NHL Draft: Notable picks on Day 2
A look at some of the more intriguing picks on Day 2 of the NHL Draft, based on the potential value of the pick and/or an interesting story attached to the prospect.
The second day of the NHL Entry Draft is where teams take a lot of chances on players and most of the time they’re just hoping one or two of those guys turn into an NHL player. However, as history shows, there can be some real value finds from the second round on as players continue to develop.
It’s obviously difficult to know where these players will end up down the line at this point, but here’s a group of players taken on Day 2 that have potential to bring the teams they went to some late-round value.
No. 31 Brendan Lemieux (Buffalo Sabres) – Left Wing
The first few picks in the second round, particularly this year, was like having an extra first-rounder. Without much separation between those players in the range of 25-40, a lot can happen and there's still value to be found. The Sabres nabbed a guy in Lemieux that had first-round potential. The son of long-time NHL agitator Claude Lemieux had 53 points for the Barrie Colts this year, same team as No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad. He has that mean streak and bolsters Buffalo’s pipeline at wing.
No. 36 Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks) – Goaltender
Coming into the draft, Demko was the consensus No. 1 goalie available. He ended up being the second selected after Mason McDonald went 34th to Calgary. He was the youngest player in college hockey last year, accelerating his schooling to attend Boston College a year ahead of schedule. The big, athletic goaltender had a stellar freshman campaign with a .919 save percentage en route to leading the Eagles to the Frozen Four. He could be Team USA’s starter at the World Junior Championship this year.
No. 42 Vladislav Kamenev (Nashville Predators) – Left Wing
The so-called “Russian Factor” probably scared some teams away from taking him earlier, but it obviously didn’t concern the Preds. Considering Nashville went with a high-skill pick in the first round, Kamenev is a continuation of that. His numbers in the very difficult Russian pro leagues aren’t very exciting, but his size and skill were lauded by international scouts. He got 16 games in the KHL last year with eventual champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He’s quite intriguing going forward, assuming the Preds can get him to come over to North America at some point, which is never a sure thing nowadays. It’s high-risk, high-reward in that regard.
No. 50 Roland McKeown (Los Angeles Kings) – Defenseman
One of the biggest tumblers down the draft rankings, McKeown was a projected first-rounder coming into the year. He may have been picked apart a bit too much last season as he possesses some high upside. The Kings valued getting him enough to part with prospect Linden Vey to get the No. 50 pick and take McKeown. He’s a great addition to a prospect pool that needs a little more depth on the back end.
No. 55 Brandon Montour (Anaheim Ducks) – Defenseman
It’s pretty rare for a defenseman to put up 62 points in the United States Hockey League, but that’s what Montour did for the Waterloo Black Hawks. He led his team to the league finals and was named the USHL’s player of the year and defenseman of the year after his 62 points broke the league’s Tier 1 era (2002-present) record for production by a defenseman. He was passed over in the draft last year and is due to attend UMass next season. With such offensive upside, the Ducks add a quality mobile defenseman to a team that has quite a few of those at the NHL level right now.
No. 66 Nikita Tryamkin (Vancouver Canucks) – Defenseman
Another second-year eligible player, Tryamkin turned heads with his performance at the World Junior Championship. Oh yeah, and he’s 6-foot-7, 238 points. That probably turned a few heads, too. This is not just a big defenseman, however. Tryamkin has some good puck-handling abilities for a big man and appeared in 45 games in the KHL last season with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. If the Canucks can get him to North America in a few years, there’s a lot of upside in this third-round pick.
No. 79 Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning) – Center
If he were a bit bigger, Point probably ends up as a first-round pick. Instead, he fell all the way to the third round and went to a team that has had some serious success with undersized players. Point had 91 points for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. That kind of production is impressive no matter the size. With the way Tyler Johnson has succeeded as an undrafted player for the Lightning, getting a similarly-productive WHL player like Point is hardly surprising for this club. That’s good value.
