Continuing with the trend for the past few days, Wednesday offers another set of two 2017 NHL Draft articles this time featuring insight on potential draftees from Europe.
As with other days this week, a companion article also scouting Europe can be found HERE.
About the Scout/Writer
Dennis Schellenberg (Twitter=@ScoutingFactory) grew up in Zurich, Switzerland and still lives there. He covers Switzerland for Future Considerations where he also covers International tournaments throughout Europe. He also covers prospects from Central Europe, including Slovakia and Czechia for McKeen’s Hockey.
Scouting Europe for the Hurricanes 2017 NHL Draft
Canes and Coffee: For a mock draft, who do you see the Hurricanes taking at #12 overall?
Dennis Schellenberg: Because literally anything can happen in the first round this year, there are around 5-6 European players possible at #12. Listed below are some players that I see potentially available when the Canes pick. I don’t really see them picking a defenceman, so I focused only on forwards. Personally, I have Lias Andersson, Elias Pettersson, Klim Kostin and Martin Necas all in the top 10, but they could very well last until Carolina is on the clock.
Martin Necas: a speedy center with very good shooting and great skating skills. Offensively gifted and poised with the puck.
Lias Andersson: Competitive two-way center and set up guy who played pro-hockey all season long. I am higher on him than others.
Klim Kostin: Power forward, good combination of size, skill and strength.
Kristian Vesalainen: Power forward who possesses good overall skills and size.
Elias Pettersson: Quick skater and puck handler, offensive catalyst.
Canes and Coffee: If there is a European player or two who are possible at #12 in the first round, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this player(s)?
Martin Necas: Has an above average shot and is lightning quick on his feet. He also possesses a good nose for the net and is gifted with the puck. He will need to bulk up and work on his defensive zone game as he sometimes loses track of his opponents.
Lias Andersson: Andersson is one of the smartest players in this draft class and possesses above average hockey smarts. Is a good puck-handler and keeps a cool head when under pressure. His two-way game is already very advanced. He probably does not possess high-end offensive upside, though.
Klim Kostin: Power Forward Klim Kostin shows a decent combination of size, skill and strength and was very impressive early in the season. Unfortunately, missed the majority of the season with an injury and could drop in the rankings. He could work on his skating mobility and explosiveness.
Kristian Vesalainen: He possesses decent puck skills for his size and improved his skating a lot over the course of the season. However, Vesalainen possesses good overall skills but is not really outstanding in any department. He needs room and time to make plays which he might not have at a higher level.
Elias Pettersson: He is an offensive catalyst and can make things happen offensively with his good hands and ability to go into one-to-one situations. He really needs to bulk up and become stronger as he gets knocked off the puck in pure physical battles too easily.
Canes and Coffee: Which 2-4 European players do you like in the second round which is currently scheduled to be a busy one for the Hurricanes? The Hurricanes currently have three second-round draft picks?
Dennis Schellenberg: Someone I like a lot is Finnish forward Emil Oksanen, who will most probably still be available for one of the Canes later 2nd round picks. Oksanen is a smooth-skating playmaker who is poised with the puck and can contribute offensively. Carolina could also gamble and take him in the third round as that seems more a targeted round for Oksanen, but he might have the puck skills to be more than just that. He draws some comparisons to Finnish Canes prospect Janne Kuokkanen.
Given the fact that the Canes are in need of a goaltender, Finnish goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is by far the best European-based goaltender this year. Luukkonen is a goaltender with great size and a composed playing style.
Big Danish forward Jonas Rondbjerg is another prospect that could be of interest in the second round. If they could get players like Jesper Boqvist and Joni Ikonen, then that would be my first priority. However, at this point, I don’t see them still being available when the Canes use their first second-round pick.
Canes and Coffee: Which couple European players do you like in the third round where the Hurricanes currently have two picks?
Dennis Schellenberg: Kalle Miketinac, Kirill Slepets, Alexei Lipanov, Ostap Safin or Filip Chytil could be potential targets for the 3rd round; however, the latter three will probably all be gone by then. Kalle Miketinac seems to be the most realistic one in this group.
Canes and Coffee: Which 3-5 European players do you really like who might be available in middle to later rounds (rounds 4-7) of the 2017 NHL draft?
Dennis Schellenberg: Rickard Hugg, Patrik Hrehorcak, Georgi Ivanov and Santeri Virtanen all come to mind.
Canes and Coffee: With so many good Swedish defensemen playing in the NHL, who would you pick as a middle-round sleeper for a smooth-skating Swedish defenseman?
Dennis Schellenberg: Sebastian Walfridsson from Frolunda HC is the only one that comes to my mind right now.
Canes and Coffee: If the Hurricanes select a goalie in the middle of the draft as they have in the past couple years, which European goalie do you like best in the middle rounds?
Dennis Schellenberg: As mentioned above, there is currently only one European-based goaltender who has NHL upside this year. If Luukkonen is gone then the Canes could go after Olle Eriksson Ek or Arvid Soderblom, but I would not draft either of them ahead of the 4th round.
Canes and Coffee: Do you have any additional thoughts on the 2017 NHL draft as relates to the Hurricanes?
Dennis Schellenberg: The Hurricanes have a lot of early picks in a draft with a deep goaltender draft class. If the Hurricanes are in need of a goaltender, I would go after a goaltender with the 2nd round pick. The Hurricanes have enough picks to take a risk and their prospect pool is already pretty deep could use another goaltender.
Canes and Coffee extends a huge thank you to Dennis Schellenberg from Future Considerations and McKeen’s Hockey for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on European draft prospects who could be part of the Carolina Hurricanes 2017 draft class!