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2018 NHL Draft rankings: Looking at the season’s biggest risers and fallers

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Which skaters most saw their stock change before next month’s draft?

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CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

With the 2018 NHL Entry Draft a little over one month away, it’s interesting to look at a potential draft pick’s playing style and to see how well they performed over the season. Although the former can be seen rather easily through watching tape and highlights, the assessment of the latter can be assisted by Central Scouting Rankings.

After the mid-term rankings were released back in January, Central Scouting released their final rankings last month. For the most part, a lot of North American and European skaters didn’t see their positioning altered that much. However, a certain handful of players saw their stock either skyrocket or plummet. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these cases.



Biggest Risers, North American Skaters

Player Position Mid-term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Player Position Mid-term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Jake Wise C Unranked 38 Plus-180 USDP 38 43 11
Alexander Khovanov C Unranked 43 Plus-175 Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) 29 28 7
Linus Nyman LW/RW 202 89 Plus-113 Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) 67 85 27
Wyatte Wylie RHD 179 71 Plus-108 Everett Silvertips (WHL) 72 31 9
Joey Keane RHD Unranked 111 Plus-107 Barrie Colts (OHL) 62 44 14
Andrew Bruder C Unranked 114 Plus-104 Niagara IceDogs (OHL) 52 11 3
Connor Dewar C Unranked 117 Plus-101 Everett Silvertips (WHL) 68 68 20
Ben Copeland F Unranked 126 Plus-92 Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) 60 62 16
Mathias Laferriere Unranked 130 Plus-88 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL) 67 41 11
Oliver True RW Unranked 134 Plus-84 Ottawa 67's (OHL) 58 15 4
Liam Foudy C 91 19 Plus-72 London Knights (OHL) 65 40 12
Ryan Chyzowski LW 160 95 Plus-65 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 72 52 15
Luke Henman C 174 83 Plus-64 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL) 61 47 13
Aidan Dudas C 131 68 Plus-63 Owen Sound Attack (OHL) 68 65 20
Leif Mattson RW Unranked 157 Plus-61 Kelowna Rockets (WHL) 63 60 18
Joel Teasdale LW Unranked 159 Plus-59 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL) 65 65 18
Jermaine Loewen RW/LW Unranked 160 Plus-58 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 66 64 19
Logan Hutsko C 123 66 Plus-57 Boston College (NCAA - Hockey East) 37 31 12
William Ennis LHD 173 116 Plus-57 Oshawa Generals (OHL) 66 11 3
Robert Lynch RW 207 150 Plus-57 Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) 67 67 19
Riley McCourt LHD Unranked 161 Plus-57 Flint Firebirds (OHL) 56 22 7
Josh Paterson C Unranked 163 Plus-55 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) 72 53 16
Ty Dellandrea C 76 25 Plus-51 Flint Firebirds (OHL) 67 59 19
Christopher Douglas RW Unranked 168 Plus-50 Red Deer Rebels (WHL) 72 16 4

Jake Wise, +180 (Unranked to 38)

The prospect that has risen the most numerically between the mid-term rankings and the final rankings is Jake Wise. After being considered an elite prospect at one time, thanks to 56 goals and 118 points in 47 bantam games in 2013-14, the hype around the center from Massachusetts has cooled over the last few seasons. With 28 points in 18 games for Team USA in the USHL and 43 points in 38 games for the U.S. National U-18 team after missing the first half of the season with an injury, Wise not only earned himself a ranking, but a spot in the top 40 among North American skaters to close out the season.

Being a great skater with a nice pair of hands has Wise being compared to a player we’d all like to have another of on the Flyers’ roster. Here’s what SB Nation’s Chris Dilks had to say about Wise back in February:

“Wise missed the first half of the season due to injury, which kept him off the CSB ratings. He’s scored at a decent clip since coming back, settling into the role of a second line center, and playing on the top PP unit.

Wise is a solid player, but is always going to have to fight expectations for him a few years ago when he was compared to the likes of Jack Eichel. He’s a very good, strong skater, which is why he was so dominant at the younger levels, but lacks the elite hockey sense to really thrive now that everyone else can skate too. The middle rounds of the draft are littered with guys like that.”

