Had Erie Otters right wing Ivan Lodnia been born 15 days later, he would have been eligible to enter the 2018 NHL Draft. Lodnia, born on August 31, 1999 in Los Angeles, is instead one of the youngest players in this year’s Draft. The California native has enough upside at one of the San Jose Sharks’ major positions of need to warrant selection in the second round.
Lodnia’s role with Eerie changed following the trade deadline. He played a shutdown role down the stretch for the eventual OHL champions and Memorial Cup runners-up, after being relied upon for offense at the beginning of the season. He scored just 19 points over the season’s final 29 games, following up 38 points in the 37 games before the trade deadline.
As Lodnia told the Hockey News last month, the role was “something [he] had never really done before,” and he fleshed out his game shutting down opposing teams’ top lines. The offensive skills were not in question, as the 5-foot-10 forward has drawn praise from scouts for his offensive abilities, especially his creativity and strength on the puck. NHL Central Scouting’s Matt Ryan told NHL.com last month that Lodnia’s “ability to maneuver through traffic is fantastic,” and that his small stature doesn’t prevent him from getting to the dirty areas.
Reaction to Lodnia’s skating ability is a bit mixed. ESPN’s Corey Pronman thinking it could use some work ($), while Ryan called Lodnia’s skating ability “excellent.” Last Word on Sports’ Ben Kerr concluded that Lodnia’s speed isn’t great, but the rest of his skating skills are much better:
Ivan Lodnia is not the fastest skater on the ice, but his agility and edge work still make him one of the most elusive. He may not have great top end speed, but he does have a good first step and acceleration. He makes tight turns and can change directions on a dime. Lodnia also has good lower body strength. His balance is very good.
Lodnia is undersized, but told NHL.com that he “gained about 11 pounds this year and...grew like an inch or so,” which indicates he can grow into his frame. His championship experience and defensive development are in line with what the Sharks look for in prospects. The offensive upside (and California connections!) make him a potential no-brainer.
He is also a possible trade-down candidate, given that ISS Hockey, McKeen’s Hockey, and TSN ranked Lodnia 75th, 79th, and 79th, respectively. But there’s also a chance he’s selected before San Jose picks at 49th overall, as Corey Pronman rated him the 22nd-best prospect in May. If Lodnia is available when the Sharks are on the clock in the second round, it’s worth exploring a trade down. However, they shouldn’t hesitate to pick him then if there’s no guarantee he’ll still be available during the rest of the second or the third round.
Name: Ivan Lodnia
Position: Right Wing
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
2015-17: Erie Otters (OHL)
2014-15: Honeybaked U16 (HPHL U16/HPHL U18)
ISS Hockey: 75
Future Considerations: 41
McKeen’s Hockey: 79
NHL CSS: 36 (NA)
- Elusive skater
Areas of Improvement
- Must continue to add muscle