Monday, July 9, 2018

2018 CHL Import Draft Review


On Thursday, June 28, the Canadian Hockey League held its annual Import Draft. It is here, CHL teams get the opportunity to add import talent to their roster. There are two rounds of the draft, and a team can pass on their pick at any time. Import picks can not be traded. Goalies were allowed to be selected again this year.

Just to remind you, CHL clubs are permitted to carry only two import players on their team or protected list every year. However, if a CHL team has an Import who was an NHL first round pick (such as SSM with Rasmus Sandin), they receive the opportunity to add another player to their protected list to cover should that first round import (like Sandin) make the NHL. There are other scenarios which can allow you to carry the rights of three (such as having an OA Import, having an Import on their protected list who didn't show the year prior, etc). Overall, it's pretty complicated.

While the Import Draft can be a bit of a crap shoot, many of the players drafted do come over and can have an impact. Let's breakdown the results of previous five Import Drafts.

In 2013
22 of 25 players selected came to the OHL (88%)
20 of 25 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (80%)
7 (open for debate) of the 25 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (28%)

In 2014
19 of 25 players selected came to the OHL (76%)
18 of 25 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (72%)
11 (open for debate) of the 25 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (44%)

In 2015
23 of 28 players selected came to the OHL (82%)
17 of 28 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (61%%)
10 (open for debate) of the 28 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (36%)

In 2016
23 of 30 players selected came to the OHL (76%)
21 of 30 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (70%)
12 of 30 (open for debate) of the 28 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (40%)

In 2017
18 of 25 players selected came to the OHL (72%)
16 of 25 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (64%)
10 of 25 (open for debate) had a significant impact on their OHL teams (40%)

Of course this article wouldn't have been possible without the help of these experts:
Jimmy Hamrin (@jimmyhamrin)
Dennis Schellenberg (@ScoutingFactory)
Matt Grainda (@graindaiv)
Viktor Fomich (@RUSProspects)
Anton Vasyatin (@Av1376)
Chapin Landvogt (@Csomichapin)
Marco Bombino (@marco_bombino)
Justin Froese (@FroeseFC)
Donesh Mazloum (@DMaz16)
Karel Malek of juniorskyhokej (@karl_karlsson)

Here are the reports:

3. Sudbury Wolves - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - Goaltender
With the first OHL selection of the Import Draft, the Wolves wasted little time taking the first goaltender (now that they are eligible again). The Buffalo Sabres 2nd rounder in 2017, Luukkonen recently signed his NHL deal and looks like he could be headed to the OHL to be the Wolves' new starting netminder. Luukkonen is coming off a bit of a down year that saw him struggle internationally. Sudbury has to be hoping he can turn things around and get the team back to the playoffs next year.

Scouting Report: Marco Bombino says, "Luukkonen performed quite well for LeKi in Mestis last season but could not bring his 'A' game to the national team at the World Juniors. At his best, Luukkonen is very calm and shows great quickness and fluid movements. On the downside, he possesses mediocre puck handling skills and his play reading and net coverage also require work. All things considered, he would be a top goalie in the OHL if he decides to go across the pond."

6. Flint Firebirds - Jan Jenik - Forward
The 65th overall pick by Arizona at this year's NHL, Jenik was the 6th overall pick at the Import Draft this year. The youngest player eligible this year (shares a birthday with Der-Arguchintsev), Jenik has some physical maturing to do and the OHL could definitely be an attractive spot for him. This is especially true given Arizona's connection with the Flint organization (Smereck and Busby). Jenik had a great year internationally for the Czech Republic, winning a Silver in the summer at the Hlinka and leading the event with 6 goals, and being named a top 3 player for the Czechs at the U18's. He could be an ideal winger for Ty Dellandrea next season.

9. Peterborough Petes - Liam Kirk - Forward
Such a cool story here with Kirk. One of the best prospects to ever come out of Great Britain. He was a 7th rounder of the Arizona Coyotes this past NHL draft. KIrk played a ton of hockey last year, suiting up in the EIHL for Sheffield (alongside former Petes' captain John Armstrong), and playing at the U18's, U20's, and the World Championship for Great Britain. Will be interesting to see just how well his game translates to the OHL level next year.
Scouting Report: Future Considerations had Kirk rated 136th for the 2018 NHL Draft and had this to say about him: "He skates very well and is efficient in his strides, displaying good agility. He's shown natural instincts for the game, getting himself in the right position on the ice. He has the puck skills and finesse skills, especially passing and playmaking, to be an offensive contributor. He needs to add weight to his lanky frame and needs to bring more of a physical element. He tries to model his game after Mitch Marner." 

12. Erie Otters - Petr Cajka - Forward
The Otters selected a Czech center who has been playing out of Switzerland the last four years. The late born 2000 forward suited up for the Czech Republic at last year's Hlinka and U18's too. He can hopefully slot into Erie's top 9 forward group next year alongside Gera Poddubnyi as Stephane Patry's rights were released.

