by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)
The 2015 Sleeper Quiz – The Clues
With Twitter and other social media platforms, there doesn’t seem to be any true sleeper picks anymore, other than the occasional seldom-viewed Euro prospect. However, there are players who become more known as the season progresses due to the elevation in their level of play. Rather than simply listing those players, we thought it would be more interesting to introduce them through a sleeper quiz like last year. Here are the clues:
(Answers follow the “My Previous Draft Lists Versus the NHL)
1st Round Rated Prospects – Who Am I?
- The Potential Steal of the Draft
- Who did McKeen’s Hockey call “The Potential Steal of the Draft”?
- Who did Future Considerations call the “Draft Eligible Forward of The Month” in the last month of the regular season?
- Who have had many call him “A Fit Phil Kessel?”
- Who wanted to play hockey so bad that he left his homeland to come to Canada at age 7?
- Who scored over 100 points for Lac St. Louis Tigres Espoir in just 30 games?
- Who had their General Manager tell NHL.com, “He’s an excellent skater with incredible hand-eye co-ordination, and a tremendous shot.”
- I Don’t Get No Respect
- Who was the only non-Canadian to be in the top 10 in plus-minus at the last U20 World Tournament?
- Who started slowly at the recent U18 World Tournament but went on to lead his team to the bronze medal game against Team Canada and be named a tournament all-star?
- Who exemplifies the modern stay-at-home defenseman – huge (6’3, 220), mobile, excellent first pass, minute-eater, shutdown pairer, PK specialist, high-end defensive acumen and uses his large frame to make a physical difference?
- Who played the year in the top professional league in his country, the NLA?
- Who has a coach that has been the coach of a Stanley Cup Champion and has coached or been assistant coach for Team Canada at the Olympics, the World Cup and the Spengler Cup? By the way his coach was also the Team Captain for Canada at the 80-81 U20 Worlds.
- Who had NHL Central Scouting’s Thomas Roost tell Sport.ch, “He has an incredible calm under stress that is so rare?” (With assistance from Google translate.)
2nd Round Rated Prospects – Who Am I?
- The Russian Lawson Crouse
- Who had what The Hockey News called “The Battle” behind the net with Team Canada’s Darnell Nurse in the gold medal game at the last U20 Worlds? It was epic.
- Who was the only draft eligible player to play for Team Russia in the 2014 Subway Super Series and also in the 2014-15 U20 Worlds that plays in Russia?
- Who can play with a Lawson Crouse-like tenacity along the boards? Who can create havoc in the opposition ranks with his Lawson Crouse-like cycling? Who possesses Lawson Crouse-like speed? Who finishes his checks with authority and frequency in a Lawson Crouse-like fashion? Who has a Lawson Crouse-like 6’4, 200 lb. frame?
- Who surprised everyone by leading the MHL playoffs in goals? It was so un-Lawson Crouse-like but then again it was The Russian Lawson Crouse.
- They Almost Forgot About Me
- Who started the year off with a bang tying for the lead in plus-minus at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament and wowed the scouts?
- Who had a really tough first half of the season on a really bad team and was almost forgotten about?
- Who got his act together in the second half of the season and had a decent but not outstanding second half of the year but still only left scouts with only an “oh, hum” feeling?
- Who shifted into high gear and was named Captain of Team Canada for the recent World U18 Tournament and played on the first line – ending 7th in overall scoring and rekindled the scouts love for his game?
- Who was Corey Pronman of ESPN talking about on Twitter when he said, “Nobody’s stock at the U18 moved up liked this guy (name removed). He’s in a first round discussion now IMO.”
3rd Round Rated Prospects – Who Am I?
- I Almost Had Them
- Who looked good this year in the second tier Finnish professional league, the Mestis, with a .917 save percentage during the regular season followed by a .922 save percentage in the playoffs?
- Who did Future Considerations call the Draft Eligible Goalie of The Month in April?
- Who was Dan Stewart, Scouting Director of Future Considerations, talking about when he said, “He made plenty of game and tournament saving saves during his time in the crease leading to his draft stock skyrocketing. Showed off his athleticism, excellent rebound control, ability to fight through traffic and puck tracking skills.”
- Who was the all-star goalie at the 2015 U18 Worlds who almost won the goal medal game singlehandedly with a 60 save performance of a lifetime?
