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6/03/2016 8:11 am  #1

2016 CHL 4th Round Mock Draft

67. Vancouver Canucks
C/RW Tobias Eder (Bad Tolz, Oberliga Jrs): A sniper who can play any forward position, Eder is the best of a rather thin, almost non-existent pool of worthy German draft eligibles. He’s had a handful of strong tournaments, albeit against the IIHF’s second tier of competition, and bounced back from a late-season high ankle sprain with a strong showing at the Division IA U18’s. Nevertheless, he can scoot and shoot, using his 6’0 frame and reach to protect the puck as he bullies his way to the net.
68. Detroit Red Wings
RW Dmitri Sokolov (Sudbury Wolves, OHL): If you judge a player solely on production, then Sokolov’s rookie season was nothing short of outstanding – he led OHL rookies with 30 goals, including 15 over his last 23 games. But digging deeper into the power winger’s season reveals disconcerting traits, to include accusations of laziness and poor off-ice work ethic. A shoulder injury may have had something to do with that, but the fact that he played the entire season should help his case. Remember, he’s just a kid, and one who left Russia to play in North America no less. His size/shot combo is lethal, and he has a soft set of hands to bury the roughest of goal-mouth feeds.
69. Florida Panthers
C Brandon Gignac (Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL): A real hustler with quick hands and very good instincts, Gignac exhibits the kind of all-out effort a downtrodden fan base can only hope becomes infectious. He’s one of the draft’s fastest skaters, but he proved this season that he can blow past opponents with his head up to either find the open man, or take the puck strong to the net. He’s not just flash and dash – he won close to 60 percent of his draws and can be used in any situation.
70. Philadelphia Flyers
LW Jack Kopacka (Sault Ste Marie, OHL): A rebuilding year in Sault Ste Marie turned out to be a good thing for its young forwards, as the strong yet elusive Kopacka got a chance with top-six minutes to finish tied for fourth on the squad with 20 goals while firing off 179 shots. He’s a classic power forward in terms of size (6’2, 190) but he’s very quick and owns a pretty good shot. Like all big men, however, he can pull a lengthy vanishing act, and he doesn’t always battle through adversity in the form of clogged skating lanes and slogging matches.
71. Washington Capitals
LHD Dennis Cholowski (Chilliwack Chiefs, BCHL): Steady two-way defender whose name started to ring bells following December’s World Junior “A” Challenge. He’s got good size to work with, and he makes smart plays, specifically picking the right time to either join the rush or sneak into the left circle for a quality scoring chance. Cholowski is bound for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, so the Caps can be patient with a defender with top-4 upside. He’s far from physical, however, and it seems the way he processes the game is the biggest, possibly only reason why he’s skyrocketed up the rankings.
72. Chicago Blackhawks (via St. Louis Blues)
LHD Jacob Moverare (HV71, SHL): The Swedes are known for producing sound, multi-purpose rearguards who know how to move the puck out of harm’s way. And although it’s been almost a decade since the Tre Kronor produced a defenseman with all-star acumen, you can add Moverare to the high-upside list of 2016 draft eligibles. He has good size, but his mobility and passing are what will get him to the next level. Making questionable decisions is par for the course for offensive-minded defenders, so the Hawks should expect a bumpy development path.
73. Anaheim Ducks
LHD Victor Mete (London Knights, OHL): Easily one of the toughest draft-eligible prospects to gauge because he does so many things at a high level, yet is an undersized defenseman on a loaded, powerhouse of a team. His biggest asset is speed — he is lightning-quick and doesn’t have to tinker with his quickness in order to blow the doors off an opponent. This kid has made very sound checkers looked novice in their approach, and can cap off an end-to-end rush with a smart play towards the net, or a cut back in order to open up the ice around him. Mete relies on push-and-shove tactics to deny bigger forwards the opportunity to take the puck inside, but he needs to get stronger if he wants to be counted on at higher levels.
74. Colorado Avalanche
C Mikhail Maltsev (Russia U18, MHL): One of the draft’s few two-way centers with size who tips more towards the grinder side than that of a pivot with pure skill. Maltsev did a fine job as Team Russia’s second-line center behind German Rubtsov, using his size/reach advantage to really give opponents the business. He can play an in-your-face style and uses good speed to get in on the fore-check without over-committing or leaving his linemates out to dry. At 6’3, 200 pounds, it’s scary to think that he can get bigger, hopefully without costing him in the mobility department. On the power play, he likes to acquiesce to his gifted puck distributors and take a spot near or directly behind the net. Maltsev is very good on faceoffs, which is probably the reason he’s playing with the man advantage to begin with.