Scouting Report: Dennis Schellenberg says, "Petr Cajka is a Czech centerman who came over to Switzerland to play when he was in the age of 15/16 or so. I have seen him in the Swiss U20 league as well as in international games for the Czech Republic and somehow always liked his performance. Not necessarily because he caught my eyes while playing an extremely skilled or physical game but because of his mature two-way game. Cajka contributes at both ends of the ice and does a lot of small things right in order to support his team. Has never been the first centerman in his teams but provided good and reliable work in a smaller role. Although he is not the biggest in size, he can play physical. He understands the game at a high level and makes reliable decisions with the puck. I like his release in his shot, especially quick when firing the puck with his wrist. Cajka is a smooth skater and possesses good overall speed." 

15. Saginaw Spirit - Ivan Prosvetov - Goaltender
Needing to replace Evan Cormier in the crease, the Spirit took advantage of the eligibility of goaltenders by selecting the massive Ivan Prosvetov. The 6'5 netminder was a 4th round pick of Arizona in 2018, playing out of the USHL last year with Youngstown. In fact, he's been in North America already for two years, having suited up in the NAHL the year prior. In the USHL last year, Prosvetov finished top 10 in save percentage and led Youngstown to an appearance in the Clark Cup final. Given the improvements that Saginaw has made this offseason, Prosvetov could be an elite OHL netminder for them.


Scouting Report: Matt Grainda says, “Now that the European goalie ban is over, the Saginaw Spirit recently utilized their high 2018 CHL Import Draft pick on a tall, athletic goaltender with a lot of pro-potential in Ivan Prosvetov. Born in Moskva, RUS, Prosvetov has spent the last two years looking to adapt to the North American game by tending goal two years ago with the NAHL Minnesota Magicians and by spending last year in the crease with the USHL Youngstown Phantoms. Prosvetov posted very good numbers in both leagues, maintaining a save percentage of .928 in the NAHL and .913 in the USHL all while playing 44 NAHL and 36 USHL games. Prosvetov did lead his Younstown team to the USHL Clark Cup Finals this season as well, posting a 2.58 GAA and a .921 save percentage during the run. Prosvetov is primarily described as a very tall, athletic goalie with strong coordination and reflexes. He relies a lot on natural talent which is why he is often described as a raw goaltender who still needs to refine his rebound control and focus more on technique. Either way, the Arizona Coyotes liked what they saw this season as they selected him in the 4th Round of the 2018 NHL Draft. It seems likely that Prosvetov could end up in Saginaw next year.”


18. Ottawa 67's - Marco Rossi - Forward
Rossi is a much hyped prospect and could be a big time contributor to the 67's should he come over. A late 2001 birth date, Rossi is almost universally ranked inside the top 10 on early 2020 NHL Draft rankings. The slick, dynamic center is an Austrian who has been playing in Switzerland and who has put up comparable stats to Nico Hischier at the same age in the same leagues. This looks like the playmaker that the 67's needed to really elevate them to the top of the Eastern Conference over the next few years.

Scouting Report: Dennis Schellenberg says, "Marco Rossi is a very fluid skater, shows great top speed and is mobile on his skates. Very poised with the puck, has smooth hands and can handle the puck with great care. Real smooth hands and silk puckmoving skills. Always aware of his line mates, Rossi doesn’t need much space to make plays and set up team mates. He is strong in setting up plays as well as finish them off using his strong shooting tools. Good shot accuracy and fires the puck with decent power out of his wrist. Rossi is a good two-way player too, backchecks hard and follows his guy until deep into his own zone. Overall, he understands the game at a high level and his hockey IQ impresses me. He has been an impact player in the Swiss U20 league and also played some pro games already. A very gifted player that could become one of the top Austrian players ever played the game."


24. Mississauga Steelheads - Filip Reisnecker - Forward
After trading Albert Michnac to Saginaw and seeing Jacob Moverare turn pro, the Steelheads picked twice at this year's Import Draft. The first was a Czech born forward playing in Germany whose late birthday doesn't make him eligible for the NHL entry draft until 2020. Reisnecker led the DNL (U19) in scoring this past year and even scored a goal professionally in the German 3rd division. This is a kid who looks like he has some offensive upside and who could be a nice find for Mississauga.

Scouting Report: Chapin Landvogt says, "The drafting of Filip Reisnecker, who is technically a Czech with a German passport, was absolutely fascinating. This is a kid with a lot going for him offensively and he's been tearing things up here in Germany the past two seasons. He's just got a ton of hockey sense and great anticipation. He's only 16 right now and is first eligible for the 2020 draft, so if he'd head over now, he could spend two seasons in the OHL to make a name for himself. He's talented and at 6'1", 170 lbs., he won't get pushed around in quite the same manner as could be the case for Alberg and Fleischer. I'd be very excited to see him in North America. If he stays in Germany, he'll likely be splitting time between the DNL and the men's third league with a possibility to latch on with a 2nd league team (via affiliations). Definitely an exciting name to follow, no matter where he ends up."