- Free Agent Rookie
- Who is the free agent rookie that a QMJHL General Manager signed based on information from his brother who is the General Manager of the AHL Chicago Wolves?
- Who is the free agent rookie whose Dad (Peter) played five seasons in the NHL?
- Who is the free agent rookie described on The Hockey News Hot List with the following phrase, “Goes to the dirty areas and has a wicked shot.”
- Who is the free agent rookie that the QMJHL Coach was talking about when he told ca. “He’s a highly-skilled kid and he has a heck of a shot. He’s really good with the puck and he’s a competitive kid. He doesn’t weigh a lot (158 pounds), but he’s one of the harder hitters on our team.”
4th Round Rated Prospects – Who Am I?
- The Big Giraffe
- Who is the Wisconsin native-son who seems to always end up on a good team – Shattuck St. Mary’s (Prep School), the Indiana Ice (USHL) and the London Knights (OHL)?
- Who is the London Knight defenseman whose Twitter handle is biggiraffe7?
- Who is the prospect that Mark Seidel of NA Central Scouting is referring to when he remarked on Twitter, “NHL Teams are quietly hoping that this guy (name removed) falls in the Draft so they can scoop him up but there is ZERO chance of that happening?”
- Who is the London Knight defenseman that Brock Otten is referring to at OHL Prospects.blogspot when he says, “By season’s end, he was one of London’s top defenceman, playing physical in his own end, and even taking chances offensively. As he continues to grow (his game, hopefully not his body), he could be a real find for an NHL team. I think he’ll be off the board relatively early come June (by the end of the 2nd).”
- Who is the London Knight defenseman that the team lists as 6’7, 197 lb.
- The Better Late Than Never Man
- Who was the top priority selection pick of the Saginaw Spirit in 2012?
- Who has been an OHL Academic Player of the Month?
- Who has Dante Salituro as a housemate as well as a frequent linemate?
- Who had a decent OHL season (47 points in 63 games) but an absolutely dominant playoff (10 points in 6 games including 6 goals) that illustrated that is better to do it late than never?
- Who was Brock Otten of OHL Prospects.blogspot talking about when he said, “Overall, he (name removed) had a very solid year in Ottawa, establishing himself as a power forward who can be a nice complimentary piece on a scoring line. With his size, physicality, and scoring potential, NHL teams could come calling sooner, rather than later?”
5th Round Rated Prospects – Who Am I?
- The Bro
- Who is the prospect whose brother was one of the top rookies in the NHL this past season after having been drafted 11th overall by Washington in 2012?
- Who is the prospect Curtis Joe is referring to at My NHL Draft.com when he says, “He plays huge for his team every time he is on the ice, making an impact on the outcome of the game with his skating and hands that make it look like he has the puck on a string. He is a legitimate, noticeable game-changer. He has great character, on the ice and in the locker room, and is a player that teammates love to have on their side?”
- What brother said this to Sverige.se about his NHL older brother, “I try to do it like him (name removed) since it’s been so good for him?” (With assistance from Google translate.)
- Who is the Leksand (Swedish J20 junior team) draft eligible player who put up a point a game during the regular season (36 points in 36 games) and in the playoffs (4 points in 3 games)?
- The Whiz
- Who is the guy with 170 points in just 68 games for the Okanagan Valley Academy Bantam Prep in 2011-12?
- Who is the guy whose father (Doug) was drafted 36th by Boston in 1979 and whose uncle (Matt) was drafted 51st by the Rangers in 1981 and who had yet another uncle (Garth Boucher) drafted 10th by Vancouver in 1981 as well.
- Who is the guy that Future Considerations described as, “His (name removed) game revolves around speed as everything he does, he does with pace. He has break-away speed, lightning-quick hands and the ability to process the game at that same speed. It’s also worth noting that He doesn’t play a perimeter game. He drives lanes and goes to tough areas. In doing that he also avoids contact while showing a unique ability to create plays despite immense traffic. The former 97-goal man in bantam might be generously listed at 5-foot-11 but the scouts at Future Considerations like the pure offensive upside he brings to the table.”
