Wild Attempt to Re-Stock the Prospect Cupboard on Day 2 of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft

Wild Attempt to Re-Stock the Prospect Cupboard on Day 2 of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft

NHL

Wild Attempt to Re-Stock the Prospect Cupboard on Day 2 of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft

By

Here is a summary of the Minnesota Wild’s selections throughout the rest of the draft which commenced today in Dallas.  As was the case during the opening night of the draft, no trades were made and just in case you missed the 1st round here is our review of the selection of defenseman Filip Johansson.

Onto the picks!

3rd Round (63rd Overall) C – Jack McBain (Toronto Jr. Canadiens, OJHL) born in Toronto, Ontario

Height: 6’3″  Weight: 196lbs  Shoots: Left

Central Scouting: #35  ISS: #52  Future Considerations: #54

HockeyProspect.com: #50  Hockey News: #60

Talent Analysis:  The Boston College-commit is a big, two-way forward who showcases intriguing potential as a Top 9 forward.  He has reasonable speed and uses his lanky frame effectively to protect the puck, but possesses an knack for beating defenders 1-on-1.  He has decent finishing traits but is just an ok playmaker.  At times he tries to thread the needle through multiple defenders instead of taking the easier play that has a higher chance at success.  McBain forechecks hard and is effective in winning battles for the puck along the wall, but he’s not a physical player even though he has the size for it.  He plays with the same effort in the defensive zone as he does in the offensive zone.  His main weaknesses is his lack of explosiveness in his first 3 steps, and it will have to be an area for him to improve upon if he’s to have an NHL future.  ISS did have McBain rated as the 4th best power forward available in this draft.

What the scouts said…

“Needs to play with more pace, skating needs to get better.  I don’t think he has high end skill.  I think he has good skill.  I love his energy, his motor and I love his willingness to play a 200-ft game but for me he’s more of a 3rd line guy at this point.” ~ NHL Scout

“He’s not a center for me, his best games were when he was playing on the wing.” ~ NHL Scout

“I think his abilities as a hockey player are underrated because he hasn’t fully committed himself to being a hockey player until recently.  He’s well rounded, he’s smart and I think his skill is undervalued.  He’s a 3rd line winger or center and I’m not sure which one just yet.  I am not sure if he’s good enough playmaker to be a center but I like the kid overall.  I think he’ll find his way.”  ~ NHL Scout

“He’s long and really handles the puck well.  He plays with a long stick and every time I see him, he makes something happen.” ~ NHL Scout

Chris Mooring (ISS): “Smart, two-way center who uses his size well to protect the puck but does not show a lot of physical grit.  Both a playmaker and scoring threat; has good offensive instincts, vision, passing, quick release and shot.  Can play both wing and center; looked better at center, he was more involved in the play and kept his feet moving more.  Skating will need to improve; could recover quicker and improve first couple steps.”

Bottom Line:  He sounds like an intriguing candidate to anchor the Wild’s 3rd line someday, but he must improve his skating in order to be an effective forechecking center at the NHL level.

My Thoughts:  Its an ok pick at first glance, but the skating issues bother me.  We’ve seen the Wild attempt to draft this type of player before and fail miserably because it was all based on the ‘hope’ that they could improve their skating.  Zack Phillips, Adam Gilmour, Brett Bulmer and Avery Peterson were all tall to lanky forwards who seemed to have a blend of size and ability but each and every time their skating issues submarined what chances they had to be in the NHL. I am not saying that will happen with McBain but this scouting staff made all of those previous selections so is it really all that out of line to be fearful that history could repeat itself?!?

 

3rd Round (86th Overall)  C – Alexander Khovanov (Moncton, QMJHL)  born in Saratov, Russia

Height: 5’10”  Weight: 196lbs  Shoots: Left

Central Scouting (NA Skaters): #43  ISS: #87  Future Considerations: #37

HockeyProspect.com: #86  Hockey News: #53

Talent Analysis:  Khovanov had a major health scare earlier this season when he contracted Hepatitis A, which put him out of the lineup a fair portion the season.  Once he got back he seemed to be a bit out of shape from inactivity but still demonstrated plenty of skill and vision that makes him a dangerous player in the offensive zone.  He has that ability to sort of slow the play down and open up ice for teammates with subtle movements and then make a perfect pass to set them up, especially on the power play.  Skating is an issue, as he struggles to get up to speed and appears to lack burst that you’d want to see from a smaller forward.  Another flaw is his tendency to hang out on the perimeter in search of open ice rather than being able to create it by himself.  He’s a decent finisher, with an accurate shot and looks for opportunities to pounce on the puck but closer to the dots than to the crease.  Defensively he’s just ok, but this is another area where is skating issues make it tougher for him to be effective while backchecking.

What the scouts said…

Chris Mooring (ISS) ~ “Looked like the same player, skating maybe a little better, but still needs to improve.  Stride is still choppy, and he lacks separation speed.  But he continued to show very good hands and playmaking ability.  Showed a bit more edge to his game, but for the most part still on the perimeter with the puck.  Looked at his best on the power play with added room.”

