By Bobby Bauders
This group of prospects is such a goal driven, hard-working, and down right gigantic group of players. Each and everyone one of them could potentially impact their teams in short periods of time.
Born: Scottsdale, AZ
Weight: 194 lbs.
Our Projection: 5th overall, Vancouver Canucks
Matthew Tkachuk is the second player in this year’s draft to be from Scottsdale, AZ, the other being Auston Matthews. His father is former NHLer Keith Tkachuk. Tkachuk plays his game with a lot of energy. Up and down the ice, he’s usually the most energetic player in the building. Tons of passion. Can be counted on to puts up points in almost every game. Coupled with his scoring ability, he has amazing speed. His vision is so pure. He sees openings no human should be able to. He sees plays before they develop. It’s amazing. Tkachuk has no sweet spot so to speak, because he can score from anywhere in the offensive zone.
Born: Regina, SK
Weight: 183 lbs.
Our Projection: 31st overall, Toronto Maple Leafs
Clague can easily be described as an offensive defenseman. He’s a smooth skater, and controls the play well from the blue line. Really needs to work on the accuracy of his shot, especially as an offensive defenseman, but has great power off the shot. He works the PK really well, on the ice regularly during PK. He has playoff experience playing in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Born: Kitchener, ON
Weight: 225 lbs.
Our Projection: 20th overall, Arizona Coyotes
This guy is the definition of a giant. Just a mammoth on skates. He will absolutely punish you with his size, and will destroy you in the defensive and neutral zone. He uses his size to be very physical, doesn’t let anyone push his teammates around. Not many players can match him due to his size. He’s a 2-way defenseman. He’s very useful on the blue line and can keep the play moving. With his great size also comes a great shot. He’s easily described as the next Zdeno Chara. He’s a true shut down defenseman, and actually is a great skater compared to other players his size.
Born: Rochester, MI
Weight: 201 lbs.
Our Projection: 16th overall, Detroit Red Wings
Max Jones is one of the hardest working players I have ever seen. His work ethic, his drive to get better, is just off the charts. When he sets his mind to something, he’s achieving it. He’s just so determined. He creates separation and creates havoc in front of the net. In the first month of the OHL season, he notched 2 hat tricks. Another fantastic quality that really highlights his work ethic is that he never gives up on a play until the whistle blows it dead. You’ll see him hacking a goalie’s pads, or contorting his body around in order to get the puck back, anything to keep the play alive.
Born: Langley, BC
Weight: 176 lbs.
Our Projection: 25th overall, Dallas Stars
Cholowski is a fantastic skater who moves the puck well. His discipline is absolutely insane. In 2 years he only accumulated 10 penalty minutes. His hockey IQ is also very good. Once he bulks up a little, he should be a promising defenseman that Dallas needs.
Born: Chesterfield, MO
Weight: 192 lbs.
Projected: 17th overall, Nashville Predators
Kunin is one of the purest scorers in this year’s draft. He’s very intelligent and has a good eye for scoring chances. He finishes plays, tries very hard to get the puck in the offensive zone, score a goal, or create a play for his wingers. He battles for possession frequently, and has great puck skills. Has one of the most accurate shots in the NCAA. Very well-rounded, can do a lot on the ice both offensively and defensively. He can also be aggressive when he needs to be. Kunin makes plays straight out of thin air, it’s pretty magical.