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2019 NHL Draft November Rankings and Reports: Part Three
With the CHL season nearly two months old, a month or so of NCAA hockey, plenty of games for the US National Team Development Program, the Gretzky-Hlinka Tournament, an international break in Europe, and the Canada-Russia Series all being played since we last updated our draft rankings, we have gotten a decent overview of what some of the biggest prospects for the 2018 NHL draft are doing this year.
That said, as a staff, we haven’t seen every player yet—it’s quite simply not possible this early in the season. If there is an obvious name left out, we’ll do our best to get a look before the February rankings; as well as before our final rankings that go from April through June.
The group we haven’t seen a lot of our European prospects who, for whatever reason, haven’t had much exposure on the international stage. With the World Juniors, Five Nations, and the Under-18 all to come later in the year, we should get a better look at most of those players.
11.) Vasili Podkolzin, Right Wing, SKA St. Petersburg, 6’1″ 190 lbs
Podkolzin burst onto the scene with an impressive performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. With eight goals and 11 points in just five games, he led the Russian team to the bronze medal. This breakout performance followed up on four points in four games at the IIHF Under-18, and six points in five games at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge last year. He is an excellent skater, featuring a powerful stride that generates good speed and also allows him to fight through checks and control the puck down low. Podkolzin has excellent balance and wins battles on the boards and in front of the net. He works well below the hash marks in the cycle game.
Podkolzin has good stickhandling skills which make him tough to defend in one-on-one situations. He can beat defenders out of the corner, or off the rush. He also has very good passing skills with the vision to find open teammates. A natural goal scorer, Podkolzin has a strong wrist shot and a quick release. His soft hands also allow him to finish in close to the net. Most impressive though is his one-timer, which is a rocket.
12.) Philip Broberg, Left Defence, AIK, 6’3″ 198 lbs
Broberg was also extremely impressive at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, with three goals and four points in five games. He helped the Swedish team to a silver medal. Now back in the Swedish Allsvenskan, Broberg has picked up five assists in 17 games this year. He has excellent speed, moving effectively in both directions. However, his agility and pivots are merely good and could use some work to reach the same level as his speed. This allows Broberg to play an effective two-way game.
Broberg handles the puck well. Combined with his skating, he can take the puck out of danger and move it up the ice. He also has the ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone and create offence on the rush. Broberg also has good vision and passing skills. He starts the transition game by head-manning the puck and can play the point on the power play. His slapshot is hard, but could use some improvement on accuracy and on his ability to get it through shooting lanes.
13.) Raphael Lavoie, Right Wing/Centre, Halifax Mooseheads, 6’4″ 198 lbs
Lavoie had a strong second season in the QMJHL, putting up 30 goals and 63 points in 68 games with the Halifax Mooseheads. He was also impressive at the under-18 with five goals in five games for Team Canada. Lavoie has continued this momentum in the new season with 12 goals and 22 points in 20 games. He has the size to be a power winger. Lavoie is a natural sniper. He has an excellent shot and quick release. Lavoie is also good at getting to the front of the net where he has the soft hands and good hand-eye coordination to finish in close to the net with rebounds and tip-ins. He has good stickhandling ability and protects the puck well.
Lavoie is a strong skater for his size. He has a good first step and acceleration, as well as the top end speed to pull away from defenders and create breakaways and odd-man rushes. He also has very good agility and edgework. Lavoie is tough to knock off the puck, with excellent balance. His stride is powerful and he can fight through checks and get to the net. The main criticism of Lavoie at this point is his defensive game. He will need to work on improving that going forward.
14.) Arthur Kaliyev, Left Wing, Hamilton Bulldogs, 6’2″ 190 lbs
A second-round pick in the 2017 OHL Draft, Kaliyev made an immediate impact for the Hamilton Bulldogs and helped the team to the OHL Championship. He put up 31 goals and 48 points in 68 games last season. Kaliyev also had 11 points in 21 playoff games. This season he has 17 goals and 32 points in 21 points. The Staten Island native has a tremendous shot. He picks corners with ease, and his quick release often fools goaltenders. Kaliyev is solid on his skates and not afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice. He establishes a position in front of the net and is tough to move out.
Kaliyev is also a skilled stick handler who can beat defenders in one-on-one situations. He could stand to work on his skating, as Kaliyev could improve his first few steps and overall top-end speed. He also needs to show more commitment in his own end of the ice. With a couple of small improvements, he could climb even higher on draft boards.
15.) Matthew Robertson, Left Defence, Edmonton Oil Kings, 6’4″ 201 lbs
Robertson had seven goals and 24 points in 67 games as a WHL rookie last season. While the stats might not show it, his mature two-way game has caught the eyes of scouts and earned him a spot on Team Canada for the Under 18s. After helping the team to a gold medal, Robertson has started hot with two goals and 11 points in 16 games. Robertson has great size at 6-foot-4 and pairs this with excellent mobility. He skates well in both directions and has the pivots to transition from offence to defence quickly and vice versa. The skating ability has become the foundation of his two-way game. He could work on his agility to keep up with particularly shifty forwards.
Generally, Robertson has good gap control and keeps attackers to the outside on the rush. If they have their head down, he is not afraid to throw a big hit. However, he does not get caught out of position looking for one. He has a strong physical game in the corners and in front of the net. Robertson is a very good passer. This shows up in the transition game where he can start the rush from his own end. It also helps him at the point on the power play. Robertson has a good slap shot and a knack for getting it on the net.
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