There are gems and value in every round, but which teams found the diamonds? Our prospect expert gives his picks on which franchises enhanced their pipelines the most on Saturday.
BUFFALO – On Day 2 of the draft, team preference plays such a huge role in when kids get picked. But for my money, there were some definite winners by round. In some cases, it was teams that made solid multiple selections. In other cases, it was a matter of the value they got in one player. Here are my winners for Day 2.
Round 2: Philadelphia. The Flyers had three picks in this round, but they hit it out of the park on all of them. Pascal Laberge has a great combination of skill and feistiness, while Carter Hart was the top netminder available in the draft. Wade Allison, not to be outdone, was the USHL playoff MVP with champion Tri-City and his powerful offensive game is on the ascent. Honorable mention: Detroit got a nice mobile D-man in Filip Hronek and a powerful threat up front in Givani Smith.
Round 3: Edmonton. Three picks, three defensemen. The Oilers grabbed potential first-rounder Markus Niemelainen from OHL Saginaw, Cornell commit Matthew Cairns and Sweden’s Filip Berglund. Niemelainen is a towering Finn with mobility who won gold at the world under-18s, while Cairns has great skating ability and offensive potential. Berglund has size, hockey sense and a nice two-way game. Honorable mention: Anaheim got an undervalued defenseman in Josh Mahura, who missed a lot of time due to injury but has great mobility and upside.
Round 4: Ottawa. In Todd Burgess, the Senators get a player that was described to me as having Jimmy Vesey-type upside as a goal-scorer (and that scout works for another NHL team). Burgess is an R.P.I. commit who played for NAHL Fairbanks this season and helped his team to a playoff championship.
Round 5: Dallas. Goaltending is such a tough position to draft. The Stars just traded away Jack Campbell to L.A., so they know that. But in Colton Point, they have a proven winner with great size and a solid mental make-up. Point is a Colgate commit who is coming off a championship season with Jr. A Carleton Place, in the Ottawa area.
Round 6: Pittsburgh. A lot of players got second or third cracks this year and UConn’s Joseph Masonius found a home when the Penguins came calling. Masonius plays a lot bigger than his six-foot, 190-pound frame and plays a nasty, physical style. He also led all Huskies defensemen in scoring with 21 points in 34 games, doing so as a freshman.
Round 7: Calgary. GM Brad Treliving noted that Stepan Falkovsky is still raw, but there’s a ton to like about the kid. A 6-foot-7, 224-pound defenseman for the Ottawa 67’s, Falkovsky played for Belarus at the world juniors and on top of the obvious size and reach advantages he brings to the table, he’s also quite mobile.