In this edition of Draft Mid-Terms, we're still in the hinterland of the draft. The players we consider all have strengths and all have big weaknessesit's a selection of big defensemen with no offense or skating issues, small forwards with scoring skills, and big forwards who haven't produced the way they were expected to. For my money, the best player in this set of 10 is the one at the very bottom.
161. Brian Bunnett, Center, 6'1", 190 lbs. OJHL: 49GP, 16G, 17A, 33P. The math doesn't like him at all, but Kirk Leudeke suggests that Bunnett might be a diamond in the rough. He isn't getting much ice-time in the OJHL, and his physical skills are apparently quite good. Also possibly of note: he scored three shorthanded goals this season.
My call: It's an interesting take on Bunnett, who I'd otherwise be inclined to dismiss. I'm still not sure I'd be interested in investing more than a late pick in him.
162. Tanner Sorenson, Right Wing, 5'8", 165 lbs. H.S.: 33GP, 26G, 27A, 53P (as of January 23). A smallish forward, Sorenson is generally reported to be a highly capable offensive forward, and he's bound for Michigan State.
My call: Sorenson's a draft-and-follow type player, but I honestly don't know if I would spend a draft pick on him. Not only is he small, but his point production in high school is not good enough to get too excited about.
163. Matthew Caito, Defense, 5'11", 198 lbs. The son of a sporting family, Caito's bound for Miami-Ohio University.
My call: Not a clue, truth be told. I've got a healthy disregard for players who play high school hockey in their draft years, but beyond that I've got no idea of Caito's upside.
164. Jaycob Megna, Defense, 6'4", 202 lbs. USHL: 55GP, 1G, 17A, 18P, -11. The son of an NFL defensive back and All-American water polo player, Megna played in all situations for Muskegon this season. He's bound for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
My call: Megna's probably another project, but the nice thing with college-bound defensemen is that there's plenty of time for them to develop their game.
165. Madison Dias, Left Wing, 6'0", 172 lbs. BCHL: 50GP, 18G, 30A, 48P. Smallish forward was third on his BCHL team in scoring, behind two older players.
My call: The fact that Dias went from 43 points to 48 points in a weaker league like the BCHL is an ugly red flag.
166. Peter Kosterman, Defense, 6'4", 191 lbs. WHL: 68GP, 1G, 6A, 7P, -14. First off, don't worry too hard about that ugly plus-minus: everybody in Calgary has it. He's big and willing to fight, but his offensive game hasn't come around the way it was expected to. Skating has been flagged as a weakness in the past.
My call: A project and a long-term pick, but not necessarily a bad one.
167. Davis Vandane, Defense, 6'3", 200 lbs. WHL: 42GP, 0G, 17A, 17P, +7. A big offensive defenseman, Vandane split the season between the WHL and SJHL. He showed well enough in the latter league to get brought back to the Dub after scoring just under a point-per-game. He's having a nice playoff by the numbers, and came on strong late in the season.
My call: I'm really not wild about the fact that Vandane wasn't able to stick in the WHL for the entire season. However, he is a great big right-shooting defenseman with offensive upside.
168. Brent Andrews, Left Wing, 6'2", 200 lbs. QMJHL: 68GP, 12G, 17A, 29P, -22. Brent Andrews was a first round pick in the QMJHL draft two years ago, and was expected to be a difference-making power forward for Halifax. It hasn't happened yet.
My call: Central Scouting gave Andrews a boost in their final rankings, but the offense just isn't there. This is one of those 'physical skills' picks.
169. Steven Trojanovic, Defense, 6'1", 198 lbs. OHL: 54GP, 2G, 15A, 17P, +5. Skating's the question mark with Trojanovich, as multiple sources have been concerned about his mobility. Offense isn't a negative so much as it's a neutral.
My call: A right-shooting defenseman with decent size is never a bad thing.
170. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Center, 5'9", 163 lbs. QMJHL: 67GP, 32G, 47A, 79P, +23. It's tough to see a player with this much offensive talent ranked so very low. Pageau lit up the QMJHL during the regular season, and his scoring pace has only increased during the playoffs, where he has 19 points in 11 games. ISS says that he's a great skater with terrific vision.
My call: I like Pageau a lot, and I can't help but think that somebody's going to snag him a lot earlier than this, particularly given his playoff run.
Domestic Skaters, Part 1
Domestic Skaters, Part 2
Domestic Skaters, Part 3
Domestic Skaters, Part 4
Jonathan Willis is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
You can contact Jonathan by clicking here or click here to see Jonathan's other articles.