Wildcards getting it right

Dan Stewart2013 Draft Center0 Comments

Right-winger Miles Koules should be calm, cool and collected heading into the draft weekend.

Though the future Medicine Hat Tiger is unranked in FC’s 2012 top-210 for the NHL Entry Draft, Koules still stands a solid chance of being selected Saturday.

Each and every year there are those prospects that do not get their names listed on final rankings by various draft publications for the NHL Entry Draft but still get drafted. These prospects have shown enough promise to impress a regional NHL scout and earn a spot on the team’s draft list and ultimately become property of that NHL organization.

Here’s a look at which wildcards on right wing that could be called in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Miles Koules – US NTDP U18 – USHL – 5’-11” 190 lbs
After being impressive at the NHL RDO camp in August the wheels started to come off a little for the skilled forward. He was even demoted from the defense orientated U18 team to the U17 squad towards the end of the year. The good news is Miles will be able to show off his offensive skill in the WHL next season, the same league his father and Hollywood producer Oren also played major junior, for Medicine Hat and could have some real success.

Justin Auger – Guelph – OHL – 6’-7” 215 lbs
This project pick is a monster with his immense size and reach that has the ability to control the walls and board play. Not overly aggressive physically and does not possessing high end offensive skills but he moves rather well and can handle the puck. He is most dangerous down low and around the net as he is nearly impossible for most OHL defenders to handle. He would need to improve his intensity levels and confidence with the puck to be effective at the next level.

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Connor Brown – Erie – OHL – 5’-10.5” 160 lbs
Connor is a bit of a late bloomer as he was drafted out of the Toronto Marlboros midget team in the 2010 OHL Priority selection yet he played his rookie OHL season this past season. His feet and mobility are not what you want in a smallish forward as he lacks jump and the kind of motor smaller guys need to be successful. He also needs to bring the consistency up as he would go long stretches without being noticed between scoring opportunities. Strength is definitely an issue and defensively he had his troubles but he has some offensive skill that might entice an NHL team into a draft selection this June.

Joel Wigle – Niagara – OHL – 6’-2.5” 195 lbs
Wigle is a player who has very good size and the willingness to use it in whatever role he is given. He has solid mobility for his size but lacks a little straight line speed; he competes hard each and every shift. Put up some intriguing numbers from the bottom line on a team with a lot of talent ahead of him in Niagara. He generates much of his success by working hard on the cycle, maintaining possession of the puck as well as getting into good position for a scoring chance. Wigle has underrated playmaking ability and nice vision although he does not possess great puck skills off the rush. Could develop into a strong two-way bottom six role at the next level.

Chase McMurphy – Calgary – AJHL – 6’-1” 185 lbs
After thinking about joining the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL before this past season, McMurphy decided to keep his College eligibility by returning to the Alberta Junior A Leagues Calgary Mustangs where he did not put up the offensive production many thought he would. Still the winger with good size, , physicality, mobility and some offensive skill could hear his name called in Pittsburgh as he does have some intriguing attributes NHL teams covet.

Nikita Jevpalovs – HK Riga – MHL – 6’-0” 180 lbs
Jevpalovs international play this season will be what gets him drafted if he does hear his name called. Jevpalovs came over to North America as a sixteen year old and suited up for the South Muskokoa Shield in the Greater Metro Junior A league where he tore it up offensively. His strengths include good hands, vision and offensive creativity and he has shown a willingness to apply himself to playing a two-way game. Worth a late round selection if a NHL team can get him over to the CHL as an import pick.

Alexander Timirev – CSKA – MHL – 5’-10” 185 lbs
Timirev is a fast and flashy offensive spark plug that unfortunately did not recieve much ice time in the MHL with CSKA this season but was spectacular in some international competition. He is a slick skater who has dynamic hands and impressive creativity with the puck. He also showed a willingness to play with some grit and make some plays defensively as well. He could be a real draft sleeper and one that surprises in a few years.

Timur Shingareyev – Magnitogorsk – MHL – 5’-10” 170 lbs
A very skilled winger with electric offensive flair and creativity with the puck but is also a little “prototypical Russian winger” in that he is very one dimensional and not too interested in the defensive side of the game. He skates well with good speed and explosive jump, has a great shot that explodes off his stick and the slick moves to go on an end to end rush.

Alexander Remov – Belie Tigri Orenburg – MHL – 5’-9” 140 lbs
Remov is a tiny but highly electric little offensive dynamo who despite his size was hard to contain for MHL defenses this past season. His best assets are his elusivness, elite speed and lateral quickness as well as his quick and creative hands. Despite his very impressive offensive abilities, I do not expect an NHL team to select him this year as his size and lack of strength as well as being Russian all will detact from his high end skills.

Evgeni Krutikov – MHC Spartak – MHL – 6’-1” 170 lbs
Krutikov is a bit of a hard prospect to gauge with regards to NHL interest as he rarely played with any level of consistency from game to game. In one game he can dominate, being active, playing physically hard, and utilizing his size and offensive skills to be a difference maker and then the next game being totally invisible. He has decent speed but an awkward stride and very quick hands as well as a strong shot, shows that he can play defensively responsible and use his body to his advantage. While his stride could use some work and he needs to better compete, he has some nice tools that NHL teams look for.

Dario Simion – Lugano – Switzerland NLA – 6’-1” 185 lbs
Simion is a power winger type who skates well and gives a healthy effort each and every shift. He goes into the areas that you want a player his size to go into and competes hard but has shown that he is tentative to get as dirty as he could against opponents that might push back. Battles for his space in front of the net and has the hands to deposit the puck from in close. Had a mixed review at the World Junior Championships and again this Spring at the U18’s.

Daniel Zaar – Rogle J20 – Sweden SuperElit – 5’-11” 170 lbs
A strong two-way winger who thinks the game well, shows good maturity for his age and really knows what to do in each situation he faces. Showed many times his strong awareness as he covered for pinching defenders and even his centre when he ventured down low. He has great wheels that aid his strong all-round play and understands positioning in both zones. He leaves you wondering if he would not be better served as a hard working, two-way centre. He has a good, hard shot but is not elite level in any offensive category. If an NHL team is looking for a strong defensive forward with great feet they may look to Zaar.

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