- Rasmus Dahlin, D, SHL
- Andrei Svechnikov, RW, OHL
- Quintin Hughes, D, NCAA
- Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USHL
- Filip Zadina, RW, QMJHL
- Brady Tkachuk, LW, NCAA
- Noah Dobson, D, QMJHL
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, LIIGA
- Adam Boqvist, D, SUPERELIT
- Joel Farabee, LW, USHL
- Barrett Hayton, C, OHL
- Vitali Kravtsov, RW, KHL
- K’Andre Miller, D, USHL
- Kirill Marchenko, RW, MHL
- Evan Bouchard, D, OHL
- Grigori Denisenko, LW, MHL
- Bode Wilde, D, USHL
- Liam Foudy, C, OHL
- Martin Kaut, C, CZECH
- Rasmus Kupari, C, LIIGA
- Nils Lundqvist, D, SHL
- Ty Smith, D, WHL
- Isac Lundestrom, C, SHL
- Joe Veleno, C, QMJHL
- Dominik Bokk, RW, SHL
- Alexander Alexeyev, D, WHL
- Ty Dellandrea, C, OHL
- Rasmus Sandin, D, OHL
- Sampo Ranta, LW, USHL
- Serron Noel, RW, OHL
- Jonatan Berggren, RW, SUPERELIT
- Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, BCHL
- Jesse Ylonen, RW, MESTIS
- Akil Thomas, C, OHL
- Sean Durzi, D, OHL
- Niklas Nordgren, RW, Jr. A SM-liiga
- Ryan Merkley, D, OHL
- Jacob Olofsson, C, ALLSVENSKAN
- Jay O’Brien, C, USHS
- Jack McBain, C, OJHL
- Jared McIsaac, D, QMJHL
- Filip Hallander, C, ALLSVENSKAN
- Cameron Hillis, C, OHL
- Calen Addison, D, WHL
- Ryan McLeod, C, OHL
- Yegor Sharangovich, C, KHL
- Jan Jenik, C, CZE2
- Ruslan Ishakov, C, MHL
- Nicolas Beaudin, D, QMJHL
- Martin Fehervary, D, ALLSVENSKAN
- Jett Woo, D, WHL
- Jake Wise, C, USHL
- Mattias Samuelsson, D, USHL
- Adam Ginning, D, SHL
- Logan Hutsko, C, NCAA
- Blake McLaughlin, LW, USHL
- Kevin Bahl, D, OHL
- Olof Lindbom, G, SUPERELIT
- Jonathon Tychonick, D, BCHL
- Jakub Lauko, LW, CZE
- Aidan Dudas, C, OHL
- Albin Eriksson, LW, SUPERELIT
- Olivier Rodrigue, G, QMJHL
- Ivan Morozov, C, MHL
- Scott Perunovich, D, NCAA
- Patrick Giles, RW, USHL
- David Gustafsson, C, SHL
- B-O Groulx, C, QMJHL
- Allan McShane, C, OHL
- Nikita Rtischev, LW, MHL
- Curtis Hall, C, USHL
- Ty Emberson, D, USHL
- Luke Henman, C, QMJHL
- Jordan Harris, D, USHS
- Liam Kirk, LW, England
Slowly disappearing are the days of ‘meathead’ tests devaluing the NHL Draft Combine. Whether by design or not, seemingly every year the brass is designing new ways of sharpening the testing methods. Maybe they have been working off of a clever long term plan to phase in and out tests in order to keep the ‘older guard’ comfortable in the evolving fitness landscape.
This year, they expanded the lower body dynamic power testing bracket. In addition to the Vertical Jump and Standing Long Jump, the category now also includes two other cuts of jumping: one with a squat and no arm swing pre-ceding the jump and another with hands on hips and lack of arm swing. Furthermore, they also moved the resistance style bench press to become more dynamic by measuring the velocity of the bar from chest pause to full arm extension. Because of this change, I will now include chest press in the dynamic power breakdown and give readers an idea of players with systemic explosiveness.
The Dynamic Power Leaderboard, or obviously their version of it, may well be the ‘river card’ that teams wait to see before going all in on a given prospect (anaerobic power testing can also be combined as they usually go hand in hand). It has been a fantastic pre-draft indicator to tipping off who may crack the first round (sometimes surprisingly). Look at last year alone for those who registered top ten placements in both jumps: #1 Josh Norris, #3 Morgan Frost, #6 Henri Jokiharju, and #7 Cale Makar.
With that in mind, here’s the 2018 Dynamic Power Leaderboard:
|Rk||Player||St Long Jump||Vert Jump||Sq Jump||No Arm Jump||Bench Press||COUNT||SCORE|
*Liam Foudy (London, OHL) is about on par with a Josh Norris or Trent Frederic – anything is possible but I am not expecting him to make it out of the first round despite not being a consensus top 31 prospect.
*Nils Lundqvist (Luleå HF) = a faster rising, yet more seasoned Henri Jokiharju.
*After drooling over K’Andre Miller‘s (USA, USHL) pure athletic ability all year on ice, it’s interesting to see him place in only two of the four LB power cats. What I see there is a physical freak who has an insane kinetic chain and can channel his explosiveness throughout his entire body IE with using UB and swinging arms. My prediction: valued more than P-O Joseph was last year meaning probable top 20.
*Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie, OHL) showed up in the bottom portion of 3 of the 5 tests and I love it. Tells me he showed just enough physical prowess to let teams know he’s ready without intimating that he was overpowering OHL’ers en route to having his fantastic season.
*Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) has some hops…even if it was only popping up on radar for one test, it may give some team the cojones to select him high. This might suggest he has some growth potential on a somewhat down skating forecast.
*Lastly, Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL) has no business being on any top ten combine list after playing an 87 game schedule with his last championship winning game happening on May 27th. Well done champ, you’re not getting out of the top ten on June 22nd.
As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA), DraftBuzz followers have seen the arc of my curious interpretation of NHL Draft Combine testing results over the last few years. Anecdotes during this time point to VERY strong, however selective, correlations between both draft risers and post draft climbers.
The combine is always an interestingly highly contentious part of the process – from fans to NHL personnel, you have those who are combine geeks, those who just care about interviews, and those who don’t care about it at all preferring to let the on-ice play speak for itself. However, you can’t argue the fact that the league has invested in it and employed smart professionals to push the envelope. Now more than ever, the NHL has taken the right steps to make the data/info gleaned more valuable, and it’s learnings should be gaining more value in the community.
With this in mind, here is an Overall Leaderboard to kick off providing some insight on the combine, the results, and what it all means (to come). The Overall Leaderboard is broken down by top ten placements. #1 in each category was assigned 10PTS, #2 assigned 9PTS, ETC. All players in ties were awarded the top amount in points. The value ensuing the tie took the amount of the overall position. ‘Count’ is how many categories each player registered a top ten finish.
The Prospect Volatility Index, shortened to PVI, was created in 2015 in an attempt to quantify a prospect’s growth potential, and more specifically, probability of personal change and development at the time of their NHL Draft. The index is a composite ranking designed to combat relative age effect as well as balance dynamic physical development amongst prospects.
This index attempts only to give some objective framework for viewing a prospect’s long-term upside – it doesn’t replace a ranking nor guarantee certain development curve. It was constructed by using the 2018 NHL Draft Combine attendees, NHL CS top 62 skaters for NA, and NHL CS top 31 skaters for EUR. An age and size “position” were calculated for each prospect and combined to establish a composite PVI score.
Essentially, the learnings from this exercise come from the extreme ends of the spectrum. It can split out the younger, more physically underdeveloped players from the older, more physically mature ones. This index is meant to be combined with many other metrics to create a wholistic picture on a given prospect. Very generally, it’s a supremely positive indicator if a ‘subjectively’ elite prospect shows up with a top rank in PVI. Conversely, if a prospect is not billed as a top pick and he shows up with a low PVI rank, odds are said prospect has probably seen his development curve spike already and is much closer to being a finished product. It can be very good for projected top 5-10 picks, as it may mean they are more NHL ready than their peers.
Take a look at historical top PVI prospects***:
2015: #2 Troy Terry @1.90; #3 Anthony Cirelli @1.89; #15 Mitchell Marner @1.67; #16 Sebastian Aho @1.66; #27 Brendan Guhle @1.50; #30 Mathew Barzal @1.44
2016: #6 Jordan Kyrou @1.82; #9 Clayton Keller @1.74; #22 Samuel Girard @1.55; #29 Jesper Bratt @1.51
2017: #1 Alex Formenton @1.94; #27 Filip Chytil @1.55
Here’s the 2018 NHL Draft Top Ten in DraftBuzz PVI:
|PVI RK||PLAYER||NHL CS RK||LEAGUE||POS||PVI|
Here’s the 2018 NHL Draft Bottom Ten in DraftBuzz PVI:
|PVI RK||PLAYER||NHL CS RK||LEAGUE||POS||PVI|
Download the full DraftBuzz 2018 NHL Draft Prospect Volatility Index
**non-combine attendees data as well as did not test attendees pulled from here
***please note, historical ranks and scores from 2015-2017 were against the final DraftBuzz NHL Draft Rankings
Dear DraftBuzz readers,
With diminished published content this year, I unfortunately have to give you all confirmation of the bad news things have been trending towards: sadly, I will not be able to produce a 2018 NHL Draft Guide this June.
After 4 years of working extremely hard individually to give a detailed and comprehensive look at the game’s brightest talent pre-draft, I do not have the ability to create something similar this year despite scouting the class and future draft years. There are a lot of great prospect outlets out there right now, and I am not afraid to say that for a fee my stuff would not be competitive at the moment due to lack of time.
I do plan on releasing some free content leading up to the draft; I will want to keep a timestamped ranking going as well as I will not be able to resist the urge to compile the same proprietary metrics that I have spent so much time investing in over the last few years.
In spirit of the draft, consider this a rebuilding year! Scouting is in my blood and I do not plan to let DraftBuzz go…I want to thank all of my followers who have supported me over the years and hope to build DB up again in the coming months/years!
