Draft Ranking Part 4
In part 4 of 5, we examine the players ranked 31-40.
31. Martin Frk – RW – Halifax (QMJHL) – 6’0 – 204lbs – Shoots R – Oct. 5, 1993
Martin Frk is a great combination of power and grit at the forward position. He drives to the net with regularity, his hands are smooth, and his shot is top flight. The downside with Frk is his skating issues and seemingly low hockey IQ. Frk can get lost in the shuffle on offense and could be better served to position himself better without the puck. Frk does work well with the puck on his stick and has great possession capabilities. His shot is fast and deceptive with pinpoint accuracy. Frk is able to get hard shots on the net from awkward positions. Overall, Frk needs to be a bit better with this cerebral game, minimize the bad penalties, and work on his skating. He has the potential to be a great power-forward with sniper capabilities, but his wheels are the big concern, along with the a recently developed concussion history.
2011-12 Statistics: 34GP – 16G – 13A – 29PTS – 41PIM – -9
32. Pontus Aberg – LW – Djurgardens (SWE) – 5’11 – 194lbs – Shoots R – Sept. 23, 1993
Pontus Aberg might be the picture of high risk, high reward. He just missed the chance to be draft eligible for 2011 by a week. The extra year allowed him to play against grown men, he started off the year strongly and although he was absent from the score sheet late in the year, he was generating scoring chances. Aberg has a high offensive awareness and a top level acumen. His bag of tricks with the puck range from great dangles to laser shots. Aberg struggles defensively and despite his effortless skating, does not play enough of an impact in his own zone. Aberg also struggles with distributing the puck at times. His ability to play in a physical environment might also be in question. That being said, Aberg has a great deal of skill offensively and is one of the better skaters in this draft class.
2011-12 Statistics: 47GP – 8G -7A – 15PTS – 6PIM – -3
33. Gemel Smith – LW – Owen Sound (OHL) – 5’10 – 160lbs – Shoots L – April 16, 1994
Gemel Smith might be small, but he plays the game like a giant. The fastest skater at the CHL prospects game, Smith is a lethal skater and makes everything look easy in regards to his footwork. Smith is also a great offensive talent, his shot is solid, his vision is top notch, and his quick reaction time makes his crisp passing a true threat. Smith draws comparisons to Brad Marchand in the way he approaches the game. Some of those comparisons are very valid. Smith’s approach to the game and intensity level on the ice make him unpopular. Despite his size, he will drop the gloves. The issues lie in his defensive game. He’s able to get into the zone, but has a low awareness and a size disadvantage that breeds lopsided matchups for him. Will have to gain some toughness in his own end in order to be more effective defensively, but he’s a great guy to have in the room and his approach to the game is very old school.
2011-12 Statistics: 68GP – 21G – 39A – 60PTS – 51PIM – +9
34. Damon Severson – D – Kelowna (WHL) – 6’1 – 200lbs – Shoots R – Aug. 7, 1994
Damon Severson is a big WHL blueliner that has a decent offensive prowess and a quiet but underwhelming defensive game. Severson can play physical but needs to do so on a more regular basis. Severson’s skating is a big question mark that needs improvement. Overall, his offensive acumen is solid. He makes reliable decisions in the offensive zone and has a strong, booming shot from the point. He is a bit reserved in all zones so he could stand to be more assertive on the blueline. As his skating improves, his ability to defend the one on one chances will improve with it. Severson is a bit of a project, but he possess as a solid overall skill set that is very raw with a potentially large upside.
2011-12 Statistics: 56GP – 7G – 30A – 37PTS – 80PIM – +6
35. Mike Matheson – D – Dubuque (USHL) – 6’1 – 178lbs – Shoots L – Feb. 27, 1994
Mike Matheson could have been a QMJHL star, but opted the USHL route so that he could head to the NCAA. He is committed to play at Boston College next year. Matheson is a great defensive presence. His skating is top notch. His ability to explode from a standstill makes him a constant presence around the net on defense. His offensive game is lacking in some areas but developed nicely this year. His shot has decent velocity and he’s become more active in the offensive zone. Matheson’s path to the NHL might be a bit longer, but his overall defensive prowess and hockey IQ give him an extremely high ceiling.