27. North Bay Battalion - Yegor Postnov - Forward
With their first pick in the Import Draft, the Battalion opt for offensive winger Yegor Postnov, who had 17 goals in the MHL last year. The 2000 born, 6'0 forward was ranked in the 70's by NHL Central Scouting, but went undrafted. Now, strangely enough, this guy is listed as a defense by some places and forward by some places. NHL Central Scouting has him listed as a defender, as does Elite Prospects. Thinking it's an error as official MHL websites list him as a forward.

Scouting Report: Viktor Fomich tries to clear up some of the confusion. "He played a bit of defense two years ago in the U18 league, but played forward this year in the MHL."And Anton Vasyatin has the true scouting report, "Right now Yegor Postnov is in that situation I like most of all. He is not the most famous junior from Russia, and the CHL is his chance to show the best of him. In 2018 Postnov played for weak team (Kapitan Stupino) and collected nice numbers - 17 goals, 29 points. Definitely worth remembering Nikita Scherbak who played in Stupino a few years ago and was an unknown player, but then he went over seas and became a first rounder. Postnov is that type of winger who doesn't like to shoot the puck a lot but makes it accurately. Also has quite good on-ice vision during the powerplay and can make accurate assists. He should work on his defensive game. I suppose he won't turn into great player even in Canada, but next season will be very useful. Centers like Adam McMaster or Matthew Struthers will help him to play the best game in North Bay.

30. Windsor Spitfires - Kari Piiroinen - Goaltender
Hoping that they have grabbed their goaltender of the future (along with Xavier Medina, a recent priority selection), Windsor took 2001 born Finnish netminder Kari Piiroinen. Piiroinen was Finland's starter at the most recent U17's and won a league championship with HIFK's U18 squad. Adding someone like Piiroinen gives the Spitfires protection for once Dipietro graduates after next year.

Scouting Report: Marco Bombino says, "Piiroinen definitely belongs to the top tier of Finnish goalies in the age group. He has very good technique and good vision, reading the developing play well in front of him. He's athletic and has good rebound control, both on low and high shots. Though drafting goalies is a crap shoot, I'd say he has a good shot at getting picked even in the mid rounds of the 2019 draft."

33. Oshawa Generals - Nando Eggenberger - Forward
The Swiss forward was one of the biggest surprises to go undrafted at the 2018 NHL Draft. Redline Report had him inside their first round, while most other scouting agencies had him firmly in their top 100 (including Bob McKenzie at #90). He's been hyped for quite some time, but definitely did not have a good draft season. The late '99 born winger could come over to Oshawa, play a top 6 role and hope to get himself drafted the second time around in 2019.

Scouting Report: Dennis Schellenberg says, "Nando Eggenberger is a player that plays a power forward type of game. He is extremely effective around the net and shows that nose for the net as he always finds great shooting spots around the crease. Very good at circling away from the play without the puck and finding open ice. A goal scorer at heart, possesses good shot accuracy as well as a quick release in his wrist shot. Often not noticeable for a while and then able to sting and score the goal. Eggenberger improved his skating skills this past season and possesses powerful steps and also good top end speed. He is not shying away from checks and board battles, however, not an overly physical player but still good at protecting the puck and fighting for space and open ice around the crease. He is a somehow one-dimensional player and not someone who creates offense on his own, but if lined up with the proper players that feed him, he can be a dangerous offensive weapon."

36. Niagara IceDogs - Kyen Sopa - Forward
Sopa is a smaller, offensive forward who is first time eligible for the 2019 NHL draft thanks to a late 2000 birth date. The Swiss winger has been a top scorer in the Swiss leagues the last few years and was also a standout for the Swiss at this year's U18's. Niagara has a pretty deep roster going into next season, so it will be interesting to see where he fits in.

Undersized forward who put up great numbers in the Swiss U20 league. Was a top 5 scorer as a 17 year old, which shows where his strength are. Can move the puck nicely and knows how to rack up points. What I like about him is his work ethic and physical maturity although being undersized. He is strong on his skates and shows a good lower body balance and is somehow hard to knock off the puck. He shows a willingness to battle and shows grittiness too. I am curious how he’s going to work out if he comes over to play Canadian Juniors facing older and more mature opponents.
Scouting Report: Dennis Schellenberg says, "Undersized forward who put up great numbers in the Swiss U20 league. Was a top 5 scorer as a 17 year old, which shows where his strength are. Can move the puck nicely and knows how to rack up points. What I like about him is his work ethic and physical maturity although being undersized. He is strong on his skates and shows a good lower body balance and is somehow hard to knock off the puck. He shows a willingness to battle and shows grittiness too. I am curious how he’s going to work out if he comes over to play Canadian Juniors facing older and more mature opponents." 

