The fifth round is the last round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft where the St. Louis Blues will have still have picks, with the 147th and the 154th selections.
The club can expect to finish strong, given the depth of this draft class. The last real late-round pick that worked out for the team was Sammy Blais, selected in the sixth round in 2014. Here are five players who fall within the 146-157 range of the THW rankings that the Blues should target with their late-round picks.
1. RW Hayden Fowler (Erie Otters, OHL)
CS Ranking: 87 (NA) / THW Ranking: 154
Hayden Fowler is first on this list, a 5-foot-10, 181-pound winger from the Erie Otters of the OHL. He dropped from the 66th spot in the mid-term CS rankings to 87th in the final rankings. An injury-riddled past could keep some teams away.
Fowler tallied 20 goals in 52 games for the Otters in the 2019-20 season, ranked third on the team. He is a pesky player, with 78 penalty minutes this season as well.
Fowler needs refinement but has good intangibles and instincts. He has good hands, a high hockey IQ, among other notable qualities. The Blues should jump on the chance to take him in the fifth round, despite that he is a developmental project.
2. D Donovan Sebrango (Kitchener Rangers, OHL)
CS Ranking: 59 (NA) / THW Ranking: 155
Donovan Sebrango is another prospect from the OHL, a junior league that produces many NHL draftees every year. He’s shown a lot of growth over the past couple of seasons with the Kitchener Rangers.
He had a steady 2019-20 season for the Rangers, scoring 6 goals and 24 assists in 56 games. He’s likely to be a fourth-round pick, but could easily fall into the fifth round depending on how the board shakes out.
His skating has seen tons of improvements from the 2018-19 season to now. (from ‘The ‘secret’s out’ on Kitchener Rangers rearguard Donovan Sebrango,’ The Waterloo Region Record, 01/15/2020) His lateral footwork is impressive and a key trait of his profile. Another key to his game is his shot from the outside, which is a must for defensemen.
Sebrango is a prospect that the Blues should covet, especially in the fifth round. His steadiness kept him at 59th on the CS rankings during the midterm and final editions.
3. RW Alex Laferriere (Des Moines Buccaneers, USHL)
CS Ranking: 61 (NA) / THW Ranking: 156
Despite the similar name to the likely No. 1 pick Alexis Lafrenière, Alex Laferriere is a different player. He was a huge point producer for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL this season.
He scored 45 points in 42 games this season. He improved from last season when he did not score in the 12 games he played in. He was near the top of the scoring race in the USHL in 2019-20.
He is a small player, at 6-feet and 173 pounds, but he has a lot of skill. He’s committed to Harvard University and could outgrow his draft stock after a couple of seasons, and go on to produce on an NHL roster.
There is a good chance that he falls to either the 147th or 154th pick in this round. Some mock drafts have him projected to go in the fifth while others have him falling into the sixth or seventh.
4. D Luke Prokop (Calgary Hitmen, WHL)
CS Ranking: 130 (NA) / THW Ranking: 146
Another defenseman on this list is Luke Prokop from the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. He took a big step forward in production this season, and his player profile is intriguing for a late-round player.
Prokop is a bigger defenseman at 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds. He scored 23 points in 59 games for the Hitmen in 2019-20, a 13-point increase from 2018-19 in three fewer games.
He did fall back in the CS ranking from 86th at the midterm to 130th in the final. Despite that, there is a lot to like, especially his commitment on defense on top of his offensive power. His mobility and footwork are great too, and some evaluators have referred to him as a “throwback” defender.
Related: Canadiens’ First-Round Draft Targets
Prokop is the player to take if he happens to fall into the late fifth round. He was considered a potential third-round pick earlier in the year, and despite falling since then, he’s still worth the pick.
5. RW Ryder Rolston (Waterloo Black Hawks, USHL)
CS Ranking: 102 (NA) / THW Ranking: 157
Ryder Rolston is another player from the USHL on this list. He’s a very hardworking player who falls within the 146-157 range of the THW rankings.
This season with the Waterloo Black Hawks, he tallied 16 goals and 17 assists. He comes in at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, solid size for a forward. He is primarily a goal scorer, with 21 in 33 games in 2017-18 for the US National Under-17 Team.
He’s an elite skater who could be even better if he develops at Notre Dame University, where’s he committed. He has a fast stick that complements his goal-scoring touch. He could produce even more if he sped his game up.
Rolston to the Blues?
Rolston has the best chance of the players on this list to be available in the fifth round. He projects to go anywhere from the early sixth round to undrafted, but he has potential with his skating and goal-scoring abilities and could be worth the pick.
This will be an interesting draft for the Blues with five picks, mostly late in rounds. We’ve seen general manager Doug Armstrong make bold picks before that have worked out, he will need to do that again this year.