clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NHL Entry Draft 2018: Part 3 - Guess The Selections (Round 3)

New, comments

In a round where the Ducks have had some steals in the past, who might they select with their 2 picks this year?

Who will the Ducks select in the 3rd round?

Following our assessments of the Ducks list and prospect pool (here) and our selection for rounds 1 & 2 (here), we bring you the third portion of our Pre-Draft coverage.

Round 3:

Selections 79 (from New Jersey) and 85

79th Selection

Benny:

[Logical] Who they should take:

Nando Eggenberger - LW/RW - Davos

I’m not really sure if he’ll still be available, as draft boards have him anywhere from the end of the 1st round and down (and ranked 20th at the beginning of last season), but should he be available, I think the Ducks should take a crack at the left-shooting Nando Eggenberger - and not just because its a great hockey name. Although it is a great name. Maybe the best name in the draft. Maybe any draft.

Eggenberger is a big and deceptively quick Swiss winger who plays a prototypical power forward’s north-south game. He’s already a bull, and is stronger than many in the Swiss National League (of which he’s played at the highest level) already. This has allowed him to win puck battles in the corner and along the walls in all facets of play (he plays at ES, PP and PK for his NLA team) - areas in which he is not afraid to go.

He’s damn near impossible to move off the puck (and keep in mind this is a men’s league, not a big kid amongst little kids), which allows him to carry the puck through the neutral zone and to set up the offensive cycle, a point of weakness on a dump happy team like the Ducks. His quick skating and smart IQ allows him to find open space, before he fires of his shot with a snipers mentality.

It’s potentially worth mentioning that the Ducks will likely be a team that relies heavily on dump and chase hockey so long as players like Ryan Getzlaf are on the team and Randy Carlyle is coach (so seemingly forever - at least thats what it will feel like). The biggest concern the Ducks have with this style, aside from this style of play itself, is an inability to regain possession cleanly potentially due to a lack of quicker skaters or bigger bodies. Should the Ducks continue to play in this manner, a player with Eggenbergers physical gifts seemingly fits the profile.

His deceptively quick skating and large frame will likely help to re-establish possession off the forecheck, thus making him a somewhat valuable inclusion into the team as a supporting player. This supporting player mentality is especially the case when you consider his ability to play at all strengths.

Unfortunately, a supporting piece may be all that he amounts to. Despite his seemingly deadly release, there hasn't been much scoring to write home about compared to his peers. Thus this may be a double edged sword, causing him to drop in the draft rankings, and allowing the Ducks to pick him up.

Questions may be asked of why they would want another power forward when they've already drafted Nick Ritchie and Max Jones in the past. To those I would counter that Eggenberger is a smarter player and more rounded defensively than either of them. He is certainly a cleaner player and hasn't suffered from the brain snaps that have plagued both Ritchie and Jones in the past. He appears to be as quick as Jones and has better positioning than both.

His years playing against men in the NLA appears to have given him a great grounding to move into professional ranks in the future. He’s certainly more than just a big kid that pushes around the smaller ones, which is a concern regarding many of the power forwards that come out of North American Junior leagues.

Overall, he’s a relatively quick - although not fast - skater who can play in all situations up and down the line up and off either wing (although predominantly LW). His positioning is exceptional, and ability to read the play is as good as any prospect in the draft. A Swiss army knife if you will (sorry, sorry).

I believe there is more offense to be unlocked within him, yet should he not produce, he will still be an excellent 3rd/4th liner who can be brought up to the top lines or power play unit as a front-of-net presence and big puck handler.

[Realistic] Who they will probably take:

Kyle Topping - C - Kelowna Rockets

With this pick, I believe the Ducks will take a relatively safe pick and select centre iceman Kyle Topping from the powerhouse Kelowna Rockets team.

It’s hard to get a good grasp on where Topping sits, given the strength of the team he’s on. He doubled his production this season, yet played with two dominant WHL players all year, thus it’s hard to get a grasp on whether he was a passenger or a driving factor in their play. However, it can be said that he’s a right hand shot in an environment that can’t seem to get right-hand pivots, and that at worst he has shown that he can be a complimentary piece to higher-end players. Despite not having any outstanding attributes himself, that has a lot of value.

Saying that he has no outstanding attributes, however, does somewhat short-change Topping as he has no real weaknesses either. He doesn't play a physical game, and could stand to take more risks on the offensive end, but he has good vision and is an excellent distributor. Combined with a strong acumen in the faceoff circle, this has allowed his stronger line mates to carry the offence.

