Future Considerations’ scouting director Dan Stewart gives his thoughts on who from the 2016 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
There are plenty who draft eligible skaters who have impressed over the course of the 2015-16 season.
The Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League were one of my favorite teams to watch this season due to the three headed draft eligible group.
That group was headed by forward Logan Brown.
Brown is a hulking playmaking center who started the year looking hesitant on the ice, even with his immense size advantage over almost every opponent he faced and left me practically screaming for him to shoot the puck at times earlier in the season.
But over time, Brown gained much needed confidence in himself and his strong shot as the season wore on and became a real formidable beast on skates for defenders to handle. He started using his strength, more effectively protecting the puck and driving to the net instead of just relying on his reach. He shot the puck which in turn leads to his game becoming much more rounded offensively.
Brown’s teammates blue liners Mikhail Sergachev and Logan Stanley are a couple guys who impressed me all season and showed good progression in their games as the season wore along.
Unfortunately, Sam Steel of the Regina Pats trended in the opposite direction.
Steel was a guy I saw video on two years ago and thought he looked like a potential high-end puck distributor who could be a top draft pick. He just needed to add strength, learn to play in his own zone and go into the gritty areas a little more. Fast-forward and the areas Steel needs to improve upon remain the exact same. He still needs to hit the gym, he still does not know what to do on his side of the red line and he is still too much of a perimeter player for me to think of selecting him near the top of the second round.
The same can’t be said for Chilliwack Chiefs defenseman Dennis Cholowski, one of the draft’s biggest risers.
Not only was he a guy who I did not track until this season but most of the staff can say the same thing. After his initial views, however, he started to creep up our rankings and never stopped rising as his game progressed at a steep rate.
He has really sprouted the past couple seasons physically as he recently measured in at just 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, and is now a smooth-skating 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds. His ability to move the puck and developing defensive, he currently defends with his fleet feet and good stick placement, game has pushed him to the cusp of the first round on plenty of NHL scouts lists.
By Dan Stewart