Below I’ve mocked up what Nashville’s draft board could look like in the second round with players who will likely be available and would be worthwhile targeting.
Nashville’s Draft Board: Round 2
|William Stromgren||LW||MODO Hockey||Allsvenskan||27||3||6||9||2003|
|Tyler Boucher||LW||U.S. NTDP||USHL||12||6||5||11||2003|
|Tristan Broz||F||Fargo Force||USHL||54||19||32||51||2002|
|Olen Zellweger||D||Everett Silvertips||WHL||11||2||11||13||2003|
|Evan Nause||D||Quebec Remparts||QMJHL||32||4||18||22||2003|
|Jack Peart||D||Fargo Force||USHL||24||1||14||15||2003|
MODO Hockey [HockeyAllsvenskan] | LW | 6’3”, 176 lbs. | OTF Rank: 24
Strömgren is a forward I’m higher on than most. Bob McKenzie has him ranked 38th on his last scout-influenced list, but I think he may be a first-round talent. This season, he jumped around between the HockeyAllsvenskan, J20 Nationell, and HockeyEttan and joined Sweden at the U18 World Junior Championship in April.
At the U20 level in Sweden, he was second to Oskar Olausson in primary points per game (1.143) and first in even-strength primary points per game (0.929). In the Allsvenskan—playing mostly against men—he nearly matched Olausson’s even-strength primary points per game output (0.273 to 0.259).
At the U18’s, he was third on Team Sweden in scoring behind Isak Rosén and Fabian Lysell.
At 6’3”, Strömgren is a tempting prospect given his scoring acumen. With the puck, he’s a nightmare against defenders; there isn’t a 1-on-1 battle he won’t attack and not a stick check or blocked lane he won’t try and dangle through. At his size, his puck-handling and skating skills are well above average.
He uses good edge work and puck protection to evade defenders, but will need to diversify his offensive decisions as defenders get better at higher levels. He’s a great shooter who can release the puck well mid-deke or in a stagnant spot on the power play.
U.S. NTDP [USHL] | LW | 6’1”, 201 lbs. | OTF Rank: 71
Unlike Strömgren, Boucher is a prospect I’m lower on than the consensus. I’m not sure I’d take him in round two, but he’ll almost certainly go off the board around these picks and his draft profile screams Nashville.
The son of Brian Boucher, Tyler was hampered with injury this season, skating in just 12 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program (but he did post six goals and 11 points).
Boucher is off to Boston University next season.
I think he’ll grade out as a complementary winger at the next level, but Boucher is a physical terror on the ice. He loves to play the body but not in unnecessary, dumb ways. He’s always looking to disrupt play and force turnovers.
With time and space, Boucher’s skating mechanics are alright, and he generates decent top speed. Under pressure, things start to break down and his acceleration falters. But off the puck, Boucher is extremely intelligent and always a threat to steal the puck with a stick lift here or there.
He’ll crash the net or take a defender wide with good puck protection skills, but I imagine a lot of his NHL goals will be scored right around the net.
Fargo Force [USHL] | F | 6’0”, 179 lbs. | OTF Rank: 46
Broz has been an electrifying player for the Fargo Force for a few years now. In 54 games this season, he led the team (by over ten points) with 51 points. Among draft-eligible USHL forwards, he was third in total scoring, 11th in primary points per game (0.611) and 12th in even-strength primary points per game (0.426).
13 of his 19 goals were scored at even-strength this season.
The University of Minnesota commit is another big forward with plenty of skill. He’s a tenacious player with a great motor; at his best, he’s physical and hard to stop. There are some inconsistencies in his skating mechanics, but overall his foundation is good and he skates hard.
Broz has top-end puck-handling skills. He attacks defenders head on and forces them to respect his pace and creativity. He’s got a powerful release on his shot, and can get the puck off from the perimeter or in tight spaces too.
Everett Silvertips [WHL] | D | 5’10”, 174 lbs. | OTF Rank: 41
Olen Zellweger has skyrocketed up so many rankings this season. If he were born five days later, he wouldn’t be eligible until 2022, but he put up 13 points in 11 games from the blue line in Everett this season and starred for Canada at the U18 WJC with one goal and eight points in seven games.
With bigger responsibilities this season, he excelled defensively, winning 56% of the puck battles he engaged in.
Zellweger’s NHLe timeline shows an impressive jump in 2020-21. The first word that comes to mind when you watch him play is dynamic. He’s a modern-day mobile defender who buzzes all over the ice. His skating mechanics are excellent, complete with full stride extensions, smooth recovery, and great pivots.
His top speed isn’t elite but he mirrors opponents well in gap control. At times, however, there are still inconsistencies in his defense; with more reps, he’ll learn to control his stick and play the body efficiently. Offensively, he’s got great puck skills, catches and releases passes quickly and intelligently, fires quick shots on net, and plays an elastic game along the blue line.
Québec Remparts [QMJHL] | D | 6’2”, 185 lbs. | OTF Rank: 42
Another defender whose draft stock has really risen this year is Evan Nause. After a DY-1 season with Sioux Falls in the USHL, Nause jumped up to Canada to join the Remparts, posting four goals and 22 points in 32 games this season.
His counting stats don’t blow you away—just four of his assists were primary ones at even-strength (although three of his goals were at even-strength)—but he’s so effective in moving the puck up ice and has a wide range of defensive tools. With that in mind, his ceiling may only be a team’s third pair, but it’s a risk one should take.
At 6’2”, Nause is a big defender who skates extremely well for his size. He uses linear crossovers in transition to his advantage, keeps his head up, and manages the puck well. He tends to win puck retrieval races due to his efficient skating, good reads, and occasional physicality. When he completes a breakout pass, he often continues to jump into the rush up-ice too.
Defensively, he maintains good positioning and likes to pinch often. Sometimes he overcommits when angling opponents or leads with his stick too much, but if he can keep forwards in front of him, he’s hard to beat. His offensive upside may be a tad more limited, but there could be more there as he works on his shot.
Fargo Force [USHL] | D | 5’11”, 181 lbs. | OTF Rank: 47
Peart, just shy of six feet tall, split time this season between Minnesota high school hockey and Fargo in the USHL. In the former, he excelled from the blueline, scoring 11 goals and 35 points in 18 games; in the latter, he impressed as a rookie with 15 points in 24 games and seven more in nine playoff games.
Among draft-eligible USHL defenders, he was third in primary points per game (0.458) and seventh in even-strength primary points per game (0.250).
Despite having no size advantage, Peart makes his name with an efficient game at both ends of the ice. He moves well in all four directions using his mobility to close gaps quickly, advance the puck after a turnover, and lead breakouts. He doesn’t have a special offensive skillset, but what he has is enough to provide a bit of scoring from the blue line.
Off the puck, he focuses on smart plays. If he can’t get to the puck, he’ll check an opponent’s hands to loosen it; if his path is impeded, he’ll tap pucks out of danger with swift instincts. He doesn’t particularly evade pressure from forecheckers well, but he does often problem-solve those scenarios successfully.
He’s a ways away from a full-time NHL role, but his forthcoming time at St. Cloud State should serve him well.