2011: 91-100 The purpose of doing this post is to show a little love for those players taken in the latter rounds as they do not get the exposure or the interest of the 1st rounders. So what follows is a short description, just enough to pique your interest, of the players likely to be taken in the first 4 rounds (91-100 in this post) of the 2011 NHL entry draft. Remember this is just another fan’s list so I wouldn’t get too excited if your favorite is not as high as you would like. I will post the remaining players in rounds 1 to 4 over the next few weeks. In looking back at the 2003 to 2005 entry drafts, it is interesting to note the success rate for each of the rounds. By my calculations (players that are NHL regulars for the most part-your list could be slightly different), here are the figures: 01-15 – 82% (03-93%; 04-73%; 05-80%) 16-30 – 76% (03-93%; 04-67%; 05-67%) 31-45 – 33% (03-33%; 04- 7%; 05-60%) 46-60 – 24% (03-33%; 04-33%; 05- 7%) 61-90 - 24% (03-33%; 04-20%; 05-20%) 91-120 - 19% (03-10%; 04-30%; 05-17%) 120-150 - 11% (03-10%; 04-13%; 05-10%) 151-180 - 9% (03-13%; 04-13%; 05- 0%) 181-210 - 10% (03-17%; 04- 3%; 05-10%) Over 210 - 12% (03-13%; 04-10%; 05-15%) Overall - 23% (03-25%; 04-20%; 05-23%) 91. Thomas, Justin - “Mr. McNasty” - LW - Canada 6’2”, 207 lb., L, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL, 25-Jan-93 Stats: 11-4-3-7-21-(+0) - Unrated by NHL Central Scouting (CS) OK, so you traded your 1st round pick for Phil Fizzle and you forfeited your second round pick for overpaying Igor Garbagetruck and you lost your 3rd round pick in the washer along with your best pair of black socks and your owner tells you that the team needs you to draft a big nasty, power forward that likes to fight and has soft hands and a shot from a cannon - what do you do since you only have a 4th rounder at best? Ok, but keep this very, very quiet, you draft Mr. McNasty, Justin Thomas, a Soo Greyhounds power forward who lost his power early in the season due to a shoulder injury. And no, I haven’t seen him, and no, Central Scouting hasn’t seen him and no your team’s OHL scout likely hasn’t seen him either. So, while this may all seem like smoke - where there is smoke there is likely to be a fire - how big is the only question. Justin still has to work on his consistency but when he is on he is especially good at battling down low and along the boards and is good with the puck around the crease. Since 4th round draft choices only have a 19% chance of success anyways, why not go for the home run??? 92. Marchenko, Alexei - “Mr. Desirable” - D - Russia 6’2”, 183 lb., R, CSKA Moscow, MHL, 2-Jan-92, Stats: 36-5-33-38-28(+33) - Rated 25th European Skater by CS which equates to about 153rd overall OK, it’s 4th round and you need a power play set-up man with top notch defensive and puck moving abilities and you want a reasonable sized frame, 6’2 or up, and someone who speaks good English - in short you want a late 1st rounder or an early 2nd rounder that you can draft in the 4th round. Luckily for you, Alexei Marchenko may be available to you because he is: 1. Russian 2. Has had very little international exposure (although he was a top player at both the Ivan Hlinka tournament and in the World Junior Hockey Challenge in Canada at various times) 3. Is an overager because of health problems (had his spleen removed) which now appear to be over. This year he averaged over a point per game in the MHL and had a very nice plus-minus at +33. 1st the good news: excellent vision, great skater and passer, effective puck handler, very coachable, very disciplined, solid positioning, excellent penalty killer, effective one on one, can be physical too. Now, the need to be improved - his shot is not yet NHL caliber, hence, he is likely to be more effective as a PP set-up man a la Andrei Markov and he needs to add weight and strength to be effective on the smaller ice surfaces. So, when it comes right down to it, the only real thing that may you hold you back is deciding on whether he is likely to come over to this side of the pond but that is why you have scouts in the 1st place and yes he does speak good English. When asked about coming over, this is what he had to say @ http://russianjuniorleague.blogspot.com/2009/09/mhl-stars-alexei-marchenko.html “I’m still under contract with CSKA and I see my future only with this team. I still have a lot to work and to play to grow to a higher level. I’ll think about that only if I’ll reach that level. In the meantime I want to play for CSKA, I’ll try hard to get to the first team. But of course thinking about the NHL doesn’t hurt. (smiles)”. 