NHL Draft Review: Metropolitan Division

Introduction

Welcome to my fourth and final NHL Draft Review. Up today in Part 4 is the Metropolitan 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 are my draft reviews and grades for the Metropolitan Division teams!

Carolina Hurricanes

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

10.6 GSVA, 8th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#13- Seth Jarvis (5.3 GSVA)

My rank: #10 (6.0 GSVA)

Diff: +0.7

With Carolina’s liberal draft history, the Jarvis selection was expected when they were on the lock. Jarvis was my #10 ranked player and the easy top choice. He’s small and skinny but Jarvis managed 63 points in his final 26 contests, mind-blowing numbers for a 17-year-old in the WHL. Jarvis’ upside is on the same level as the top 5 players in the draft class.

#41- Noel Gunler (2.0 GSVA)

My rank: #21 (3.9 GSVA)

Diff: +1.9

Gunler carries some baggage but kudos to Carolina for taking the chance on him at #41, far lower than he should have fallen. Gunler is supremely talented and knows how to put the puck in the net. The attitude concerns were a major concern for other teams but Carolina will hope the concerns were overblown to begin with and that he matures as he ages.

#53- Vasili Ponomaryov (1.4 GSVA)

My rank: #55 (1.4 GSVA)

Diff: +0.0

Not exactly an offensive star for Shawinigan last year, Ponomaryov leaves a lot to be desired in the point column after watching him play. He has 2nd round skill and a 1st round defensive game to match it but at some point he needs to start producing like it. This situation reminds me much of Bo Horvat in his junior days. Hopefully, he can have the same D+1 impact Bo did for London and be heralded as one of the steals of the second round.

#69- Alexander Nikishin (0.9 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Nikishin is just an all-round decent defenseman. I don’t see much high-end potential here but I do believe this to be a fair pick in terms of value. Nikishin brings size and managed to work his way into 29 KHL games last season.

#115- Zion Nybeck (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: #43 (1.9 GSVA)

Diff: +1.5

It’s incredible that Nybeck was available for Carolina at pick 115. Many draft pundits, including myself, had him firmly in the second round (some in the first). While his plummet shouldn’t have been entirely unpredictable considering his size and the tendency of hesitation NHL teams have in selecting those players, Nybeck still presents Carolina with unparalleled value versus any other player available in the late fourth round.

#159- Lucas Mercuri (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Lucas Mercuri is a bit of an unknown commodity. I remember him being a top prospect for the 2018 QMJHL draft but since then he has remained in less familiar programs. I know very little about the quality of competition he faced last season but he managed 50 points in 29 games for the Rochester Coalition.

#199- Alexander Pashin (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Taking a chance on another small player, Carolina selected Russian goal-scorer Alexander Pashin. Pashin’s game includes some significant holes that will make his NHL transition much more difficult as a 5’7″ player, namely defense and physicality. However, the offensive tools are very much there for Pashin and using the 199th selection on him is magical for Carolina.

#208- Ronan Seeley (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The Hurricanes secured another win with their final selection of Everett defender Ronan Seeley. I’ve been a staunch supporter of Seeley’s abilities since his Minor Midget days in Lethbridge. He is an exceedingly intelligent defender who effectively manages time and space. He isn’t the biggest, doesn’t amaze you with skill, or defend his heart out, but he is a modern defenseman who can move the puck and make quick plays with it. Seeley was far too good for the seventh round.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Zion Nybeck

Nybeck is the selection I was most enthused by. Statistically, if you want to look at the NHL success of similarly skilled and productive players at Nybeck’s age, even despite their height, I guarantee you they seem more like first rounders than fourth rounders. I see no reason why Nybeck will be different– he’s a likely NHL point producer.

Value vs. My Rankings: +4.1 GSVA, 1st highest

The Hurricanes finished at the very top in terms of value vs. my rankings. Carried by the trio of Jarvis, Gunler, and Nybeck, the Hurricanes managed to extract incredibly disproportionate value versus what they came in with. The expected value of those three picks was a combined 7.7 GSVA and to turn that into 11.8 expected GSVA is admiral work by the Canes front office. It takes a great deal of discipline to simply select the best player despite their flaws instead of selecting the lower-ranked archetypal “draftable” prospect that the scouting department has fallen in love with.

