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We’re down to the final day before the NHL Entry Draft and our focus this morning is on the under-the-radar players who are likely to be selected in the second half of the draft, eliciting little more than a simple “who?” reaction from the fans of the team that selects them. These are the guys nobody is talking about on draft day but could be years from now when they turn into the steals of the draft.
Nikolai Chebykin, RW, HK MVD Jr (MHL)
Casey says: This big-bodied (6’4″) Russian winger made an impression at the World Junior A Challenge this year. Ranked as a potential sixth or seventh-rounder, Chebykin has the trifecta of size, speed, and puckhandling skills on his side. He works hard and for someone his height, he’s a surprisingly mobile skater. He’s described as a physical player who can move the puck well and is solid in transition–both qualities the Avs could use.
Casey says: Capobianco is a smooth passer and skater who reads the play well and played both special teams for the Wolves this season. He’s ranked anywhere from early fourth round to unranked, so clearly scouting opinions on him are mixed. However, he showed flashes of brilliance and an endurance to his skating that stood out over a lot of his age group. He’s simply solid and reliable, a safe pick that could end up a reliable workhorse for an NHL team.
Yegor Rykov, D, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
Casey says: Rykov is a big left-handed defender who both skates and passes well. He generates turnovers and clogs up opponents’ lanes well, generally getting himself in the way however he can. His passing talent sees him on the scoresheet often enough with assists and he has leadership experience as well, wearing an A for Ska-1946 St. Pete and a C for the 2014-15 Russian U18s. His rankings are all over the place, but there are certainly worse pick-ups in the fourth or fifth round, where he averages out.
Andi says: If Cirelli’s name looks familiar, chances are good you’ve heard about his Memorial Cup winning goal. The two-way center was on a stacked Oshawa club this year, but his smarts, anticipation, work ethic, and movement away from the puck were under-the-radar effective all season long. Recent Cup teams have demonstrated how important solid 3rd lines are, and Cirelli fits that defensive and secondary scoring profile to a T. While he’s fairly unlikely to ever crack the Top 6, he could easily be a stellar depth pick for the Avs on Saturday.
Andi says: Martenet is very raw but he’s 6′-7″ and fairly mobile for his size. There’s nothing else particularly great about his game, but there’s no glaring issues either. He’s a bit of a long-shot for the NHL at this point, but just like Kyle Wood, Mason Geertsen, and Ben Storm, the Avs have been taking chances on bigger defensemen during the mid and late rounds of the draft over the past couple years. Once the third or fourth round start, Chris Martenet should be a name to keep an eye on.
Christian Jaros, D, Luleå (SHL)
Austin says: Jaros is playing in the SHL in Europe, so there is a chance he is a bit under that radar. Jaros is 6’3″ with 200 lbs of meat on his bones, and is touted as a physical player with good mobility and strong hockey sense. He’s the type of player you can take a chance on in the 6th or 7th round, and leave in Europe to develop among men.
Caleb Jones, D, USNDTP (USHL)
Austin says: Caleb Jones is the younger brother of Seth Jones of the Nashville Predators. Caleb doesn’t have the talents of his older brother, but he might be an interesting player to grab in the final round of the draft, especially given his ties to the Denver area.
Cheryl says: One of two Sebastian Ahos in the draft, this guy is one that could turn out to be a steal. He’s defensively-minded, relentless on the puck, and mature for his age. He is a playmaker at heart with good vision and a high hockey IQ. If his game can transfer to North American ice, you’re looking at a possession specialist who could fill in a potential gap if Ryan O’Reilly doesn’t sign.
Cheryl says: Here’s a guy who has been underrated at every step of the way. He has had to fight his way onto teams, but when he gets there, his dedication and hard work elevates him in his coach’s’ eyes. This past season, he started on the fourth line and proved his worth as he made his way to the top line. He’s as reliable as they come, and you’re not going to see this guy making egregious errors. His hockey sense, face off skills, and character could give him a solid NHL career in the bottom six or as a go-to call up when injuries hit.