39. Kingston Frontenacs - Ian Derungs - Forward
With Linus Nyman and Eemeli Rasanen moving on from the OHL this year, the Fronts had to pick in this year's import draft. They chose Derungs, a tiny offensive forward who hails from Switzerland. The late born '99 was 2nd in goals (with 33) in the Swiss U20 league. Of note, Kingston only selected once because they decided to keep Rasanen on their protected list in hopes that he changes his mind.

Scouting Report: My contacts had little information on Derungs, so here's some info from a Kingston Whig article by Doug Graham (here), with quotes from GM Darren Keily. "His experience and his character are going to be huge for us this coming season," Keily said. "He's a pretty good player. He's not the biggest guy in the world, but he competes like crazy, can skate and do all the little things we are going to be looking for."

42. London Knights - Matvei Guskov - Forward
London opts for Russian center, Matvei Guskov, a standout from this past year's U17's. The 6'1 center led Russia in goals at the event with 4. He also played for Russia at last summer's Hlinka tournament as an underager, scoring two goals. Assuming London hopes the 2001 born, 2019 eligible Guskov can come in and be the team's 3rd line center next year.

Scouting Report: Viktor Fomich says, "Here we have some upside from what I've seen: potentially a complete two-way center, skates well, works hard, isn't afraid to get his nose dirty, already at his age he has some good strength in his game. His father is former Russia NT player Alexander Guskov." Anton Vasyatin says, "Matvei Guskov is one of the best young Russian forwards. He showed terrific hockey IQ and puck skills playing for Team Russia at International tournaments (even with Russia U18, where his partners were one year older) and in the MHL where he represents CSKA Moscow junior team. He is a very agile and quick skater. Reminds me Rangers' 2018 first rounder Vitali Kravtsov. It would be much better if he improvs his game at the faceoff circle, but not so necessary, because he also can easily play as a winger. If Guskov decides to leave Russia to play in the CHL, the next season will be the most important for him if he wants to be drafted in the first round in 2019. I think OHL is the best option as he has no chances to debut in the KHL soon. London Knights is very good organisation for improvement especially in the pre-draft season


45. Owen Sound Attack - Manuel Alberg - Forward
Alberg is an undersized forward from Germany who is 2001 born. He suited up for Germany at last year's Division 2 U18's, averaging a point per game as an underager. He should provide some offensive depth to the Attack this year, who are poised to lose some players to the pro level.
As for Alberg and Fleischer, we are talking about two offensively oriented forwards who need to gain weight. Both are under 160 pounds and only Fleischer even comes in at six foot, but he might be less. Both have produced above-average DNL stats (albeit nothing like a Michaelis or Kahun, much less Draisaitl). Both were part of the U18 team that was in Latvia for the D1A U18 tourney in which Germany lost only to host Latvia and scored the most goals in the tournament. Each got a few points along the way, with Alberg checking in at a PPG pace, finishing the tourney with a +5 rating. Certainly, he has been the more interesting prospect of the two to date. This said, I think Fleischer may end up being the better player. If you're wondering what type of CHL impact they might have, it's hard to tell at this juncture as both need to mature physically more than anything else. I think both could end up being a bit like Max Kammerer, who just signed with the Washington Capitals as a young European UFA after two eye-opening seasons in the DEL. He always had some tools, but his one season for the Regina Pats was less than stellar. I'm also not sure either is quite as talented as Andreas Eder, a former Vancouver Giant who has a lot of great tools himself, but has struggled to establish himself as a DEL player to date. It'll be fascinating to see how they present themselves, if they head over.

Scouting Report: Chapin Landvogt provides his report on both Alberg and Hamilton selection Tim Fleischer. "As for Alberg and Fleischer, we are talking about two offensively oriented forwards who need to gain weight. Both are under 160 pounds and only Fleischer even comes in at six foot, but he might be less. Both have produced above-average DNL stats (albeit nothing like a Michaelis or Kahun, much less Draisaitl). Both were part of the U18 team that was in Latvia for the D1A U18 tourney in which Germany lost only to host Latvia and scored the most goals in the tournament. Each got a few points along the way, with Alberg checking in at a PPG pace, finishing the tourney with a +5 rating. Certainly, he has been the more interesting prospect of the two to date. This said, I think Fleischer may end up being the better player. If you're wondering what type of CHL impact they might have, it's hard to tell at this juncture as both need to mature physically more than anything else. I think both could end up being a bit like Max Kammerer, who just signed with the Washington Capitals as a young European UFA after two eye-opening seasons in the DEL. He always had some tools, but his one season for the Regina Pats was less than stellar. I'm also not sure either is quite as talented as Andreas Eder, a former Vancouver Giant who has a lot of great tools himself, but has struggled to establish himself as a DEL player to date. It'll be fascinating to see how they present themselves, if they head over."


