91. Jackson Houck, Right Wing, Vancouver (WHL)
Houck entered this season known for his intangibles and physical play, and he added a scoring touch to his repertoire, leading the Giants in points. He has just average size, but he still displays notably above-average physical value, delivering big hits and winning a lot of battles through his effort. He has the heart and soul elements desirable in a good penalty killer. His offensive upside, however, draws some divide among scouts. One says he is very average, while another says his puck skills enable him to have potential in that area. He protects the puck well, drives the net, and has solid creativity. Skating will be his main issue. He plays with good energy, but he struggles to get to where he wants to go.
92. Ahti Oksanen, Defense, Boston University (NCAA - Hockey East)
Oksanen has been passed over twice in the NHL Draft, both times while playing in Finland. He has played internationally, yet never at the World Juniors or the U-18 Championship. He moved to North America to play for Boston University as a 19-year-old freshman, and he showed enough two-way ability to make a case to be selected this time around. He has decent ability as a puck mover, and while he is not a flashy stick handler, he is able to make outlets. He was also effective on BU's second power play unit. With his offensive awareness, he was able to flash some above-average plays. He played some tougher minutes as well. His adjustment to the North American game was evident at times, but he still showed the ability to be an effective defender. He has a bulky frame, and he projects as a solid physical player. He is an average skater, and he can join the rush on occasion, but his game is based more on a stay-at-home style. Oksanen would not be an upside-type pick, but he is a player who can do it all.
93. Zach Fucale, Goaltender, Halifax (QMJHL)
Fucale burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old for Halifax, taking on an unusual amount of CHL responsibility for such a young goaltender. This year, he was one of the top goalies in the QMJHL, and he certainly has several interesting qualities, such as his hockey sense and panic threshold. For a U-18 goaltender, he looks very advanced and collected in net. His movements are very subtle, and he squares up pucks well. He has quick, powerful feet that allow him to move across the crease and position himself efficiently. Fucale's game, however, is called into question by some scouts who do not believe he has a game-breaking ability to make a high-athleticism second or third save. Some believe he has that ability, and others agree, with the caveat that it is not top end. I am somewhere in between, as I see reasonable arguments for both sides.
Ranking explanation: For further information on how I rank goaltenders, see the ranking explanation for Tristan Jarry, number 89 on this list.
94. Vincent Dunn, Center, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
Dunn had a productive season from a statistical standpoint, although it must be noted that he played on a loaded offensive squad in Val-d'Or. He is a multi-dimensional player, and he can play center or wing effectively. He also has defensive value, and although he is a little small, he will show a good physical game, with offensive abilities. Dunn has above-average hands, as well as a good offensive hockey sense. He tends to set up his teammates well. He is a solid skater as well. He may not have a powerful stride, but he does have a good first few steps, and he moves his feet quickly. Dunn has a lot of energy to his game. He will drive the net, make quick decisions, and engage when he needs to. Despite these positive qualities, it is questionable what his role projects to be in the NHL. His offensive skill is not overwhelming enough to project as a scorer, and due to his size, he will carry questions about his defensive projection. Despite this, he possesses good qualities, and if his development goes well, he will provide value for an NHL team.
95. Niklas Hansson, Defense, Rogle (SEL)
Hansson has developed well over the past year. He excelled with Rogle's J20 team this season, and towards the end of the campaign, he earned time with the pro club, at times significant minutes. He was a surprise cut from Sweden's U-18 team, however. He is a talented player, possessing good feet and hands. He has quality four-way bursts, nice standstill agility, and he moves well along the point. He is a puck mover and controller, and he excels the most with the puck on his stick, as well as quarterbacking the power play. He is not a high-end offensive talent, but his raw offensive tools appear to be above average. Hansson, however, is not a mean player. While he will engage, it is limited to bumps and pins along the boards. He also needs to continue to gain strength to be an effective physical player in North America. His defense is his main issue, and while it has gotten better, he does not project as a skater who will play against good forwards at a high level of competition.
96. Trevor Moore, Left Wing, Tri-City (USHL)
Moore had a quality season in the USHL; as a 17-year-old, he was one of the top scorers in the league, which is an impressive feat for a player of his age. He is an above-average skater with quick feet, and he gets up to top speed very well. He controls the puck well, has plus hands, can evade pressure effectively, and has the wherewithal to make plays for his teammates. He is an average finisher, but when he is on his game, he has the ability to be a highly productive player who can drive possession for his team. His two main issues are his size and his consistency. He is just 5'9", and projects as replacement level in physicality. His game-to-game consistency is also an issue that one NHL scout pointed out to me.
97. Tyler Kelleher, Center, USA Under-18 Team (USHL)
Kelleher is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft class. He is an immensely gifted offensive player, and he was a top scorer for the US National Team, yet he provides very little physical game value. A team may take a risk and draft him based on his tools, or he may go undrafted. He is a very good skater, with easy plus speed and acceleration to go along with great standstill agility. He is also a gifted puck possessor who can flash between above-average and high-end puck skills, displaying plus playmaking vision. He finds ways to create scoring chances with his great offensive instincts. However, he is very small, at 5'6", and he will not seek out high traffic areas, which is concerning for a player at that height. One NHL scout criticized his tendency to try to do too much, with the caveat that at 5'6", a player must have zero issues to merit consideration.
98. Emil Djuse, Defense, Sodertalje (Allsvenskan)
Djuse has had an interesting development path, as he was off of the radar last season, going undrafted, despite leading all third-tier Swedish pro league defensemen in scoring at the age of 18. He received some playing time for the Swedish U20 team and he was granted prominent responsibility at the World Juniors after the Three Crowns lost a few players to injury. He is a skilled, mobile defenseman. He has good feet that allow him to be agile from a standstill, and he has the closing speed to shrink gaps from oncoming forwards. He can join the rush with his speed and he also has ability as a puck mover. He is not a high-end talent, but he can show good flashes of creativity and vision. On occasion, he can make a lot of defensive stops. His two main issues are his below-average size and his questionable decision-making. His decisions can come and go, whether through a forced offensive play or a missed assignment.
99. Greg Chase, Center, Calgary (WHL)
Chase entered the season with a decent amount of hype and he figured to make a push to be drafted in the top two rounds. While he was somewhat underwhelming, his skills make him worth knowing, the best of which is his hockey sense. Scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent. His skating earns divided opinions, with one scout calling it a positive, and another saying his first steps can be a tad sluggish. His physical game and consistency are areas of concern as well. He has average size, but he does not tend to be imposing with his board work. Finally, his game-to-game on-ice work ethic could use improvement, especially in the defensive end.
100. Dean Kukan, Defense, Tingsryd (Allsvenskan)
Kukan has been playing in Sweden the past two years, but he has come up through the Swiss system, playing very well for Switzerland at this year's World Junior Championship. He is a smart two-way player, possessing a good panic threshold and an ability to effectively move the puck. Despite his low point totals during international games and league play, he does have some offensive abilities but he needs to continue to work at them. He has average mobility, if not a tick above, and he can rush the puck up the ice fine. He could continue to get stronger, as he is not the most threatening player from a physical standpoint. Defensively, he is decent to solid in terms of making stops and keeping the game in front of him.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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