Prospects Raising Their Draft Stock

After the first full month of CHL play, there have been several players who have proven many doubters wrong and opened eyes with their inspired and productive play. Whether it was size concerns, doubts about a well-rounded game, or how well their elite talent would translate to the smaller North American ice surface, several players were ranked lower than their high skill level suggested before the year started. Throughout the three CHL leagues, these players have really raised their draft stock with their play throughout the first month of the season.

All stats are current through November 3rd, 2015

Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga Steelheads

The younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander, Alexander Nylander came over to North America in preparation for this season after being taken in the CHL Import Draft by the Mississauga Steelheads. While he possesses the high skill level that has made his brother into one of the top prospects in the NHL, there were concerns over his production and how his skill-focused game would translate to the North American ice surface. Through the first month of the OHL season, it’s safe to say he has made a seamless transition.
Through 16 games, the younger Nylander has posted 10 goals and 21 points, good for 5th place in the OHL scoring race. Alongside fellow breakout star Michael McLeod, he has led the young and upstart Steelheads from a top-five draft pick last season into the 2015-2016 OHL playoff race. While some were concerned before the season about how well he could adapt to the more physical North American game, it has become clear the Nylander is primed for a big OHL rookie season and could push for a top-10 draft selection come June 2016.

Jake Bean, D, Calgary Hitmen


A talented offensive defenseman with a slight frame, Jake Bean is one of the more divisive prospects available for the draft next summer. Despite putting up strong numbers in his initial WHL season with 39 points in 51 games, Bean’s 6’0″, 172 pound frame left some with doubts about his ability to physically handle the rigors of the higher levels. Despite his offensive prowess, he also registered just two penalty minutes and was often the subject of sheltered minutes, leaving some concerns about his defensive acumen and lack of a mean streak.

Through his first 15 games of the season, however, Bean has established himself as one of the most dangerous two-way defenders in the entire WHL. With 15 points in this 15 games, including seven goals, Bean has shown his power play skill and all-around hockey IQ as the top blueliner on the Calgary Hitmen; he has also added a more physical side to his game, already registering 10 penalty minutes. With the emphasis on two-way defenders with good skating ability and puck skills at a premium in today’s NHL, Bean could be one of the first defenders off the board. Ranked in the 20’s before the season started on most draft lists, Bean could see his stock skyrocket if he continues scoring at such a torrid pace, while showing the defensive ability to succeed at the NHL level.

Vitaly Abramov, LW, Gatineau Olympiques

Currently ranked in the mid- to low-20’s by most scouting lists, Abramov is a name that may be unfamiliar to many North American fans. A diminutive Russian winger who is in his first North American season with the Gatineau Olympiques after being taken in the first round of the 2015 CHL Import Draft. Standing at a mere 5’9″ and 170 pounds, Abramov was off many scouting radars due to his small frame and concerns over his defensive ability.
Through his first month playing in the QMJHL, Abramov has made a name for himself by posting 25 points, tied for 15th in the league’s scoring race. He has showcased the skating ability and puck handling skills that made him a star in last year’s World Under-17 Championship Tournament, where he posted 9 points in just 6 games. While the concerns over his size and physicality still linger, smaller players like Johnny Gaudreau have paved the way for undersized offensive dynamos to make an impact in the NHL. If Abramov can continue his rapid scoring pace, he could be primed to move even further up draft lists by the time draft day rolls around.