48. Barrie Colts - Maksim Zhukov - Goaltender
With Leo Lazerev moving on, Barrie elected to bring in a new starting goaltender by way of the Import Draft. The team intends to still contend next year and it was likely felt that Kai Edmonds still needed more seasoning. Zhukov has played the last two years in the USHL with Green Bay, where he's been a top 10 netminder. The Vegas Golden Knights draft pick (in 2017) has definitely explored NCAA destinations, so recruiting him might not be so cut and dry. But should he report, he could be an impact player for the franchise.


Scouting Report: Matt Grainda says, “The floodgates have opened on European goaltenders, and the Barrie Colts didn’t waste any time by taking a chance on a highly-touted goaltender from the USHL in Maxim Zhukov. Zhukov spent his minor league career in Russia prior to coming over to the USHL Green Bay Gamblers two seasons ago. He has experienced a pretty solid international career with Russia, tending the crease at the U17 World Hockey Challenge along with winning Bronze at the U18 World Junior Challenge while earning Best Goaltender, Best Save %, and Top 3 on Team honors. Zhukov has also had a lot of success in the USHL as well, posting a 2.25 GAA with a .913 save percentage during 31 games in year one while earning USHL All-Rookie Second team honors and following that up with a big workload playing in 53 games and putting up a 2.45 GAA with a 9.09 save percentage. As a strong, athletic butterfly-style goaltender, Zhukov does a great job using his agility and angle work to put shooters in tough situations to score. He’s got the prototypical height and weight that NHL scouts look for, and he can steal games as demonstrated by his performance in the U18 World Junior Challenge. The Vegas Golden Knights made Zhukov the first goalie drafted in their franchise history, so it will be interesting to see if they want the uncommitted NCAA prospect in the OHL for next season.”


51. Kitchener Rangers - Axel Andersson - Defense
A 2nd round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2018, Andersson is an offensive blueliner who could be a very shrewd pick up for the Rangers. With the loses of Logan Stanley and Austin McEneny on the horizon, Kitchener needed to look for someone to quarterback their man powerplay unit and Andersson could definitely be that guy. He has suited up internationally for team Sweden (winning bronze at the Hlinka and U18's), and lead the U20 SuperElit league in assists from the back-end.

Scouting Report: Jimmy Hamrin says, "Good skater with good technique and room for improvement. Puck skills are strong, both his shot and his passing skills have NHL potential. He’s also smart both defensively as offensively. In a future role I see Andersson as a top 4 NHL defenseman as the ceiling and an AHL/SHL defenseman as the floor. For him to reach the ceiling, his game needs to standout and flash more often and for that to happen he’ll need to use his best skills more often and effectively. If he takes more risks in his game, he’ll also learn more on where his limits are and where he can work on improving to become the player he wants to be."


54. Hamilton Bulldogs - Philip Broberg - Defense
The Bulldogs beefed up their blueline by selecting one of the top 2001 born blueliners in Sweden. Broberg was the 2nd highest scoring U17 defender in the SuperElit U20 league last year and at 6'3, his size will be alluring to scouts too. He also played for Sweden at the U17's. If Broberg can step in and fill a top 4 role, that would be huge for a team set to lose RIley Stillman, Justin Lemcke, and Connor Walters on the backend.

Scouting Report: Jimmy Hamrin says, "A two-way defenseman. Solid in the defensive game, but takes offensive risks as well. Not super skilled with the puck, but can transport it well and has a good shot. He has good size and reach. Plays with poise. Makes things happen on the ice. Smooth and agile skater, but with average top speed. Still a bit early to say, but long term and with good development, I see NHL potential in Broberg. Although I haven't looked deep on next years NHL draft class, I'd say Broberg has a good chance of being drafted next year."

57. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - Roman Pucek - Forward
The Greyhounds Import situation is extremely cloudy heading into next year. Will Rasmus Sandin return? Will Rasmus Kupari show up a year later? Because both are NHL first rounders, SSM gets to add more imports to their protected list. The first is Pucek, a 2000 born forward who went undrafted in the NHL this year (but was ranked 74th by NHL Central Scouting). He finished 3rd in scoring in the Czech U18 league and was recently at the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp. Seems that Toronto definitely has interest in him and what better fit than with the Hounds?

69. Peterborough Petes - Erik Cermak - Forward
Peterborough grabs another forward with their second selection, Czech winger Erik Cermak. He's a 5'10, 2001 born forward who will be eligible for next year's NHL draft. He's competed in the Czech U18 league the last two years as an underager, putting up over a point per game. But if we're comparing him against his peers, the ppg average this year was not even top 20 for U17 players in that league. Never know if he ends up being a diamond in the rough, and he will at least add some depth to Peterborough's forward group.

