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NHL Draft: The Top Prospects Remaining After Day 1

Here's a look at five of the top prospects that didn't hear their names called on Day 1 of the NHL draft, but likely won't wait long on Day 2.
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Here's a look at five of the top prospects that didn't hear their names called on Day 1 of the NHL draft:

RW Jagger Firkus, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

The undersized forward likely fell out of the first round for that exact reason. He plays with video game-level skill and a daringness to try just about anything to create space for himself. With some of the best hands in the draft, Firkus can absolutely dazzle at times. The 5-foot-10 forward weighs in at 154 pounds, which is the issue here.

Firkus’ puck skill and agility on his feet are unreal at times, cutting and weaving through defensive structures and creating plays in the offensive zone with regularity. His ability to put on strength and build on his frame will be key to making sure he can survive at the next level. With incredible creativity and excellent offensive instincts that allow him to use his wicked snap shot, Firkus has the potential to be a second-round steal.

D Ryan Chesley, U.S. National Team Development Program (USHL)

The NTDP had six players go in round one but each one of them was from the team's forward group. Chesley brings the most projectable and steady toolset of the defenders on the team. The 6-foot, 200-pound defender was expected to be picked by a team looking to add a toolsy defender who safely projects as a stout defensive presence, but brought the upside of a two-way defender because of his skating and passing ability.

Chesley is a versatile and adaptable defender who can play just about any role on the back end. He will bring a physical edge to the game, closing gaps by leading with his stick and finishing with the body. He showcases some excellent passing ability both on the breakout and as a facilitator in the offensive zone. Expect him to be an early day two pick.

D Calle Odelius, Djurgården (SHL)

Odelius is a smooth-skating transitional defenseman that moves the puck efficiently with precision. He seems to have been forgotten as he played on a Djurgården team that featured three first-round picks in Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Noah Östlund, and Liam Öhgren. Odelius didn’t have the most noticeable Under-18 World Championship, which may have been a reason that he fell a bit.

The Swedish defender plays a bit of an understated defensive game. He can be a bit passive at times but shows the mobility to cut down gaps in transition and displays excellent stick work to break up play. He isn’t going to blow an opponent up as they cross the blueline but he will poke the puck loose, jump on it, and look to move play up ice and start the attack. He fits a very specific mold as a modern-day defender who defends with skill and skating rather than strength and physicality. He very well could be a player ranked fairly highly on a team’s board who will feel lucky to get him in round two.

C Jack Hughes, Northeastern University (NCAA)

Hughes' production didn’t blow anyone away as an 18-year-old playing in the NCAA, but he was a more than capable player at a level that is often difficult for draft-eligible players. He applies pressure on the back check and understands where to position himself in his own zone.

The “Other” Jack Hughes plays a north-south game, attacking defenders with quick hands and often using them as screens when shooting in motion. He isn’t a dynamic playmaker but can make passes to put his teammates in good positions to score. The projectability in his game is fairly strong but he lacks the upside that may have got him into round one. Any team that selects the young Northeastern center may be looking back on the day two selection with a grin as he fills a roll in their middle-six, playing in a variety of roles on a competitive team.

LW Julian Lutz, EHC München (DEL)

The young German forward dealt with quite a bit of time this year because of injuries, the likely reason for falling out of round one. Lutz plays with speed and agility, using his passing ability to create offensive chances for himself and his teammates. He was an offensive catalyst at times for the German Under-18 team this year on a team that was somewhat devoid of offensive firepower.

Lutz has a solid defensive game as well, understanding when and where to be in his own zone. He is adept at intercepting passes and breaking up play in space. He uses his edges to stay between the puck carrier and the net, ensuring that he gives no easy chances. If he can consistently put together some of the offensive flashes, particularly as a playmaker, that we saw to go along with that defensive acumen, Lutz could very well be an excellent middle-six piece for a very good team. 

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