Looking at picks 30 through 21 of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
In this weeks Journey article, we begin a three part series looking back on the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Part One outlines the 30th-21st selections, and recaps each prospects season thus far.
30th: Arizona Coyotes – Nick Merkley – Kelowna (WHL)
2015-16 Stats: 26 GP, 11G, 19A, 30 Points
As an elite, playmaking center it was a bit of a surprise that Merkley fell as far as he did in the NHL Draft. As a member of the dominant Kelowna Rockets, Merkley has followed up on his impressive 2014-15 season (90 points in 72 games) with a similar point pace this season. Offensively, Merkley is as good as any prospect out there, but needs to gain strength and continue his development in the defensive zone before moving to the NHL. He likely projects as a middle six center that will get powerplay time when he does make the jump into the Coyotes lineup. Recently, the Calgary native was named to Canada’s 30 man preliminary roster for the 2016 World Junior Championships.
29th: Columbus Blue Jackets – Gabriel Carlsson – Linköping (SHL)
2015-16 Stats: 24 GP, 1G, 4A, 5 Points
At 6’4” and 185 pounds, Carlsson projects as a defensive zone stalwart at NHL level. Not one who will be a standout fantasy asset in the future, Carlsson utilizes a strong first pass to start transition opportunities for his team. He does have a solid shot from the point, but any offensive upside is a bonus in this situation. After playing in only seven SHL games last season, Carlsson has already played in 24 this season and has increased his point output from two to five. The young blueliner is in camp with Sweden, trying to earn a spot their WJC roster.
28th: New York Islanders – Anthony Beauvillier – Shawinigan (QMJHL)
2015-16 Stats: 21 GP, 17G, 24A, 41 Points, 31 PIMs
As a top ten scorer in the QMJHL last season, Beauvillier appears to be on a similar trajectory this year. In only 21 games, the Islanders prospect has 41 points for Shawinigan. Although not a large player at 5’10”, he is solid both offensively and defensively. His role in the NHL appears to be one of a complementary player who will do whatever his team needs to be successful. He should be a superb fit with the Islanders dynamic forward corps in the coming seasons. His exceptional play over the last season and a half earned Anthony a spot at Canada’s WJC preliminary camp.
27th: Anaheim Ducks – Jacob Larsson – Frölunda (SHL)
2015-16 Stats: 26 GP, 3G, 6A, 9 Points
Following in the footsteps of fellow Ducks defensive draft picks Marcus Pettersson and Hampus Lindholm, Larsson is a Swedish two-way defenseman playing big minutes for Frölunda in the SHL. His strengths lay mainly in his terrific skating and passing ability and is the type of the player who can control the game in all three zones. He has taken a big step forward this season and will feature in Sweden’s WJC team. Anaheim’s pipeline of in-house developed defenseman appears to alive and well with Larsson.
26th: Montreal Canadiens – Noah Juulsen – Everett Silvertips (WHL)
2015-16 Stats: 24 GP, 3G, 8A, 11 Points, 23 PIMs
After a stellar season in Everett last season compiling 52 points in 68 games, Juulsen has taken on even more responsibility this season in the WHL. However, it has not come with an increase in point production. As a younger prospect who shot up draft boards last season, Juulsen still has to prove that he can be consistent on a game to game basis. He likely will feature with Canada’s WJC team in Finland, but will need a few years of seasoning before hitting the ice in the Bell Centre.
25th: Winnipeg Jets – Jack Roslovic – Miami University
2015-16 Stats: 16 GP, 8G, 8A, 16 Points
With the pick gained from the Kane/Bogosian trade, Winnipeg continued their strong drafting under Kevin Cheveldayoff selecting Roslovic late in the first round. After a 38-point season with the US National Team Development program last season, the tenacious forward has acclimated well thus far to the college game leading the RedHawks in points as a freshman. Likely a top nine player in the NHL, Roslovic is a relentless forechecker that has many high level skills, and should transition quickly to the NHL following college. It came as a bit of a surprise to many that he was left off the United States preliminary WJC roster.
24th: Philadelphia Flyers – Travis Konecny – Ottawa (OHL)
2015-16 Stats: 29 GP, 7G, 38A, 45 Points
In years we could look back and say that Konecny was the steal of the 2015 NHL Entry draft. Much like the Red Wings Dylan Larkin, Konecny does everything at a very high level. He has elite hockey sense, paired with explosive skating and an NHL level shot. As future captain material, Konecny does have fantasy upside as a multi-category player who excels in all facets of the game. He should finish this season surpassing his last two seasons in terms of points (68 and 70 respectively) and should feature in Canada’s WJC team in Finland.
23rd: Vancouver Canucks – Brock Boeser – Univ. of North Dakota
2015-16 Stats: 20 GP, 13G, 8A, 21 Points
After earning First-Team All USHL and All-Rookie Team honors last season with Waterloo, Boeser has transitioned flawlessly to the University of North Dakota. He is the first UND freshman to score 13 goals before Christmas since Zach Parise accomplished the feat in the 2002-2003 season. The Minnesota native has proven to be a player capable of filling the net consistently, and if your fantasy league tracks shot attempts, he will be even more valuable. Boeser is a solidly built player who does not shy away from contact, and is always willing to get to the dirty areas of the ice. He will play for the United States at the WJC in Finland.
22nd: Washington Capitals – Ilya Samsonov – Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
2015-16 Stats: 14 GP, 1.87 GAA, .929 SV%
After only one start in the KHL last season, Samsonov has been stellar thus far for Magnitogorsk. Possessing solid size at 6’3” and 200 pounds, Samsonov is the latest in a long line of high-level goaltenders drafted by the Washington Capitals. Currently in year two of a three-year contract in the KHL, Samsonov will likely take a few years before stepping foot on NHL ice, but projects to be an elite goaltender when the time comes. He has had a long junior career for Russia, and figures to be their starting goaltender in Finland at the WJC.
21st: Ottawa Senators – Colin White – Boston College
2015-16 Stats: 16 GP, 8G, 15A, 23 Points
With their second, first round pick (acquired when they shipped Robin Lehner to Buffalo) the Senators selected Massachusetts native Colin White. As a responsible two-way forward, White plays best when paired with two players more dynamic offensively than he is. In his freshman season at Boston College, White leads the Eagles in points, and is top ten nationally in scoring. He has the potential to become a solid multi-category fantasy player when he reaches the NHL level. Like many of his former USNTDP teammates, White will suit up for the United States in Finland at the WJC.
Stay tuned next week for Part Two, which will take a closer look at the progress of prospects selected 20th-11th at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.
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