84. Mississauga Steelheads - Nikita Zuyev - Defense
With their second pick, the Steelheads took a relatively unknown defender from Belarus. Zuyev played in the Belarussian men's league this past year, and posted 3 assists. As a late birthday '99, he was passed over in this year's NHL draft and was not ranked by NHL Central Scouting. Listed at 5'11 by Elite Prospects, so he's not bringing a ton of size to the table either. Could be a real shot in the dark.

Scouting Report: No contacts had any information on Zuyev, so here's some info from the Steelheads themselves (as per this article), "The second round selection attended a camp in the GTA a couple of weeks ago and demonstrated to Steelheads’ coaching staff to be a strong d-man who exemplifies a good first pass and who skates and moves well. After spending the 2017-18 season in the Belarus men’s league, Zuyev is a promising young defenceman who the Steelheads expect to grow and develop into a solid blueliner."

87. North Bay Battalion - David Maier - Defense
In the 2nd round, the Battalion grabbed an Austrian defender (and international teammate of Ottawa selection Marco Rossi) who will look to provide some offense from the blueline for North Bay. He went undrafted at this year's NHL draft, but was named the best defender at the 2nd division U18's while playing for Austria. No question, the Battalion will need someone to QB their powerplay this year and Maier (or Postnov) could be that guy.

Scouting Report: My contacts had no info on Maier, but here's some information from the North Bay Battalion website and quotes from Adam Dennis (here), “David was a guy whom I actually came across through some mutual contacts while playing in Austria,” noted Dennis. “I was watching one of his former teammates at the under-20 by the name of Marco Rossi and just fell in love with David." “I think he’s going to fit in really well with our system. He really likes to jump into the play. He’s a good skater, and I think he’s going to be a pleasant surprise in the second round.”

96. Niagara IceDogs - Daniel Bukac - Defense
A hulking defender at 6'5 and over 200lbs, Bukac is actually a CHL veteran at this stage of his career. The Boston Bruins 7th rounder (2017) has played the last two seasons in Brandon of the WHL, but they released his rights so that they could pick again in this year's Import Draft. He'll add some size and physicality to a Niagara blueline that could badly use it.

The first thing that stands out with Bukac is his size. He is an imposing 6’5” with an even longer wingspan. His reach gives opponents fits when trying work to the inside and he excels at disrupting the rush with an active stick. Bukac also shows solid agility and mobility for his size. He has smooth balance transfer in transitions and can cover a lot of ground with his long stride. Like most big men he could use some quickness in tight spaces but he’s not a player that will be burned often. While Bukac is a steady defender in his own end, he brings very little to the table offensively. He can at times seem uncomfortable with the puck on his stick and his awareness on the ice needs some work. Additionally he is still very raw physically and has room to add strength. Bukac was drafted on his potential as a defender with NHL size and decent mobility however he still has a long way to go in his development. He got a late start last season due to offseason knee surgery which kept him behind the eight ball for most of the year. Here’s hoping with a fresh start in Niagara he can revitalize the evolution of his game. At this point I’m skeptical that he has the mental processing to play at the pace of the pro game however he’s at the precipice of being a solid middle pairing junior defender.
The first thing that stands out with Bukac is his size. He is an imposing 6’5” with an even longer wingspan. His reach gives opponents fits when trying work to the inside and he excels at disrupting the rush with an active stick. Bukac also shows solid agility and mobility for his size. He has smooth balance transfer in transitions and can cover a lot of ground with his long stride. Like most big men he could use some quickness in tight spaces but he’s not a player that will be burned often. While Bukac is a steady defender in his own end, he brings very little to the table offensively. He can at times seem uncomfortable with the puck on his stick and his awareness on the ice needs some work. Additionally he is still very raw physically and has room to add strength. Bukac was drafted on his potential as a defender with NHL size and decent mobility however he still has a long way to go in his development. He got a late start last season due to offseason knee surgery which kept him behind the eight ball for most of the year. Here’s hoping with a fresh start in Niagara he can revitalize the evolution of his game. At this point I’m skeptical that he has the mental processing to play at the pace of the pro game however he’s at the precipice of being a solid middle pairing junior defender.
Scouting Report: Donesh Mazloum says, "The first thing that stands out with Bukac is his size. He is an imposing 6’5” with an even longer wingspan. His reach gives opponents fits when trying work to the inside and he excels at disrupting the rush with an active stick. Bukac also shows solid agility and mobility for his size. He has smooth balance transfer in transitions and can cover a lot of ground with his long stride. Like most big men he could use some quickness in tight spaces but he’s not a player that will be burned often. While Bukac is a steady defender in his own end, he brings very little to the table offensively. He can at times seem uncomfortable with the puck on his stick and his awareness on the ice needs some work. Additionally he is still very raw physically and has room to add strength. Bukac was drafted on his potential as a defender with NHL size and decent mobility however he still has a long way to go in his development. He got a late start last season due to offseason knee surgery which kept him behind the eight ball for most of the year. Here’s hoping with a fresh start in Niagara he can revitalize the evolution of his game. At this point I’m skeptical that he has the mental processing to play at the pace of the pro game however he’s at the precipice of being a solid middle pairing junior defender."
Justin Froese echoes this. "Bukac is a raw player but has some positive attributes that can be deemed useful if he ever pieces it together. He struggles a little bit with puck retrieval and clearing the zone by overcomplicating plays. I feel that even though there are some mental blunders in his own end when he faced a lot of pressure, he’s done a better job of managing the puck than in the past. He has little skill with the puck, although he at times thinks he’s more fluid than he is and often becomes his own worst enemy by trying to over handle himself out of traffic. He is willing to use his teammates and is capable of laying some good quality breakout passes and manages the point at a satisfactory level. Bukac is at his best in his own zone when he uses his frame and length to sweep at pucks and using his frame to pick his spots and ride opponents into the boards. He’s got a big frame, but is not the best at utilizing his size as he lacks strength and the demeanour to use grit. Along with his lacking physical game, Bukac tends to be drawn away from coverage and has a tendency to miscalculate play and gets beat. If he were to tighten up his defensive positioning and add some abrasive play at the net front, he would be a lot more effective at defending forwards who are consistently going to the crease. Offensively he has adequate awareness in moving the puck and will be active off the offensive line. He gambles very little and seldom pinches deep but shows an ability to get shots off, although his shot isn’t consistently accurate or coming off his stick with power. One of his best assets at this point is his skating ability, showing a great length and smooth transition footwork. His skating helps him mask some coverage mistakes as his gap control on the rush is inconsistent. Long way to go yet for him, but he’s seen lots of minutes and learning by fire. I saw progression in his second season in the WHL but he is not a top 4 guy on most teams in the league."

