The fifth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft might show just how deep this year’s event really is. There will be a lot of talent available for Nashville at 131st and 151st overall. One or both of these picks could very likely be a more conservative selection if the team goes after outstanding skill with its first two picks.
There probably is not much of a difference between the players being selected twenty picks apart for this round, so this particular analysis will feature a few more names - players who almost all could be taken at either pick.
As stated before, this analysis is broken into three categories: players who may fall, players who should be there no matter what, and players who may rise. It will not only take into account who will be available, but who has the best ability to become a regular NHL player.
As a disclaimer, I prefer payers with high-end skill. I am a religious believer in taking the best player available, but there may be some consideration of position based on the organization’s needs.
These are players who are unlikely to be available but whose stock may fall for various reasons.
Weight: 179 lbs.
Ranked: #39 (EU Skaters) - NHL Central Scouting
Stat Line: 55 GP / 27 G / 26 A / 53 PTS
Karlsson could be one of the best late-round steals of this draft; I’ve noticed his name picking up steam a lot just in the past few days. He absolutely dominated the Swedish junior league with 52 points in 42 games and saw a steady increase in points per game as the season progressed.
Additionally, Karlsson scored at the second-highest per-60 rate in the entire SuperElit league and contributed to nearly 42% of his team’s offensive production in some manner.
Karlsson can be a rough skater with an awkward stride, but he makes plays at excellent speed and can navigate the ice well in each corner. It’s hard to predict where Karlsson lands, but he is a must-pick for me if there at 131.
Honorable Mentions: Matej Pekar [C/RW], Ty Emberson [D], Logan Hutsko [C]
Right Where We Want Them
These are players initially projected to be available at 131st or 151st overall.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Ranked: #125 (NA Skaters) - NHL Central Scouting
Stat Line: 49 GP / 22 G / 34 A / 56 PTS
Budy is another player who hasn’t gotten that much attention until lately but could be a solid late-round pick. The Denver-commit is coming out of Langley of the Junior-A British Columbia Hockey League which has been mined much more lately for prospects but can still make scouts pause for concern.
Budy will certainly be one of the BCHL’s most eligible prospects this weekend, and he’ll bring some good skill with him. He’s a quick playmaker who has excellent control of his stick. He has refined niche parts of his game such as the use of his backhand and threading passes through or over impossible lanes. He isn’t much of a shooter or physical player which could be detrimental to where he is selected.
Weight: 159 lbs.
Ranked: #89 (NA Skaters) - NHL Central Scouting
Stat Line: 67 GP / 39 G / 46 A / 85 PTS
Nyman is another player that will probably go much higher than either of these selections and for various reasons. He’s a draft-plus-one-year player who has two OHL seasons under his belt. In 135 OHL games he posted 65 goals and 135 points exactly. Next season he will be playing in the Finnish Liiga for Lukko. And, to complicate things even further, he was a rookie camp invitee of the Maple Leafs last year (a team that has a track record of drafting overagers).
Nyman can be a serious prospect, though. He’s an excellent center with great speed, a responsible transition game, and mature puck support in most areas of the ice. I’m not as confident he’ll be available for the Preds, but we’ll see.
Honorable Mentions: Lenni Killinen [RW], Luke Henman [C], Lukas Wernblom [C/LW], Jacob Pivonka [C]
Maybe a Reach?
These players could be a stretch but maybe it pays off.
Weight: 181 lbs.
Ranked: #156 (NA Skaters) - NHL Central Scouting
Stat Line: 67 GP / 7 G / 30 A / 37 PTS
McCormick seems to be a favorite candidate to be a late-bloomer. He’s got two years of QMJHL play under his belt and is only 17 years old. He progressed well offensively this past season.
McCormick plays a sound game: good skater, solid zone-exit game, good first pass, limited mistakes. He reminds of Jacob Paquette in the sense that he could be a defender you wait on but it’s worth it.
Weight: 187 lbs.
Ranked: #88 EU Skaters) - NHL Central Scouting
Stat Line: 43 GP / 16 G / 20 A / 36 PTS
Johansson was skipped over in his first year of eligibility but came to play last season and become one of the most lethal defenders in the Swedish junior league. The right-handed shot was close to a point-per-game player as a defenseman and managed eight games in the top Swedish league.
With more ice time against professionals ordered for next season, Johansson could be an attractive pick in the fifth round.
Honorable Mentions: Saku Vesterinen [D], Nicolas Guay [D], Shawn Boudrias [RW]
All stats are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.