11. Minnesota Wild: C Anton Lundell
Anton Lundell landing on Minnesota’s lap is a testament to the quality of this draft, as he is a legit top-10 talent, but is the one with the most question marks as it pertains to sustained offense at the next level. This isn’t to say that Lundell isn’t a brilliant playmaker, he’s one of the best in the Draft, but being one of the older players selected so far, it debatable whether or not that will be as effective at the NHL level.
He has very good hands, almost underrated I would say, in tight and could be a very good option for any team below the circle on the PP. He plays a strong overall game and controls the puck like almost no other in this class. Truly a unique prospect in his own right, he is quickly proving his doubters wrong by displaying elite-level skill, while playing against men in what many consider to be a defense-first league.
With many ironically comparing him to the likes of Mikko Koivu, the Wild’s current captain, it would almost be poetic for him to land in their lap and establish himself as a great two-way, top-6 center that could play in all situations and still likely put up 60 points a season
Player Comparison: Mikko Koivu
12. Winnipeg Jets: RW – Seth Jarvis
The 5’10 172 Lbs offensive dynamo for the Portland Winterhawks has been on an absolute mission this season, posting 42 goals and 56 assists for 98 points in just 58 games. However, his rise is due primarily to his offensive production is the highest in all three Canadian junior leagues since January 1st. In his 37 games prior, Jarvis put up an impressive 49 points in 37 games and had many ranking him in the mid-to-late 1st round. However, as of January, the young man absolutely took off, scoring 22 goals and adding 27 assists in just 21 games. That’s a rate of over 2.3 points per game, and the highest in all of the CHL during this period of time!
Jarvis is dangerous because of his deception. He is able to keep defenders guessing, while using his strong edgework to shift directions in mid-stride to escape coverage and attack the net. Some may say that Jarvis is a little small for Winnipeg’s style of play, but I think he’ll fit right in, as he plays a surprisingly gritty and relentless game, all while being an absolute puck hound on the forecheck. In my opinion, the Jets could have gone for a C here like Connor Zary or Mathieu Perreault, but ultimately they take one of the most dynamic players left on the board.
To see why I believe Seth Jarvis could potentially crack the top-10 come Draft Day, click here!
Player Comparison: Elias Lindholm
13. New York Rangers: RW Noël Gunler
Speaking of Dynamic players, Noel Gunler can be just that. Gunler is a little under the radar for some folk due to his lack of participation in international tournament s for Sweden, but that has more to do with internal politics than it does talent. There have been some reports over the years in regards to certain attitude issues, but those have not inhibited him from being successful at the professional level in the SHL and the SuperElit league this season. In fact, many were extremely confused as to why Gunler, who was producing at the same pace as Alex Holtz, wasn’t on Sweden’s World Junior Roster; that’s how good Gunler is.
Gunler’s 4 goals and 9 assists for 13 points in 45 games were no accident. Playing primarily bottom-6 minutes for the top team in Sweden (Luleå), Gunler was still able to show off his great speed, strong puck possession, magic hands and killer shot. He is able to to use his speed to create separation between himself and oppositional defenders, which allows him more time and space to dangle or snipe a shot. His various offensive tools make him very deceptive, especially at high speed, and those skills are very likely to translate to the NHL. Gunler’s shot, be it a wrist shot or a one-timer are also lethal, and what is impressive is how his shot gains so velocity on impact, despite a very quick release.
Ultimately, I think the Rangers can’t pass on such a great talent. They have shown a penchant for elite talent and have some of the best European scouts in the game. This is why I believe they will see through the smoke of Gunler’s supposed attitude issues, and select the best player available.
Player Comparison: Mika Zibanejad
14. Florida Panthers: LD William Wallinder
William Wallinder is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Florida Panthers. The 6’4, 192lbs rearguard was a bit of a revelation this year for Modo, both at the U-20 level (SuperElit) and for the main club (Hockeyallsvenskan) this season. After putting up a very respectable 5 goals and 19 assists for 24 points in 37 games at the U-20 level, Wallinder was called up to Modo’s main roster due to injuries, and Wallinder looked like he belonged almost immediately.
In my own personal viewings, I was immediately impressed with just how well Wallinder moves for a youngster of his size; it was almost alarming to see how much ground he covered in such a short period of time. Wallinder’s skating, his long stick and his already impressive gap-control made him a solid add mid-way through the season for Modo.
Although his offensive game is not the most polished, Wallinder will likely be able to rack up more points as he continues to use his size and skating to his advantage. As he gained more confidence on Modo’s main roster, he began carrying the puck far more. He was often seen skating the puck out of the defensive zone and making a solid pass to a streaking player for a successful offensive zone entry. This kind of reliable, yet effective transitional style (coupled with his speed and imposing frame) will make him hard to handle in the neutral zone.
For a team like Florida, who don’t seem to understand the notion of defense, Wallinder would be a breath of fresh air. He could provide the stability and effectiveness on the backend that they haven’t had in years. Ultimately, Wallinder projects to be a stable and mobile top-4 defenseman with a penchant for moving the puck. I’ll take him on my team any day.
Player Comparison: Alex Edler
15. Columbus Blue Jackets: LW Jack Quinn
Jack Quinn can honestly go anywhere from 5th overall to 15th overall, depending on the order of the draft. He is seen by many as the best goal-scorer in this draft due to his 52 goals this season. That’s because Quinn’s shot has the velocity and power to be deadly at the next level. One thing that is different this year, and has afforded him much more success, is the release of his shot. He is able to let his shot go at a much faster rate and that makes him extremely deadly in the slot with time and space
I really like Quinn’s maturity when it pertains to his two-way game. Having spent most of last year in a checking role for the 67s, Quinn had become far more conscientious of the defensive side of the game. It allowed him to play some good minutes on the PK for Ottawa. He was also quite solid at creating a strong forecheck and causing a plethora of turnovers in the neutral zone.
His combination of size, speed and skill may tempt a team with multiple 1st round picks to take a chance on him in order to fill a void in their organization. I personally believe that he has bonafide top-6 potential. His size and mature two-way game will make him indispensable on a competitive roster. Will he become a legit scoring threat in the NHL? A bonafide 1st liner winger in the same ilk as a Corey Perry or a Rick Nash? Well that remains to be seen. However, it would be safe to say that he has the potential to get there, and that has many GMs salivating.
To learn more on what has made Jack Quinn so much more effective this season, click here!
Player Comparison: Brock Boeser