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June 5, 2013
Top 100 Draft Prospects 2013
61-70

by Corey Pronman

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61. Lucas Wallmark, Center, Skelleftea (J20 SuperElit)

Wallmark had an impressive season. He did well in the Swedish junior circuit, centered the Swedish U18 team's top line, and eventually earned some time in the Swedish tier-two pro league, producing well for a player of his age. He is a smart two-way player, who sees all of the options available to him well. He makes good decisions, and he is capable of slowing the play down. He is also effective as the point man on a power play. His above-average puck skills allow him to create space and evade checkers, but he is not a flashy dangler. He played a committed defensive game, but he will need to get stronger to have better value in that area. Still, it is safe to say that his defense is not a liability. His skating is his largest issue, as he is average if not below-average on his feet, with unimpressive speed. His size is also a concern, as he is just 5'10"-5'11".

62. Emile Poirier, Left Wing, Gatineau (QMJHL)

Poirier was a top scorer on a weak Gatineau squad, averaging about a point per game as an 18-year-old with a late birthdate. He has good skill elements to his game: above-average hands, good quickness, and impressive coordination with the puck. His hockey sense is equally notable, as he makes good offensive zone reads as a playmaker and he knows where to position himself off of the puck. He also displays a solid shot, capable of finishing beyond the high-percentage areas. He has a gritty element to his game as well. He will show some edge in one-on-one battles, as well as drive to the net. Scouts are conflicted on his skating, with one praising it, and another saying that despite decent speed, his agility and the overall finer aspects of his skating need work.

63. Hudson Fasching, Right Wing, USA Under-18 (USHL)

Fasching came into the season with expectations of being a first rounder, thanks to his good frame and multitude of offensive tools. His stock took a bit of a hit thanks to a somewhat disappointing season, but with his potential, he is still a noteworthy prospect. Fasching is a good skater, with a powerful first step. He skates well for a player who has already bulked up at such a young age. He is a tad over 200 pounds, with slightly above-average height. He does not shy away from the physical game, as he will make power moves to the net. He will, at times, compete hard, protecting the puck effectively. Still, his physical game can come and go. He has a very solid set of hands, showing the ability to control the puck, and display good creativity when puck handling. His main areas of concern are consistency and hockey sense. This season, he would show flashes of great hockey, but too often he would become lost in the play and not make anything happen.

64. Zach Nastasiuk, Right Wing, Owen Sounds (OHL)

Nastasiuk is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft class. Scouts have a wide range of takes on his game, but nobody objects to his physicality and intangibles. He is a very hard-working, strong forward, and he does a lot off of the puck. He pressures well on the forecheck, playing a good two-way game. He kills penalties, and can lay some good hits on opponents. He protects the puck well on the cycle, and he can be hard to move when he plants himself in front of the net. His offensive upside and his skating ability are the questionable areas of his game. His production this year was just okay (40 points in 62 games), but he did produce around a point per game in the OHL playoffs. He has above-average puck skills, but some scouts say he is not overly creative. That is not a consensus opinion, however. Scouts are also divided on his skating, with one saying it is bad, another calling it average and yet a third qualifying it as high end. I give it a grade of average, but with uncertainty. There is an argument that Nastasiuk could be a scoring line player, but there is a chance he could end up as a great third liner.

65. Linus Arnesson, Defense, Djurgardens (Allsvenskan)

Arnesson had a decent season considering he was playing in a men's league as a teenager. He had a great U20 tournament in November, where he was named the event's top defenseman. At the World Juniors, he was just okay, although some scouts believed he was impressive. Arnesson is not a high-upside, flashy player. His style is predicated on keeping the game simple, and playing well in his own end. He has good feet, showing nice techniques on his pivots, crossovers, and first-step bursts. He can close gaps efficiently, and because he plays a physical brand of hockey, he will punish his checks to get the puck from opponents. He makes a lot of stops and smart defensive plays. Despite his lack of offensive skill and imagination, this gives him a lot of value as a prospect. Arnesson is not completely ineffective with the puck, however, as he can make fine outlet passes, and will occasionally use his skating ability to join the rush or activate from the point.