102. London Knights - Vladislav Kolyachonok - Defense
London picks Belarussian defender, Vladislav Kolyachonok, who suited up as an underager (2001 born) for Belarus in the main draw of this year's U18's. He was named as one of the team's three best players, which is a great feat for a player not eligible for the NHL draft until 2019. One has to wonder if he's a back-up plan if Adam Boqvist doesn't end up playing for London this year, though. Could be a nice stow-away for next year if he ends up having a good year in the KHL (he has signed to play for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL next year).

Scouting Report: None of my contacts had any solid information on Kolyachonok, other than he and Guskov are represented by the same agency. Here's some info from a Ryan Pyette article (here) courtesy a Rob Simpson quote, "The 6-foot, 176-pound left-shot blue-liner caught the Knights’ attention while playing up an age group at the under-18 worlds in the spring. “He had an exceptional tournament,” Simpson said. “There’s a lot to like about him. He has a good stick defensively. His shot is good. That’s one part of his game he could probably improve on, but a lot of his hockey sense and instincts for the game, you can’t teach. Those are things you’re born with.”

105. Owen Sound Attack - Moritz Seider - Defense
The Attack rolled the dice in the second round, taking big (6'4) defender Moritz Seider, one of the top young players in Germany. He's slated as a potential top 60 pick next year after playing for Germany as an underager at the U18's the last two years. He was named the top defenseman at the most recent U18's (second division though). However, the German media is reporting that Seider plans on staying in Germany for his draft year after signing a pro contract with Adler Mannheim. Should he change his mind, he could be an impact player for Owen Sound who could use the defensive help next year.

Scouting Report: Chapin Landvogt says, "Moritz Seider is currently a man among boys. It's not just that he's already 6'4" and may be 190 lbs. before summer's end (and won't turn 18 until April of 2019), but his play is extremely mature. He is a very heady Dman who moves far too well for a kid his size at that age. Don't look to much into the stats to date; he won't blow you away with points. Neither his junior stats nor those in international play are all that noteworthy (although he had 10-17-27 in 26 DNL games this season). It's his all-round game, instincts, shutdown abilities, and propensity to make good outlet passes that have him ahead of maybe every other defenseman to ever have come out of Germany. This is no Tim Bender we're talking about here. Very telling is that the Adler Mannheim of the DEL, one of the top addresses in Germany for years, felt highly enough of him to dress him for four games this season - at the age of 16. You may get that in Sweden, but it doesn't happen in Germany. To my knowledge, it may have been the first time in DEL history. As such, he's not your everyday prospect and it should be no surprise if he ends up being a top 60 pick in the 2019 draft."

108. Barrie Colts - Matej Pekar - Forward
Pekar , a 4th rounder by Buffalo at this year's NHL draft, has played in North America already for three seasons, competing for Muskegon of the USHL last year. In Muskegon, he averaged nearly a point per game and was named the USHL rookie of the year. He also had a standout performance for the Czech's at the U18's. He would most definitely be an impact player and potential top 6 forward should he report to Barrie. Problem is, he has a commitment to Miami University. Going to take some heavy recruiting.