75. Edmonton Oilers (via Chicago Blackhawks)
RW Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting, OHL): A prodigious playmaker with breakaway speed, Kyrou bounced between Sarnia’s top two lines and has the potential to be an impact forward. He’s battled through inconsistent play and is prone to turning the puck over at inopportune times, but he’s too tantalizing a prospect to pass over in a draft thin in pure skill. Kyrou’s what we’d call a “Spotlight Ranger”, beefing up his stock with solid all-around play at high-profile events like the U18 Hlinka and the CHL Top Prospects Game. You can say almost any skill forward in this year’s draft leaked defensive prowess from start to finish, but in Kyrou’s case, it’s a serious concern.
76. Toronto Maple Leafs
LW Alan Lyszczarczyk (Sudbury Wolves, OHL): A super-skilled winger with speed who can also fill in at center, Lyszczarczyk had a fine season in Sudbury, finishing sixth in rookie scoring with 50 points in 67 games. At 6’1, 180, he’s got the kind of size the Devils can work with, as he’s already a very good playmaker and owns an excellent shot that he doesn’t use as often as he should. Born in Poland and raised in the Garden State, Lyszczarczyk tore up the Czech junior circuit, and then performed as one of Poland’s top players at the Division IA U18’s.
77. Boston Bruins (via Winnipeg Jets)
RW Yegor Korshkov (Lokomotiv, KHL): Double-overage two-way winger who had an accomplished campaign for both Lokomotiv in the KHL and Russia’s National Team. You can’t dent the hockey sense and creativity he oozes, but you’d only hope that a 20-year-old who winger stands 6’4 would impose his will against younger international competition. He was a depth forward for Loko, but the handful of games we watched revealed a competitive player with shiftiness and a tremendous work ethic in board battles. Korshkov is a good skater who can shift gears to catch opponents off guard.
78. Dallas Stars (via New York Rangers)
LHD Markus Niemelainen (Saginaw Spirits, QMJHL): To be frank, he’s a project, using God-given talent to his advantage far more than taking steps to improve his shortcomings with decision making. The Niemelainen we saw in September was the same one from the recent U18’s — big, mobile blueliner with a decent shot who is a beast from the dots down but makes a handful of bad choices per outing. At his absolute best, he’s a less physical version of a pre-injuries Marc Staal, so getting Niemelainen in the late third round could end up becoming a steal.
79. Colorado Avalanche (via Montreal Canadians)
LHD Sean Day (Mississauga Steelheads, OHL): If the third round was renamed the Island of Draft Hype Castoffs, then Day would undoubtedly rule the land. Blessed with pro-level speed and size, Day couldn’t piece them together into one explosive package. Rather, his three-zone (or any zone) consistency was up and down, and it took a solid showing at the Top Prospects Game and the subsequent second half to save his draft stock from bottoming out. In our view, he’s worth the pick and worth the worry, because if things work out, he could be one of the best to come out of the 2016 draft.
80. New Jersey Devils
C Igor Shvyryov (Stalnye Lisy, MHL): A brief stint with Russia’s U18 team for the Hlinka was followed by an outstanding MHL campaign by this sublime offensive talent, who’s deserving of more love than he’s received. Shvyryov is an exceptional stickhandler and passer, and can do both while moving at a high rate of speed. He’s a pure finesse pivot who will lend immediate assistance to any power play, where he likes to position himself along the half wall in order to dissect passing lanes with pinpoint precision.
81. San Jose Sharks
RW Brandon Hagel (Red Deer Rebels, WHL): A late-August, 1998 birthdate whose fast start made some people wonder how in the world he was overlooked in WHL Bantam Drafts. Hagel (6’0 / 170 lbs) is one of the Rebels’ many offensive weapons who can fill in on the flank on any of their first three lines. He’s an accurate shooter with a quick release and will fight to get to the tough areas around the net. We view him as a pass-first forward with a ton of hustle and sandpaper who can top out as an excellent penalty-killing option.
