Future Considerations’ United States scout Jake VanBesien gives his thoughts on who from the 2017 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
It was a top-line forward that impressed me the most, an under-the-radar two-way center who in 2016-17 finished 31st in Future Considerations’ Final ranking for the 2017 NHL Draft. That, of course, was Shane Bowers of the Waterloo Black Hawks. Bowers plays a complete 200-foot game with high compete and elite skill in all three zones. He has the ability to play top minutes, will stand in front of the net on the power play and will kill penalties.
Bowers has the ability to fill multiple roles in the future because he does the little things right and keeps it simple, yet has the capability to make a flashy play and open eyes. Bowers has a lot of the tools to be a well-trusted asset in multiple roles at the professional level. He thrives in the middle of the rink, but can also step outside and play the wing, too.
Over the past two seasons it has become very apparent that Bowers’ upside is leading to an elite level of play and the first-round ranking is a testament to his game and development path.
As for some, their first eligible season did not go as completely planned for some reason or another. For Marc McLaughlin, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place in Cedar Rapids. He made the best of a tough situation given his circumstances.
The well-framed forward has a lot of the necessary tools and a promising upside. Disregarding the low offensive production, McLaughlin has a chance at a later selection, but the lack of offensive statistics hindered a lot of his opportunity.
A sleeper for me comes out in the form of defenseman Mario Ferraro. Ferraro has all the tools of a puck-moving defenseman that you can ask for. He is extremely mobile with impressive end-to-end speed and exceptional agility. He also carries the puck confidently and has a natural act for the net. He thrives when the puck is on his stick, doesn’t have any issues finding the passing lanes in transition and is more than capable of quarterbacking the power play.
He is classified as an offensive defenseman, but Ferraro has really made a name for himself during his rookie year in the USHL as an influential part wih the Des Moines Buccaneers. He was a true asset on the back-end all season long. Where the game is heading, focusing on speed and mobility, Ferraro has the natural talent, raw skill and promising upside that would be a steal in the middle rounds.
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