Kid can shoot (also, check out the sass at 0:55). He will play for the Boston University Terriers next season.

Alexander Khovanov, +175 (Unranked to 43)

After missing most of the season due to suffering from Hepatitis A, Alexander Khovanov was able to jump into the top 50 for North American skaters after making his season debut on March 23rd. Although he is regarded as a highly-skilled playmaker with high hockey IQ, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman does illustrate some concerns over Khovanov’s skating (HELLO LINDBLOM AND STROME) after he centered a line with Andrei Svechnikov and Grigori Denisenko for Russia at the U-18 Five Nations Tournament:

“Khovanov was fine here. He showed flashes of his good hands and high-end vision. Khovanov’s skating remains an issue for me and it’s the biggest question mark in his NHL projection. His advocates will argue he’s out of shape due to injury and the Hep A he contracted, making him unable to work out for a year, and he’ll be faster when he gets back into game shape, but last season he didn’t seem like a blazer either.”

Pronman does also consider Khovanov the biggest wildcard in this year’s draft class. He was able to score nine goals and provide 19 assists for 28 points in 29 games this season for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL before he had seven points in 12 postseason games.

The vision and hockey IQ are illustrated throughout this highlight package.


Biggest Risers, European Skaters

Player Position Mid-term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Player Position Mid-term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Linus Karlsson C Unranked 39 Plus-92 Karlskrona HK J20 (SuperElit) 42 52 13
Danil Gizatullin LW Unranked 52 Plus-79 Loko Yaroslav (MHL) 55 25 7
Carl Berglund C/RW Unranked 53 Plus-78 Farjestad BK J20 (SuperElit) 31 29 7
Anton Malyshev RHD Unranked 60 Plus-71 Loko Yaroslav (MHL) 31 10 3
Ivan Muranov F 104 34 Plus-70 MHK Dynamo Moscow (MHL) 63 32 9
Liam Kirk F Unranked 65 Plus-66 Sheffield Steelers (EIHL) 52 16 N/A
Nikita Solopanov LHD 110 54 Plus-54 Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (MHL) 51 7 2
Yegor Postnov LHD Unranked 79 Plus-52 Kapitan Stupino (MHL) 63 29 8
Danila Dyadenkin F 105 54 Plus-51 Loko Yaroslav (MHL) 8 32 9
Peetro Seppala LHD 83 38 Plus-45 KooKoo U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga) 47 15 3
Nando Eggenberger LW/RW 91 48 Plus-43 HC Davos (NLA) 36 5 16
German Grachyov F 111 68 Plus-43 Almaz Cherepovets (MHL) 64 63 19
Ivan Romanov LW 109 67 Plus-42 Loko Yaroslav (MHL) 28 15 4
Ruslan Iskhakov RW 72 31 Plus-42 Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (MHL) 33 30 9
Jesper Sellgren LHD Unranked 91 Plus-40 MODO (Allsvenskan) 43 12 5

Nando Eggenberger, +43 (91 to 48)

A season after Nico Hischier went first overall, Switzerland has another prospect expected to be drafted rather high in the NHL Entry Draft. Nando Eggenberger is a fast power forward with an excellent shot who is already playing against men in Switzerland’s National League A (NLA). After he saw two games for HC Davos last season, Eggenberger posted four goals and a helper in 28 games in 2017-18.

Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst has liked Eggenberger since the summer, when he had this to say about the 6’2” 185-pound forward:

“Just because the Swiss don’t have a Nico Hischier clone for 2018, that doesn’t mean the country’s ability to churn out NHL-caliber prospects has slowed down. Enter Eggenberger, a power forward with skill and good speed who at international events will be leaned on to carry the torch from the aforementioned 2017 top pick. He can be used in all situations thanks to his positioning, active stick and ability to read plays. But make no mistake — this kid is a sniper with a deadly shot/release combo. He played close to a full season last year in Switzerland’s top league, and should be a Top-6 player for the Swiss in December when the WJC rolls around.”

Speaking of the World Junior Championship, this strong North-South skater didn’t have the best showing during the tournament, as he failed to record a point and was minus-9. He’s expected to remain with HC Davos for the 2018-19 season.