- Who is the guy that Hockey Prospectus described as, “He (name removed) plays a smart, high-speed, and creative game and isn’t afraid to mix in some physicality to get the job the done. He’s benefitted from lining up with Jansen Harkins on occasion this season which could inflate his production (doubled since last season in as many games), but he certainly possesses the raw skills to make an impact at the next level. However, he will need to fill out his 5’11” frame before doing so.”
- Who is the guy who ended the season on a high note with 9 points in 7 playoff games after a regular season of 49 points in 67 games.
6th Round Rated Prospects – Who Am I?
- The Captain Who Didn’t Finish The Tournament
- Who was the non-draft eligible defenseman for Team Switzerland at the 2014 U18 World’s that impressed scouts with a top five (defensemen) performance? This prospect was also tied for the tournament lead in plus minus with +7.
- Who is the frequent international defensive partner of first round sleeper I Don’t Get No Respect?
- Who spent the 14-15 season in Switzerland’s second tier professional league, the NLB?
- Who did McKeen’s Hockey describe as, “a tremendous skater with very good first steps as well as solid mobility .. able to make abrupt stops at full speed and can make a quick change of direction to shake off an opposing forechecker – all while maintaining good control of the puck .. plays a smart and calm game – rarely over-reacting while moving the puck out of his zone to launch a new attack?”
- Who has the Captain of Team Switzerland at the 2015 U18 Worlds that didn’t get to finish the tournament because he suffered a broken collarbone against Team Canada?
- The League Scoring Champion
- Who is the Massachusetts native who won the 14-15 QMJHL scoring crown with 129 points in spite of being just 5’8 and 168 lb.?
- Who was the Moncton Wildcat that was on THW’s list of top 10 overage steals in the 2015 draft?
- What Moncton Wildcat player cleaned up at the 2015 QMJHL Awards night taking home the Michel Brière Trophy as league MVP and the Jean Béliveau Trophy as the league’s top scorer (presented by the late Jean Béliveau’s wife, Elise Couture)?
- Who was Darren Rumble, Moncton Wildcat Coach, talking about when he told The New England Hockey Journal, “He (name removed) is one of the most exciting players I have ever seen. His dedication to being a complete 200-foot player has been a huge part of his success. His commitment to conditioning has led to a great consistency. The sky is the limit for his future in hockey.”
- Who was Kyle Woodlief of Redline Report talking about when he told USA Today, “His (name removed) game is built on quickness and agility as well as very high hockey sense and vision. He always has his feet moving and his eyes scanning the ice surface, and his soft hands enable him to make beautiful saucer passes. The concern has always been his size: a generously listed 5-7, 165 pounds. Getting to the pros will depend on being able to get stronger physically so he doesn’t get knocked around so much, though to this point he has been willing to take the abuse. At Red Line, we think he should get late round consideration since he’s still only 18 with time to get stronger.”
Previous War Room Draft Rankings Versus the NHL
If you’re like most draft junkies, you hope that your final draft list mirrors that of the NHL teams on draft day. By that definition, I never do exceedingly well. However, I thought it would be interesting to look back with the hindsight and stats of today to see who made the better first round selections – the NHL or THW’s War Room, at this point. The following three tables show the results are mixed but I imagine many of the NHL teams would show the same type of variations in their results.
The Draft Selections and 2014-15 Stats
|2011||My Selections – 1st Round||NHL Selections – 1st Round|
|1||Kucherov – Tampa – NHL – 82g 65p +38||Rakell – Anaheim – NHL – 71g 31p +6|
|2||Saad – Chicago – NHL – 82g 52p +7||Namestnikov – Tampa – NHL 43g 16p +1|
|3||Jenner – Columbus – NHL – 31g 17p -5||Noesen – Ottawa – AHL – 26g 16p -4|
|4||Ritchie – Dallas – NHL 31g 9p -1||Percy – Toronto – AHL – 43g 11p +1|
|5||Khokhlachev – BOS – AHL 61g 43p -2||Danault – Chicago – AHL – 70g 38p +20|
|6||Grimaldi – Florida – AHL 64g 42p +9||Phillips – Minnesota – AHL – 65g 26p -17|
My take: Clearly, 2011 is a home run for me. I wish I could say that about all my picks. Note: I did not publish any rankings in 2012.
