The Journey: The Curious Case of Three to Ten

by Brayden Olafson on May 4, 2019
  • The Journey
  • The Journey: The Curious Case of Three to Ten

If you follow, or have read any of the 2019 Entry Draft work by @hockey_robinson, you might be familiar with his adage that picks three through ten in the upcoming draft are, for the most part, in a blender. That is to say that none of the seven players he has ranked in that range is a clear favorite to be picked third overall, or anywhere in the 3-10 range for that matter. Eventually, one or a few of these players will emerge as the best of the group, but currently we’re splitting hairs in the rankings. What the success of each pick could come down to is where they end up. The development of a pro is often just as important, if not more important, after draft day than leading up to it. We’ve seen countless examples of this in drafts over the years.

So, as we approach fantasy drafts, what are we left with? I believe there is an “ideal” landing spot for each of these players. An organization that will allow each exact player to prosper, perhaps more than they would in any of the other nine organizations.

Being drafted by the “ideal” team should, in theory, allow these players to hit or approach their ceiling faster and with more confidence. In contrast, being drafted by the “least ideal” team would have the opposite effect on that player’s outlook. I’ve consulted with the DobberProspects scouts for each of the teams in draft positions three through ten in order to gain a better idea of where each prospect will fit best. They’ve been an invaluable resource for me in compiling this project.

As a general statement, many teams picking inside the top 10 possess little to no depth or high-level prospects at left wing. There are also plenty of left-wing capable players available, which makes the “perfect fit” that much more important to find. Obviously, some of the teams picking in this range simply have a worse all-around depth chart than others. In order to make this piece as objective as possible, each team will only be listed as an “ideal selection” once.

In order to whittle down the ideal fit (and least ideal fit) for each player, I’ve taken into account the following:

  • Pipeline depth for team’s picking from 3rd overall to 10th overall
  • Player strengths
  • Player style
  • Player position

I’ve also taken some other information into account for other notes that you’ll become familiar with in the profiles.

  • Player location/league
  • Who we think each team favors in their slot

I’ve listed each player in alphabetical order as not to imply any bias. So without further ado, here they are.

Matthew Boldy, RW | USNDP

Strengths: Great vision, formidable puck battler, fast and deceptive release paired with a strong wrist shot

Weaknesses: Foot speed

Ideal Selection: Colorado Avalanche

Least Ideal Selection: Anaheim Ducks

While the Ducks would surely be happy to acquire a player of Boldy’s skill level, Colorado’s tactical forward corps seems like much more of an appropriate fit for the Boston College commit. As @soboleskih noted in my intra-Dobber consultation, the Avs are keen to draft and develop “all-situation” players, a term that exemplifies Boldy quite well.

Bowen Byram, LD | Vancouver Giants, WHL

Strengths: Supreme offensive confidence, calm/easeful puck handling

Weaknesses: Offensive tunnel vision could make for a rocky transition

Ideal Selection: Chicago Blackhawks

Least Ideal Selection: Vancouver Canucks

With Quinn Hughes eyeing the top role on Vancouver’s left point for the foreseeable future, it would be difficult for Byram to carve a very similar role for himself in the same locale. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, have a near bulletproof right shot trio in the pipe with Henri Jokiharju, Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell prepared to begin taking over. Ideally, they’d have a player with a similar skill level lining up opposite at least one of them in the future.

Dylan Cozens, C/RW | Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL

Strengths: Lethal one-timer, clean strong puck handling, speed that catches defenders by surprise

Weaknesses: Honestly, not much. I can’t even expand on that.

Ideal Selection: LA Kings

Least Ideal Selection: Chicago Blackhawks

The Yukonian is a perfect fit for the retooling LA Kings. His seemingly natural offensive ability is simply an added bonus to the 200-foot game that Cozens brings on a nightly basis. While the Hawks would surely love to have him, the support they already have from developing center, Dylan Strome is a sufficient crutch for now, truth be told, I don’t really think Cozens would be a less than ideal fit anywhere.

