A look at 2015 draft eligible European prospects

Dennis Schellenberg is a prospect writer for Hockey Prospectus. He is based out of Switzerland

Scouting Report – Dennis Malgin

Bio

Team: ZSC Lions (NLA)/GCK Lions (NLB)                 Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: C
To date stats: 65 GP, 12 G, 14 A, 26 pts, 18 PIM
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 5-9”, 176

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Denis is a very smooth and agile skater with very good acceleration and top speed. He uses his good skating for smooth zone entries and to dance through the offensive zone.  He is able to get rid of forecheckers with his very explosive first strides and likes to go end-to-end while still carrying the puck.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

If you are looking for flaws in his game you would want to mention missing shot power. Though he has an accurate shot and isn’t missing the target often, he needs to work on the power of his shot. However, he showed progress in shooting this season. He often preferred a pass over a shot but he gained confidence and is using his shot more often, also resulting in more goals during the playoffs.

Puck Skills

Malgin is a great puckhandler who has good hands and can go fast while maintaining control over his stick and carrying the puck safely. He has a very accurate pass and likes to use it to set up plays and create scoring chances. Will play an even more dominant role on the powerplay soon, where he is organizing and show his great vision.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Not only is he good in offence, he plays also very responsibly in his own zone. Backchecks well and supports his defenders. Probably his biggest asset is his excellent vision. Reads the game very well and is aware of the position of his line mates. Has great playmaking skills and is always up for a surprising pass to open scoring chances.

Physicality

Given his small size he is lacking physical presence and balance. If he can’t get rid of his opponents with fast turns and agile skating, he finds himself losing corner battles. Needs to work a lot on his strength and shows struggles to play against big sized defenders. But give him credit for not being intimidated by physical teams as he keeps going and sticks to his game.

General Assessment

His outstanding vision, great playmaking skills and excellent skating abilities make him a very interesting pick for the upcoming draft.  He is one of those players who keeps you on the edge of your seat all game long. He showed he can compete with older players with good games during the playoffs in the highest Swiss league, with 4 goals and a strong u18 tournament. All those skills would make him a possible 1st rounder, but teams might shy away from picking him that early because of his huge lack of size and strength. However, scouts can’t ignore his assets and despite of his size he might still be a Tier IV player, providing good value in the mid second through the third rounds of the draft.

Scouting Report – Denis Guryanov

Bio

Team: Ladia Togliatti (MHL)                         Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: RW/LW
To date stats: 27 GP, 18 G, 11 A,  29 pts, 51 PIM
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-2”, 192

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

A big sized and powerful skater who has good speed but lacks some explosiveness, which is because of his big body. Once in motion he reaches a good top speed. He is very strong on his skates and has great balance. Is hard to knock off the puck which allows him to drive the net and power himself through the offensive zone.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

The Russian power forward has a rocket shot. Very powerful and accurate and uses both wristshot as well as a booming slapshot. He is a sniper who loves to fire the puck and doesn’t miss a chance to shoot.

Puck Skills

Like many Russian forwards, he has soft hands and is a good puckhandler. Is very effective in one-against-one situations and likes to enter the offensive zone from the corners with a lot of speed while using his body to protect the puck and driving the net.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Unlike a sniper, Guryanov is trying hard to also play responsible in his own zone. He backchecks quite well and is trying to support his defenders. Though he can be more efficient in doing so and needs to use his stick more effectively to block passing lanes. He possesses a hard and accurate pass and is aware of the position of his line mates, though prefers to shoot by himself.

Physicality

His big frame, excellent balance and strong legs help him to be able to play a very good physical game. He has a good timing for hits, wins a lot of corner battles and is a good puck protector when circling deep in the offensive zone.

General Assessment

Big power forward with a great shot, excellent offensive skills and some defensive mind. Has all the tools to become an offensive weapon at the NHL level, who plays a North American style of hockey. But like with many Russian prospects, teams are worried about his willingness to leave Russia. Regardless if he has interest in coming over the pond soon or not, his talent has been seen in the recent u18 tournament where he was the most dangerous Russian. He has scoring blood and put up good numbers in each season so far. Can be a potential late first rounder, making him a Tier III draft prospect.

Scouting Report: Jonas Siegenthaler

Bio
Team: ZSC Lions                (NLA)                   Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: D
To date stats: 59GP, 0 G, 5 A, 5 pts, 43 PIM
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-2”, 214

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Is a smooth skater but he needs to work on explosiveness in his first steps.  Has surprisingly good agility for his size and an average top speed. Siegenthaler makes up for the lack of speed with his good positioning.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

Clearly an area he needs to improve. His shot release is poor and the shot power is not as good as you would expect it from a player like him with a big frame but in terms of accuracy he is doing fine, as the puck mostly hits the target.

Puck Skills

He is very responsible with the puck and doesn’t create a lot of turnovers. Has decent puckhandling skills but there is still room for improvement. His pass is accurate and he has a secure first pass.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Siegenthaler has a great understanding of the game in his own zone with great positioning and very reliable defensive play. He uses his strong body to prevent forwards from scoring on rebounds and is excellent when using his stick to interrupt passes and rushes. Plays a very calm defensive game and doesn’t panic when under pressure.

