Welcome to our first stock watch of the young season. In this monthly article we will look at a few draft eligible names who had us take notice.
The summer camps, Hlinka Gretzky Cup and start of the regular season gave a few of the 2019 NHL Drafts names a chance to impact their draft stock, either in a postive or negative light, and as our group had a chance to evaluate them play for a few months, a few did just that. So without ado here is who we see as rising and falling early on.
Nathan Légaré, RW, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL, 6-0, 201, 2001-01-11
The hard working kid started the year on fire consistently getting himself into prime scoring position, utilizing strong puck protection skills and flashing a devastating one-timer shot. The strong power winger is always involved in the play, goes to the net, digs in the corners and although we don’t necessarily see an elite offensive player at the next level he does look capable to play a two-way middle six role contributing some secondary scoring.
Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL, 5-9, 160, 2001-03-07
One of the more underrated prospects in this class due to his diminutive stature, but one vital that is not measured in height or weight that he is overflowing in is heart. His desire and gritty play really boosts his offensive skills as the game-breaking talent has jumped out to a strong offensive start in the Q this season. The talented winger is a skilled playmaker with strong vision who shows impressive speed, agility and burst. Watch for Pelletier to move up most draft boards this season as he dominated the QMJHL.
Lassi Thomson, RD, Kelowna Rockets, WHL, 6-0, 187, 2000-09-24
This puck moving rearguard has been lighting up the competition in the Western Hockey League as his end to end rushes are becoming the norm early this season. Smooth and agile on his feet, although he is a skilled passer his natural tendency is as a shooter who likes to put the puck on net. Defensively he has some room for growth but his offensive upside is very high and will be what NHL teams look at.
Dillon Hamaliuk, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL, 6-3, 201, 2000-10-30
This big power winger has been highly impressive to start the year using his size and playmaking ability to be a top offensive player for Seattle. He has a strong shot and skilled hands for such a big kid. He injects himself into the play and has the smarts to be effective in all three zones. His first step could use some work as is the case with most big kids. Don’t be surprised if his name starts showing up on draft lists as who does not like a big power winger who plays smart and can score?
Jake Lee, LD, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL, 6-2, 216, 2001-07-13
Hamaliuk’s draft eligible teammate, Lee, has also developed into a top role for the Thunderbirds and flourishing as he is putting up a point per game and contributing in all facets of the play. He is a very strong skater with size and strength, he battles physically, plays gritty and moves the puck well. His passing ability and willingness to join the attack have him as a potential big time riser this season. We are just looking for his game to consistently progress before pushing him too far up our rankings.
Thomas Harley, LD, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL, 6-3, 183, 2001-08-19
Harley made some noise in his rookie season last year, but he has really burst on the scene this season with Mississauga. Now a top pairing blue liner, he is a minute munching horse who contributes a solid two-way game. His exceptional skating allows him to carry the puck up ice and his vision allows him to make accurate and timely passes to his forward to create offense. His own-zone play is also a plus for the big defender as well as his smart and positioning stands out. Moving into first round contention on most draft boards including ours.
Connor McMichael, C, London Knights, OHL, 6-0, 170, 2001-01-15
The centerpiece of the Robert Thomas trade last season, this kid plays hard with impressive skills that include some pretty dangerous hands to dangle with the puck and a quick shot. His impressive offensive production can be attributed to his smarts, offensive creativity, consistently generating chances or both he and his line mates to go along with highly impressive skating ability. The problem is the strength aspect as he can get bumped off the puck and taken out of the play by ore physical opponents. Still that will come and then you will have a pretty solid NHL prospect.
Pavel Dorofeyev, LW, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL, 6-0, 163, 2000-10-26
Across the pond, the Russian contingent available for the 2019 NHL Draft looks to hold a few gems including this prospect who along with his fellow line mates have been dominating in Russian Junior play to start the year. The skilled winger possesses dominating puck control, dynamic skating ability and the mind to create scoring chances out of thin air. He has made his debut in the KHL already this season and has NHL team scouts booking flights to Magnitogorsk early this season.
Ilya Mironov, LHD, Loko Yaroslavl, MHL, 6-3, 198, 2001-03-15
After a strong performance at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament in August much was expected of this two-way rear guard when the Russian junior season started. He showed smarts, mobility and willingness to jump into the offensive play and use his big shot but so far this season with Loko he is getting beat far too often by faster forwards while defending and has looked somewhat slow on his feet, hesitant to play that two-way game that caught the attention of many in August. It is a long season so the hope is that this is just a funk he can work through.
Blake Murray, C, Sudbury Wolves, OHL, 6-3, 185, 2001-07-05
The big power center has all the skills you want. He can skate, has a strong shot, can be near impossible to know off the puck, knows where to go on the ice, but for some reason the big center seems to lack intensity and desire to be a difference maker. So far he is not producing as expected and has fallen down the draft list. Time is on his side though as the season is young and hopefully he can right the ship.
Michael Vukojevic, LD, Kitchener Rangers, OHL, 6-2, 203, 2001-06-08
The reviews were split on the big two-way blue liner at the Hlinka Gretzky but so far this season in the OHL our team is more agreeable that there is something off Vukojevic. While he has had a few solid games some of our other early season views he handled the puck like a grenade and lost the confidence of the Rangers coaching staff finding himself nailed to the bench for long periods of time. His lack of foot speed and the speed of the game seems to overtake him some nights.
With notes from Draft Pro staff.