As with many players this deep into the draft, it’s unlikely that Topping will produce at top 6 levels in the NHL, although that is presently uncertain given his circumstances. It’s plausible that when he no longer has to cater to his strong wings that he may begin to carry the offense on his own merits. Given he’s slightly undersized at 5’11” he may need to increase his offensive abilities to get his look in the NHL.

Topping won’t be the crown jewel of the franchise, but will very likely will be an NHL player. For a franchise that is short on hits from the 3rd round onwards, and with a weakening prospect pool, Topping is a safe hit that should provide value down the track.

[Overly Ambitious] Who I would love them to take if available:

Curtis Douglas - C - Windsor Spitfires

Not long ago the Ducks broke my heart by trading away the (probably) greatest hockey player on the planet for a 3rd line centre and some loose change. This pick is that loose change. In order for the Ducks to mend fences and appease my angry fandom they need to strike truly here and acquire a player of the ilk that dreams are made from. With that tall order in mind, I’d like to go out on a limb and say that I hope they take a crack at Curtis Douglas, the gigantic pivot (6’8 and growing) for the Windsor Spitfires. He’s a tough one to put a finger on at this stage, given that this draft isn’t necessarily a strong one for centres, and he’s not considered one of the top ones. Additionally to that, he is a relatively poor skater, which seems at odds with the direction the league is trending, and to Bob Murray’s comments at the end of season press conference.

However, despite that knock, he still somehow gets the job done. To that end, I believe he’s more than just a big kid amongst little ones, and I will direct you towards the marked improvement he showed between this recent season and last. Furthermore, he’s not really a big hitter - he uses his size for leverage more than anything else - which further takes away from his big kid in a little world status.

Thus far, it can be said that he has a long reach which he uses to disrupt incoming plays and to protect the puck when going forward, which is what is expected from such a large man. However, his stick handling in close is excellent in its own right, let alone for a man his size, and is one of the contributing factors for his jump in scoring this season. I won’t go so far as to say that he can stick handle in a phone booth, but he certainly has the hands for some deft touches around the net and he does make far more subtle plays across all three zones than one might expect from such a large man.

Potentially, the most alluring thing is the big guys work ethic; he’s not afraid to put in the big ones. This gives a lot of hope for increasing performances going forward assuming he can translate that work ethic into his physical capacity and his all around hockey skills. Coaches love players that work hard, and Douglas certainly does that.

As with anyone this size, Douglas is a work in progress. He is still learning where he should be in the defensive end, and as stated above, his skating requires some work. However, both of these issues are easily solved by game time and good coaching. Should Douglas merely improve his defensive positioning, a man of his size will have a place as a 4th line defensive player - players such as Brian Boyle come to mind as comparative types.

However, should Douglas improve his skating ability, he has a chance at being an offensive force. A 6’8” monster (and growing) with soft hands, screening the opposition netminder? Yes please. Should he improve both... well I think that's a chance worth taking, on what is essentially house money at this stage of the game.

As an aside, I don't think it would be out of the question to see him as a converted defenseman at some stage in the future. Given he’d be coming from a forward background, it might be plausible for him to model a defenseman’s game around a hybrid Brent Burns role. Either way, Douglas is raw as a dog’s dinner, but has unique tools that could allow him to be moulded into anything. That point of difference is what makes him my hopeful pick here.

John:

[Logical] Who they should take:

Liam Foudy, C, London-OHL

Ranked 57th by the Hockey Writers, 19th among North American skaters, 49th by Hockeys Future and 49th by Corey Pronman of The Athletic, this is another “stretch” pick on my part, but Foudy’s lack of offensive flair may lead him to drop to the early or mid 3rd round. He was elevated to a more premier role after London traded the remnants of their 2016 Memorial Cup winning team before they went pro at the conclusion of this season. The 6’1” 183lb Center finished the year with 40 points in 65 games and added a further 2 points in 4 games of the first round. Speed is his weapon, whether it be closing the gap on the backcheck or forcing the issue on the forecheck; Foudy projects as a decent 2-Way forward with minimal offensive upside but above average defensive ability. A former track-star and one of the better skaters in the draft, I like him as the heir apparent to the Cogliano pesky forecheck shutdown winger type.

[Realistic] Who they will probably take:

Simon Johansson, D, Djurgarden-J20 SuperElit

Because having two Hampus Lindholm clones in the system simply isn't enough and besides this one is different - he shoots Right. Johansson is a 2nd year eligible draftee whose stock rose considerably this season when he put up 36 points in 43 games in the Swedish Junior league. That included 16 goals. Ok so maybe he isn't a Hampus clone, in fact comparing his J20 season to Lindholms makes him look like Erik Karlsson. He can move the puck well, has good offensive instincts and has a cannon of a shot. Sounds too good to be true right? It is - Johansson is widely regarded as a project; he is still finding his overall game and needs to shore up his positioning and reads. But the natural offensive instincts are there and he may be worth taking the flyer on.