66. Tommy Vannelli, Defense, Minnetonka (US High School)

Vannelli is one of the top high school prospects in this draft. He started the season well, with an impressive Ivan Hlinka tournament over the summer, and his good play during the season earned him a spot on Team USA at the World Under-18's. He is a quality skater, with a fluid, powerful stride. He can close gaps efficiently and evade pressure well. His strengths are mostly at the offensive end of the rink. He is good with the puck in terms of his vision, panic threshold, and ability to advance the play. He shows flashes of great performance, but like most high school prospects, he has a long way to go. One NHL scout told me that he is very raw but has a lot of assets. His decision making and defensive game remain areas that need significant development. Vannelli has a decent, if not a solid physical game, but he will need to continue to bulk up. He is committed to playing at the University of Minnesota in the fall.

67. Ryan Kujawinski, Center, Kingston (OHL)

Kujawinski had a bit of a disappointing season after entering it as a potential first round pick following a great 16-year-old campaign with the Frontenacs. He has a lot of interesting elements to his game but has been plagued with inconsistency. He is a strong forward with solid size, and he can simply fly up the ice with his great top-end speed and acceleration. He has the puck possession skill to create offense, but as one NHL scout put it, he only shows you pieces of good things. His offensive creativity is not always on display. He has quality defensive awareness, and a commitment to get back in his own end. Kujawinski also protects the puck well, and he plays a good game along the boards. Like his offense, his physical game can come and go. The team that selects him will be taking a gamble that his developmental track can stabilize. Regaining his form as a top prospect will be key for him, as there is a downside that he simply may not pan out.

68. Michael Downing, Defense, Dubuque (USHL)

Downing caught scouts' eyes last year by playing well as a 16-year-old in the USHL, where he was a teammate of Panthers' first rounder Michael Matheson. He is a big man with puck-moving potential. Downing is mobile, and a notably above-average skater for a 6'3" defender. His closing ability and his physical brand of hockey make him a threat to forwards attempting to carry the puck into the zone. Downing is a solid puck mover as well. He doesn't ooze offensive skill, but he outlets the puck well, sometimes flashing significant ability in that area. Scouts provide overall mixed reviews on Downing. Early this season, some sources said he looked very bland. From discussions, and from my own viewings, questions arose about his hockey sense—he would go out of position to try to land a big hit, or make bad decisions with the puck. From midseason on, the reviews were much more positive, with sources saying he was playing well in his own end while managing the puck well. Downing is committed to attend the University of Michigan for 2013-14.

69. Brett Pesce, Defense, University of New Hampshire (NCAA - Hockey East)

Pesce had an impressive freshman campaign at New Hampshire. While he did not amass significant counting stats, he showed a very advanced defensive game for a player with his age and experience. Pesce shows the ability to play an effective shutdown game, due to his good stick positioning, aggressive physical style, four-way mobility, and overall quality defensive reads. He is an active player, as he is always engaging the opponent, waving his stick to interfere with passing lanes, or moving his feet. While Pesce is mobile, his stride can be a little short, which is admittedly a nitpick, as he does get good power from his legs. Pesce can move the puck, but offense will not be the main aspect of his game, other than making good outlets. He does have the hockey sense to make smart decisions and move the puck well, but he is not a dynamic or overly creative player. He will need to continue to bulk up his frame, as he still has some room to grow.

70. Marc-Olivier Roy, Right Wing, Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)

Roy is a late 1994 birthdate, and his late eligibility gave him extra time to take the next step in his development. That advantage allowed him to put up solid numbers in the QMJHL this season. Roy's best skill is his skating, which is plus, as he can jet through the neutral zone with impressive top speed. He is a technically sound skater, and he is very elusive in tight. I have heard different takes on his offensive upside. One scout thinks he projects as an average offensive player, while another says his offensive instincts and puck play are very good but classifies his offensive potential as above-average. Roy has roughly average size, and his physical game can be inconsistent. He will, at times, show fine on-ice effort, but there will be times where he can drift off to the perimeter, while not overly impressing.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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