Grade: A+

No other grade than an A+ was considered for the Hurricanes. I wholly approve of their draft strategy and believe they won the draft with the Gunler and Nybeck selections. It wasn’t long ago Gunler was a part of the “big three” group of Swedish forwards that included Raymond and Holtz while Nybeck wasn’t considered to be notably far behind. These selections will certainly pay dividends for Carolina.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Draft Pick Value

5.4 GSVA, 21st highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#21- Yegor Chinakhov (3.9 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -2.8

What a doozy of a pick this was. Chinakhov was relatively unknown to me– I knew he was on a recent tear in the KHL and figured he would have been a 3rd-5th rounder as an overager. We may have all been underrating him and the Blue Jackets may have drafted a steal but there’s a lot of uncertainty this pick brings and while Chinakhov’s game is evolving well in the KHL, he was never a true junior superstar.

#78Samuel Knazko (0.7 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Once considered a 1st rounder for this draft, Knazko lost some traction as he failed to build an offensive game versus his peers. As a third-round defenseman, you would like to see Knazko already playing in the Liiga but he hasn’t suited up there yet. While I’m not sure that’s for reasons outside his talent such as NCAA ambitions, I know that 12 points in 20 games is not very unspectacular, even for a two-way defenseman.

#114- Mikael Pyyhtia (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Mikhail Pyyhtia’s never really had the opportunity to prove himself on the big stage, having never played a Liiga game or participated in a major international tournament. However, he did manage a point per game last season in the Jr. A SM-Liiga and has slightly improved upon that so far this year.

#145- Ole Julian Bjorgvik Holm (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The Norwegian defenseman has moved back to Norway to start the 2020-21 campaign after a successful first OHL season for Mississauga. He quickly became one of the most reliable defenders on the team. Bjorgvik Holm is much more talented than his production would indicate and he has intriguing two-way potential.

#176- Samuel Johannesson (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

A D+1 defender who played above expectations in the SuperElit and the SHL, Johannesson was supposed to be a candidate for top overager selected but ended up slipping to Columbus’s hands at 176. Johannesson has a surplus of offensive potential versus the average 6th rounder.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Samuel Johannesson

In my mind, this was easily the best value Columbus extracted from this draft, although I would hesitate from calling it a home run.

Value Vs. My Rankings: -2.8 GSVA, 30th highest

The Blue Jackets lost a catastrophic amount of value with the Chinakhov selection. Even if you had Chinakhov as your BPA at that spot, how do you not trade down to get him? In my opinion, this was a mismanagement of assets. If it turns out, it’s going to look like a steal but if it doesn’t, it will be a predictable mistake.

Grade: C

Columbus doesn’t appear very well on my value system due to the Chinakhov selection. However, they likely fared a little better than that given the upside and confidence they have in that selection. Still, I didn’t love the strategy behind that selection and nothing about the remainder of their draft indicates a smashing success for Columbus.

New Jersey Devils

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

17.3 GSVA, 5th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#7- Alexander Holtz (7.1 GSVA)

My rank: #12 (5.5 GSVA)

Diff: -1.6

Holtz was one player consistently ranked in the top 10 who I expected to fall into the 10-13 range. To my surprise, the Devils took him at 7. Near the end of the draft cycle, I started to maintain that Jack Quinn was actually the premier goal scorer of the 2020 NHL Draft. Holtz had an excellent offensive season in the SHL no doubt but I don’t think his game as a winger will translate as effectively as some are ascertaining.

#18- Dawson Mercer (4.3 GSVA)

My rank: #26 (3.3 GSVA)

Diff: -1.0

I know Mercer was ranked around the 18th spot or higher, but I just never grew to be a fan of Mercer’s upside. He is definitely an all-round contributor and an intelligent hockey player but he lacks the elite goal-scoring or playmaking abilities I’m looking for in a first round prospect.

#20- Shakir Mukhamadullin (4.0 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -2.9

This was the first truly outlandish selection of the draft. Mukhamadullin is a complete wildcard and a player who lacks a competent understanding of the fame of hockey. He’s 6’4″ and has some intriguing tools but the actual product is a lot worse than the idealized version of Mukhamadullin. I don’t like this pick in any capacity for New Jersey.

#84- Nico Daws (0.6 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Daws is a good addition at pick 84. He had an exceptional breakout season and earned his status as one of the best goalies in the draft. Daws should be able to move directly into the AHL next season as a backup.