The last five players the Ducks have taken in the 3rd round:

Jack Badini - C - NCAA - USA

Josh Mahura - D - WHL

Deven Sideroff - RW - WHL

Keaton Thompson - D - NCAA - USA

Frederick Anderson - G - Europe

Mahura was projected 2nd round but fell due to spending the majority of his draft year on the IR, Freddy is a European goaltender - those are always a high/risk reward pick and the jury is out on the rest. The point is, I can see the Ducks taking a gamble here, particularly given they have two 3rd rounders to play.

[Overly Ambitious] Who I would love them to take if available:

Blake McLaughlin, LW, Chicago-USHL

Back to my search for the Cogliano heir-apparent. McLaughlin is ranked 44th overall by Pronman of the Athletic and reads as a highly skilled playmaker that was one of the better offensive threats in the USHL this season. He finished the year with 52 points in 54 games, a well balanced 23 goals and 29 assists. Knocks on his game are centered around is skating, citing an awkward stride and lack of separation gear (so not exactly Cogs there) but I like what scouts say about his hustle and his work ethic. He has great hands, a good puck handler and can create space with his skills - something that also excites me in a potential 3rd round gem. He is committed to the University Of Minnesota this season so its likely we won’t see him for 3-4 years but as I stated back in the depth check piece, Cogs is under contract until about then anyway so there isn't any need to rush. For comparison Kevin Roy put up an astounding 104 points in 59 games in his draft year of the USHL and went onto play the full 4 years at North Eastern so if the Ducks liked how they did with that pick, McLaughlin would be a good follow up. Also bonus-aside; they selected Jack Badini off of this same Chicago Steel team just last year so the familiarity is there.

85th Selection

Benny:

[Logical] Who they should take:

Amir Miftakhov - G - Irbis Kazan

John Gibson is still young, is one of the top netminders in all of hockey, and looks to have the Ducks net locked up for the foreseeable future (or at least until his next big contract talk). Ericksson-Ek may be the heir apprentice to the throne, depending on how his first season in North America pans out. However, looking 4-5 seasons down the track, Who can know if Gibson will still be in Anaheim? He’s very likely to price himself out of the budget should he continue to play as he has this past season, which will push a lot of responsibility on Eriksson-Ek - a player we simply don't know enough about in pro hockey ranks. Thus, I think selecting a netminder in this draft is a prudent move for a team skinny on goaltending prospects. In this draft there appears to be a cluster of netminders who will sit around the 3rd round mark, and they may not make it through to the 4th. Due to this, I think the Ducks should consider selecting a goaltender with one of their two selections in the third round.

Given that Gibson is the man currently, and the Ducks do have one solid prospect in the pipeline, their is a lack of urgency to desperately acquire a goaltending prospect. With that in mind, I think logically, they’d best off waiting until the second of their third round picks. With this pick, I believe that the Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov, could be an inspired choice. He is currently ranked #2 of the European goalies and #5 overall, thus it’s plausible that the Ducks could miss out here if a team likes him earlier in the 3rd round (although it’s unlikely he goes as early as the 2nd given the talent on offer at other positions). Nonetheless, I assume that the Russian factor will come into play, at least in part, and that he will subsequently drop far enough that the Ducks can pick him up here.

Miftakhov isn't the present day conventional goalie, in that he’s not 6’5 and a big hulking brute than can just stand there and let pucks hit him (easiest job in all of sports here folks - fight me goalies!!). Standing around 6’1, he makes up for his “lack of size” with impressive reflexes and fantastic agility. Indeed his post-to-post movements are first class and may be his greatest attribute at present. However, projecting forward, Miftakhov displays an outstanding mental focus, which suggests he has the temperament to play at the higher levels of hockey. Specifically, he is extraordinarily patient netminder and will use that patience wait out the puck handler and force them to make the first move. When combining his relaxed demeanour with his exceptionally quick pad work and the already good positioning of both the blocker and glove hands, he can fool shooters in thinking they can beat him with conventional shooting before taking away the shot and robbing the shooter blind. Traffic in front of him doesn't appear rattle him or inhibit his playing style, nor does facing a barrage of shots.

