2015 NHL Draft Preview: Top Prospects 21-30


2015 NHL Draft Preview: Top Prospects 21-30

This is part three of our top 30 prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft. Part one can be found here and part two here. Prospects are ranked by averaging their rankings from NHL Central Scouting (broken down into North American and European skaters), International Scouting ServicesESPN and Future Considerations. It should be noted this does create a small bias towards European players. Also ESPN’s rankings are behind a paywall but are extremely detailed and well worth the money.

#21 Jansen Harkins – Centre – Prince George (WHL)
6’2″ – 182 pounds
20G – 59A – 79P in 70 GP
NHL Rank: #15 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #24 Overall
ISS Rank: #25 Overall
FC Rank: #25 Overall

The stat that should jump out at you is 59 assists, that mark is good enough for sixth in the WHL, behind two 20-year-old, two 19 year olds, and fellow 2015 draftee Nick Merkley. Rarely a dominant player, Harkins has a quiet, consistent game. He has displayed maturity and patience on the ice to go with his natural hockey sense. He’s also shown a level of grit and tenacity to make him effective in every zone. His skating could use some work. Reliable offensively and defensively may be the best way to think of the two way centre, who contributed a lot of points on the seventh worst team out of 22 in the WHL, while also remaining a positive +/- player when the vast majority of his teammates were not.

#22 Denis Guryanov/Gurianov – Right Wing – Togliatti (MHL/KHL)
6’2” – 192 pounds
15G – 10A – 25P in 23 GP (Ladia Togliatti – MHL)
0G – 1A -1P in 8 GP (Lada Togliatti – KHL)
NHL Rank: #7 European Skaters
ESPN Rank: #35 Overall
ISS Rank: #24 Overall
FC Rank: #24 Overall

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If you’re looking for a Russian to drop in the draft, this is probably your guy. For starters he’s ranked by the NHL as a European Skater, which inflates his rating, meaning he’s probably considerably lower than No. 22 overall. Unlike several other Europeans in the draft, he chose to stay in Russia to play and not move to the CHL which in this day and age will cause some GMs to pause. That being said, he showed some real offensive ability in the Russia minor leagues, which earned him a short look at the KHL level. While he has good vision on the ice, it’s his speed that really causes defenders trouble. He’s got a heavy shot and isn’t afraid to drive the net and whack in rebounds. Like many prospects he’s got room to grow defensively — although he isn’t a liability — but his size and quick feet could develop into a quality penalty killer. His name is most commonly spelt Guryanov but the other spelling does appear occasionally.

#23 Joel Eriksson Ek – Centre – Farjestad (SHL)
6’2” – 185 pounds
21G – 11A – 32P in 25 GP (Farjestad J20)
4G – 2A – 6P in 34 GP (Farjestad)
NHL Rank: #4 European Skaters
ESPN Rank: #44 Overall
ISS Rank: Outside Top 30
FC Rank: #23 Overall

A good-sized centre who’s got good skating, puck skills and vision to go with a very good shot, Eriksson Ek has all the tools necessary to become a solid player. His hockey IQ is very good which translates to great positioning on the ice which has allowed him to flourish in any situation, including defensively. He was very strong for Sweden at the U18s and was voted the J18 Allsvenskan Best Forward and led the SHL with most points by an U18 player.

#24 Jakub Zboril – Defence – Saint John (QMJHL)
6’2” – 184 pounds
13G – 20A – 33P in 44 GP
NHL Rank: #12 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #38 Overall
ISS Rank: #22 Overall
FC Rank: #20 Overall

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Zboril is a smooth skating defender who’s very smart with and without the puck. Described as someone who does all the little things right, Zboril won’t amaze with any one attribute but is solid in everything. He uses his body very well and stands up for his teammates. Offensively he’s a good passer with an accurate shot while defensively he uses his speed and positioning to make life hard for the other team. Ranking somewhere between No. 12 and No. 38 overall is an awful big window and shows how scouts differ on him. Overall he’s a safe, mobile defender.

#25 Thomas Chabot – Defence – Saint John (QMJHL)
6’2” – 180 pounds
12G – 29A – 41P in 66 GP
NHL Rank: #16 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #45 Overall
ISS Rank: #16 Overall
FC Rank: #21 Overall

Chabot is a two-way defender with speed to go with his size. A good passer and reliable in his own end, he can play big and tough minutes. He’s better suited offensively though, as he can rush with the puck very well and chip in offensively. He sees the ice very well and can find the open man, or use his hands to make an opposing defender miss. Most important is he pushes himself to improve every game and works hard on and off the ice. While his playoff performance wasn’t that strong, he did look good at the U18’s for Canada.