#99- Jaromir Pytlik (0.5 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Pytlik is a big centre who mastered his role as a reliable centre for the Soo last season. His stock deteriorated as the season went on as concerns about his skating and offensive output loomed. Still, his status as a top prospect for two years now and his two-way abilities make this a worthwhile pick for New Jersey.

#120- Ethan Edwards (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Ethan Edwards was a late season riser once the draft community got accustomed to his AJHL performances. At first glance, Edwards doesn’t appear as a draftable prospect, standing at just 5’10” and only managed 0.66 P/GP in Junior A action. However, Edwards is a fast-paced defender who will adapt swiftly to faster competition.

#130- Artem Shlaine (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Shlaine was the most productive forward on Shattuck’s 18U team, scoring 78 points in 46 games. 52 of those points were assists and it’s no surprise given Shlaine’s puck skills and pure playmaking ability. Getting him at 130 was certainly fair value for New Jersey.

#161- Benjamin Baumgartner (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

I am a huge fan of this selection for New Jersey. Baumgartner was always one of my candidates to be the biggest steal of the draft. Although he was propped up by talented linemates, he still scored 27 points in 37 NLA games in 2019-20, something I would expect from a first rounder in their D+2 season. Baumgartner is already a scorer at the pro level, so scooping him up at 161 can only make the Devils look smart.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Benjamin Baumgartner

The obvious choice for me, Baumgartner’s statistical comparables are elite and far better than any other sixth rounder you will find. He’s already 20 years old, but he’s also ready for AHL action promptly.

Value vs. My Rankings: -5.5 GSVA, 31st highest

With three first rounders, the Devils had the opportunity to either make or break their draft success. Unfortunately, every player they selected finished far lower on my rankings than where they were selected. I thought Holtz, Mercer, and Mukhamadullin would have been fair value for a team picking 12th, 26th, and in the 60’s rather than 7th, 18th, and 20th, and that’s why the Devils lost 5.5 value points here.

Grade: D

This could have been a lot better for New Jersey if they selected Perfetti and Rossi with their opening pick and took perhaps any of the other top defensemen over Mukhamadullin. On paper, it looks like an impressive haul for the Devils but the draft capital they gave up to select those players was enormous, making those first three picks a failure for the Devils.

New York Islanders

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

1.4 GSVA, 30th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#90- Alexander Ljungkrantz (0.6 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Ljungkrantz was a solid player at the SuperElit level last season. 27 points in 42 games there isn’t spectacular but it’s worth looking into his skillset to see if he’s worth a mid-round selection. I’d say Ljungkrantz is a likeable player and an effective goal scorer but perhaps not one you get high returns on in the 3rd round.

#121- Alex Jefferies (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Jefferies finished with a similar scoring rate to Hurricanes’ selection Lucas Mercuri on the same prep team. At pick 121, the Islanders invested semi-high draft capital to select him. It’s hard to disavow or strongly approve of this pick given the league he played in but in my opinion, in these scenarios, it’s more beneficial to lean towards high scoring junior players. Jefferies will look to make this a worthwhile pick during his time at Merrimack College.

#152William Dufour (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Dufour quietly had an impressively productive season in the QMJHL. He is certainly not a brilliant skater but uses his size well and can make plays in the inside lane. I was quite surprised to see him ranked so consistently low on draft lists, so I think this was an all-out win for the Isles and it wouldn’t be astonishing to see Dufour continue to build on his production in the 2020-21 season and beyond.

#183- Matias Rajaniemi (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

A towering defender who was born four days away from 2021 eligibility, Rajaniemi appears rather splendid in terms of his biography. However, he was not much of an offensive contributor at the Jr. A SM-Liiga level last season, though it is rare for a defenseman to have exceedingly outlandish offensive totals in that league. So long as Rajaniemi can display promising two-way tools in the Liiga, this will be a win for the Islanders in round six.

#214- Henrik Tikkanen (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Adding to the goaltender pool in round seven, the Isles selected Henrik Tikkanen, a D+1 goalie who stands at a height of 6’8″. Nothing about his statistical profile, which includes a .895 sv% in the Jr. A SM-Liiga last season, stands out as anything close to resembling elite, concluding that the Islanders entirely sought Tikkanen’s size. We will see in due time if it pays off, but given he was the 214th overall pick, obviously that is unlikely.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: William Dufour

I’ve long promoted Dufour as an underrated prospect out of the QMJHL. His production suffered in Chicoutimi as a result of opportunity or lack thereof but as soon as he suited up for Drummondville, he went on a tear and finished with 33 points in his final 28 regular season games. Not bad for a 5th round pick.

