6. Marco Rossi C/LW – 5’9, 187 lbs
Marco Rossi is an offensive powerhouse waiting to prove his doubters wrong. Although he may be on the small side, currently billed at 5’9, he makes up for his size with an almost Brendan Gallagher-esque ”never-say-die” attitude with the puck. Out of everyone in the top-10 of this draft, Rossi is by far the feistiest and the one that fears contact the least.
Marco Rossi seems good. pic.twitter.com/uuhy26oZiC— Sam (@DraftLook) July 9, 2019
He is the perfect combination of heart and skill IMO. His passing ability is exceptional, as he is able to QB a powerplay all on his own and distribute the pucks effectively. Furthermore, he uses his excellent skating to rush up the ice in a hurry, stickhandle his away across traffic and drive the net like a power-forward. Rossi is fearless in that sense and will always find himself in the heart of the action.
Marco Rossi’s hands are disgusting pic.twitter.com/dqHh5a2Yzd— Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) July 14, 2020
He has one of the best Hockey IQs in the draft (an asset I highly value in my top-rated prospects) and presents the best overall package outside of Alexis Lafrenière when it comes to pure skill. In terms of pure offensive potential, Rossi is a top-5 player for me and could be interchangeable with Stutzle or Raymond in this top-5, but, as we have seen many times in the past, his size might drop him down a peg or two.
7. Jake Sanderson LD – 6’2, 185 lbs
Sanderson is extremely efficient at carrying the puck and doing so while increasing his foot speed in the process. Similarly to the sequence above, Sanderson is quite good at rushing the puck and creating seamless zone entries. Players have difficulty defending a player that big and fast who uses his body and long reach effectively to protect the puck and establish possession in the offensive zone. He is able to protect the puck extremely well and often uses the extra time he has in the offensive zone to make a pass or crash towards the net for a quick, yet deceptively dangerous, scoring opportunity.
Say what you will about Jake Sanderson’s offensive game, he’s shown some really impressive flashes of playmaking in the o-zone that suggest his effectiveness in the opposing end of the rink, too. Oh and his zone entry data is second to none in the USHL. pic.twitter.com/VrvBytgKKn— Joey Padmanabhan (@joeypad2) June 23, 2020
Although Jake Sanderson has exceptional defensive skills, due to his long reach, great skating and great Hockey IQ, many question Sanderson’s overall offensive ability at the NHL level. After having spent the summer to really dissect Sanderson’s game, I think the tools are certainly there for Sanderson to be a very competent NHL defenseman in the same light as Ryan McDonaugh, while possessing more untapped offensive potential that many give him credit for. It is for this main reason that I ranked Sanderson slightly above Jamie Drysdale and I will take more time to explain why.
Another goal off the draw for the U18s and this time it’s Jake Sanderson. He does a good job of creating a shooting lane and fires one that finds twine. #NTDP #UNDpround— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) September 20, 2019
Team 🇺🇸 9 LumberJacks 7 pic.twitter.com/NOnnkh1p4d
Sanderson also possesses a very precise and powerful wrist shot, which he loves to use while pulling the puck towards him and then using his weight to transfer into the power of his shot. (see above sequence for an example). His slapshot is also quite strong and precise, and his high growth potential leads many scouts to believe it it will continue to improve over the years to become a powerplay weapon at the next level.
Lastly, Sanderson is very physical and plays a smash-mouth style. He’s very good at boxing out the opposition and limiting zone entries due to his exceptional skating and well timed (and sometimes thunderous hits). He uses both his reach and skating to force the opposing forward into a footrace along the boards, which, due to Sanderson’s speed, usually results in Sanderson neutralizing the player against the boards or outright pushing him off the puck,
Oh, another thing about Jake Sanderson? One of the best hitters in his class. pic.twitter.com/sh2iMoBqb1— Joey Padmanabhan (@joeypad2) September 17, 2020
His speed, size, offensive instincts and possession skills have really stuck out in a Draft class that, outside of Jamie Drysdale, lacks true, top-end defensive options. I ranked Sanderson ahead of Drysdale by the slimmest of margins simply because I believe Sanderson brings more tools in his tool box (Speed, size, vision, shot, playmaking, 1-on-1 defending, etc) than Drysdale does, although what Drysdale does well (we’ll touch on that in a sec) he does at an elite level. By being great in vitually every category, and also being one of the youngest players in this draft, Sanderson projects to have a higher potential to impact the game in everyway than other D in this draft.
