The NHL Draft is merely hours away as teams get their final rankings ready for the first round. The first round starts at 7:00 EST and can be found on NBC Sports Network in the US and Sportsnet in Canada.
As teams get their 1st round rankings ready there will certainly be some adjustments and tweaks made based on how the draft prospects did during the combine and during the interview process. Here we take a look at who just might sneak into the 1st, or who might fall out of the top 30.
Oliver Kylington, D, Sweden
Oliver Kylington started the season as one of the highest ranked defensemen in the 2015 draft class. Now he is projected to be the outside the top 5 of defenseman and could even miss the first round.
Kylington has the hockey intelligence to become a good powerplay quarterback and his shot his strong and accurate. He had a very good first year with Färjestad of the SHL and their junior teams. He put up 27 points in 55 games and implemented a strong two-way game.
His decline began when he came to the World Juniors with Sweden in 2015. He made some very questionable choices with the puck and was inconsistent with his two-way play compared to how he played with Färjestad.
After his World Juniors, Kylington started to slip down the draft rankings once word had gotten around that scouts criticized his play.
One NHL scout told HockeyProspect.com ““Hopefully he ends up at a spot on our list where he won’t reach us. He scares me because I don’t think he’s a very smart player.”
Kylington has started to make his way back up the mock draft boards once again, though. After the NHL Combine he reportedly impressed many with his answers during the interview prospects.
Is it a possibility that Oliver Kylington will turn out to be a 2nd round steal? We’ll have to wait and see if he is taken tonight.
Vince Dunn, D, Niagara IceDogs
Another defenseman who could make his way into the first round this year. Dunn is a strong offensive defenseman who has yet to develop a good defensive game.
Dunn had a breakout year with the IceDogs this season scoring 18 goals and 38 assists in 68 games this year. During the 1st round of the OHL Playoffs against the Ottawa 67’s, Dunn had a 4 goal game which lead to a total of 6 goals and 4 assists during his 8 games.
Dunn has surged up the draft rankings the past few days and some think he has a good chance to be selected in the 1st round.
Dunn does have elite puck skills, but he is very slender at 185 lbs. This may turn some teams off do to the time he will need to spend to bulk up before making his way to the NHL. He also will need a lot of time to work on his play in his own zone.
There are arguments against not drafting Dunn, however. By comparing his NHL equivalency stats and his size, he has produced NHLe points per game similar to some of the NHL’s best defensemen.
Ilya Samsonov, G, Russia
There are many people who believe that a goalie shouldn’t be selected in the first round. I tend to agree with this statement IF you are referring to this year’s draft.
This has been called the deepest draft since 2003. Some have said it is deeper than the 2003 NHL Draft. If that is the case it should be a priority to grab the best player available. This way a team can take a top prospect and if a goalie is also a target, there should be a very good goalie prospect further in the draft.
Samsonov is the best goalie in this year’s draft class so whichever team drafts him will get an elite goalie prospect; however, Samsonov is still 18 years old and needs to develop into his full potential. He is already big at 6’3″ and 201 lbs, but he needs to tweak his reflexes and speed in the crease.
I think the best chance he has to go in the 1st round is to the Philadelphia Flyers at 29th overall.
These will be the prospects to watch tonight towards the end of the round. Will any of them be taken in the 1st?