Value vs. My Rankings: +0.0 GSVA, 18th highest

With picks beginning at 90, the Islanders didn’t have any selections register on my value system, so they finished with a 0.0 rating.

Overall Grade: C+

This was never expected to be a very significant draft for the Islanders with only 1.4 expected GSVA from their draft picks. I thought they did a fine job but nothing spectacular in extracting value out of the selections they did have. The Dufour selection alone makes this a more successful draft for the Islanders than not.

New York Rangers

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

25.0 GSVA, 2nd highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#1- Alexis Lafreniere (17.7 GSVA)

My rank: #1 (17.7 GSVA)

Diff: +0.0

A no-brainer selection for the Rangers. It would have been a catastrophic mistake if they opted for anybody else, but realistically, this was the pick all along and the Rangers revolutionize their forward group with Alexis.

#19- Braden Schneider (4.2 GSVA)

My rank: #25 (3.4 GSVA)

Diff: -0.8

Trading up for the honours of selecting Braden Schneider is something I’d caution against but it can’t be forgotten just how effective Schneider is in his own zone. He’ll be a fixture on Team Canada’s top-four at the World Juniors and is the type of player who will swiftly adapt to the AHL game once he finishes his last season in Brandon.

#60- Will Cuylle (1.2 GSVA)

My rank: Unranked (1.1 GSVA)

Diff: -0.1

I was convinced that Jean-Luc Foudy would be the first Windsor Spitfire off the board but the New York Rangers favoured Cuylle and scooped him up in the late second round. Cuylle was widely seen as a potential first rounder at the beginning of the 2019-20 season until his discouraging offensive totals pushed him down the rankings. Nonetheless, Cuylle brings the skill package of a hybrid power forward, goal-scorer and could be on track to develop fluently over his D+1 and D+2 seasons.

#92- Oliver Tarnstrom (0.5 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Tarnstrom has never been a mainstream prospect due to his absence from SHL hockey and International hockey to this point. Despite this, he produced 34 points in 41 SuperElit games last season and earned some teams’ attention as a potential mid-rounder. I thought this was a fair choice for the Rangers and nothing more.

#102- Dylan Garand (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Coming into this draft, there was no questioning how good a goalie Garand is despite many questioning how good Garand will be. The Rangers were clearly more concerned with the first aspect and decided to take the talented goalie at pick 102, winning themselves one of the best goalies in the draft in the process.

#127- Evan Vierling (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: #46 (1.7 GSVA)

Diff: +1.4

This was an outright steal for the Rangers in the fifth round. I ranked Vierling towards the middle of my second round and felt very confident in that. A player I have followed and liked since his Minor Midget season for the York-Simcoe Express, Vierling has improved consistently and finally had the opportunity to show off his elite playmaking abilities alongside Tyson Foerster in Barrie. Vierling will score 100 points in his D+2 OHL season.

#134- Brett Berard (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Another great pick-up by the Rangers here. Berard was often the best player on a USNTDP U18 line that included Matthew Beniers and Thomas Bordeleau. Although he is quite small, he is an agitating player to play against and has no problem getting involved in the corners and in front of the net. He also scored 34 points inn41 games for the U18’s, good enough for third on the team.

#165- Matthew Rempe (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Rempe is a really unique player. Standing at 6’8″ and fresh off a strong WHL campaign despite putting up just 0.28 P/GP in the AJHL during his D-1 season. Either way you look at it, Rempe is a longshot to ever become a contributor at the NHL level. The Rangers saw his size and production and thought he was worth the chance.

#197- Hugo Ollas (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Another example of a goalie getting picked for his size. Ollas did not put up promising numbers in the SuperElit last season so he has a long way to go before he is ready to make a substantial impact at even the SHL level.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Evan Vierling

No contest here in my opinion. Lafreniere was too obvious of a pick. Vierling gives the Rangers second round value and will be a player who turns many heads these next few seasons. Vierling has elite playmaking potential in spades.

