47. Ozzy Weisblatt RW – 5’10, 183 lbs
Wiesblatt is an absolute rocket on the ice. The high-speed, high-intensity winger is a water-bug on the ice that loves to use his agility and vision to execute skilled plays that leave fans in awe.
On Feb. 18, Ozzy Wiesblatt (@ozzywiesblatt) recorded the 100th point of his WHL career with this goal against the Regina Pats.— Prince Albert Raiders (@PARaidersHockey) August 3, 2020
Wiesblatt also had two assists in the game for his fourth three-point night of the season.#GoRaidersGo #MilestoneMonday pic.twitter.com/l0kG3meyHz
He’s a very shifty player on the ice and incredibly hard to cover in the neutral zone, making him one of the better forwards in this draft when it comes to zone entries. In order for him to continue playing that style in higher leagues, he will need to tweak his style and bulk up quite a bit, which makes him more of a p[roject than some folks think.
Ozzy Weisblatt is so effective in the cycle. Extremely shifty, able to escape defenders, and knows exactly when to leave the puck for his teammate. All while being just 5’10”. pic.twitter.com/4SNmBpYT3H— Sam (@DraftLook) August 12, 2019
He needs to improve the strength on his shot in order to not become a one-trick pony at the next level, but has the playmaking ability to find success at the next level. Ultimately, Weisblatt could find his way on a top-6 in the next 3-5 years, but I believe that he will be effective even in a third line role simply due to his determination and speed.
48. Jake Neighbours LW – 6’, 195 lbs
The talented winger from the WHL has a pretty complete tool box. He has soft hands, strong Hockey-IQ and some very seriously underrated vision. Neighbours isn’t the fastest of the group, his main detractor in my opinion, but his positioning and decision making more than cover for his lack of top-end mobility, allowing him to sneak behind the opposition and receive passes for quick finishes. In the sequence below, he uses his solid balance, strength and good puck protection skills to make up for his lack of speed to make a brillaint pass (while falling) to his open teammates for a beautiful goal. That is what you get in Neighbours.
Jake Neighbours with a breakup in the offensive zone by the boards. Drives hard towards the net. Falls to the ice but makes a crisp pass at the same time. Grabs an assist here. #2020NHLDraft #WHL @FCHockey @DobberProspects pic.twitter.com/vBuUrpIjjm— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) October 9, 2019
Above all, Neighbours has a very good shot, especially his wrist shot, which he can unleash with great velocity at full speed. Neighbours’ success at the next level will center mostly on him rounding out his two-way game and increasing his explosivity, but he remains solid value at this point in a Draft.
49. Anton Johannesson LD – 5’9, 154 lbs
Anton Johannesson doesn’t get the credit he deserves due to having missed a large part of the season due to injury. When healthy, he was a force in the SuperElit league for Sweden’s HV71 J-20 team. His skating is his main asset, as he is able to cover a lot of ice very quickly due to great explosivity and a strong first few steps.
This little D is really intriguing Anton Johannesson— Yannick St-Pierre (@DraftDynasty1) March 8, 2020
5ft9 and 154lbs, he looks like he’s 15 years old. Extremely gifted, he’s a natural. Very long term project but he could be worth the wait. Better pts per game than Erik Karlsson and Adam boqvist in SuperElit J20 👀 pic.twitter.com/BPHGlKqKUf
He put up a very impressive 8 goals and 16 assists for 24 points in just 20 games. Johannesson is a very effective PP QB, distributing pucks with ease, using his exceptional skating to draw defenders to him, while also having a very precise wrist shot. In the sequence below, we see Anton doing exactly this, as he skates his way into the high-danger areas y, while attracting the defense, to open up a passing in front for an easy tap in.
A player that far too many people have been sleeping on for the #2020NHLDraft is LHD Anton Johannesson (#3 below)— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) February 27, 2020
He is an excellent skater, has insane IQ on the ice, high-end puck skills and he’s not a dumpster fire in his own end. Injuries are the only issue. @DobberProspects pic.twitter.com/45jrNm0XyD
His fluid skating, high hockey IQ and strong stick in the defensive zone make me confident in his ability to make it to the next level.
50. Zion Nybeck LW – 5’7, 182 lbs
Zion Nybeck is another product of Sweden that is small in size but gargantuan in ice presence. Predominantly skilled winger, Nybeck is known for his quick zone exits and strong wrist-shot. Although he is not quite at the level of Raymond or Holtz, Nybeck has legitimate top-6 potential and has the skill to make the quickest defensemen look like pylons.
He plays the game with a little bit of an edge and is already quite solid on his skates at 176 lbs at just 5’9. Nybeck had one of the best offensive performances in SuperElit in recent memory, putting up 27 goals and 39 assists for 66 points in just 42 games this season.
This kind of offensive output leads many to believe that Nybeck could be a darkhorse first round pick, should a team covet pure skill and talent over the usual tropes of size and defensive responsibility. The only reason I have Nybeck this low is simply because I am really uncertain that his skating will be able to reach the next level necessary to truly create seperation from defenders. If he can really focus on his skating and gain significant power in his lower body, Nybeck could indeed be a difference maker at the NHL level. At this point in the draft, I would be thrilled with Nybeck at this rank.
51. Jérémie Poirier LD – 6’1, 196 lbs
Jeremy Poirier has the potential to be a Thomas Chabot-style player in the QMJHL for the Saint-John Sea Dogs. He has the raw skill, the great skating and powerful strides, as well as an exceptional array of shooting tools in his arsenal to become an exceptional D-man in the NHL. You simply do not score 20 goals in your draft season in major junior by chance, and that’s because Poirier has one heck of an offensive arsenal.
Here’s his goal from the very same game. Gets the zone entry, brings the puck in deep, gets the puck back to the point, initiates the give-and-go and drills the one-timer home.— Marco D’Amico (@thehockeyexpert) October 7, 2019
Just an overall excellent play by Jérémy Poirier. pic.twitter.com/FeBpW2l7s2
However, due to his penchant for the offensive, he does have the occasional brainfart that leaves many thinking he will be better suited for 2nd pair duty in the NHL, as he often fails to cover his man or limit high-danger scoring chances around his net. If Poirier is to make it in the NHL, he must start paying far more attention to the details in his defensive game. He is overly aggressive, pinches way too often and honestly plays like a forward on the ice most of the time, exposing his poor defensive partner (Willian Villeneuve) to multiple odd-man rushes against. à
Snipe from Jérémie Poirier in QMJHL action today. Two goals, four shots, and a secondary assist for Poirier as the Sea Dogs lost in overtime. pic.twitter.com/lFwtmd29sI— Sam (@DraftLook) October 19, 2019
If Poirier is able to truly focus on shoring up the defensive side of his game, he could be the steal of the draft at this rank. However, this has been a problem in his game for years, and thus could also possibly top out as a powerplay specialist at the next level (or be converted to forward?). The rest is up to him, but the skills are certainly there.
Jeremy Poirier is very hard to evaluate for me. Some of the best hands in the draft (Forwards included). Remind me of Bowen Byram at times. Great shot and Creativity. But no sign of improvement Defensively. The same old, mental mistakes, softness on the boards, bad positioning. pic.twitter.com/78vN5BvmMS— Yannick St-Pierre (@DraftDynasty1) January 24, 2020