Given that current NHL trends show that most teams attempt to manufacture goals by increasing traffic in front of the net, and/or by threading passes through the crease and traffic, Miftakhov presents as a net minder who may potentially grow to be a solid counter. His skill sets match up well with the style of offense he’s likely to see as an NHL netminder, and thus he appears at to be a strong candidate to be at least a solid backup, if not a potential starter down the line.

Unfortunately, some of Miftakhov’s greatest attributes may also give rise to his greatest weaknesses. Miftakhov has a tendency to stay low, which allows his superb lateral movements and for him to get the paddle in to position to take away the 5-hole. It also allows him to softening his pads to prevent rebounds, or funnel them to the corners. Unfortunately, this also doubled edged sword exposes him to bad angled shots in the upper quadrants of the net. Further to this upper half of the net problem, is his lack of height - at least compared to other modern netminders. His lack of height means that Miftakhov is sometimes required to track the puck around bodies rather than over them, which can allow relatively harmless point shots the ability to get through him at times. For those who have a mentality that “soft” goals are backbreaking for a team, this could be enough to persuade them to look elsewhere. If nothing else it may be the thing that stops a talented netminder from otherwise stealing a starting role. Mistakes may be forgivable in a backup, but they are less so for the starter

With all of that said however, Miftakhov is a fantastic talent that will very likely be a solid contributor to a team should he cross to North American ice. I think he’s a logical selection for the Ducks to make in this position.

[Realistic] Who they will probably take:

Krystof Hrabik - C - HC Benatky nad Jizerou

After selecting defensemen in the first two rounds (following the “realistic” picks), it seems likely that Murray will want to go for other positions in the third round. Following the success of Ondrej Kase in the past, it’s plausible that Murray will go back the to the well and select another forward out of the Czech league. Specifically, the defensive minded power-pivot Krystof Hrabik. Hrabik’s draft rankings have appeared everywhere from #20 on Buttons list, down to the 4th round in others - potentially a similarity to Kase, who was a highly ranked European prospect that dropped at the draft. While Hrabik is the 29th ranked European skater (NHL Central scouting), the variance in his draft stock may give way to a potential slide and give Murray the chance to strike by taking him late in the 3rd round.

Hrabik is another big bodied (6’3, 209 lbs) player with good speed - stop me now if this is sounding familiar. Like some others on this list, he has good puck control (potentially above average for defensive minded pivot), and a hard and accurate shot. However, Hrabik’s creativity in the offensive zone is relatively low, hence his likely projection as a bottom 6 forward. Although given his tools, its plausible he could turn into one that can provide an offensive counter punch. Further plumping his abilities as defensive forward are excellent skills on the dot, a prowess developed as one of the few draft hopefuls who were able to play in the Extraliga.

Given Hrabik’s size, defensive prowess, and face-off ability, I think Murray will be hard pressed to go past such a ready made player. With Andrew Cogliano on the roster, there is a chance to mould him into a counter punching penalty killer, and who knows what Ryan Kesler can do with him.

[Overly Ambitious] Who I would love them to take if available:

Dmitri Zavgorodny - C/LW - Rimouski Oceanic

I think it’s obvious at this stage that I’m trying to turn the Ducks into the Russia national team. I may also be hitting on a trend of smaller highly skilled scorers with my “overly ambitious” picks - but who could predict these things ahead of “Thyme” I ask you?? So with that in mind, I give you a smaller statured skilled Russian player: the right shooting, Dmitri Zavgorodny.

Zavgorodny is the epitome of boom or bust, and at 5’9 he may be too close to the “bust” side for many teams to go for him. Particularly Bob Murray, who has show some disinclination to acquire these types of prospects. Yet I would argue that this manner of player is exactly what the Ducks need going forward. He has potential first line upside on the back of wicked quick wheels and a wonderful release. Last year he was the top scorer at the Hlinka Tournament, and accumulated 8 goals and 5 assists in 16 international games for team Russia. The seasons before he tore up the Russian leagues, which made him the #7 pick in the 2017 CHL import draft.

Heat map for the 2017-2018 season

Unfortunately for him, this season was his first in North America (Rimouski Océanic - QMJHL) and it was plagued by inconsistency. Scoring only 47 points in 62 QMJHL games ranked him 59th (amongst forwards) for scoring in the league, and his 18.95 minutes per game ranked him in the 67th most used forward. The inconsistency was potentially a side effect of the high number of games he played (including the international games). That said, for the most part he improved after the Christmas break, which shows the adaptation he had to his first North American season - the language barrier, the change in culture, the change in team and coaching. And with that said, his coaches have all made mention of his strengths as a “team guy,” and one who is willing to listen and learn and develop. His work ethic is by all accounts first class off the ice, and this is reflected in him being incredibly active on the ice. He’s like a dog without a bone, and is constantly hounding the puck handlers on the defensive end to regain possession, before finding great position offensively.

