179th Overall: 6th-Round Options for Nashville

The second part of my seven-round series on potential Nashville draft picks

Yesterday, I provided a look into a few players who I believe would provide the best value for Nashville if selected in the seventh round. Next up is Nashville’s sixth-round pick at 179th overall.

You can read about the seventh round here: 210th Overall: 7th-Round Options for Nashville.

This past week I ranked who I determined were the 93 best draft-eligible prospects for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in a week in Vancouver. If you missed it, you can read those here, here, and here.

Finally, before diving in, my disclaimer:

My method here is to identify players who I think will be available at this selection and who I think present the best value. Therefore, this exercise doesn’t account for the trading of any picks or the whims of other general managers. With several hundred draft-eligible players, it’s very likely none of these players end up being Nashville’s pick. Bear that in mind as you read further.

Taro Jentzsch

Sherbrooke Phoenix [QMJHL] - 2000 - F - Berlin, Germany

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 102nd - North American Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 53 GP / 18 G / 24 A / 42 PTS

This season was Jentzsch’s first in North America and he played well, totaling 18 goals and 42 points for the Sherbrooke Phoenix. He also put his name on the map back in December at the Division 1A World Junior Championships where he scored four goals in five games to help Germany capture promotion. Those 42 points had him tied for seventh in team scoring.

My concern with Jentzsch is that he didn’t shoot that much (98) and still had an 18.37% shooting rate. That is one indicator why his expected goals rank is so low, but he did largely outscore his mostly third-line ice time. His controlled zone entry and exit skills were good and that’s a useful tool for someone receiving more time on the penalty kill.

Above we see Jentzsch (#14 in white) on the penalty kill. This is so technical, but it bothers me: he plays with his stick off the ice a lot. But, he also provides good puck support, and I noticed an improved ability to at least tie the puck up with his stick and feet while killing a penalty if not providing a controlled exit like above.

Above Jentzsch displays his underrated wrist shot (which he could stand to use more). You’ll notice also his wider stance and pronounced skating stride. He doesn’t have a ton of quickness, but he’s a fluid skater and has the tools to get around the offensive zone. It’s a matter of maturing his finishing skills.

Albin Sundsvik

Skelleftea AIK J20 [SuperElit] - 2001 - C - Stockholm, Sweden

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 123rd - European Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 42 GP / 17 G / 24 A / 41 PTS

Sundsvik is an exciting young player who made the jump from U18 junior hockey to the SuperElit—Sweden’s top junior circuit—this season. He didn’t disappoint, totaling nearly a point per game and leading Skelleftea in scoring. He even earned a 12-game promotion to the SHL where he finished with one goal.

Sundsvik has a bigger frame at 6’2” and often uses it well. Although he led Skelleftea in scoring, I was often impressed with his defensive prowess, as he displayed good backchecking skills and a natural instinct for disrupting passing lanes.

All around he’s a solid player: good skating stride, good shot, okay offensive awareness and a 200-foot understanding of the game. I’m not certain he could be a wrong bet to take late in the draft.

Ethan Leyh

Langley Rivermen [BCHL] - 2001 - F - Anmore, British Columbia

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 167th - North American Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 51 GP / 15 G / 27 A / 42 PTS

Leyh just celebrated his 18th birthday and has committed to Quinnipiac University (after de-committing from Wisconsin) next year after two years in the BCHL scoring 73 points in 104 regular-season games for Langley. He led Langley in scoring and saw ice time in all situations, most notably on the penalty kill.

In the clip above, Leyh (at the top in white) highlights his breakaway speed and separation gear. He utilizes a short stride that digs more vertically into the ice instead of out laterally, but it works to get past the defender who makes an excellent transition at the blue line.

Leyh, #14 in blue, makes quick work of a puck battle in the clip above before burying the game-winner. He’s strong with his stick and has a low, strong base to his positioning that helps him here and particularly on the penalty kill. Plus, that crossover stride into a full sprint is very fluid.

Leyh is likely a two- or three-year college player so he may fall due to lack of patience from teams, but he has the assets to succeed at Quinnipiac.

Mark Kastelic

Calgary Hitmen [WHL] - 1999 - C - Phoenix, Arizona

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 132nd - North American Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 66 GP / 47 G / 30 A / 77 PTS

Kastelic is another player that was hard to evaluate for me. I watched him a lot this season while viewing Vladislav Yeryomenko, and to say he impressed would be an understatement. But he is an early ‘99 birthday who had a big leap in his production in his fourth WHL season. When reading Corey Pronman’s evaluation of Cole Caufield, he maintained the mantra of not undervaluing goals, and that’s exactly why I would take Kastelic here.

He led Calgary in scoring by over ten points and was just three shy of 50 goals on the season (53 if you include playoffs). His totals were good for 19th in points league-wide and third in goals—11 more than Brett Leason.

The other concern is that Kastelic racked up 122 penalty minutes.

But he’s a 6’3” physical center who peppered 255 shots on net. On the other hand, that’s good for an 18.4% shooting rate, and 24 of those goals were on the power play. You can see my dilemma (only ten of his points were secondary, for what it’s worth).

To no one’s surprise, Kastelic has become a really adept player around the net, but not just at providing screens. Above you will see two separate goals where Kastelic digs for a rebound on the first and finds separation behind a defender for an impressive chip-in on the second.

Kastelic isn’t lightning fast but his skating stride is so technically well-crafted and you can see above he still works for good separation from the defense.

His frame allows him fluid execution on many of his game mechanics including his wrist shot. Not much about his skill will pop off the page, but he’s a solid presence on the ice who can play in the AHL next season.

Honorable Mentions:

Trevor Janicke (RW) - Central Illinois Flying Aces [USHL] - 58 GP / 22 G / 48 PTS

Henry Rybinski (LW) - Seattle Thunderbirds [WHL] - 33 GP / 7 G / 35 PTS

Samuel Hlavaj (G) - Lincoln Stars [USHL] - 22 GP / 4.58 GAA / .862 SV%

Santeri Hatakka (D) - Jokerit U20 [Jr. A SM-liiga] - 43 GP / 4 G / 13 PTS

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, Mitch Brown, prospect-stats.com, and WHL.ca.