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Podkolzin leads a bunch of gifted, but polarizing, high draft prospects

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One of many best components concerning the draft? It is utterly subjective, with followers, groups and scouts alike usually discovering themselves in disagreement about sure prospects. Who’re probably the most polarizing prospects for this 12 months’s choice course of?Vasili Podkolzin|Wealthy Lam/Getty ImagesThe draft wouldn’t be all that a lot enjoyable if everybody caught to their predictions from the beginning of final season. If that was the case, Vasili Podkolzin would nonetheless be a contender for the second spot in June after displaying simply how dominant he might be in worldwide play. Heck, no one had a December as dominant as Podkolzin, who ripped the World Junior A Problem and World Junior Championship to shreds for Russia.
The dialogue might have stopped there. Podkolzin is a pure expertise able to placing up massive numbers every season. Finish of story. Or is it?
Simply saying Podkolzin’s title on social media sparks debate. When you take a look at his worldwide performances, you’re watching a possible gold mine. Even when he had a tough U-18 World Championship – and it’s believed he was injured there, whether or not he admits it or not – there have been some flashes of brilliance. However in league play, Podkolzin appeared like a completely completely different participant. He wasn’t spectacular in any degree of Russian hockey and was accused of hogging the puck, which led to his lack of manufacturing. You may’t turn into an NHLer on talent alone at the present time, however he’s nonetheless younger and groups can afford to be affected person in his growth with two years remaining on his contract within the KHL.
There are the individuals who love what Podkolzin brings to the desk. There are those that assume he’s severely overrated. He’s the definition of polarizing. However he’s not alone. Listed here are a number of different high prospects individuals can’t appear to agree on forward of this weekend’s draft in Vancouver:
Arthur Kaliyev, RW (Hamilton, OHL)Like Podkolzin, Kaliyev is a robust offensive menace however he has sufficient deficiencies to warrant a spot farther down the lineup. Of this 12 months’s core draft class, solely three gamers completed with a minimum of 50 targets: Cole Caufield (72, critically), Kaliyev (51) and overager Jonathan Yantsis (50). When it comes to pure goal-scoring capacity, there are few higher than Kaliyev. However watching him attempt to defend in his personal zone might be irritating. Scouts have taken be aware of his one-dimensional nature and groups really want to verify he’s paired with a defensively accountable heart to make up for that.
Cole Caufield, RW (U.S. NTDP, USHL)Caufield’s efficiency on the U-18 World Championship – the place he scored 14 targets and 18 factors in seven contests – made him a real contender for the highest 5, and with 72 targets this season, probably the most of any participant within the draft, it’s clear Caufield is aware of tips on how to put pucks within the internet. However is that a product of taking part in with Hughes? Is his 5-foot-7 body too small for the NHL? Is his common skating capacity going to harm him when he turns professional? There are a whole lot of questions that usually get answered with “however he can rating,” and with the success of Alex DeBrincat in Chicago, that’s extraordinarily necessary to remember.
Alex Newhook, C (Victoria, BCHL)Newhook might find yourself being among the finest forwards to return out of this draft. Even with how good he performed with the Grizzlies this 12 months, although, one has to surprise if his numbers have been inflated on account of taking part in Jr. A. He was solely OK on the World Junior A Problem or the CJHL Prime Prospects sport, however completed off the 12 months with a mega U-18 World Championship efficiency. Individuals know he’s obtained expertise for days, however the actual problem will likely be how he fares as soon as he departs for Boston School and performs in opposition to older, more durable competitors. For now, Newhook will probably fall nearer to 10th within the draft as groups search for gamers that seem extra NHL prepared, however the explosive two-way ahead will likely be a improbable NHLer some day.
Anttoni Honka, D (JYP, Liiga)Honka is akin to Ryan Merkley, a first-round choose by San Jose in 2018 (21st general) with unimaginable talent however an inclination for defensive lapses. One 12 months in the past, Honka appeared like among the finest defensemen accessible in an already robust blueline class. However as his first 12 months of Liiga play went on with Jukurit and JYP, Honka’s flaws turned uncovered. He’s a harmful shooter and strikes very nicely with the puck, however he’s usually responsible of unforced turnovers and might turn into unengaged from the play. He’s obtained the uncooked expertise to be a top-four defenseman within the NHL, however he nonetheless wants some important massaging.
Philip Broberg, D (AIK, SHL)Oh, Broberg. What a expertise, however what a divisive participant in a draft crammed with a bunch of nice defensemen within the first spherical. He’s a wizard at shifting the puck and might be probably the most entertaining prospect on the ice in any given scenario. On the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and U-18 World Championship, Broberg was among the finest gamers, interval. However his hockey sense might be debated. Broberg is vulnerable to giveaways and can get caught making an attempt to be too fancy when shelling out the puck as an alternative of creating the easy play. Broberg might find yourself being probably the most expert defender from this class when issues are mentioned and achieved, however pay attention to how he truly defends the puck. He will likely be one of many first blueliners to go along with his nice shot and improbable skating, however he has his liabilities, too.
Bonus: The No. three pickFrom beginner and professional rankings, the consensus No. three prospect for the draft is… no one. Chicago has one of many hardest draft selections we’ve seen in fairly a while. Hughes and Kakko will likely be gone when the Blackhawks choose, and a large number of gamers have put their title within the hat as being worthy of the third choose. From Caufield’s dominant scoring contact, Alex Turcotte’s stats regardless of important missed motion, Bowen Byram’s upside as a high defenseman or the checklist of gifted pivots behind Hughes, it’s anybody’s guess as to who’ll put on a Blackhawks jersey sooner or later. The phrase from the draft mix is that Turcotte is the favourite to go third, however solely time will inform.
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Tags: draft, nhlConnect: Concerning the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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