The Charlottetwon Islanders, formerly known as the P.E.I Rocket and Montreal Rocket, are looking forward to an exciting draft. The team from Prince Edward Island hasn’t produce many high end prospects since they were founded. Maxime Lapierre, Ryane Clowe and Pascal Leclaire are their most famous NHL alumni, however, this year things are looking different. Five players are listed by Central Scouting while two of them will be drafted within the first two rounds.
@IslandersHKY FWs Filip Chlapik, Daniel Sprong and Kameron Kielly have been invited to the 2015 NHL Combine.
— Nolan (@reidnipei) May 29, 2015
Daniel Sprong and Filip Chlapik were the team’s best scorers and led the team into the quarter finals before falling to the QMJHL-Champion Quebec Remparts. They are both predicted to be picked in the first or second round after their great season, both listed within the top 30 of the league’s topscorer rankings. Next to Sprong and Chlapik the other Islanders who could be drafted in one of the lower rounds. Namely they are Kameron Kielly, David Henley, Alexandre Goulet and Luc Deschenes.
Sprong or Chlapik, who will be picked first?
Most of the rankings have Sprong ahead of Chlapik, with Central Scouting being an exception, ranking Chlapik at 18th, two positions ahead of Sprong. Both players were born in Europe, Chlapik in Prague and Sprong in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Latter’s family lived in the Netherlands where he started his hockey career and later moved to Canada when he was seven. Chlapik and Sprong play a different style of game, Chlapik is more of a playmaking Centerman while Sprong often draws style comparisons to Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel.
Date of Birth: 03/17/1997
Ht: 6’ 0 Wt: 183 lbs
NHL CS final rankings: 20 NA skaters
Sprong is a fast, agile skater who has explosive first strides and great speed with the puck. He is able to move in different directions unexpectedly while maintaining puck possession. He likes to go into one-on-one situations, possesses slick hands and tremendous puck handling skills. His good vision helps him to set up plays while using his accurate and strong pass. He can maintain puck possession in traffic areas and shows great patience while carrying the puck. Sprong is a player who tries to create something in each shift and never shies away from making plays. He works extremely hard on and off the ice and tries to improve his play constantly. The Dutch born forward can setup plays as well as wire the puck and has the potential to be a 30+ goal scorer on NHL level if he is paired with a playmaker.
Areas for improvement:
Sprong needs to gain strength and doesn’t get involved physically enough. He is willing to go into board battles but often gets separated from the puck rather easily. The gifted puckhandler sometimes tries to do too much and loses the puck too often when going into one-to-one situations. He can be caught floating at times in his own zone and needs to backcheck better.
2015 NHL Draft projection:
Like in many other rankings, I have Sprong ahead of Chlapik. He has tremendous puckhandling skills and I can see him getting drafted at mid to late first round. His dangerous offensive skills are first round material, so if he manages to improve his defensive game he can be a top six scoring forward at NHL level.
Looks like Daniel Sprong's stock might have fallen a bit after the combine. Could be a helluva steal in the second round if he drops far
— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) June 6, 2015
Date of Birth: 06/03/1997
Ht: 6’ 1 Wt: 196 lbs
NHL CS final rankings: 18 NA skaters
Chlapik is a center who works good in both zones. He uses his stick very effectively to interrupt passes and shows a good positioning game as he always seems to be always where the puck is heading. Although he is not overly big in size, he is very effective in digging out pucks from board battles. His defensive zone game is responsible and he backchecks well to support his defencemen. Chlapik tries to get involved physically despite his lack of strength. His hockey IQ is decent and he uses his good vision to set up plays. All in all, he is a smart two way center with good positioning game and smooth skating skills.
Areas for improvement:
Chlapik needs to improve his shot and shoot the puck more often. He has a good quick shot release and decent shooting accuracy but it is not at an elite level. He needs to gain more strength to win physical battles, although he protects the puck very effectively.
2015 NHL Draft projection:
Although Chlapik will probably be drafted after Sprong, he could end up having the more successful career as he is the more complete player. However, he still needs to improve many aspects of his game and he should be considered a long term prospect. Therefore, I see him being picked at early to mid second round, so behind his team mate Sprong.
Mean machine David Henley
If you are looking for an offensive playmaking defenceman, you won’t pick Henley. The towering defenceman is listed at 6’4” and 203 lbs and uses all of his big frame to intimidate opponents.
He plays an exceptional physical game and is able to lay open-ice hits very effectively. He is very good in shutting down top lines and plays a fearless defensive game, blocking shots and keeping forwards off the scoring sheet. Central Scouting has him at 95th and he will most certainly be picked. One reason that he is not listed higher is his lack of offense. He rarely creates scoring chances and his shot is not very heavy. However, I am confident he will be drafted and that he has the potential to be a mean, hardworking and reliable stay-at-home defenceman at NHL level.
Kielly could fit into a role type player
Center Kameron Kielly is listed at 83rd on Central Scouting’s list and is a very reliable, hardworking two-way center. He is the type of guy you want to have on your roster because he is a very versatile center. Kielly can be used in any game situation but has no high end scoring skills, so don’t expect him to be more than a third line role player. His drafting chances are still valid though, and he is predicted to be picked in the fourth round downwards.
Goulet and Deschenes in dark horse roles
Alexandre Goulet was eligible in last year’s draft but remained undrafted even though Central Scouting had him 65th. Goulet had a decent season in Charlottetown scoring 61 points in 65 games, nevertheless, this year he dropped to 166th. He plays a good two-way game and is a versatile player, but given his overager status, he might get overlooked in this years draft as well.
Puckmoving defenceman Luc Deschenes is not listed by Central Scouting, but the smallish defender possesses good puckhandling skills, mobile skating abilities and a solid understanding of the game. He always keeps his feet moving and can quarterback the powerplay. The reason he is not listed by Central Scouting is probably his lack of size. He is only 5’11” and isn’t very physical, nevertheless, he could be a late round pick.
Independent Scout covering European Hockey and Prospects for TheHockeyWriters. Located in Switzerland and blogging on www.scouting-factory.blogspot.com. Opinions on blog are my own