Listed as a C/LW, Zavgorodny has the ability to play either wing which adds to his versatility. A boon to his coaches. Further, his coaches have also played him at all strengths, that is to say he can play on special teams as well as at even strength - a product of his willingness to get the job done no matter what the situation. This provides hope for the future, that he could break out. A coaches dream is to have players that listen and work hard off the ice to improve, and when this attitude is combined with the comfort level achieved with a further year in North America, its plausible that we see Zavgorodny turn into a special player. With that said however, the inconsistencies he showed this eason could prove to be a boon for the Ducks: Without them there would be little chance the Ducks would be thinking about selecting him in this draft position.

On the back of this seasons consistency issues, and his smaller stature, it appears that Zavgorodny has dropped in many scouts opinions, with him now going anywhere from the 2nd round through to the 6th. Given the Ducks scoring woes, I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the Ducks to swing for the fences and lock up a highly driven, speedy scorer in a draft slot that should be considered a bonus to get a regular player from at all. That he’s already moved to North America somewhat mitigates the “Russian Factor,” and may make him a safer bet than some might think. Another C/LW, but one that is worth taking a chance on if the Ducks truly want to mimic the playing style of teams like Wiinipeg going forward.

John:

[Logical] Who they should take:

Justus Annunen, Karpat-Jr. A. Liiga

I am with Benny in that the Ducks should take a goaltender with their 2nd of their 3rd rounders. This isn't a draft for goalies, particularly North American ones and the last netminder they took in the 3rd round was Frederik Anderson so it bodes well that they could strike it lucky again. True - Eriksson-Ek is the only “prospect” the Ducks have at the position, but should Gibson price himself out of the Ducks budget I believe Kevin Boyle could be the go-between; either way - if Eriksson-Ek does not work out; it is prudent to get one more for the pipeline at this draft. Annunen presents that opportunity here - I like Bennys arguements for Miftakhov and Pronman actually ranks him as his number 1 goaltending draft choice but I like Annunen for his size, calmness and rebound control. The only knock to his game that I could see is a lack of speed in recovery should he choose to play aggressive which is an issue that used to plague Boyle also but over the last year his calm play and the way he has reinvented his game for the better has really impressed me. Better to only have the one knock that is coachable than a physical knock that can only be fixed by an actual growth spurt.

[Realistic] Who they will probably take:

Cameron Hillis, C, Guelph-OHL

As much as I believe the Ducks will take a goaltender at some point in this draft, given that this class isn't as deep as years previous at the position I can see them waiting until the 5th or 6th round pick. Hillis is an undersized center that put up 59 points (20 goals, 39 assists) in 60 games in his rookie season in the OHL. Pronman describes him as being able to create space and gain the zone by making skilled plays, he exhibits good vision and can create plays but is also adept at the forecheck with his speed. Knocks on his game include being weak on puck protection and a tendency to fly the zone in anticipation of a play developing; leaving his check. He will need to work on his size and would likely make a better winger than a center but his offensive instincts, play making skill and speed are intriguing.

[Overly Ambitious] Who I would love them to take if available:

Olivier Rodrigue, Drummondville-QMJHL

Rodrigue is the Number 1 ranked North American goaltender in a draft where there are so few that they are essentially an endangered species, he is projected to go in the mid 2nd or early 3rd round so likely won’t be around for this selection but if he somehow is. Well lets just say he makes me wistfully remember the days of Jiggy. His style follows the ancient teachings of French-Canadian goaltenders of past; calm, collected and is rarely out of position. He squares up to shots well and tracks the puck, his biggest strength is his quickness and his only knock is his size.

He had a brilliant year in the Q, finishing the year with a 2.54 GAA and a .903 save% - he also won a gold medal with Canada at the Ivan Hlinka and in his short appearance at the WJCs had a .949 Save% with a 1.33 GAA. If Rodrique somehow falls to this later 3rd round pick, the Ducks should not hesitate to grab him.

Check in next week for the final part of our Entry Draft preview! Covering rounds 4, 5 and 6 as well as our final thoughts. Feel free to leave us questions in the comments or hit us up on Twitter (@batcountycloth and @UnsoundScience)

NHL Entry Draft 2018 Part 1

NHL Entry Draft 2018 Part 2


Note: Heat chart graphics and North American stats can be found at prospect-stats.com.