Tverberg seems like a moderate choice. The Leafs are obviously hoping Tverberg’s skillset translates effectively to other leagues.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: William Villeneuve

It was a tough choice between Villeneuve and Miettinen but ultimately I think Villeneuve presents the Leafs with more upside. Villeneuve dominates the ice for Saint John and should be a very poised NHLer versus some of these other defense prospects who can seemingly never make the right play.

Value vs. My Rankings: +3.3 GSVA, 2nd highest

+3.3 GSVA is a ridiculous rating for the Leafs. They dominated the draft in terms of value vs. my rankings, led by Miettinen, Niemela, and Villeneuve.

Grade: A+

I think the Leafs won the entire draft. Their picks after Rindell were a little confusing but they were all so late that it’s quite insignificant. What they did in the first six rounds was incredible, pulling in a stupendous amount of upside and making sure they were selecting players that give them the highest chance of getting impact players. This is what a successful draft looks like for a team that goes all in for skill.

 

Conclusion

Here’s the final order of the Atlantic Division teams based on my grades:

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs, A+
  2. Florida Panthers, A
  3. Tampa Bay Lighnting, B+
  4. Ottawa Senators, B
  5. Detroit Red Wings, C
  6. Montreal Canadiens, C
  7. Boston Bruins, C
  8. Buffalo Sabres, D

And here’s the teams ranked by GSVA versus my rankings:

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs, +3.3
  2. Florida Panthers, +0.2
  3. Ottawa Senators, +0.1
  4. Boston Bruins, -0.1
  5. Tampa Bay Lighnting, -0.2
  6. Montreal Canadiens, -1.1
  7. Buffalo Sabres, -1.1
  8. Detroit Red Wings, -1.6

Thanks for following along. Let me know what you think of the grades in the comments or on Twitter! Part 4 will be covering the Metropolitan Division and will be out shortly!

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