More like Nando Orr, amirite folks?

Liam Kirk, +66 (Unranked to 65)

Born in Rotherham, Great Britain, 6’2” 159-pound forward Liam Kirk is an unusual draft prospect. He’s been playing in Great Britain’s men’s system for years now and has spent the last two seasons with the Sheffield Steelers in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), the United Kingdom’s highest level of ice hockey. Although Central Scouting doesn’t often see prospects play in the EIHL during their draft year, Kirk may have received a bump from the mid-term rankings to the final rankings due to the fact he is Playing Against Men. With that in mind, his nine goals and seven assists in 52 games for the Steelers this season seems a little more reasonable. It wasn’t his 60-goal campaign in 2015-16 for the Sheffield Seahawks in the England U-18 league where he posted 98 points in 17 games, but it wasn’t a terrible season.

When it comes to his style of play, pucktistic over at Five For Howling provided this insight on the forward a few weeks ago:

“I first saw Kirk play at 15, and his vision, skating and stickhandling led me to comment even then that he was the best stickhandler I’d ever seen in British hockey – at any level, and of any nationality. Even then his talent was fully apparent, and it’s developed well over the past few seasons. But don’t take my word for it – here’s a highlight reel put together by Team GB watchers (Liam Kirk is wearing #14 or #16 in these clips):”

Pucktistic also mentions how Kirk would be the third player to ever be drafted by an NHL team that was born and trained in Great Britain. One of those two players was Scottish forward Colin Shields, who the Philadelphia Flyers took 195th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and never reached the American Hockey League let alone the NHL.



Biggest Fallers, North American Skaters

Player Position Mid-Term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Player Position Mid-Term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Ryan Peckford C 97 Unranked Minus-121 Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) 73 49 14
Logan Cash F 109 Unranked Minus-109 Boston Jr. Bruins Selects (MHSL U18) 7 4 N/A
Braden Costello F 112 Unranked Minus-106 Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) 56 12 3
Maxwell Crozier RHD 115 207 Minus-92 Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL) 49 29 3
Brady Lyle RHD 127 Unranked Minus-91 Owen Sound Attack (OHL) 63 34 10
Rickard Hugg C/LW 134 Unranked Minus-84 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 66 32 10
Renars Krastenbergs W 137 Unranked Minus-81 Oshawa Generals (OHL) 61 38 12
Michal Ivan LHD 90 169 Minus-79 Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL) 48 17 4
Ryan Savage RW 145 Unranked Minus-73 Omaha Lancers (USHL) 49 15 4
Cameron Boudreau LHD 117 189 Minus-72 Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) 42 12 N/A
Albert Michnac C 84 151 Minus-67 Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) 59 60 19
Tyler Tucker LHD 104 171 Minus-67 Barrie Colts (OHL) 59 23 7
Wyatt Schlaht F 151 Unranked Minus-67 St. Sebastian's (USHS) 27 32 N/A
Jaxon Nelson C 77 141 Minus-67 Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) 58 17 4
Ethan De Jong F 154 Unranked Minus-64 Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) 50 63 8
Adam Thilander RHD 155 Unranked Minus-63 North Bay Battalion (OHL) 68 42 13
Matthew MacDougall LW 121 183 Minus-62 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 66 32 10
Kirill Nizhnikov RW 161 Unranked Minus-57 Sudbury Wolves (OHL) 63 35 11
Michael Vorlicky RHD 167 Unranked Minus-51 Ednia High (USHS) 24 13 N/A
Nicolas Guay RW/RHD 120 170 Minus-50 Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) 68 55 15

Ryan Peckford, -121 (97 to unranked)

Being passed up in his draft year due to injury after he posted 34 points in 45 games for the Victoria Royals in the Western Hockey League, overager Ryan Peckford is evidently not doing himself any favors. After he was ranked 97th at the mid-term rankings, the Canadian 19-year-old center was unranked during the final rankings. Traded from the Royals to the Moose Jaw Warriors, Peckford utilized his responsible two-way play and his strong skating to let him accumulate 49 points in 73 games this season.