Kirby Dach, C | Saskatoon Blades, WHL

Strengths: Top speed, excellent transitional player (gets pucks deep), plays physically in all zones

Weaknesses: Full effort isn’t always there

Ideal Selection: Anaheim Ducks

Least Ideal Selection: Detroit Red Wings

The Wings’ immense depth at center automatically eliminated any pure centers from how I allocated draftees. For that reason they’ll probably end up picking one anyway. That’s beside the point of this article though. Dach fits the mold of Anaheim’s consistent development model and brings a boatload of skill and physicality to the center ice position, not unlike veteran Ryan Getzlaf.

Peyton Krebs, LW/C | Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice, WHL

Strengths: Works well in tight spaces, shares the puck, finds open ice, grinds hard when it’s necessary

Weaknesses: Lacking in top speed

Ideal Selection: Edmonton Oilers

Least Ideal Selection: Buffalo Sabres

With the ultimate one-two punch down the middle in Edmonton, the Oilers have been craving a left-winger to complement their top-6. Krebs’ motor and puck retrieval skills would complement the Oilers’ elite skill quite well. Watching Krebs don an Oilers uniform at the draft in Vancouver just might feel like finally finding the perfect fitting puzzle piece that you’d lost under the table. Buffalo has greater needs than a player of Krebs’ skill set, but ending up there certainly wouldn’t have a major negative impact on his value.

Vasili Podkolzin, RW | SKA St. Petersburg, MHL

Strengths: Aggressive on the puck, 110% effort on the rush

Weaknesses: Tunnel vision

Ideal Selection: Detroit Red Wings

Least Ideal Selection: Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers have already reached deep into the pool of talented right wingers on draft day in the past. This year, Detroit would do well to add a talented player of Podkilzin’s skill-set and background. The organization (and Steve Yzerman) have typically had success luring and developing Russian prospects and in this case it just seems like a great fit.

Alex Turcotte, C | USNDP

Strengths: Top-notch edgework, smooth puck handler, nifty and deceptive shot

Weaknesses: Sometimes plays a little too loose

Ideal Selection: Buffalo Sabres

Least Ideal Selection: LA Kings

Buffalo has struggled to find the next top-6 center to fill their depth chart needs in addition to Jack Eichel. After a disappointing rookie campaign, Casey Mittlestadt will aim to justify his prior hype. In the meantime, though, it couldn’t hurt for the Sabres to return to the well that is the US National Development Program for another kick at the can. LA, similar to Detroit, has substantial depth at the center position, and Turcotte just doesn’t have the size that the Kings seem to target with a lot of their draft picks.

Trevor Zegras, C/LW | USNDP

Strengths: Confident puck controller, takes creative lanes to avoid neutral zone congestion, unselfish despite high skill level

Weaknesses: Plays a high risk style at times

Ideal Selection: Vancouver Canucks

Least Ideal Selection: Colorado Avalanche

Zegras plays a style of hockey that seems like it would complement the Canucks’ offense perfectly. His speed and skill would complement any team’s top-6, but the Canucks have proven to be a lush ground for development in that area.

To conclude, it’s important to remember that some of these players may even drop out of the top-10. The truth is that NHL scouting teams have far more resources and accessibility to these players than we do as independents. If that happens, consider it a minor red flag. Based on multiple evaluations, this group of players has been deemed to be among the same tier of players, so what is left unknown to us could be all the difference.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this piece comes in handy on your personal draft day. A special thanks to all of my fellow writers who gave me some insight to their clubs as I pieced this one together!

Cam Robinson, Vancouver Canucks – @hockey_robinson

Hayden Soboleski, Colorado Avalanche – @soboleskih

Tony Carr, Chicago Blackhawks – @fiveminutemajor

Lucas Main, Anaheim Ducks – @lam1926

Jameson Ewasiuk, Edmonton Oilers – @jamesonewasiuk

Julian Mongillo, LA Kings – @julzhockeynewz

Mark Hiller, Detroit Red Wings – @angrypuck

As always, find me on Twitter @olaf1393 to discuss anything from today’s article.