Dennis MacInnis (ISS) ~ “Very inconsistent all week, during U-18’s 5-Nations Tourney.  Centered top line and first power play unit.  Creative, highly skilled playmaker but doesn’t look fully recovered from injury.  Couple times saw him ‘cringe’ when trying to find that extra gear and couldn’t keep up.  Draft sleeper better than people think – player to watch when healthy.”

Jerome Berube (HockeyProspect.com) ~ “Don’t get the hype about him, didn’t see a lot of dynamic plays from him and his skating is a red flag for me.”

Mark Edwards (HockeyProspect.com) ~ “My biggest take away was that I didn’t see enough to get excited about given his size / skating combination.”

Bottom Line:  A highly skilled center with terrific hands and offensive instincts that makes him a good fit as a Top 6 forward if he fixes his skating issues.

My Thoughts:  Health scare aside, the skating issues bother me even more with Khovanov than it does with McBain.  As a smaller player, its even more imperative that he be a decent to above average skater.  A lot of his highlights came on the power play where he had far more time and space to work with.  That’s great, but what do you really have?  A power play specialist IF he fixes his skating?  I need to see more tools and an ability to thrive offensively at full strength in order to feel hopeful about his NHL future.

 

3rd Round (92nd Overall) C – Connor Dewar (Everett, WHL) born in The Pas, Manitoba

Height: 5’10”  Weight: 170lbs  Shoots: Left

Central Scouting (NA Skater): #117  ISS: N/A  Future Considerations: #158

HockeyProspect.com: N/A  Hockey News: N/A

Talent Analysis:  A small hard working centerman who was passed over in last year’s draft and plays the game with a fearless attitude.  He has terrific quickness and acceleration to apply pressure quickly and put opposing skaters on their heels.  Dewar was Everett’s alternate captain this season and you can see leads the way with maximum effort on everyone of his shifts.  He does not have the top end speed to completely fly by opposing defenders but he does not hesitate to take the puck into the high traffic areas and has a decent shot which he can unleash quickly.  He will take a hit to make a play or to create an opportunity for a teammate.  Dewar uses his low center of gravity to be a pain for opposing defenders trying to get him off the puck and he does not hesitate to throw his body around.  It should be no surprise that he’s equally relentless on the backcheck.  He is a player who brings versatility on the power play or the penalty kill in addition to his natural leadership on and off the ice.

Bottom Line:  A high-character, high energy forward who is a natural for a role on the 3rd or 4th line.  He has the skill to chip in offensively and be an absolute misery to play against.

My Thoughts:  This is the one pick of the Wild draft that I’m in the most support of.  No skating issues.  He’s a player who just competes and reminds me a lot of last year’s selection of Mason Shaw whom the team signed this spring.  Both are small-ish players who hound the puck at both ends of the ice using their speed and quickness to put opponents on their heels and create havoc and turnovers in the process.  Dewar will do just about anything it takes (dish out or take a hit, score, even fight) to help his team win.  In my opinion, the ideal kind of selfless role player every team needs.

 

5th Round (148th Overall) RD – Simon Johansson (Djugarden Jr., Swe. Jr.) born in Stockholm, Sweden

Height: 6’2″  Weight: 183lbs  Shoots: Right

Central Scouting (Euro Skater): #88  ISS: N/A  Future Considerations: N/A

HockeyProspect.com: N/A  Hockey News: N/A

Talent Analysis:  Another player that was passed over in the 2017 draft, Simon (no relation to the Wild’s 1st round pick Filip Johansson) is a taller right-shot defenseman who led the Swedish Allsvenskan in scoring among blueliners.  He’s got a cannon of a shot and loves to unleash the one-timer.  An offensive defenseman the biggest concerns is his focus to his defensive game.  He is an adequate puck mover who is described as a ‘late bloomer’ by Wild Assistant GM Brent Flahr.  Johansson moves well and doesn’t mind carrying the puck up the ice, but in some ways he’s kind of a raw prospect who is just starting to come into his own.  Like many players he still needs to fill out his lanky frame.

What scouts said…

“A proactive defenseman with very good size and upside.  Can move the puck and finish the play in the offensive zone too.” ~ Draftin Europe

Bottom Line:  A project defenseman who might be a diamond in the rough in the next 2-3 years if he adds strength and continues to develop.

My Thoughts:  The Wild seem to enjoy taking a flyer on a late bloomer from Sweden in the draft as picks like Daniel Gunnarsson and Pontus Sjalin.  Its a fairly low risk pick where you hope he can surprise you later on.  The offensive potential seems intriguing as 16 goals from a defenseman makes one hope the team may have made a decent discovery.  Only time will tell.