Physicality

Given his big frame, he is not easy to knock off the puck and plays a solid physical game. He is hard to beat in corner battles and often shuts down forwards along the boards. Is using his body to get involved physically but still needs to gain some strength and play the body more often.

General Assessment

His biggest asset is clearly his matured defensive mind and great calmness. Siegenthaler is a very solid defender with good size and strength. He is able to shut down opponent players and has good potential to become a reliable stay-at-home defender at the NHL level. Needs to improve his offensive play and rarely gets involved in the opposing team’s zone.  Also has room for improvement in his skating skills. If he manages to become more explosive and can improve his offensive skills, he can be a regular starter at NHL level.  There are several defenders ahead of him in this year’s draft, so expect him to be a Tier III getting drafted in the early 2nd round.

Scouting Report – Veeti Vainio

Bio

Team: Espoo Blues u20  (Jr. A SM-Liiga)                  Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: D
To date stats: 50 GP, 15 G, 37 A,  52 pts, 46 PIM
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6-2”, 170

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

The Finnish defender is a very smooth skater who has good speed and is able to make quick turns. Shows tremendous agility. He uses his good speed to join rushes and his agile skating skills help him with easy looking zone entries.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

Vainio has a decent shot. Likes to use his accurate wrist shot. Especially in his rushes into the offensive zone, he likes to shoot the puck and create rebounds with his hard wrister.

Puck Skills

He is a great puckhandler who does not mishandle the puck very often. Is even able to control the puck when dancing through the middle zone while carrying the puck in at full speed. Possesses a very accurate and hard pass which he uses for a good first pass.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

One of the big concerns among scouts is his defensive play. Often he gets caught playing too offensively and fails to show the best positioning game in his own zone. He definitely needs to put together his game in the defensive zone and eliminate risky 1vs1 situations which could lead to turnovers and breakaways. He has great vision, though and can quarterback the powerplay with his good passing skills.

Physicality

Vainio is definitely lacking strength. He brings a decent size to the game but needs some muscle growth. As of today he can still shake off opponent players with his skating agility and speed but at higher levels he won’t be able to do so anymore.

General Assessment

Vainio’s offensive game and ability to create offence, lead rushes and zone entries are strong. Additionally, he has great skating agility and speed plus is a strong puckhandler. But there are valid concerns he is not able to put his own zone game together. He had a few games in the Finnish highest league and got a contract for next year. It will be interesting to see if he can improve his own zone game. If he can, he might be a steal in a lower drafting round. He is often called a boom or bust prospect, therefore hard to project but he might be picked in the 3rd or 4th round, making him a Tier IV draft prospect.

Scouting Report – Joel Eriksson Ek

Bio

Team: Färjestad (J20 Super Elit)/ Färjestad (SHL)                               Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: C
To date stats: 31 GP, 26 G, 16 A, 42 pts, 26 PIM at J20 SuperElit level, 37 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 pts, 6 PIM at SHL level
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-2”, 185

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

It’s hard to find flaws in his game but if you want to name one, skating would be an often mentioned word. He isn’t known for great speed and his acceleration still has room for improvement. But he showed progress in both areas through the course of the year and he already possesses a good balance on his skates.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

Eriksson Ek’s shot is very powerful and accurate, especially his wrist shot which is a good weapon. He likes to shoot from all angles and positions himself in front of the net to deflect the puck.

Puck Skills

He might not be the best puckhandler and shows some puck control issues when carrying the puck at full speed. But this is nitpicking as he usually protects the puck very well and makes it extremely hard for the defenders to knock him off the puck.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Joel is very competitive in all three zones. He shows great defensive responsibility and isn’t afraid to back check deep in his own zone to create turnovers and take away the puck from the opponent. Offensively he drives the net hard and makes life hard for each defender. Likes to get his nose dirty and does all for the win in each shift.

Physicality

He is a gritty forward who has good size and powerful legs, which he uses very well to win corner battles, is hard to knock off the puck and drives the net with a lot of power and willingness. He is a “in the face player” who tries to gets under the skin of opponents in every shift and is present during after whistle scrums.

General Assessment

Big two-way center who works very hard in all three zones and has great work ethic. Together with his good shot and decent scoring skills he shows a good competitive level and willingness to do everything for the win. He might not have the high-end scoring skills to center a first line but can be a very effective player on 2nd or 3rd line. He played in over 30 games this season in the highest Swedish league and is fitting into a North American style of game. With Datsyuk and Zetterberg getting older, Detroit might have a very close look on him. Expect him to be drafted in the back end of the first round, making him a Tier III draft prospect.

