Who Is Left to Watch For the NHL Draft?


The consensus #1 and #2 overall selections in the upcoming draft have finished playing for the season. Connor McDavid saw himself and his Erie Otter teammates bested by the Oshawa Generals in the OHL Championship and now the Generals will move on to the Memorial Cup. Jack Eichel ended up taking home bronze with a very young Team USA at the 2015 World Championship. So with those two, and many other potential first round picks, out of the picture until June, who is still playing for some draft stock?

As mentioned before Connor McDavid’s road to the Memorial Cup was stopped short by the Oshawa Generals. The Generals have a powerhouse of a team which led them to a 1st place finish and an OHL championship this year. They have tremendous depth on forward and on defense as well. One of their best defensemen is 2015 NHL Draft eligible Mitchell Vande Sompel.

Vande Sompel has been considered for the 1st round and has made some appearances in mock draft and draft rankings inside the top 30. He is a good puck moving defenseman and is often used as a forward during special team opportunities. Vande Sompel has plenty of offensive upside, and also has the defensive mind and strength to play on the penalty kill.

A reason to watch Vande Sompel is for the rising draft stock. Being in the Memorial Cup, Vande Sompel will have all eyes in him. This calls for stellar play if he wants a chance to make it inside the first round. It will be tough, however. There is clearly a lot of talent available in this year’s draft and there is a good chance that Vande Sompel is left out of the first round due to the talent that lies in front of him.

The QMJHL will have two teams in the Memorial Cup this year as the Quebec Remparts are hosting the tournament. The Remparts have forward Dmyrto Timashov who is fighting for some draft stock. Timashov is playing his first year in the QMJHL and in North America. Timashov has done a great job with the transition to a slower paced game compared to where he was previously playing in Sweden.

Timashov has also done a fantastic job in the smaller space on North American ice. His ability to make passes is not effected by the size of the ice as he has a very good creativity when it comes to getting the puck to his teammates or getting into the zone.

Some positive play in a time as crucial as the Memorial Cup will go a long way for Timashov. He saw himself drop 34 slots in the Central Scouting rankings. When the midterm rankings were published, Dmytro Timashov and the Quebec Remparts were on a hot streak. As the season grew on, Timashov came back down to earth and so did his ranking, as he went from 58th in North America to 92nd in North America.

If you’re a fan of underdog stories, Timashov is someone I recommend to watch. His play in the Memorial cup could boost him up an round two.

Representing the WHL in the Memorial Cup will be the WHL Champions Kelowna Rockets. One of their top forwards will be fighting for a top 20 position in the draft. That is Nicholas Merkley. Merkley was outstanding in the regular season 20 goals and 70 assists in 72 games.

Merkley plays a playmakers game and does a good job of it. He has great hands and can fire the puck off his stick with quickness and accuracy. He also posses the puck very well and tries to get the puck on his stick as much of possible.

Merkley is a for sure 1st round prospect so his play in the Memorial Cup isn’t as crucial as other potential draftees. He will be worth keeping an eye on based on his talent and the excitement he brings to the ice.

This year’s Memorial Cup will be a very good one to watch and there is a lot of potential NHL talent playing in the tournament. Draft eligibles will be playing the hearts out trying to improve their draft stock. Mitchell Vande Sompel, Dmytro Timashov, and Nick Merkley are the three to definitely keep an eye on.