 

5th Round (155th Overall)  C – Damien Giroux (Saginaw, OHL) born in Val Caron, Ontario

Height: 5’9″  Weight: 170lbs  Shoots: Left

Central Scouting (NA Skaters): #190  ISS: #182  Future Considerations: #180

HockeyProspect.com: N/A  Hockey News: N/A

Talent Analysis:  Another small center who battles and competes hard on pucks he was used in all situations with Saginaw.  He has good instincts and finds the soft areas of the ice in order to put himself in the right place to score.  Giroux does a good job of finding teammates and is a decent puck distributor.  He is defensively responsible and backchecks consistently.  Yet there are a fair amount of flaws to his game.  One of them is his skating which is average at best and he lacks burst in his first few steps.  Another is his ability to finish his chances, as he was used in all situations he often found himself in good position to score but struggled to light the lamp at times. Lastly, he will need to add strength significantly as he struggled in battles for pucks along the boards.

Bottom Line:  A small center who plays a responsible two-way game but has some significant areas he needs to work on in order to be a viable Wild prospect.

My Thoughts:  I don’t understand this pick.  Another small center with skating issues and limited offensive ability.  Is this really the best player available at this point in the draft?  While Giroux seems to have the ‘want to’ to battle for loose pucks, etc, but I am not sure if he has the tools to be able to be a successful professional player let alone an NHL prospect.  Especially with right-shot center Chase Wouters who scouts raved about was still available this pick really kind of baffles me.

 

6th Round (179th Overall) RW – Shawn Boudrias (Gatineau, QMJHL) born in Laval, QC

Height: 6’4″  Weight: 189lbs  Shoots:  Right

Central Scouting (NA Skaters):  ISS: N/A  Future Considerations: #299

HockeyProspect.com: #192  Hockey News: N/A

Talent Analysis:  Another player who was passed over in the draft, was this big-bodied power winger who has some offensive ability to go along with a strong, athletic frame.  He is versatile in the fact he can play both center and wing and makes good reads at both ends of the ice.  The Laval-native has good defensive awareness and he blocks shots well and when he has the puck he’s difficult to knock off of it.  Boudrias is at his best when working the puck beneath the goal line and in the tough areas of the ice where he uses his size and strength to its fullest advantage.  He is a player who has good hands in tight and doesn’t mind screening goaltenders and causing havoc near the crease.  He still needs to work on his skating in terms of his first few step quickness but he moves well for his size, but he’s shown good potential for improvement as he continues to grow and get stronger.  ISS had Boudrias at #149 in their 2017 draft guide.

What scouts said…

Jerome Berube (HockeyProspect.com) ~ “He went undrafted last year.  This season was a big bounce-back year for him and he’s also still very young.  I like his chances this year as he had a big year offensively and produced a whole lot after (Vitali Abramov) was dealt.”

Bottom Line:  An intriguing bottom 6 power forward project.  He was one of the youngest players in the 2017 draft, so he still has plenty of time to develop.

My Thoughts:  I am fine with this pick as he’s a player who seems to have a lot of good tools to his game.  The fact he scored more after some talented players were traded away from his team in Gatineau tells me with more opportunity may come more improvement and development which always a good thing to see in any prospect.

 

7th Round (210th Overall) C – Sam Hentges (Des Moines, USHL) from Fridley, Minnesota

Height: 5’11”  Weight: 170lbs  Shoots: Right

Central Scouting (NA Skater): N/A  ISS: N/A  Future Considerations: N/A

HockeyProspect.com: N/A  Hockey News: N/A

Talent Analysis:  Injuries meant the former Totino-Grace star only saw limited action between Tri-City and Des Moines of the USHL.  He is a talented winger who has great hands and puckhandling ability.  Hentges has good speed and is elusive where he can dangle past defenders to open himself up for scoring opportunities.  He has average size and will need to add strength to his frame as do most young prospects.  He is committed to St. Cloud State next fall and it will be interesting to see how well he does in one of the best hockey conferences in the nation.

Bottom Line:  Decent skills, with an element of flashy-ness to his game he projects as a top 9 winger if he develops properly.

My Thoughts:  This was the standard late-round Minnesota selection we’ve seen over the years.  Last year it was Nick Swaney and he surprised everyone with a strong freshman season at UMD, will Hentges do the same at SCSU?  Possibly.  College gives him plenty of time to add strength and improve his game against older competition before readying himself for the rigors of the professional game.  Players like these are almost always a 3-4 year project but Wouters was still available and its hard to believe Hentges’ upside was more promising than his.

I hope the prospect overviews were helpful.  What are your thoughts on the Minnesota Wild’s draft of 2018 so far (yes, I know its early)?  Let us know on Twitter @CreaseAndAssist or in the comment section below!

More Sports

2hr

It’s the year 3021, and a young girl comes across “The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus” on the milky way web. She asks her parents (…)

2hr

While he’s only had the job for just over a year, Troy Weaver is doing great things as the general manager of the Detroit Pistons. And while (…)

reply
11hr

When it comes to exits, I’ve always preferred the Irish goodbye. But after 15 years of rambling about the Celtics, I’m compelled to say (…)

More NHL