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Draft Profile Reader: Go shopping for prospects

Have a look at some of the draft prospect profiles you might have missed.

United States v Sweden: Semifinals - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship
Oh, he’d never work out on the Leafs. You need to get along with the Swedes there.
Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

Brady Tkachuk

He’s the younger Tkachuk, but everyone says he’s better than his brother. Here at PPP, we want the Oilers to draft Chucky the Second because we want to see if the Battle of Alberta can get even more messy and dirty, but there’s a lot of other teams out there who might be looking at this player, and he may end up in our division.

Winging it in Mowtown did a profile on him, and they said this about him:

Brady plays a power forward game. He’s big, and he’s not afraid to play that way, and he combines this physical aspect of the game with exceptional vision and hockey sense. Brady has good agility and possesses a strong stride. His ability to pivot and change direction sharply make him surprisingly mobile and slippery to deal with. Combine that with his reach and his already considerable strength, and he is a tough customer to knock off of the puck. To make him even tougher to deal with, his stickhandling is among the best in the draft.

That’s what the world needs, a combination of Brad Marchand and Corey Perry all in one body.

A team that drafts him can expect him to go out of his way to get under the skin and in the heads of his opponent. That being said, while he has been known to rack up penalty minutes in his junior years, Tkachuk has kept his nose relatively clean this year, taking 11 penalties in his first 24 games in the NCAA, and managed to take only one minor penalty through the entire World Juniors tournament.

Oh, great, maybe he’s the smart brother too. WIIM has some highlights and a full debrief on this future pain in many posteriors.

Joe Veleno

Joe Veleno is one of the highest ranked centres on most draft lists. He’s from Montréal, so naturally the Habs figure they’re entitled to him. HEOTP detailed this prospect, and they don’t sound so sure about this player.

But the question remains, has the forward shown enough in his QMJHL career to prove that he has what it takes to be a top center at the NHL level like he was projected to be a few years ago?

Veleno is responsible defensively, works hard, positions himself well, and could certainly play down the middle at the next level. At 6’1’’ and 194 lbs, he has the size to compete against anyone and has already displayed that he’s capable of competing against more capable opponents.

So what’s holding him back from being a top-10 pick?

Since the Habs succeeding in being really bad last year, they have a top pick and will be looking at higher ranked players, but this look at a player who might be high in the list for the wrong reasons is interesting. If he’s too high, someone else is too low.

Dominik Bokk

Dominik Bokk is a player who is a bit contentious in rankings. Is he a top half of the first round or a bottom half? Is he even a first rounder at all?

HEOTP did a profile utilizing their writer in Sweden where Bokk plays.

Bokk chose not to follow the footsteps of countryman Leon Draisaitl and move to Canada at an early age, even if that was the plan from the start. After being drafted in the import draft by the Price Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, Bokk was a bit disappointed as he had hoped to be drafted by the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.

Bokk spoke with his agent, and he got a deal with this year’s Swedish champions, the Växjö Lakers, instead of the Canadian junior club. When Bokk extended his contract during the season with the Lakers, chairman Henrik Evertsson said “It was one of the easiest decisions I have had to make. I am looking forward to following his development [here in Växjö].”

Defending Bid D also looked at Bokk, and had a few questions about his all-over-the-map ranking and what exactly scouting reports were getting at in their discussion of him. And then they did their own look at the player.

Bokk’s hands are not just about creating space for his teammates, but setting up his release. Even though he didn’t lead his league in scoring, his 1.4 points per game average (involved in 34 percent of his team’s goals, which is one of the better percentages among draft eligible players) was tops in the SuperElit — enough to earn him 15 games in the SHL.

His shot is fairly above average in my view. He’s able to paralyze goaltenders with his feints and vision, and when he does chamber the puck, he can snap it quick and heavily (as much as I hate comparisons, he’s like Jason Spezza in this regard; just because he’s a pass-first forward doesn’t mean he can’t shoot).

Ryan McLeod

There was some rumblings last week that Mark Hunter had been looking at McLeod. I hope he was, since he looked at a lot of players in the OHL.

Defending Big D had a look at this centre and called him a wild card.

The skill set that McLeod brings to the table is certainly impressive. He possesses that desirable combination of size (at about 6’2” and 200 pounds) and skating ability that NHL teams covet. His skating stride is long and fluid, which allows him to conduct end-to-end rushes while skirting around defenders along the way. His lower-body strength is good enough to keep him upright, both when he fights off contact at high speeds and when trading paint with defenders in tight spaces.

The catch is that he’s not scoring much lately, and he’s attracting labels like “perimeter player”.

All About the Jersey had a look at him too, and they started wondering about how high the ceiling is on this player who looks so good on paper. They have a good summation of the scouting reports, and have this in their conclusion:

This is a matter of personal preference, but prospects considered to have a high floor and a limited ceiling immediately raise red flags for me. When you are drafting players, particularly players in the first round, you are looking for someone who will move the needle substantially on an NHL roster. I’m not positive Ryan McLeod seems like that guy. His production is solid enough, but it’s also not jumping off the page for a guy who will be one of the oldest players at the draft in their first year of eligibility. Having a strong two-way game is never a bad thing, but in the draft, I think teams should be maximizing talent and selecting guys who have game-breaking skills at the next level and filling in some gaps if they need to. McLeod seems to do a lot of things good, but I don’t know how many of those things rise to the level of “great,” which is a concern.

Adam Samuelsson

AATJ always do a lot of draft profiles, so if you’re looking for later-ranked players, this is a good place to have a look. Here, they profile a player deep in the second round on most lists.

Samuelsson was born on June 21, 2000 in White Plains, New York; he already has an NHL-sized frame at 6’5” and a weight of 210 pounds according to his Team USA Hockey bio page. Elite Prospects lists him as 30 pounds heavier (240) which seems quite the stretch for a soon to be 18 year old, so I originally assumed this was an EP error here, but as you’ll see later on, there is some discrepancy. Regardless, as a defender with a left handed shot, the Devils should be certain to take a look at him, as that fills one of their two shortage areas.

That’s not very stirring to fans who agree with the ideas above about floors and ceilings, but it’s a good reminder that once you dig down in the draft, those game-breaking skills are harder to come by.

All of these profiles have some more depth and different opinions on the picks. If you want a complete look at the first round picks, check out Kevin’s list here, if you haven’t already:

2018 NHL draft rankings: Top 31 with profiles - Pension Plan Puppets
A full rank and tier breakdown of the top 31 players in this year's NHL Entry Draft in Dallas

And if you missed his latest profile it’s here:

2018 NHL Draft profile: Jonatan Berggren never stops scoring - Pension Plan Puppets
This high-scoring Swede should be on Toronto’s shortlist at 25th overall