2011-12 Statistics: 53GP – 11G -16A – 27PTS – 84PIM
36. Ludvig Bystrom – D – MODO (SWE) – 6’1 – 208lbs – Shoots L – July 20, 1994
Ludvig Bystrom is a great puck moving defenseman playing in the MODO system. Like NHL clubs, MODO has both a parent and junior club. Bystrom switched between each throughout the year. Bystrom is a great puck moving defenseman that has a heads up style of play and a very smooth stride. His patience with the puck and emotionless approach to the game make him very reliable in his own end. The issue with Bystrom lies with his propensity for over playing the puck or waiting too long to make a crucial decision. He can be prone to turnovers. His one on one defensive work is adequate but his overall man on man game needs more seasoning on small ice. Bystrom projects as a puck mover with adequate offensive skills. His physical game needs to further develop.
2011-12 Statistics: 42GP – 8G – 25A – 33PTS – -3
37. Adam Pelech – D – Erie (OHL) – 6’2 – 210lbs – Shoots L – Aug. 18, 1994
Adam Pelech is a strong defensive defenseman that is excellent one on one despite having average mobility. Pelech battled back from an early year injury to have a solid showing throughout the year. Pelech is good in front of the net and has a solid physical presence. His major flaw is not having much of an offensive game and struggling with vision exiting the zone. His solid game in his own zone is a great benefit to his game but he has to become better in the offensive zone and generally exhibit better decision making when he has the puck on his stick. The defensive acumen is certainly there for this young defenseman.
2011-12 Statistics: 44GP – 2G -18A – 20PTS – 52PIM – -20
38. Mike Winther – C/LW – Prince Albert (WHL) – 5’11 – 175lbs – Shoots L – July 9, 1994
Mike Winther is one of the better skaters in this draft class. He plays the game the same way night in and night out. His work ethic is impeccable and his offensive acumen is strong. He’s a very elusive forward and because of his size he can be difficult to mark in the offensive zone. Winther has a solid shot, great vision, and can dart in and out of lanes with ease. His defensive game is strong as well. He plays a great role on the penalty kill. His numbers were affected by playing on a very poor squad this year. However, Winther’s size has a negative impact on his game. He’s easily bumped off the puck and he can be ineffective on defense because of his size. If he can hit a growth spurt, Winther could develop into a strong offensive force with a great two-way presence.
2011-12 Statistics: 71GP -32G – 24A – 56PTS – 59PIM – -9
39. Phillip Di Guiseppe – LW – Michigan (CCHA) – 5’11 – 176lbs – Shoots L – Oct. 9, 1993
Phillip Di Guiseppe is one of the better playmakers in this draft class. He has exceptional vision and a knack for putting the puck through tight spaces onto the stick of an opponent. He is a forward that loves to burst down the wing and slow the game down. He isn’t out of place with the puck on his stick and he has a solid shot. His two-way play is present and he takes the same approach shift to shift. Di Guiseppe is a fantastic asset to any line has he elevates his teammates play with his puck distribution. While he doesn’t shy away from a physical game, a bit more consistency is needed in that realm and his size is an obvious hurdle in him playing the type of game he wants to play.
2011-12 Statistics: 40GP – 11G -15A – 26PTS – 18PIM
40. Tanner Pearson – LW – Barrie (OHL) – 6’0 – 198lbs – Shoots L – Sept. 10, 1992
The first thing you’ll notice about Tanner Pearson is his birth year. Looked over in the 2010 and 2011 draft, Pearson sprung onto the scene this year as an offensive threat for Barrie. He also made his way onto the Team Canada WJC squad. Pearson has a top quality shot and exceptional vision that enables him to distribute the puck effectively. His skating is still a bit of a concern but it has improved. Pearson’s stock took a hit when he broke a bone in his leg in the last regular season game of the year. Pearson has finally put it together offensively, but his skating is still an issue and his general lack of production early in his career still give some reservations.
2011-12 Statistics: 60GP – 37G – 54A – 91PTS – 37PIM – +21