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24th Overall: 1st-Round Options for Nashville

Tonight is the night many of you have been waiting for. It feels like a distant memory the last time Nashville picked in the first round, and the thoughts of who David Poile may tab at 24 are certainly exciting. I’ve outlined the best options for that pick (assuming no trades). Below you can check out who I tabbed for rounds three through seven:

210th Overall: 7th-Round Options for Nashville

179th Overall: 6th-Round Options for Nashville

148th Overall: 5th-Round Options for Nashville

109th and 117th Overall: 4th-Round Options for Nashville

75th Overall: 3rd-Round Options for Nashville

Philip Tomasino

Niagara IceDogs [OHL] – 2001 – C – Mississauga, Ontario

On The Forecheck Rank: 18th – All Skaters

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 14th – North American Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 67 GP / 34 G / 38 A / 72 PTS

I profiled Tomasino for SB Nation’s mock draft, which you can read here. I think Tomasino would be, realistically, best-case scenario for Nashville, although seeing Ryan Suzuki fall in some late mocks makes things interesting. I’ll re-purpose some of of what I wrote in that previous article below.

Tomasino had maintained good consistency to his production throughout the season but certainly benefited from Niagara’s acquisition of Jason Robertson, scoring 17 goals and 34 points in 31 games with Robertson playing (S/O @OppenheimerEvan).

However, looking at Oppenheimer’s measure of “Betweenness” (a measure of how a player is benefited by linemates and how they benefit others)—which you can read more about here—Tomasino had the third highest score among draft-eligible OHL forwards. This means he was more an important conduit in his team’s scoring than a passenger. Additionally, 30 of his 34 goals were scored at even strength.

Per Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown)’s CHL tracking project, Tomasino was in the 97th percentile league-wide in expected primary points per 60, 80th percentile in shots per 60, and 95th percentile in high-danger shots per 60:

The strengths of Tomasino’s game are obvious: speed and stickhandling. This kid has impressive acceleration, and when he can’t hit that gear in time, he’s still able to protect the puck well while navigating opponents’ defense.

Combine his excellent finishing skills with adept passing, and Tomasino becomes a player who could slot in well as a 1B/2 center for a long time in the NHL. Notice in the clip above how he pulls back when the defender challenges him but quickly rolls the puck off his blade heel and rolls his wrists in tight to deliver a phenomenal cross-crease pass.

Nils Hoglander

Rogle BK [SHL] – 2000 – LW – Bockstrask, Sweden

On The Forecheck Rank: 20th – All Skaters

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 11th – European Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 50 GP / 7 G / 7 A / 14 PTS

As a 2000-born forward, Hoglander has a bit more experience in the SHL than most of his peers. His 2017-18 season was split between the SuperElit and the Allsvenskan, with 22 points in 22 games in the former and seven points in 34 games in the latter.

Hoglander jumped right to the SHL this season with Rogle BK, playing mostly bottom-six minutes but scoring seven goals and 14 points in 50 games. Per Will Scouch, Hoglander was a good play-driver this season despite limited minutes with a 15.41 relative goals-for percentage and shot well recording 17.32 pucks on net per sixty minutes.

Hoglander scored one of the goals of the season lacrosse-style; it highlights his best-in-class puck skills. With the puck on his blade, he can be an absolute wizard and dangle through nearly anyone on the ice. But he loves to pass too.

You might notice a bit of Kevin Fiala in Hoglander’s game; I’ve seen that comparison before. He won’t burn you with his straight-away speed, but he has good crossover steps, excellent edge work, and is a good puck protector despite a smaller frame.

Jakob Pelletier

Moncton Wildcats [QMJHL] – 2001 – LW – Quebec City, Quebec

On The Forecheck Rank: 27th – All Skaters

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 27th – North American Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 65 GP / 39 G / 50 A / 89 PTS

I’ve come around on Pelletier a lot this season. At first, I wasn’t convinced that his scoring touch would contribute to the next level, but I was really impressed with his near-40 goals this season as he finished second on Moncton with 89 points.

At 5’9”, Pelletier, obviously, is not huge, but he’s a powerful, slightly above-average player who played an excellent possession game this season, as noticed by his controlled exit rate above. He posted 223 shots on net and finished with a 17.49% shooting rate, scoring mostly in tight around the net; he was mostly reliant on teammates for zone entries. Additionally, 23 of his 89 points were secondary assists. Pelletier’s consistency is what gives me the most hope that he projects well; his QMJHL debut in 2017-18 was a 61-point performance.

Pelletier, #11 in white, makes a good play along the boards to cause a turnover and fights to clear the zone after a failed zone exit. The awareness to make that pass is really impressive, and he catches up to bury the puck with his excellent wrist shot.

Pelletier is a cerebral player with the puck and good at finding time and space both in open ice and around the net to bury pucks in tight like above.

Patrik Puistola

Tappara U20 [Jr. A SM-liiga]  – 2001 – LW – Tampere, Finland

On The Forecheck Rank: 22nd – All Skaters

NHL Central Scouting Rank: 28th – European Skaters

2018-19 Stats: 25 GP / 11 G / 11 A / 22 PTS

Puistola has been an impactful player in the prospect world for some time, but has recently found himself shooting up rankings into the mid-to-late first round. His stat line above doesn’t do his season justice. Outside of those 25 games with Tappara U20, he appeared in 16 games with the big club in the Liiga and 22 games with LeKI in the Mestis (Finland’s AHL equivalent) scoring 15 goals and 26 points. Combined across all three leagues, he totaled just 20 penalty minutes all season.

He finished ninth among all skaters on Tappara’s U20 squad with his 22 points and seventh on LeKI, playing the least amount of games of all those ahead of him in each category. Puistola really impressed at the U18 World Junior Championships, totaling five goals in five games for Finland.

Puistola, above in blue, is an awkward skater; it’s likely the only thing that could hold him back from being a successful NHL player. But he has an elite set of hands and good finish. He also isn’t shy about outworking opponents and using his broad shoulders to win puck battles.

Puistola has excellent offensive zone instinct and can be a top-notch bumper on the power play, as seen above. He’s a good passer and operates well below the face-off dots.

Honorable Mentions:

Bobby Brink (RW) – Sioux City Musketeers [USHL] – 43 GP / 359 G / 68 PTS

Moritz Seider (D) – Adler Mannheim [DEL] – 29 GP / 2 G / 6 PTS

Nicholas Robertson (F) – Peterborough Petes [OHL] – 54 GP / 27 G / 55 PTS

Ryan Suzuki (C) – Barrie Colts [OHL] – 65 GP / 25 G / 75 PTS

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com and prospect-stats.com.