HockeyNow talked about Peckford’s game and painted the picture of a player that sounds like an ideal fit for most bottom sixes across the league:

“He plays a quiet game and he’s not flashy but he’s oan intelligent player who sees the entire ice. He does a good job of keeping up with the pace of the play. Peckford is a smooth skater with clean strides and good acceleration. He’ll make sure his zone is taken care of and is solid in the face-off circle. He’s responsible defensive forward who is a real tight fore checker. Has a knack for scoring the big goal in timely situations and creates a stir when he battles for loose pucks in the crease. Provides secondary scoring and will see some PP time.”

That pass off the boards was pretty ridiculous.

Peckford had a pair of goals and an assist during the WHL postseason, as he took part in 13 of the Warriors’ 14 playoff games.

Braden Costello, -106 (112 to Unranked)

After being slotted 112th at the mid-term rankings, 6’2” 201-pound North Dakota native Braden Costello finished unranked among the final North American skaters. With just eight goals and four assists for 12 points in 56 games for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the United States Hockey League (USHL), it’s easy to see why Costello took quit the hit in the final rankings. Costello worked his way to the USHL Top Prospects Game earlier this season, but he only recorded a pair of shots on goal and didn’t record a point in the 4-3 contest.

He has the frame to play Big Hockey and be successful one day in the NHL, but it looks like that day could be a long way away. He hasn’t put up many points outside of high school hockey and won’t be seeing collegiate action next season, but perhaps could still make his mark through intangibles.

Costello is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2019-20 season.


Biggest Fallers, European Skaters

Player Position Mid-Term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Player Position Mid-Term Rank Final Rank Difference Team Games Points NHLe
Samuel Fagemo LW/RW 40 Unranked Minus-91 Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit) 37 30 7
Jacob Svensson C/RW 55 Unranked Minus-76 Almtuna IS (Allsvenskan) 49 8 3
Einar Emanuelsson RW 57 Unranked Minus-74 Lulea HF (SHL) 45 26 15
Alexander Bjurstrom F 58 Unranked Minus-73 Brynas IF (SHL) 23 2 1
Linus Nassen F 60 126 Minus-66 Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit) 28 11 2
Simon Kjellberg LHD 74 Unranked Minus-57 Rogle BK J20 (SuperElit) 43 9 2
Samuel Solem LW 75 Unranked Minus-56 Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit) 37 21 5
Johan Sodergran F 78 Unranked Minus-53 Linkoping HC (SHL) 20 0 0
Gustav Lindberg LW/RW 81 Unranked Minus-50 Linkoping HC J20 (SuperElit) 30 22 5
Anton Sundin LHD 85 Unranked Minus-46 Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit) 45 4 1
Demid Mansurov F 29 69 Minus-40 Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk (MHL) 29 16 4
William Worge Kreu LHD 92 Unranked Minus-39 Linkoping HC J20 (SuperElit) 38 14 3.5
Joseph Berger LHD 95 Unranked Minus-36 Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit) 44 10 2
Adam Backehag LHD 87 122 Minus-35 Leksands IF J20 (SuperElit) 21 5 1

Samuel Fagemo, -91 (40 to Unranked)

After he posted five goals in five games during last year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Samuel Fagemo’s stock has taken a hit. The 6’0” 194-pound winger had strong play in both international play and with Frolunda HC J18 in the SuperElit last season, where he had 23 points in 18 games.

He managed to record 19 goals and 11 helpers in 37 contests for Frolunda HC J20 this season, but flaws started to become visible in his game. Bill Placzek of Draft Site weighed in on why Fagemo’s ranking took an unfavorable turn:

“A scorer with a quick release and strong shot. And he knows it, and that has resulted in a less team-orientated attack when he is on the sheet, with him putting blinders on to his options and taking low percentage shots that result in possession changes. I understand the scorer mentality, but he takes it a bit too far. Takes many shots from the perimeter as if he doesn’t yet understand or care about the idea of working the puck down in. There is enough talent to think he will get chosen while teams try and patiently hone his hockey IQ.”

Now some teams may need to add shoot-at-all-cost forwards to their farm system (eyes emoji) and Fagemo has seemingly scored at every level (22 goals in 22 U16 Elit games in 2014-15, ten goals in 18 U18 SuperElit games last season), but the monumental drop in the rankings does cause some concern.