Dultak’s Pre 2020 NHL Draft Musings
So, folks, it’s been a while since I wrote anything beyond jotting doing talking points here, there, and everywhere in my notepad, so I’m hoping this article can serve as somewhat of summation of my thoughts when preparing my rankings, mock draft, and “others to watch out for” list. A sort of “what was he thinking???” article, if you will.
Let’s start with my rankings list, which is basically the sorting of the “grades” I ended up give players based on my evaluations, which would include viewings (live and recorded), basic analytics (primarily quality of competition metrics), even reviews of other prognosticators and other authorities, etc.
So relatively intensive, though not necessarily all encompassing. Anyway…the evaluations ended up identifying a number clusters or tiers that helped to form the rankings list and they can be summarized as follows:
Tier 1 – 2 players
Tier 2 – 1 player
Tier 3 – 6 players
Tier 4 – 1 player
Tier 5 – 2 players
Tier 6 – 7 players
Tier 7 – 17 players
Tier 8 – 36 players
Tier 10 – etc
You can draw your own conclusions as to what these clusters may mean, as well as identify the players in each cluster by referring to the rankings, but to me what they suggest is that there may be a fair amount of trade activity on or the days leading up to draft day even though, imho, such activity may not necessarily be warranted given the relatively close gradings between the tiers that my evaluations yielded.
By this, I mean to say that if a team determines that it is in their best interest to try to move up, they would be best served to try and move up multiple tiers (ie. tier 3 to 1, tier 7 to 3, etc). In terms of specific players, I was surprised by the rankings of several players, but none more so than Kaiden Guhle, who I fully expected to have a 1st round grade, but ended up with a 2nd round grade (yes, I rechecked my calculations!).
As well, you may note my “others to consider” list, which is essentially a list of players who I may have noticed while watching another prospect, noted by others as someone to keep an eye on so viewed them briefly, etc, but who I did not have enough opportunity to devote evaluation time to so did not include in my rankings list. Many of these players will likely get drafted and some may even surprise as to where they are selected, but I cannot rank because of my limited insight into their games.
Now let’s move onto my mock draft, which you’ll note is not in the same order as my rankings. This, of course, is not surprising because team needs is factored into this process, as well as gleaned insights from “insiders” via interviews, articles, etc. In other words, the mock is based a lot on my hunches from the variety information I have come across linking prospects to teams.
I have tried not to veer too far from my rankings clusters, especially so in the first round, though there is an exception or two, including Guhle again, who I have slotted to Montreal at 16th overall. As well, the end of the first round has some risers slotted in to teams in the last few draft spots.
What the “surprises” did was push some players who had first round grades into the second round, as well as push down the list some personal favourites who I feel have a chance of being selected in the first round, merely due to the lack of information available linking them to specific teams.
What I’ve done with these players, then, is slot them into teams I’ve determined as “best fit”. These players include John-Jason Peterka, Helge Grans, Zion Nybeck, Ridley Greig, Michael Benning, Jake Neighbours, Jean-Luc Foudy, Ryan O’Rourke, Carter Savoie, and Justin Sourdif. I’m sure there are others who deserved the same consideration, but I had to stop somewhere and that was that.
Finally, let me briefly discuss the “others” list. I really wish that I had enough opportunity to evaluate them more because I have a gut feeling at least a few of them have the potential elected in the top 2 rounds.
Of course I’ll kick myself at that point for not being able to evaluate them sufficiently, but such is life, you win some and you lose some. Some with such potential include Leo Loof, Noah Delemont, Tristen Robins, Samuel Hlavaj, Jeremie Biakabutuka, Dylan Garand, and Jack Finley. Of course, the potential would have to be achieved and some team would really have to believe in their potential to bet a top end pick on them.
Anyway, the point of this list is to expose you to some additional names to keep an eye out for in the off chance that they get selected when you’re still watching the draft or if they get selected by your team at any point in the draft. The may become stars for your team one day, like Jamie Benn, for example, a former 6th round pick!