82. Boston Bruins (via Dallas Stars)  
LW Eetu Tuulola (HPK U20, Liiga Jrs): Tuulola is the Finnish power forward who is not seeing his name plastered all over the place by hockey scribes in his native land and abroad. But not being a top-three pick shouldn’t detract from how good a goal-scoring prospect this kid currently is. Tuulola has a heavy shot and a quick release, and getting involved in the dirty areas is something he seems to enjoy. He is a very good open-ice hitter, and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he snuck into the third round, which says a ton about the depth Finland provided for this draft.
83. Los Angeles Kings
Luke Green (Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL): One of the steadier defensemen available for any round who quietly had a strong season for an Ice Dogs’ squad with a deep blue line. Green came to Saint John with high regard — he was the first overall pick in the 2014 QMJHL Draft — but he stagnated after a strong rookie season a year ago. Compounding things was a nasty hit from Cape Breton’s Pierre-Luc Dubois in March which may have been the catalyst behind his average postseason. Still, Green is a very good skater with terrific instincts and is one of the draft’s better shot selectors from the back end; if Green is taking a shot, it’s going to be hard and accurate.
84. Calgary Flames
LHD J.D. Greenway (U.S. U18, NTDP): We have to hand it to Greenway — he certainly knows how to pick his spots. The tall defender with above-average mobility and strong instincts made a nifty play to set up a goal in front of the CHL scouting community at the All-American Top Prospects Game, then closed out his season with a memorable, Forsberg-esque tuck-in tally in April’s U18 world championship. These displays of offensive prowess, however, were few and very far between, but that shouldn’t take away from his ability to poke, pin and hold with the best of his class. Greenway, whose older brother J.D. was a 2015 third round pick of the Devils, recently committed to Wisconsin after rumors indicated he was OHL-bound to Flint.
85. Boston Bruins
RW Vladimir Kuznetsov (Acadie-Bathurst Titan, QMJHL): A fearless, crash-and-bang sniper who is super quick on his feet and can unload a heavy shot, Kuznetsov was the top overall pick in last year’s CHL Import Draft. The thick Russian winger didn’t disappoint either — he finished fourth in QMJHL rookie scoring. He was one of only two draft-eligible CHL players to suit up for Russia’s U18 squad at the world championship, and his tournament was a microcosm of the regular season in that there were times he looked lost on the ice, if you were keen enough to even notice him.
86. Washington Capitals (via Buffalo Sabres)
LW Artur Kayumov (Russia U18, MHL): We’d be lying if we said we weren’t disappointed Kayumov (among other Russians) was banned from participating at the U18’s when he and his entire squad tested positive for the substance meldonium. Life certainly goes on, but the incident likely hurts his draft stock. Quick and decisive, Kayumov is usually the one orchestrating the attack for the Russians, especially on the power play. He’s dandy on the zone entry, and his balance is strong for a kid listed less than six feet tall. There were periods where he was the best player for Team Russia, and we see him as a high pick in the upcoming CHL Import Draft.
87. Edmonton Oilers
C/W Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets, WHL): It wasn’t too long ago when Dube was a projected first round pick thanks to his non-stop motor and ability to create scoring chances off an intense forecheck. But the second half of his season was a bit of a battle as he blew so many gimme chances that you have to wonder if someone hexed him. The good news is that his struggles have nothing to do with work ethic or effort — this kid busts it every shift and bring a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and respect of the game to any organization he’ll join. Plus, he finished the season as a point-per-game player with 66 points in 65 games, and was one of the WHL’s best draft eligibles in even-strength scoring.
88. Florida Panthers (via Carolina Hurricanes) 
LHD Marcus Ersson (Brynas IF, SHL): There are a handful of big two-way defensemen who had a strong J20 Superelite season, but Ersson is a kid who doesn’t get the coverage notable prospects like David Bernhardt and overager Filip Berglund have received. He’s a wonderful talent with a hunter’s mindset who loves to either create a rush up ice, or join it and gun straight for the net. His positioning in the defensive zone needs a little work, as he has a tendency to float away from his area of responsibility. His side of the ice wasn’t attacked as often as you’d think, and there’s a strong possibility he gets more than bottom-pairing minutes for Brynas next season.


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