With the regular season ending this past week it’s officially draft szn. Everyone has their takes on Dahlin, Svech v Zadina, Hughes v Boqvist, and how good Evan Bouchard really is, but I wanted to find the next late round steal. Here are my candidates to be the next “diamond in the rough”.
2018-19 team: Wisconsin (NCAA)
2017-18 stats: 4-18-22
Projected Round: 3
Emberson resembles the new generation of defenseman, he’s on the shorter side (a generous 6 foot 1 inch) but he’s truly an electric skater and moves the puck extremely well. Emberson’s 22 points aren’t eye popping but his ice time and PP time averages are well below many of his peers due to the quality and depth of the USDP blueline. If Emberson would have reported to Sadbury, who owns his CHL rights, he would probably be a high 2nd round pick. However, Emberson chose the USDP and WIsconsin, making him a potential sleeper pick. Wisconsin has a history of making defenseman into NHLers (Ryan McDonagh, Brandon Smith, and Ryan Suter to name a few), and Emberson should be able to handle a bigger role at Wisco than he played with the USDP. A strong skater that plays a great 2 way game, some team will be very happy with their selection of Ty Emberson in June.
Linus Nyman-Winger-Kingston (OHL)
2018-19 team: Kingston (OHL)
2017-18 stats: 39-46-85
Projected Round: 5-7
If Nyman was born 50 days later he would easily be an early round pick in this years draft. However, Nyman just made the cutoff for last years draft where he went undrafted. The Finland born Winger does a little bit of everything for the Frontecas and is another electric skater. Nyman is featured on Kingstons PP, PK and in their top 6; posting 85 points in 67 games good for 2nd on one of the OHL’s best teams. Nyman also posted a 31 NHLe giving him better numbers than 2017 1st round pick Casey Mittelstadt. It will be interesting to see where Nyman chooses to play next year; while he is expected to return to Kingston, he should have offers in Europe. Overagers typically fall pretty far down teams draft boards but it would be very wise to risk a 6th round pick on the Finnish Winger.
Jan Jenik-Forward-Jizerou (Czech 2)
2018-19 team:Liberec (Czech)
2017-18 stats: 4-7-11
Projected Round: 4
Jenik burst onto the draft scene by absolutely dominating the Hlinka Memorial tournament, scoring 6 goals in 5 games. Jenik is the youngest player in the draft, had he been even a few hours younger he would’ve been ineligible to be drafted. The question mark on Jenik’s resume is his Czech league production. In 10 games with Liberec (4 in the champions league) he went scoreless, in 30 Czech 2 games he had only 11 points. Keep in mind he is a 17 year old playing with grown men but those numbers are extremely unimpressive. The upside to Jenik is his strong skating and lethal shot; however Jenik will surely need a good performance at the U18s to strengthen his draft stock. Due to Jenik’s age and his success against players his own age he should be worth a pick in the 4th round.
Jake Lagerstrom-Defense-St Marys (USHS)
2018-19 team: Cornell (NCAA)
Projected Round: 7 or Undrafted
Lagerstrom chose High School over Juniors and is falling down draft boards because of it. St. Mary’s is one of the top programs in high school hockey and Lagerstrom was easily the best defenseman in Prep Hockey this season. Lagerstrom is a big kid at 6’3” 200 pounds but he’s also a good skater and showcased a good amount of skill from the blue line. Lagerstrom is expected to enroll at Cornell next season where his development should take a leap. Like Emberson 3 or 4 years in College should do a lot of good for him. NHL GMs would be silly to let this kid go undrafted.