No. 89 Nathan Walker (Washington Capitals) – Left Wing
The first Australian (yes, Australian!) ever to be drafted into the NHL, Walker is one of the most interesting prospects in the world. He’s been a hockey nomad over the last few years and thanks to his unique situation, Walker played for the Capitals’ AHL affiliate in Hershey last year where he had 11 points. Prior to that, Walker’s hockey career has taken him to the Czech Republic, where he played for pro club Vitkovice. He’s played for the Sydney Ice Dogs in the Australian pro league. He played for the Youngstown (Ohio) Phantoms last year and finally after all that landed in Hersey after a great performance with the Capitals in training camp this year. He was still eligible for the draft, so it was great to see the Caps reward him with this third-round pick.
Here’s a list of some other picks of note with NHL bloodlines, interesting backgrounds or high value coming with late selections.
No. 37 Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) -- Goaltender -- In just his second season with the Plymouth Whalers, Ndeljkovic was named the OHL's top goaltender last season. He had a .925 save percentage for the Whalers and also helped backstop the U.S. National Under-18 Team to the gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. Though he lacks the size teams covet in net these days, he's extremely athletic.
No. 43 Ryan MacInnis (Arizona Coyotes) – Center – Son of Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis who played for the same junior team as his dad last year, the Kitchener Rangers. Late in the season, he was generating some first-round chatter.
No. 56 Ryan Donato (Boston Bruins) – Center – Son of former NHLer Ted Donato who lit up the prep school ranks last season. He had gotten some first-round buzz at various points of the year and is due to head to Harvard.
No. 63 Dominic Turgeon (Detroit Red Wings) – Center – Son of former NHL great Pierre Turgeon who played for the Portland Winterhawks.
No. 67 Warren Foegele (Carolina Hurricanes) – Left Wing – Playing in the rarely-scouted Ontario high school ranks, Foegele had 107 points in 52 games last year. He is headed to the University of New Hampshire and got a lot of buzz after TSN’s Bob McKenzie shed light on this hidden gem early this season.
No. 87 Anton Karlsson (Arizona Coyotes) – Right Wing – The No. 6 ranked European skater in the draft, Karlsson took quite a tumble down the draft boards despite a pretty solid season in Sweden. He was part of the Swedish U18 and U20 teams this year and even saw some pro action with Frolunda. With good size and sound two-way play, Karlsson seems to have some interesting upside. His brother Erik (not that Erik) is a draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes.
No. 94 Ville Husso (St. Louis Blues) – Goaltender – Can you ever go wrong picking a Finnish goaltender late? It seems like that country has been churning out prospects annually. Husso put up some great numbers in the Finnish pros last year with a 1.99 goals-against average and .923 save percentage for HIFK.
No. 96 Josh Wesley (Carolina Hurricanes) – Defenseman – The son of longtime NHLer Glenn Wesley was selected by the team that retired his dad’s number. Wesley is the first North Carolina-raised player to be drafted by the Hurricanes. He currently plays for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL, which has long been a pipeline to the Hurricanes due to being under the same ownership group.
No. 134 Shane Gersich (Washington Capitals) – Left Wing – Part of one of the royal families of American hockey, Gersich is the nephew of former NHLers Neal and Aaron Broten. Neal of course was part of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team and has his number retired by the Dallas Stars. Shane is going against the family tradition and heading to the University of North Dakota next year.
No. 147 Daniel Audette (Montreal Canadiens) – Center – The son of former NHLer Donald Audette, Daniel had a hugely productive season in the QMJHL for Sherbrooke last year. He had 76 points, but it is likely his size caused the tumble to the fifth round. He could provide some serious value to the Habs if he continues progressing in his highly-offensive game.
No. 200 Lukas Sutter (New York Islanders) – Center – Yes, another Sutter, but Lukas is actually drafted for the second time in his career on Day 2. After being taken by the Jets in the 2012 Draft, Sutter was not signed before the deadline, making him eligible to enter the draft again. He is the son of former NHLer Rich, and just another in a long line of NHL Sutters.
No. 208 Jack Ramsey (Chicago Blackhawks) – Right Wing – The second player with direct ties to the U.S. Miracle on Ice team, Ramsey is the son of former NHL defenseman Mike Ramsey who won gold in 1980. He spent last season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL.
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