Last week, we announced our SB Nation Mock Draft pick for our 3rd overall selection, in which we took the controversial Mikhail Grigorenko from the Quebec Ramparts. The entire first round eventually got revealed around SB Nation, and we at least attempted to fill out the 2nd round (as of writing this, the final picks were still being made). We've made our picks for selections 33 and 51, and here's a bit about the players and the process itself:
33. Ludvig Byström, D, MODO (Elitserien/J20 SuperElit)
Byström wasn't who I expected to pick at 33, but when the teams above us took a group of defencemen that I thought were inferior and forgot about Ludvig, well, I figured it was best to snap him up. I went with a strict Best Player Available position here, I wasn't looking for organizational need. And really, I can't figure out a reason to not be excited if the organization added a talent like Byström to their prospect depth at defence. Byström is considered a strong skater with great puckhandling skills, and is advanced in making reads and winning one-on-one battles for such a young player. He's a July '94 birthdate, making him one of the younger players in the draft. Here's what some prominent scouts say:
Offensively, he sees the play, passes very well and creates opportunities for his team. Defensively, he competes 1-1 with good positioning and is very adept at not allowing himself to get overwhelmed. He uses his body well, is willing to engage physically and doesn't take a backseat when the game becomes more physical. His willingness exceeds his capabilities in this area because of the lack of strength but once that develops, he has the capability to make this more of a factor in his game. -Craig Button, TSN
Byström is at his best when he has the puck, as he is so poised and instinctive. He has a very low panic threshold and really knows how to evade checkers, find his outlets through tight seams, and if he has a short window to make a play, he normally is able to execute. He does have good puck skills as well and some creativity from the point, but those elements of his game aren't truly dangerous. As mentioned previously, his offensive value is derived from his hockey sense.
Bob Mackenzie, TSN: 34
Craig Button, TSN: 19
The Hockey News: 19
NHL Central Scouting: 8 ES
Hockey Prospectus: 20
Future Considerations: 24
Personal Draft Board: 16
51. Nikolai Prokhorkin, C, CSKA (KHL/MHL)
This is one of those home run swings with an extra pick in the second round that can either bring in an impact player or nothing at all. Prokhorkin is actually a former teammate of Grigorenko, so if the Canadiens were to go that route, they might have a bit of an advantage in convincing Prokhorkin to come over. He's a big centre who is listed as a winger. In reality, he played centre in junior and a bit of the off-wing in his KHL games. He's often described as a Russian that plays a North American game, one who maybe lacks the creative flair of most top Russian prospects but makes up for it with skating direct lines and attacking the net as well as defenders. Here's a highlight package of his that was put on YouTube yesterday:
His lack of speed was exposed at the KHL level... he scores high in work ethic, character and attitude... could be useful as a depth forward at the pro level.
His best trait is his hockey sense and vision as he's a very creative playmaker who really finds his linemates well and makes a lot of things happen on the ice by being a focal point of the attack. Now while he's a gifted passer, he isn't an over-passer and has the ability to be a decent finisher as well. Prokhorkin is an average skater - not your typical Russian blazer - but he can move just fine. Where Prokhorkin deviates pleasantly from the stereotype for a skilled Russian is he's a big-body forward who likes to play physically.
Hockey Prospectus: 22
McKeen's Hockey: 77
Personal Draft Board: 24
It was interesting making a list and sticking with it for this process. While it was going on I kept thinking what I'd do to ensure I got the top player on my board. Leading up to the 33rd pick, I was quite excited to see my 16th and 18th ranked players still on the board. I remember thinking it would be worthwhile to try and trade up as soon as one of those players were picked, but they never were. This mock draft didn't allow the participants to make trades, but I kept that issue in mind. It's easy to see why scouting staffs do mock drafts to test how they would approach different scenarios that could emerge.
As soon as the 33rd pick was made, I sent out an email to the rest of the EOTP group saying that if this had actually happened, I would definitely be advising an immediate attempt to trade up from pick 51 to acquire the player I had at 18th on my board that was still availble: LW Tim Bozon of Kamloops (WHL). Bozon was actually the player I was anticipating drafting at 33, he's a skilled winger who scored 41 goals in 82 junior games last year as the WHL's Rookie of the Year, despite very little PP time (he was amongst the league leaders in even strength scoring). I figured there was a notable gap between Bozon and the next player on my list, at the time being Martin Frk, as well as Prokhorkin due to issues of injury history and signability. I'd have recommended Bergevin deal one of the three 2013 2nd rounders along with the 51st pick to ensure picking Bozon in such a situation.
As the second round came to a close, these were my best available players on my board, who could've been options for 64th overall:
|26||Gemel Smith, C|
|40||Mike Winther, C|
|46||Cristoval Nieves, LW|
|47||Coda Gordon, LW|
|48||Erik Karlsson, LW|