|2013||My Selections – 1st Round||NHL Selections – 1st Round|
|1||Bowey – Wash – WHL – 58g 60p +38||Theodore – ANA – WHL – 43g 48p +17|
|2||De La Rose – Montreal – NHL – 33g 6p -5||McCarron – MTL – OHL – 56g 68p +25|
|3||Santini – NJ – NCAA – 22g 5p -2||Poirier – Calgary – AHL – 55g 42p +7|
|4||Erne – Tampa – QMJHL – 60g 86p +21||Klimchuk – Calgary – WHL – 60g 80p +39|
|5||Dauphin – Arizona – QMJHL – 56g 75p +0||Dano – Columbus – NHL – 35g 21p +12|
|6||Zykov – LA – QMJHL – 42g 46p +4||Dickinson – Dallas – OHL – 56g 71p +12|
My take: I was going to throw in the towel on 2013 but the latest Hockey News Future Watch gave very high ratings to my first three picks above. Therefore, in the words of the immortal Lloyd Christmas from the movie, Dumb and Dumber, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”
|2014||My Selections – 1st Round||NHL Selections – 1st Round|
|1||Demko – Van – NCAA – 35g 2.19 .925||DeAngelo – Tampa – OHL – 55g 89p +34|
|2||Barbashev – STL – QMJHL – 57g 95p +16||Schmaltz – St. L – NCAA – 38g 26p +3|
|3||McKeown – LA – OHL – 65g 32p +1||Quenneville – NJ – WHL – 57g 47p +12|
My take: I like my 2014 picks but it is way too early for any definitive answers.
The Sleeper Quiz – The Answers
Round 1 – Answers
- The Potential Steal of the Draft – Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown, QMJHL, RW, 6’0, 180 lb. – 68gp 39g 49a 88pts -23 – Video – Here
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 6, 2015
- I Don’t Get No Respect – Jonas Siegenthaler, ZSC, NLA, D, 6’3, 220 lb. – 40gp 2g 6a 8pts – Video – Here
Round 2 – Answers
- The Russian Lawson Crouse – Alexander Dergachyov, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, MHL, LW/C, 6’4, 200 lb. – 45gp 10g 29a 39pts +5 – Video – Here
2015 draft prospect Alexander Dergachyov finished MHL playoffs as top goalscorer. Definitely someone I want the #NYR to select if available.
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) April 27, 2015
- They Almost Forgot About Me – Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw, OHL, C/RW, 5’11, 188 lb. – 62gp 22g 26a 46pts -17 – Video – Here
— Team Canada Men (@HC_Men) April 15, 2015
Round 3 – Answers
- I Almost Had Them – Veini Vehviläinen, JYP-Akatemia, FIN 2 (Mestis), G, 6’1, 180 lb. – 26gp 2.57 .917 – Video – Here
- Free Agent Rookie – Adam Marsh, Saint John, QMJHL. LW, 6’0, 160 lb. – 60gp 24g 20a 44pts +0 – Video – Here
Round 4 – Answers
- The Big Giraffe – Chris Martenet, London, OHL, D, 6’7, 197 lb. – 64gp 7g 9a 16pts +4 – Video – Here
- The Better Late Than Never Man – Jeremiah Addison, Ottawa. OHL, RW, 6’1, 182 – 63gp 19g 28a 47pts +3 – Video Here
Quick PP goal for Jeremiah Addison, having a hell of a playoffs. 6-1. #2015NHLDraft
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) March 28, 2015
Round 5 – Answers
- The Bro – Fredrik Forsberg, Leksands, SWE J20, C/RW, 6’0, 174 lb. – 36gp 19g 17a 36pts -1
- The Whiz – Brad Morrison, Prince George, WHL, C, 6’0, 154 – 67gp 23g 26a 49pts -3 – Video – Here
Round 6 – Answers
- The Captain Who Didn’t Finish The Tournament – Roger Karrer, GC Küsnacht Lions, SUI 2 (NLB), D, 5’11, 172 lb. – 43gp 0g 9a 9pts – Video – Here
- The League Scoring Champion – Conor Garland, Moncton, QMJHL, C/RW, 5’8, 163 lb. – 67gp 35g 94a 129pts +21 – Video – Here
— Mike Loftus (@MLoftus_Ledger) May 2, 2015
How did you do in THW’s War Room NHL Draft Sleeper Quiz?
Who are your 2015 NHL draft prospect sleepers?
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com