#26 Jake DeBrusk – Left Wing – Swift Current (WHL)
6’0” – 176 pounds
42G – 39A – 81P in 72 GP
NHL Rank: #19 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #29 Overall
ISS Rank: #27 Overall
FC Rank: #27 Overall

A natural scorer, DeBrusk can use his speed and puck skills to find open ice and then rifle it home or chip it to an open teammate while all eyes are on him. Not just an offensive force though, DeBrusk has played the penalty kill and is a hard-working responsible two-way winger, backchecking to help his team out. He looks to translate into a responsible two-way winger who can help out in all three zones. He needs to put on some weight and muscle but that’s not a huge concern thanks to his work ethic.

#27 Paul Bittner – Left Wing – Portland (WHL)
6’4” – 194 pounds
34G – 37A – 71P in 66 GP
NHL Rank: #26 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #43 Overall
ISS Rank: #17 Overall
FC Rank: #29 Overall

A big scoring winger, Bittner can play a real power forward game with an edge. Described as relentless in the offensive zone, Bittner uses his size and speed to bully players out of his way so he can unleash his powerful shot. As excellent skater for his size, he doesn’t have the best puck skills in the world and would do well to be paired with a dynamic passer. Average defensively, he does show effort but sometimes seems to lack direction. He needs to improve his consistency in all aspects of his game, but his combination of size, speed and shot are the building blocks of his game.

#28 Brock Boeser – Right Wing – Waterloo (USHL)
6’1” – 192 pounds
35G – 33A – 68P in 57 GP
NHL Rank: #27 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #31 Overall
ISS Rank: Outside Top 30
FC Rank: #26 Overall

Boeser is a natural shooter, with good hockey IQ allowing him to find open ice and an accurate shot punctuated by his quick release. That being said he’s also a dynamic passer, able to find open teammates. Boeser is also solid in his own zone, using his body to break up plays and his strong work ethic to battle it out in the corners. His skating is simple okay and will need work but isn’t considered a liability.

#29 Anthony Beauvillier – Left Wing/Centre – Shawinigan (QMJHL)
5’11” – 181 pounds
42G – 52A – 94P in 67 GP
NHL Rank: #33 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #21 Overall
ISS Rank: Outside Top 30
FC Rank: #31 Overall

While his offensive numbers jump out at you, Beauvillier is actually a well-rounded two-way centre that can win key draws and battle in his own zone. In the offensive zone Beauvillier is dangerous, with his 52 assists demonstrating his vision on the ice and his 42 goals showing his good shot. He can play both the wing and centre. He’ll need to bulk up a lot as he’ll always be a small player but if he can use his hockey IQ and skating well it won’t be a big problem.

#30 Brandon Carlo – Defence – Tri-City (WHL)
6’5” – 196 pounds
4G – 21A – 71P in 66 GP
NHL Rank: #25 North American Skaters
ESPN Rank: #37 Overall
ISS Rank: #21 Overall
FC Rank: #38 Overall

A big, tough defenceman, Carlo is a high percentage, low risk style of defender. A natural stay at home defencemen, he does have good passing ability, particularly out of his zone, but will need to develop more offensively and improve his shot if he looks to nail down time on an NHL powerplay. For now he translates as a defensive defenceman with some offensive upside who is a big, physical threat and can shutdown the other teams top scorers. His skating isn’t great but is good for someone of his size. While he’s put on at least ten pounds this year, 196 is still very light for someone whose 6’5” so Carlo will need to bulk up and fill out his frame.


Jeremy Bracco – RW – USNTDP – A small high scoring winger ranked as high as 16th and as low as 60th, he’s got dynamic offensive abilities and is solid defensively but is undersized and not hard on the puck.

Michael Spacek – RW – Pardubice HC (Czech) – An offensively gifted winger, he played well against men in his first taste of the Czech men’s league. Below average in size, he needs work defensively and is sometimes weak on the puck.

Thomas Novak – C – Waterloo (USHL) – A playmaking centre with a high offensive ceiling, Novak needs to improve defensively. Is average in size but uses his speed and agility to make defenders miss.

Mitch Vande Sompel – D/C – Oshawa (OHL) – A small but offensive defencemen, Vande Sompel also played centre on the penalty kill and grew up as a forward. High upside in either position with very high hockey IQ and skating ability, though his size translates better to forward than defence.

Denis Malgin – C – Zurich (Swiss) – A shifty forward with puck skills he creates opportunities out of thin air. He’s tiny though and is below average defensively which likely limits him to a scoring winger role.

RoopeHintz – LW -Ilves Tampere (SM-liiga) – Agood sized winger with all the offensive tools,Hintz can pass or shoot and score. He’s not physical despite his good size and needs work defensively but skates well and plays uptempo.

So who should the Toronto Maple Leafs take at #24? In our next NHL Draft series will break down each pick by team needs and current prospect pool.

Next: NHL Draft Preview: Top Prospects 11-20