by Corey Pronman
I found the number of quality prospects unsigned at the June 1st deadline to be slightly higher than usual. I haven’t talked to anybody about this, but I assume the upcoming CBA uncertainty may be a cause of that. I won’t include these prospects in the already done draft rankings I’ve published, but I will give my brief thoughts on a few notable ones and profile any others that get drafted during my post-draft write ups. The following are players who were drafted in 2010, and are eligible to be drafted again in 2012:
Joonas Donskoi, Right Wing, Karpat-SM-Liiga:
Drafted by the Panthers in 2010, and has to be one of the better unsigned draftees in recent years. Donskoi is a legit above-average puck possessor with good hands, good vision and will on occasion flash high-end skill. He’s a very creative player who is also a solid to above-average skater. He has a fine on-ice work ethic as well as he does decent work in board battles and goes to the net. I was somewhat surprised by his production this year, and all scouting signs pointed to expecting much more of him. He would easily be top 45 on my 2012 draft board and could arguably be a fringe first round to the very top of the second round prospect to me.
Ludvig Rensfeldt, Left Wing, Sarnia-OHL:
Rensfeldt a draft pick by Chicago in 2010 was 1 of 2 second round pick to go unsigned at the June 1st deadline. He’s a commodity because he’s a big body forward with above-average puck skills and fine offensive instincts. Issues scouts have expressed to me have been his choppy skating stride and overall quickness on top of his decision-making sometimes being poor. I find his hockey sense comes and goes as he’ll show impressive vision and other times make some notable mistakes. I don’t think he’ll be picked close to where he went in 2010, but I’d certainly use a mid to late round selection on him.
Jeremie Blain, Defense, Victoriaville-QMJHL:
Edmonton took Blain in 2010, and probably was the odd man out in what has become a pretty deep system in terms of defense prospects and may have gotten a contract with another club. His production has been pretty good in the QMJHL but I get split opinions from scouts on his offensive potential. One NHL exec really likes his puck skills, whereas a QMJHL scout says he doesn’t have offensive pro potential. He didn’t look good to start the season, but picked it up as the year went on showing better edge in his physical game and looking more dangerous offensively. Everyone I talk to agree his skating is a legitimate concern and was probably the deciding factor in not getting a contract. Still I like him and even though he’s just an average prospect, I would use a mid round pick on him as a gamble.
Other unsigned prospects I would considering drafting in order of how I would rank them:
Josh Nicholls, Right Wing-Toronto
Samuel Carrier, Defense-Washington
Brendan Ranford, Left Wing-Philadelphia
Joey Leach, Defense-Calgary