93. Dahlbeck, Klas - “Mr. Anonymous” - D - Sweden 6’2”, 190 lb., L, LinkÃ¶ping, Swe - E, 6-Jul-91, Stats: 47-08-8-12 - Rated 23rd European Skater by CS about 141st overall A guy who 1st came to most people’s attention at the U20 was Klas Dahlbeck. Niclas HÃ¤velid, a 9-year NHL veteran, said it best, “Klas strength is that he plays to his strengths. He has good size, skating and a first pass. But above all, he's a smart hockey player. He’s that kind of player they want in the NHL and I am sure that he will get there pretty soon”. The original quote can be found at @ http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockey/sverige/elitserien/linkoping/article8476693.ab So, there you have it - late blooming, decent-sized, smooth skating Swede, close to being ready for the NHL - not a top pairing guy more likely a bottom pairing or part of a shutdown tandem. So if a Carl Gunnarsson type is to your liking, you may want to consider Klas Dahlbeck. 94. Machovsky, Matej - “Mr. Skype” - G – Czech Republic 6’2”, 187 lb., L, Brampton, OHL, 29-Jul-93, Stats: 23-1-2.90-.904 - Rated 11th North American Goalie by CS, about 181st overall This is a tough, tough year to rate goalies and all years are tough when it comes to rating goalies. The reason this is year so much tougher is two-fold: 1. After the top 4 rated goalies (the two Gibson’s, Hellberg and Perhonen), many of the better prospects are back-ups who didn’t get that much playing time 2. This has not been a good year for CHL goalies particularly Canadian born ones so you are just as likely to find a decent prospect off the beaten track - Jr. A, US Jr. Leagues, US high school etc. where it can be more difficult to evaluate NHL CS goalie scout, Al Jensen had this to say about Matej Machovsky at http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=548955 "He has an excellent butterfly style and is tough to beat down low. He presents excellent lateral ability, plays big in his net even in butterfly, and is very controlled in his movements." Machovsky only played just over 20 games but seemed to pick it up when he was traded from Guelph to Brampton and ended up winning the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy for best GAA for an OHL rookie @ 2.90 and he was rated 5th best draft prospect by the goalie guru, Jerry Shields @ http://www.goalierankings.com/. He was also the main goalie for the Czech Republic at the U18’s but was inconsistent. Bottom line, Machovsky is a good prospect but with so relatively little work to go on he is still a high risk pick and therefore could go much later. 95. Kessy, Kale - “Mr. Kessy” - LW - Canada 6’3”, 185 lb., L, Medicine Hat, WHL, 4-Dec-92, Stats: 65-14-10-24-129-(+5) - Rated 101st American Skater by CS, about 132nd overall Let’s cut to the chase - if teams are interested in this guy, it is because they believe he will develop into a poor man’s Milan Lucic - a tough guy who is a difference maker because he has the ability to change the complexion of a game with a fight, a big hit, a hard forecheck or even a goal on occasion. So how does Kessy stack up in the Lucic clone department??? On the plus side, he has the 6’3 frame, he’s a big hitter who finishes his checks, he’s already a feared-fighter, he can bring high energy to the game and wear down the opposition and he can be very assertive on the forecheck. On the just OK side is his puckhandling and shooting abilities. On the “needs to pick it up” side are his skating agility, his hockey sense (as he seems to struggle from time to time) and strength (he needs to fill out his frame to be closer to Lucic like). In summary, a likely 4th liner who will be taken relatively early (3rd-5th) by a team because they like that Lucic-like potential. If you think you are man enough for your First Kess, try this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwmrtjjGU1E&feature=player_embedded 96. Galansky, Tadeas - “Mr. Goalie” - G – Czech Republic 6’3”, 189 lb., R, Saginaw, OHL, 29-Dec-92, Stats: 17-1-2.89-.910 - Rated 15th North American Goalie by CS, about 241st overall which equates to undrafted And if you thought that you hadn’t seen enough of Matej Machovsky to spend a draft choice on him, it gets even worse with Tadeas Galansky. Not only was he a back-up but he missed most of the first half of the season due an off-ice, pre-season training injury. However, when he played he was one of the better draft eligible goalies this year sporting a .910 save percentage. What scouts really like about him are his size, his overall agility, his coachability, his aggressiveness and the fact that he is really good “down low”. It is surprising how many people are really high on this guy even though he barely played. The goalie guru, Jerry Shields, has him as the 4th best overall goalie prospect in this draft (even ahead of John Gibson) at his blog spot http://www.goalierankings.com/ - high praise indeed. 