Thank you all,
- Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frölunda HC (SHL)
- Filip Zadina, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
- Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
- Quinton Hughes, D, Michigan (NCAA)
- Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University (NCAA)
- Adam Boqvist, D, Brynäs IF (SUPERELIT)
- Oliver Wahlstrom, C, NTDP U18 (USDP)
- Rasmus Kupari, C, Oulun Kärpät (LIIGA)
- Grigori Denisenko, C, Loko (MHL)
- Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
- Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
- Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
- Joel Farabee, LW, NTDP U18 (USDP)
- Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Ässät (LIIGA)
- Bode Wilde, D, NTDP U18 (USDP)
- Isac Lundeström, C, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
- Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa (OHL)
- Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
- Jacob Olofsson, C, Timrå IK (ALLSVENSKAN)
- K’Andre Miller, D, NTDP U18 (USDP)
- Dominik Bokk, RW, Växjö (SHL)
- Ryan McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)
- Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
- Aidan Dudas, C, Owen Sound (OHL)
- Vitali Kravtsov, LW, Traktor (KHL)
- Akil Thomas, RW, Niagara (OHL)
- Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge (WHL)
- Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint (OHL)
- Alexander Alexeyev, D, Red Deer (WHL)
vs. Canada East (WJAC)
2018 NHL Draft prospect Grigory Denisenko had 1G-2A-3PTS vs. Canada East (WJAC) and earned it through impressive displays shift after shift. On this play, he shows great speed through the neutral zone to spring a teammate in the O zone. Then, he shows tenacity to strip steal and re-enter the zone again. He doesn’t pick the best option, but he sure put in the work to not criticize him too much on this shift.
Here you can see him deke the pants off an opponent, register a scoring chance off the post, follow the play intently for a takeaway keeping play alive for extended possession, then caps off the shift by sneaking in behind the defense and showing how dangerous he is given a step. He scores driving to the net.
Denisenko provides support along the right wall defensively, breaks out, stays available, and then proceeds to enact a sweet backhand drop pass give and go for the assist through a crowd on the goal.
vs. Moose Jaw
Stud 2018 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Ty Smith plays the two on one perfectly and has a very clean break up on the puck that sends it right to trailing teammate JAD.
This is a clip you will want to bookmark – it’s Smith from start to finish. Off the face-off he picks up his streaking check with focus, sticks to him and denies him the puck and clears it. Then, he follows up the play through the neutral and intercepts the puck sidestepping a teammate while delivering a tape pass for the ensuing scoring chance.
Smith takes a pass in stride despite being a little off target, enters the offensive zone, and dishes a backhand pass. Backing up into the defensive zone, you can see his skating command as his mobility in reverse is super fluid and smooth. He picks up the puck and uses his great lateral explosiveness with the puck to evade the tight check and hit his winger with a zone exiting pass.
Smith spin cuts and the forechecker blows a tire, and you see him wheel through the neutral zone. He dumps the puck in as he gets converged on, which is fine considering circumstance though not ideal with his skillset. You also see him rush the follow-up right board sequence, where he could pull out with the puck and avoid the stoppage in play.
This is a complex storyboard for the fact that you see highlights, errors, and negative yet insignificant result. On one hand you don’t like to see that solo offensive zone giveaway turned into a rush against, but it did go offside. On the other, you see lights out puck rushing ability where he splits not ONE pair, but TWO pairs of attackers (then loses the puck to the D). This is one of those high hockey sense kids that you let go, and let him try these unbelievable plays because it doesn’t really impact his overall decision making if the result isn’t perfect now.
Intentionally or not, it’s impressive how close to the blueline he nonchalantly walks it giving him extra space to operate. His pass is butter, but his shot mechanic’s a little slow/delayed and light. Once the play is sent the other way, he shows some more reliability as a supreme breakout defender.
vs. Moose Jaw (WHL)
This is a complex clip that encapsulates Los Angeles Kings prospect Jaret Anderson-Dolan’ game: efficiently skilled two-way center with attacking mentality and some offensive limitation creatively. As a center, he’s naturally going to swoop through the middle and present as a pass option for his D to break the puck out. However, the D unit has a ton of confidence in JAD, and he was noticeably reliable here throughout the game. He transitions through the neutral zone with a good handle, but loses the puck when the attack converges on him. Can’t ding him there really, but there were other opportunities in one-on-one situations where he wasn’t able to escape either so worth monitoring development there. Despite losing the puck, you see his competitiveness when he gets it right back, grinds up the boards through a check, and hits his point man with a pass.
JAD starts the play causing yet another turnover, this time in the neutral zone, and takes off as F2. They eventually lose the puck, but he circles back and takes a stretch pass into a breakaway scenario. He almost splits the D, but jumps to the outside and loses the handle where he ends corralling it around the boards to the other side of the ice. Without the puck, you see his hockey sense to support the play and find a pocket – that is until he can’t restrain himself from giving the closest PK’er a light, distracting push!
You’re looking at a pro play right here with the puck behind the net. JAD battles behind the cage where he emerges with possession, protects the puck well giving him space to get the pass off the boards to the point man. His hard work results in a teammate’s center point shot, as well as another’s rebound shot. This screams NHL handiwork.