We’re more than halfway through our NHL Mock Draft and surprise! Brad Lambert has finally come off the board.
Here are today’s picks:
14. Winnipeg Jets — Danila Yurov
From Arctic Ice Hockey:
The Winnipeg Jets decided to go off their normal board early on and went to Russia to find a talented forward in Danila Yurov who is struggling to find a team that will challenge him in the correct league. He played 23 games in the MHL this season and scored 36 points, but when he was in the KHL this season, he played 21 games and had zero points. According to information from Habs Eyes on the Prize, he managed those zero points in less than four minutes of ice time on average. It is hard to judge a player based on that.
Yurov seems to play well when facing off against his peers, but the question with him has to be where is the best place for him to be challenged and to develop if he is not in North America next year. He does need to be in a place where he plays, but that does not necessarily mean he has to be in North America. The VHL, if still around, would be a honest option in Russia. He might start getting more playing time, but he might not.
15. Vancouver Canucks — Liam Ohgren
From Nucks Misconduct:
He had an impressive season with the Djurgardens Juniors, putting up 33-25-58 in just 30 games, earning a well-deserved call up to the senior squad. While his one goal and one assist in 25 games in the SHL might worry you, it’s a league where rookies dominating is rare, so keep that in mind.
Another thing to consider here, is this pick is one where we didn’t have the Canucks trading away a player like J. T. Miller for a spot higher up, which given what’s been coming out of Vancouver over the past few days is something that we should be prepared for.
16. Buffalo Sabres (via Vegas Golden Knights) — Brad Lambert
From Die By The Blade:
I will challenge on the merits of his u20 play, though. When focusing only on his u20 play for Finland this past year it’s really hard to argue that he wasn’t the best player on the ice at each of his World Junior games (and possibly one of the best in the tournament through the first two games) and in the exhibition games he played in April.
While points rarely came to Lambert in the Liiga: they came to him in bunches at the u20 level. He has 5 points through 2 World Juniors’ games and was almost a point per game in the exhibition games. In the exhibition games he did what he wanted with the puck on his stick and easily could’ve had 4-5 more points in the games I was watching.
17. Nashville Predators — Pavel Mintyukov
From On The Forecheck:
Pavel Mintyukov is a bit of an older skater in this draft class with a November 2003 birthday. His first OHL season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but he made the most of this 2021-22 campaign with Saginaw, scoring 62 points in 67 games, which led the Spirit in scoring and topped all draft-eligible OHL defenders. His 0.597 primary points per game and 0.373 even-strength, primary points per game were also best amongst his peers.
As noted above, Mintyukov makes a positive difference in all three zones each night. He’s got a great set of tools across his game and plays a smart but aggressive brand of hockey. Defensively, Mintyukov (#10, white) assess opponents’ speed well and manages his gaps accordingly. His stick is always active, challenging shooters soon after a zone entry as seen above. He’s able to easily fend off the pick set by F1 and force F2 into making a bad pass. When the puck goes low in the zone, he doesn’t panic; Mintyukov angles himself perfectly along the goal line and ends the play with two decisive poke checks, sending his Saginaw teammate up the ice.
18. Dallas Stars — Lian Bichsel
From Defending Big D:
The strengths of this pick for Dallas is that they get a two-way player that isn’t a liability in his own end. The fact that he often starts in his own end and has a way of ending games with a better Corsi For percentage than you would anticipate shows that he’s a key driver of offense. (In the Champions Hockey League tournament, he ended with a 56.9 CF% with heavy defensive zone starts, albeit in a limited third-pairing role.) Dallas desperately could use some of that in the system.
Of course, the size thing might actually be a bit of a question mark. There aren’t too many examples of large human beings that can get up and down the ice well if he were to top out at 240 pounds and grow another inch or two more (which could happen). Dallas was able to have success with a guy like Jamie Oleksiak before, so maybe they don’t find it as much of a question mark.
19. Los Angeles Kings — Isaac Howard
From Jewels From The Crown:
If this was a decade ago, Howard would probably be a potential second or third round pick, not because of his skills, but because of his size. Listed at 5’10” and 183 lbs. Thankfully, due to the success of smaller forwards like Brayden Point, Cole Caufield, Johnny Gaudreau, and Viktor Arvidsson, being under six-feet is no longer a detriment to being drafted.
On pure offensive talent alone, Howard is one of the top players in the draft. Bob McKenzie has him ranked 20th in his final rankings, NHL Central Scouting has him as the 9th-ranked North American skater, and he’s considered the 23rd best prospect in the draft according to Elite Prospects Consolidated Rankings.
It’s not shocking he’s considered that high based on how he’s performed during his tenure with the U.S National Developmental Program. In 111 games over two seasons, he’s recorded 155 points (65 goals, 90 assists) for an impressive 1.40 points per game average. As you can see by his numbers, he not only can fill the net, but he’s a pretty accomplished playmaker as well.