97. Pedan, Andrei - “Andrei the Ogre” - D - Russia 6’4”, 196 lb., L, Guelph, OHL, 3-Jul-93, Stats: 51-2-10-12-89-(-11) - Rated 85th North American Skater by CS, about 111th overall It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Guelph Storm thought they were getting Andrei the superstar in addition to Andrei the Giant, especially after his outstanding play in the Ivan Hlinka tournament. However, during the regular season, there was almost none of that “big shot”, the passing was tentative and he showed almost a total lack of offense. So, his stock dropped like a barometer during a hurricane. However, what the Guelph Storm did get was not your father’s Russian - Andrei the Giant was really Andrei the Ogre and he played with more than a touch of nastiness, physicality and fighting prowess. Luckily for the Storm by the time the playoffs rolled around the hurricane had passed and the barometer bounced back up along with Andrei's confidence and you started to see a touch of offense along with that mean, nasty ogre of a shutdown D-man. And then, he played in the U-18 for Team Russia where he looked pretty good putting his skating, size and athletism on display along with picking up a bronze medal against Team Canada. So in summary, you are pretty confident that Andrei’s size, skating, athletism and nastiness will make him an effective shutdown guy and there is enough of a glimmer in his offense that you believe he could be a contributor there as well so you maybe prepared to go as early as the late 3rd or early 4th for this guy. 98. Grenier, Alexandre - “Alexandre le gÃ©ant” - Canada 6’5”, 200 lb., R, Quebec, QMJHL, 27-Dec-90, Stats: 31-9-15-24-6-(-1) - Unrated by NHL Central Scouting Alexandre le gÃ©ant, almost passed by because of a car crash and playing at lower levels, this monster (went undrafted twice) is starting to show what he can do. And yes, he has soft hands and score with the best of them, check for his goals in the highlight section. Some say his skating is an issue but I say it is plenty good for a 6’5’’ guy - check him out yourself and find out what “Quel feint” really means (#5 in white at about 1:50 and 2.59) @ http://theqall-access.blogspot.com/2011/04/video-shawinigan-vs-quebec-game-1.html. You will want this guy for your team. 99. Vance, Troy - “Mr. Monster Mash” - D - USA 6’5”, 203 lb., R, Victoriaville, QMJHL, 2-Aug-93, Stats: 23-1-3-4-21-(+8) - Rated 149th North American Skater by CS, about 198th overall He did the mash, he did the monster mash. It was a graveyard smash. He did the mash, it caught on in a flash. He did the mash, he did the monster mash. And if you want to see a real live monster mash, go to this YouTube video as put up by NHLDraftVideo - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcweyBqjWKo The 6’5 monster masher otherwise known as Troy Vance almost escaped the NHL draft this year playing in the EJHL but Alex LePore, a scout for the Dallas Stars, recommended the Pennsylvanian to the Victoriaville Tigres halfway through the year and the other NHL scouts are glad he did. While Troy thinks of himself as an offensive defenseman, it is his defense that really paid dividends for Les Tigres as they made it to the 2nd round of the QMJHL playoffs after some serious struggles on the blueline earlier in the year. In addition to his monster mash and his defense, Troy has a nice shot, is a good skater and has good hockey sense. I have him as a 4th rounder but I think if NHL scouts take one look at that “monster mash” he could easily be a 3rd. 100. Serville, Brennan - “Mr. Meat and Potatoes” - D - Canada 6’3”, 184 lb., R, Stouffville, OJHL, 2-Jun-93, Stats: 36-3-27-30-29 - Ranked 104th North American Skater by NHL Central Scouting, about 136th overall Brennan Serville is your meat and potatoes type of defensive defenseman - Big, rangy, rugged, doesn’t crumble under pressure, good vision, always looking to get that available 1st pass, good positionally - does the right things a defensive defenseman is expected to do and keeps it simple. Yes, he is a decent skater and has a hard slap shot along with nice hands but you will be drafting him for his defense. Next year, you can see him at the University of Michigan. Not a high-end guy but his calmness under pressure along with his size will likely see him taken higher than expected starting in the late 3rd or 4th round.