Value vs. My Rankings: +0.5 GSVA, 12th highest

The Rangers can attribute finishing above 0 to the Vierling selection, which gained them a +1.4 rating using my method. Outside of that, they didn’t make any major mistakes, losing a small amount of value with the Schneider and Cuylle selections.

Grade: B+

One could argue the Lafreniere selection alone makes this draft a massive win for the Rangers. I chalk that one up to the draft lottery and will judge the Rangers based on the decision their scouting department actually had to make. I think Schneider will fit in exceptionally well with their defence corps, Cuylle could become an effective bottom-six winger with some goal-scoring capability, and Vierling could become a playmaking 2C if he adds strength and continues his progression. Overall, I’d say the Rangers made fair value picks and earned a B+ for their work at the draft.

 

Philadelphia Flyers

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

6.0 GSVA, 19th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#23- Tyson Foerster (3.6 GSVA)

My rank: #15 (4.9 GSVA)

Diff: +1.3

I’m a well-documented Tyson Foerster advocate and when the Flyers stepped up to select him, I praised them for it. Ranked 15th on my final list, I’m projecting Foerster to be a 30 goal scorer and dominant player on the powerplay. His goal-scoring ability and hockey IQ combination is the best in the draft and in terms of overall talent, he’s not too far behind Jack Quinn but is a few months younger.

#54- Emil Andrae (1.4 GSVA)

My rank: #40 (2.1 GSVA)

Diff: +0.7

A high-energy defenseman who can hold his own against faster and bigger competition, Andrae likely slid due to some combination of his size, skating, and lack of elite attribute in any one area. For Andrae, he will need to figure out what type of player he will be moving forward to make the NHL. He’ll be best benefited by becoming primarily a puck-mover and offensive catalyst.

#94- Zayde Wisdom (3.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Wisdom has an admirable work ethic and third round skill in his arsenal. He played alongside 2022 phenom Shane Wright last season in Kingston and was able to match his skill. Wisdom’s work ethic allows him to play faster and stronger than he is and for that, he is a very good selection at 94.

#135- Elliot Desnoyers (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Off to a miraculous start after playing a depth role for Moncton last season, Desnoyers clearly had some untapped offensive potential at the time of the draft. Whether or not he keeps up his pace remains to be seen but there is reason to be optimistic. A month ago, I would have called it an average pick but now it looks very good.

#178- Connor McClennon (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

McClennon is the perfect small forward to gamble on near the end of the draft. He is a truly elite playmaking winger and produced well over a P/GP in the WHL last season. I love the potential of this pick even after considering the fact that as an undersized, playmaking winger, McClennon may have a difficult time adapting to professional hockey.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Tyson Foerster

The Flyers’ first pick is my pick for favourite selection. Foerster may not be widely seen as a steal in this spot just yet, but with improved skating and continued growth, he will be seen as such in a matter of two years.

Value vs. My Rankings: +2.0, 6th highest

Finding great value on both their first two selections, the Flyers value total amassed 2.0, the sixth-highest of any team.

Grade: A

The Flyers drafted very efficiently with their five selections, earning themselves an A grade. If Foersters turns out as a expect he will, this will solidify their success at the 2020 Draft. Outside of the first round, Andrae, Wisdom, Desnoyers, and McClennon all have legit NHL potential.

Pittsburgh Penguins

from eiteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

3.5 GSVA, 27th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#52- Joel Blomqvist (1.5 GSVA)

My rank: N/A (1.1 GSVA)

Blomqvist was the second-best European goalie heading into the draft. The Penguins saw him as a worthwhile selection at 52 and jumped on it. Blomqvist had an exceptional .931 sv% in the Jr. A SM-Liiga last season.

#77- Calle Clang (0.8 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Pittsburgh selected another goalie with the 77th pick in Calle Clang. Lile Blomqvist, Clang excelled in his junior league last season. It is unfortunate the U18’s were cancelled back in April as it would have presented Clang with an opportunity to show off his talent.

#108- Lukas Svejkovsky (0.4 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

The skilled forward picked up his play upon a trade to medicine Hat where he scored 28 points in 34 games. A year and a half ago, I didn’t think Svejkovsky would get picked at all, but he’s shown some major progress since then. Not sure I would have jumped in the fourth round though.