*For a more in-depth look at what makes Sanderson special, click here for a full report!
8. Seth Jarvis RW – 5’10, 172 lbs
Seth Jarvis literally blew onto the scene in a very serious way this season. 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. What’s most impressive is that 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!
Some of you may ask, well what changed? Well, he began gain confidence in his ability to drive to the net. As evidence by the sequence below, we see the young man exploding off the boards, making a slick deke, eventually turning his body position toward the danger area, and letting a shot off that eventually goes in off a teammate’s stick. It’s not that Jarvis necessarily has to score or has unquestionably set up the play to be efficient, he simply drives the offence in a way that reminds many of Brayden Point in Tampa Bay.
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. He plays a surprisingly gritty and relentless game for a high-skill player, all while being an absolute puck hound on the forecheck.
Jarvis always had a motor that would never stop and would be incredibly noticeable on the ice for his gritty play and tenacious fore-check. This young man oozes character and leadership, often setting-up or scoring the clutch goal for the Winterhawks this season and is a player with clear superstar potential. Although some may have concerns about his size, he more than makes up for it with exceptional skill, exceptional will and a never-say-die attitude. In short, Jarvis is a gamer.
If you want to learn more about what makes Seth Jarvis so dynamic as a prospect, click here for a full report.
9. Jamie Drysdale RD – 5’11, 170 lbs
Jamie Drysdale is an absolute stud, which sounds weird coming from the guy that ranked him at 9th on his list. His skating and speed is eerily similar to top-Ds in past drafts. He is able to use his speed and vision to escape coverage at the blue-line and then fearlessly attack the slot for a quick and powerful wrist-shot, or a slick pass to the forward, hiding backdoor, for a tap-in.
Jamie Drysdale walks right in, doesn’t even take his shoes off.pic.twitter.com/z6OMCojBoA— #WorldJuniors (@HC_WJC) January 4, 2020
He isn’t afraid to join in on the cycle game along the boards and he explodes off the boards in order to transition the puck along the far boards or seek the open man in the slot for a quick scoring chance.
I ranked Drysdale lower than Sanderson because I strongly believe that Drysdale’s offensive tools are lacking to provide true deception. His shooting tools aren’t as refined as Sanderson’s for example, as he does not provide high percentage shooting for his team on a regular basis. He has a good wrist shot, but it doesn’t have the velocity nor the power of other top defensemen in a draft. I believe that Drysdale also a few holes in his defensive game, notably his man-to-man coverage and his gap control. Too many times last year he was caught flat footed and forced to chase the play.
Here, basketball meets hockey.— Evan (@Shattenkirk) July 5, 2020
In basketball, the tighter you play a player the more physical you need to be.
If you play a guy this soft you’re vulnerable to a seamless pick and a quick change of direction like what happens here vs Jamie Drysdale.#2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/pF5MROJqzT
These are all aspects of his game that he can work with, but it could certainly withhold Drysdale from being as proficient offensive and defensively at the next level. I do still believe that Drysdale could very weel reach top pair potential, but I’m not as convinced as I was 6 months ago after really diving into more sequences.
10. Anton Lundell C – 6’1, 185 lbs
Lundell uses his strong Hockey IQ to put himself in key positions to either defend of score. Furthermore, 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.
One aspect of his game I feel many people have not discussed is Lundell’s goalscoring ability. In the above sequence, he is able to extract the puck along the boards, create create the zone entry with speed and attack the centre ice (normally a player lacking confidence will pull to the right or left circle to look for a pass) and unleashes a very powerful wrist shot.
We have seen Lundell utilize his shot more often as the 2019-2020 season went on and again during Liiga pre-season in August and September. In the sequence below we get a close up at his shooting mechanics which show very good power, flex, technique and puck velocity from Lundell. That’s a goal scorers goal, and I strongly believe notions of his ”lack of offensive upside” have been greatly overdone. He’s a perfect pivot for a team looking for an elite #2 C.
Tell me again how Anton Lundell lacks offensive upside pic.twitter.com/5eohQteUrN— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) August 21, 2020