NHL Draft: 10 Prospects Who Are Potential Steals From Day Two
You can look back at any NHL draft and find those gems beyond the first round. It seems every class has at least one or two players emerge from each round. While there’s no way to clearly identify these players until years later, we can always speculate on which prospects have the best chance to succeed.
After day two in Buffalo wrapped up, most Mock Drafts were long ruined after an interesting first night. Not surprising, the NHL Draft never goes as scripted. If there’s one thing scouts/experts can count on every year; the annual event is far from predictable.
As we continue our post-draft analysis, we move on to 10 prospects who could be potential steals in the future. Stay tuned for our draft grades/breakdown of all 30 teams coming soon.
NHL Draft: 10 Potential Prospects Who Could Be Steals Down the Road
39th overall (2nd Round) RW Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks
Concerns over his 5’7 frame are the only reason DeBrincat fell into the 2nd round. He was easily a first round talent, borderline top 10 skill-set. 29 other teams loss is the Chicago Blackhawks gain who have proven capable with undersized forwards Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.
63rd overall (3rd Round) D Markus Niemelainen, Edmonton Oilers
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Okay Edmonton fans, so it’s not a right-handed defender, but no reason to get upset. Some had Niemelainen pegged as a first round talent because there’s serious NHL potential for the big 6’4 198lb blue liner.
Markus jumps near the top of the Oilers defensive prospect depth chart immediately. Niemelainen is best described as an all-around two-way defenseman who scouts say is strong in all areas of the game.
65th overall (3rd Round) W Vitaly Abramov, Columbus Blue Jackets
Another player who saw his draft value plummet based on his small 5’9 175lbs frame. This Russian playmaker scored 38 goals, adding 55 assists (93 points) for QMJHL Gatineau in 2015-16 after making the jump across to North America.
This pick feels eerily similar to their selection of Oliver Bjorkstrand a few years back. Watch Abramov tear the Q apart in scoring next season.
111th overall (4th Round) C Noah Gregor, San Jose Sharks
Projected by most scouts to go between 50-70th overall, it was a bit surprising to watch Gregor fall to 111.
This 5’11 center is a playmaking forward coming off a point-per-game season (73 pts in 72 games) for WHL Moose Jaw in 2015-16. Those totals will only increase as he takes on a larger role for the Warriors in 2016-17.
141st overall (5th Round) LW Tim Gettinger, New York Rangers
He was projected to go as high as 37th by NHL Central Scouting, and as low as 92nd by Future Considerations.
Somehow, the 6’5 201lbs winger managed to slide into the 5th round. Concerns over him not using that big frame effectively could be to blame. He’s a project prospect, but he has the tools to be an everyday NHLer if developed properly.
181st overall (6th Round) D Joseph Masonius, Pittsburgh Penguins
Masonius was taken around the exact range as expected, but he’s an intriguing prospect. After going unselected in 2015, Joseph began his NCAA hockey career with UConn in 2015-16. He had a solid rookie year, and has the tools to be an effective pro.
No surprise, Pittsburgh continues to draft college players after several of them emerged from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during their Stanley Cup Winning season.
186th overall (7th Round) D Stepan Falkovsky, Calgary Flames
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A projected mid-to-late round pick, Falkovsky was the only player who stood out on a terrible Belarus team at the World Juniors.
It was thought that his strong second half of the OHL regular season might be enough to hear his name earlier.
His only real knock is the speed in which he thinks the game, which might explain his 7th round selection.
You can’t teach hockey IQ, but if he can learn to make quicker decisions, this could be a steal.
191st overall (7th Round) LW Travis Barron, Colorado Avalanche
Travis is cousins with Canucks prospect Cole Cassels (his uncle is Andrew Cassels). He wasn’t a standout for OHL Ottawa but is more of a support secondary scorer.
Best of all, he’s an all situations type player with ability to kill penalties or be on the powerplay. He might not project as a top-six forward, but he certainly has the skill-set to be a bottom-six 3rd line scoring type.
193rd overall (7th Round) LW Nick Pastujov, New York Islanders
Russian heritage, Nick was born in Bradenton, Florida. He spent his entire minor/junior career in the USA hockey system.
He played for the USNTDP in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and is set to join NCAA’s University of Michigan in the Fall. Here’s a kid that could one of College’s top prospects a couple of years down the road.
206th overall (7th Round) C Otto Somppi, Tampa Bay Lightning
Another surprise fall was QMJHL Halifax Mooseheads center Otto Somppi. Regarded as one of the top Finnish prospects heading into the year, it took Somppi a little bit to adjust to the North American style game in 2015-16. He put up 13 goals, 33 assists (46 points) in 59 games as a rookie in the Q. Somppi is best regarded for his skating abilities, and should see his point totals duplicate in 2016-17.