#149- Raivis Ansons (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Ansons was amongst a group of QMJHLers who I thought may get overlooked. Fortunately for him, he did not meet the same fate as many of his peers. Ansons plays a high-pressure game but also has some skill that allows him to score a fair number of points.

#170- Chase Yoder (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Yoder was not a player I would be interested in drafting, even at pick 170. Perhaps he benefited from exposure playing the U18 USNTDP team. The Penguins really could have explored more high upside routes with this pick.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Calle Clang

There isn’t much separating Blomqvist and Clang, so selecting the latter 25 picks after the former makes it the better value selection.

Value vs. My Rankings: -0.4 GSVA, 23rd highest

I did not have Blomqvist ranked in my top 62, which was more of a positional factor than a talent one, so the Penguins look below average on the rating system.

Grade: B

The Penguins went all in to find another goalie and much of their draft success will depend on how Blomqvist and Clang develop. Beyond the two netminders, the three forwards they selected don’t bring me too much excitement.

 

Washington Capitals

from eliteprospects.com

Draft Pick Value

4.5 GSVA, 24th highest

Pick-By-Pick Breakdown

#22- Hendrix Lapierre (3.7 GSVA)

My rank: #16 (4.7 GSVA)

Diff: +1.0

Any team considering drafting Lapierre knew it would be a monumental risk given his concussion history. However, Lapierre is closer to the top-10 than the second round in terms of pure talent, so I have to call this a win for Washington. Lapierre is one of the best playmakers in the draft and has the ability to command the ice with his poise and vision.

#117- Bogdan Trineyev (0.3 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

95 picks after Lapierre, the Capitals selected again, this time taking Russian Bogdan Trineyev. Trineyev played the entirety of his draft season in the MHL but didn’t put up eye-opening numbers. Evaluating prospects from the MHL can be very tricky, so hopefully for Washington, he’s one of those guys who adapts well to pro hockey after putting up mediocre MHL numbers.

#148- Bear Hughes (0.2 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

Bear Hughes has had a wild career path. Born and raised in the non-hockey state of Idaho, he doesn’t even appear on EliteProspects until his D-1 season, where he had 0 points in 8 midget games. The next year Hughes went on to dominate the KIJHL (Jr. B) before transitioning to the WHL last year, and once again succeeding. It’s extraordinarily rare to see a prospect progress this much. In selecting Bear Hughes, Washington is also betting on him continuing his strong trajectory.

#179- Garin Bjorklund (0.2 GVSA)

My rank: N/A

A sub .900 sv%, CHL goaltender, Bjorklund will have to work his way up the ladder to become a legit NHL prospect. He was once a first round pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, so Bjorklund could have more in him than his numbers indicate.

#211- Oskar Magnusson (0.1 GSVA)

My rank: N/A

I couldn’t believe Magnusson was amongst the pool of players available with just 7 picks remaining in the draft. He scored 48 points in 38 SuperElit games last season, a higher figure than some second/third rounders. The production may have been inflated by contextual factors, but still, seventh round? Great pick by the Caps.

Conclusion

Favourite Selection: Oskar Magnusson

I debated nominating Lapierre and Hughes for favourite selection, but ultimately settled on the seventh round steal, Oskar Magnusson. I saw a stronger argument for Magnusson being a second rounder than a seventh.

Value vs. My Rankings: +1.0 GSVA, 10th highest

+1.0 GSVA all came from the Hendrix Lapierre selection, who I ranked 16th on my final list.

Grade: B+

The Capitals nailed their first round pick by taking Lapierre. After that, there was little draft capital to make any home run selections but the Capitals fared very well regardless, especially with the Hughes and Magnusson selections. I think this draft class will age well for Washington.

 

Conclusion

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

  1. Carolina Hurricanes, A+
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, A
  3. Washington Capitals, B+
  4. New York Rangers, B+
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins, B
  6. New York Islanders, C+
  7. Columbus Blue Jackets, C
  8. New Jersey Devils, D

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

  1. Carolina Hurricanes, +4.1
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, +2.0
  3. Washington Capitals, +1.0
  4. New York Rangers, +0.5
  5. New York Islanders, +0.0
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins, -0.4
  7. Columbus Blue Jackets, -2.8
  8. New Jersey Devils, -5.5

Thanks for following along through these four articles. Let me know what you think of the grades in the comments or on Twitter!

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