Scouting Report – Oliver Kylington

Bio

Team: Färjestad J20 (SuperElit)/ Färjestad (SHL)/AIK (Allsvenskan)           Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: D
To date stats: 16 GP, 4 G, 8 A, 12 pts, 8 PIM with Färjestad J20/ 18 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 pts, 4 PIM with Färjestad/ 17 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 pts, 6 PIM with AIK
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-0”, 181

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Kylington is a tremendously smooth skater, maybe one of the best in the entire draft class. He has good top speed, acceleration and great agility. His good skating abilities helps him to make his lack of size forgettable.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

He has a very hard and accurate shot, which he likes to use from the blue line. Especially on the powerplay he can be a dangerous weapon with shots from the point.

Puck Skills

Oliver is a good puckhandler who carries the puck with a lot of calmness and no panic. Because of his smooth skating and good hands, he manages to lead rushes and jumps into offence.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

A defender with great vision and tremendous understanding for the game. He barely panics on plays and his game looks very mature. He likes to join rushes and carry the puck into the offensive zone using his good skating skills. Needs to work on his positioning in the defensive zone.

Physicality

He has average size and doesn’t get involved physically too much. However, he is strong on his skates and shows good balance. Often, he can use his good skating and agility to escape from physical battles.

General Assessment

One of the best skaters in this year’s draft class. Besides that he impresses with his great vision and matured, calm game. Shows a lot of confidence. He definitely has the potential to be a good two-way defender in the NHL. However, he has played with less confidence this year, plus his average performance at the u18 worlds puts some questions marks behind this prospect. He might be drafted mid/late first, making him a Tier II-III draft prospect.

Scouting Report – Julius Nättinen

Bio

Team: JYP-Akatemia (Mestis)/JYP (Liiga)                                                               Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: C
To date stats: 45 GP, 11 G, 18 A, 29 pts, 10 PIM with JYP-Akatemia/  9 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 3 pts, 0 PIM with JYP
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-2”, 194

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Nättinen has a big frame and therefore is not the most explosive skater, neither is he very agile on his skates. He needs to work on his acceleration as well. Though it needs to be added at this point that he made progress in his skating skills over the last few months.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc)

The Finnish forward possesses a great shot and can use his entire shot arsenal well. Very hard and accurate slapshot and wrister. Is often used at the blueline on the powerplay and is a dangerous weapon.

Puck Skills

He has decent puckhandling skills, though not outstanding. He might not be the type of player that leaves you breathless. But given his size, he has a long reach and can protect the puck very well.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Nättinen is a center/winger who works excellently in his own zone. Plays a very solid two-way game and always backchecks responsibly. He shows good vision and has playmaking skills, though he possesses a good shot and should use it more often.

Physicality

Although he is a big body, he doesn’t play with a big physical edge. Given his frame and good puck protection skills, he is very hard to knock off the puck and is present in board battles. But in terms of playing the body he has room for improvement.

General Assessment

Nättinen shows a good package of size, strength, vision, work ethic and shooting skills. Given all those assets, he is suitable for the game in North America. Like many Finnish players, he brings a good work ethic along. There was some uncertainty about his skating abilities, but it needs to be added that he made progress in this department. He would fit into a 3rd line or maybe even 2nd line if he can create more offence in the future. He can be considered a Tier III player.

Scouting Report – Ilya Samsonov

Bio

Team: Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk                              Draft Status: 2015 draft eligible
Position: G

To date stats: 18 GP, 2.66 GAA, .920 SV%
Glove hand: L
Height/Weight: 6-3”, 201

Characteristics

Athleticism (Includes size and agility)

Listed with 6-3, he is a big kid and has perfect size. But despite his big size, he shows great agility. Has good lateral movement and is strong with his pads.

Quickness/Speed (includes reflexes and glove hand)

He has very good reflexes with his pads. His glove hand skills are decent but improvable. He prefers to use his legs instead of glove and upper body. His excellent athleticism helps him to move quickly in a good position to cover the net in the best possible way.

Vision/Play reading (anticipation)

He tracks the puck very well and is mostly in good position to the shooter. Has a good positioning game which shows he is able to read the game very well and has decent vision. Though he needs to improve his anticipation skills when it comes to puckhandling and leaving his crease.

Compete/Temperament (how he fights through a screen)

Samsonov seems to be always aware of the position of the puck. Rarely is he caught in a bad position and he tracks the puck very well.

Technique/style (Butterfly/dropdown/how to tries to position himself)

He is good down low and shows good agility with his legs. Has an ability to make big saves and plays an acrobatic game. He plays at top of his crease to make himself even bigger than he already is.

Rebound Control

One of his flaws might be rebound control. He tends to offer juicy rebounds when the puck hits him up high. His rebound control with the pads is decent though.

Puck Handling

Like many European goaltenders, He has room for improvement in this area. Needs to read the play better to be able to handle the puck better and be more proactive.

General Assessment

Samsonov is one of many good goaltender prospects who have come out of Russia lately. He is considered by some to be the best one since Andrei Vasilevsky. His big size and the ability to make big saves impresses scouts the most. Although there are concerns about his consistency and the fact that he barely competed against top competitors, Samsonov has the talent to become a starting goalie at the NHL level. He probably gets drafted in the 2nd round or slips into 3rd if teams are concerned about his willingness to leave his home town of Magnitogorsk making him a tier IV draft prospect.