NHL

2017-2018 BOTP Draft Recap

October 5, 2017

And with that, the opening day rosters are (pretty much, barring injury) set! It was a pretty solid draft this year, with plenty of audible f-bombs when players were chosen juuuuuuust before another manager was going to pick him. Let’s take a look at some of the narratives from the draft.

All According To Plan

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If you read our Mock Draft, there weren’t a ton of surprises in the to start the draft. Kopitar, Kuznetsov, JVR, Jones, Granlund and Pietrangelo all came off the board in Round 8, and Arvidsson, Eberle, Quick and Vasilevskiy all disappeared in Round 9. Crawford and Trocheck hanging around until Round 10 was possibly a surprise, but with all the other goalies and centers already on rosters, it isn’t that unfathomable. One minor surprise? Matthew Tkachuk going third overall in just his second season in the league.

Delayed Gratification

We saw a number of players drafted to stash on IR, with most of them coming in the later rounds. Brock used two of his picks on long-term IR guys, grabbing Ryan Ellis in Round 20 and Ryan Kesler in Round 23, both expected to be out until after Christmas. The most interesting pick was Brett using his 11th Rounder to grab Torey Krug, who was easily one of the best d-men available before taking a puck to the face in pre-season. Will he come back soon? Or will Brett regret passing on other talented players  chosen later that round, like Faulk, Gardiner, Parayko and Giordano?

Steady Drip

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Unlike previous drafts, there wasn’t really a run on goalies right away. It was relatively balanced, with two picked in Round 8, three in Round 9, and two in Round 10 (with Craig Anderson chosen with the first pick in Round 11). This surprised me a little bit, but I chalk it up to a) eight of the twelve teams had kept a goalie, and b) the remaining goalies were all fairly even in terms of projections.

A Bit Untested

We didn’t see a Matthews-like gamble this year, but a high number of rookies did get chosen in the draft. 2017 NHL first overall pick Nico Hischer went off the board in Round 13, with Charlie McAvoy, Clayton Keller and Nolan Patrick chosen in Round 15, Alex DeBrincat and Brock Boeser chosen in Round 16, Ivan Provarov and Mikhail Sergachev in round 17, and several others as the later rounds carried on.

Hidden Gems

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Scott Darling, Round 14, Pick 165 – the Carolina Hurricanes are a trendy pick as the next team to make a big step up this year, and newly signed Scott Darling is widely expected to replace Cam Ward as the defacto starter. There’s a lot of what-if here – can he handle the workload of a starter, is the Hurricanes defense as good as it looks on paper, can that forward group score enough to win a lot of games – but Darling could be one of the top goalies this year if it all pans out.

Matthew Barzal, Round 22, Pick 254 – Barzal is still a rookie, with only a handful of NHL games played last season. He’s currently listed as the Islanders second line center, playing between Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd and playing pivot on the second power play unit. He’s a highly skilled player, having racked up 167 points over 99 games in his last two years in the WHL. Can that translate to the big show?

Paul Stastny, Round 22, Pick 260 – I always forget that Stastny a) has played 11 full seasons in the NHL already, and b) started off his career with 71+ points in first three full seasons. He’s now 32 years old, hasn’t played more than 75 games since 2012, and is more likely to score in the 45 range…but he is still a really interesting pick up. He’s playing on the top line in St. Louis between the two Vladimirs (Tarasenko and Sobotka), and centers the first power play unit. This is the kind of usage that should have got him picked way earlier, but as always, can he stay healthy enough to get you points?

Micheal Ferland, Round 25, Pick 293 – It’s almost unfathomable to get a first line forward this late in the draft, but Ferland is still a bit of an unknown player around the league. He started getting playing time with Monahan and Gaudreau towards the end of last season, and he’s started on their line again this year. He’s unlikely to get power play time, but he could get a good amount of points just by proximity to the Flames’ top scoring duo.

Jaromir Jagr, Round 26, Pick 306 – Without knowing if he was even going to play in the NHL this year, Davin nabbed the Czech legend with his final pick. A few days later, Jagr announced his signing with Calgary, a pretty good spot for him to land. Jagr will be playing some good minutes with power play time, presenting a solid third line scoring threat.

Wait, Who?

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Possibly the biggest “wait, who?” from this draft is Sharks right winger Kevin Labanc, chosen by Cal with the second-to-last pick of the draft. In the Shark’s season opener, Labanc scored two goals with 5 SOG, good for 7.4 FP. If he continues to collect points at even a fraction of that rate, he could be the steal of the draft.

Victor Mete is a 4th round pick in 2016 by the Canadiens who inexplicably won a spot next to Shea Weber on Montreal’s top defensive pairing. He was a pretty solid player in the OHL, going almost a point per game last year with the London Knights, so it will be interesting to see how he fares next to Weber. This is quite the gamble by Montreal, and should be interesting if Mete can stick with Weber, or if he gets bumped down the lineup.

Michael Matheson played 81 games last season for the Florida Panthers, which seems insane because I feel like I’ve never even heard of him. He only collected 17 points last season, but he had a very respectable 179 SOG. With Jason Demers traded in the offseason, Matheson will be anchoring the second pairing with Mark Psysk, and manning the point on the second power play unit.

 

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