Scouting Report: Matt Grainda says, “If the Barrie Colts were looking for a hard-working 200-ft two-way forward who can really put up some quality scoring numbers, they picked the right player in the CHL Import Draft with Matej Pekar. Pekar spent the last season with the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks after originally being selected in the USHL Phase II Draft by the Chicago Steel. Pekar played his youth hockey in the Czech Republic before coming over to the United States to play locally in the Detroit area. He was the highest scoring player for Jimmy Johns 16U AAA as a 15-year-old before moving over to the Oakland Jr Grizzlies 16U team the following season. He really jumped on the radar with Oakland and became a valued prospect for the USHL draft, displaying himself as a tough-to-play-against kid with a great motor and valuable puck possession skill that often led to scoring chances through his playmaking and internal drive. Pekar played last year with the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks and had a very successful season, almost scoring at a point-per-game pace while earning the USHL Rookie of the Year award along with USHL All-Rookie Team honors. He really was one of the best puck pursuers in the USHL this season through his relentless pace of play, but his biggest knock is his skating mechanics. That didn’t stop the NHL Buffalo Sabres though, who selected Pekar in the 4th Round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Pekar is committed to play NCAA Hockey with Miami University (OH), so it looks like the Sabres will need to help him decide between the NCAA and CHL.”



114. Hamilton Bulldogs - Tim Fleischer - Forward
With their second import selection, the Bulldogs take German forward Tim Fleischer, who is a late 2000 born center who led the DNL (U19 league) in points per game this past season. He also suited up for Germany at the second division U18's.  Hamilton could use the depth at center as they could potentially be losing some of their key players at the position. Fleischer was also a second round pick by Cedar Rapids of the USHL, so they will likely have to compete to have him suit up.

Scouting Report: Chapin Landvogt provides his report on both Fleischer and Owen Sound pick Manuel Alberg. "As for Alberg and Fleischer, we are talking about two offensively oriented forwards who need to gain weight. Both are under 160 pounds and only Fleischer even comes in at six foot, but he might be less. Both have produced above-average DNL stats (albeit nothing like a Michaelis or Kahun, much less Draisaitl). Both were part of the U18 team that was in Latvia for the D1A U18 tourney in which Germany lost only to host Latvia and scored the most goals in the tournament. Each got a few points along the way, with Alberg checking in at a PPG pace, finishing the tourney with a +5 rating. Certainly, he has been the more interesting prospect of the two to date. This said, I think Fleischer may end up being the better player. If you're wondering what type of CHL impact they might have, it's hard to tell at this juncture as both need to mature physically more than anything else. I think both could end up being a bit like Max Kammerer, who just signed with the Washington Capitals as a young European UFA after two eye-opening seasons in the DEL. He always had some tools, but his one season for the Regina Pats was less than stellar. I'm also not sure either is quite as talented as Andreas Eder, a former Vancouver Giant who has a lot of great tools himself, but has struggled to establish himself as a DEL player to date. It'll be fascinating to see how they present themselves, if they head over."


118. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - Jaromir Pytlik - Forward 
Again, the Hounds had a ton of flexibility at this year's import draft, so why not take some chances. Pytlik is likely a stash for next season, as I doubt there is room for him this year. But he is considered one of the top 2001 born Czech players, having already scored a goal at the men's level and posting the 2nd best point per game mark in the Czech U18 league among U17 players. He also played the Czechs at this year's U18. His late birth date makes him ineligible for the NHL Draft until 2020 though. So if he wants to play in SSM for his draft season, you know that the Greyhounds will be recruiting.

BONUS - London Knights - Adam Boqvist - Defense
Last year the Knights rolled the dice on talented 2018 draft eligible defender Adam Boqvist, who decided to stay in Sweden for his draft year. But London had to know that there was a chance that he'd come over for his draft +1 year and that is the case now. Boqvist has inked his ELC with Chicago and has left Brynas of the SHL. That gave him three options for next year. He could make the NHL squad. Or Chicago could have him play in the AHL. But the 3rd one was sending him to the OHL for a year and that was the selected route with Boqvist signing on with the Knights recently. In London, Boqvist will get top 3 ice time, perhaps more if Evan Bouchard cracks the Edmonton Oilers' roster. This is a massive get for the Knights.

Scouting Report: Future Considerations has Boqvist rated 7th in 2018 and had this to say, "An offensive blueliner who owns a fluid skating stride that allows him to carry the puck coast to coast and be a constant threat with the puck in his possession. He's a natural on the powerplay who can pick apart penalty killers with his crisp and accurate passing and powerful/accurate point shot. However, defensively he can be an adventure. His decision making is too high risk for the defensive zone and he's too passive clearing the front of the net. Offensively, many of his tools are elite, but he needs to add upper body strength to improve defensively. He has the chance to be a difference maker at the next level."




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