2017 NHL Draft

Mock Draft: Round 6 Picks 156-186 (May)

Penn State’s double-overage winger Denis Smirnov led all NCAA freshman in scoring.

Steve Kournianos  |  5/26/2017 |  New York  |  

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Team Pick Player Notes
156 RW Alexander Oskin

Tolpar, MHL

6’3, 185 | 09/08/99

Powerful winger with soft hands and a cannon of a shot who can bring it with velocity from just about anywhere in the offensive zone. Oskin likes to shoot the puck regardless of what’s in front of him — sticks, bodies, skates, the refs — and goaltenders seem to get happy feet when he’s in a prime shooting position. Oskin is very young and it’s scary when you think he’s probably going to get bigger and develop more power to his shot. He’s a good skater but more for his balance and stride than actual straight-line speed. Oskin is tough to pin or hold against the boards, and opponents can get tired from battling him after a short period of time. His game from his side of the red line is tough to watch, but he does have poise and on occasion he’ll fake out checkers by hanging on to the puck with a curl or cut back.
157* RHD Saku Vesterinen 

Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL

5’11, 184 | 02/28/99

Vesterinen playing for one of the CHL’s deepest defense corps actually helps his draft stock, because not only was he very good defensively, but he made the most of his limited ice time. The Finnish import was fourth among all first-year QMJHL defensemen in eP/60 (1.09) and was third in eS/60 (5.12). The Islanders handed top draft prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph an expanded role involving all situations, but it was Vesterinen who played just as well (if not better) in his own end and generated almost as many shots when he was on the ice. He can be a real pain to play against because he is a pusher and shiver who uses a quick stick that makes it difficult to control the puck in his vicinity. He has an above-average shot, but it’s accurate and used appropriately.
158* C Cole Guttman

Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL

5’11, 177 | 06/01/99

A Los Angeles native committed to St. Cloud State, Guttman quietly had a strong rookie season, including a USHL-best 23.5 percent shooting percentage (27 goals on 115 shots). He was on Dubuque’s top line with USHL scoring champ Zach Solow, who helped him get picked for the league all-rookie team. He’s a good skater with a bit of a choppy stride, and sometimes he comes across as a bit of floater who waits for things to come to him. Guttman isn’t physical, doesn’t play on the penalty kill but obviously has an accurate enough shot to be used from the circles on the power play.
159 G Jiri Patera

Cesko Budejovice, Extraliga U20

6’2, 209 | 02/24/99

Patera possesses an NHL frame and displays a generally solid position. He is an excellent puck handler who can act as a third defensemen and will look up ice to catch opponents in a line change. While an average glove hand makes Patera susceptible to shots from the circles out than, his overall technique and positioning show promise, as he will challenge shooters well above the blue paint and retreat deliberately without giving away much, if anything. Patera tracks pucks extremely well and is quick enough to make initial saves from chances with a high degree of difficulty, but his post-save recovery is the area he needs to work on most. He was solid in two levels of Czech hockey but was inconsistent during international tournaments.
160 RW D’artagnan Joly

Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL

6’3, 181 | 04/07/99

Joly has a pro build and an array of skills that make you think he could easily be one of the top draft-eligible teenagers in the QMJHL. An upright skater with a long stride and above-average quickness, Joly uses his reach and stickhandling skills to maneuver in and around traffic. He’s capable of creating his own shot and is more creative than your average power forward. Joly can wire a hard, accurate shot off the pass or his back foot, and he’s adept at shooting through defenders in one-on-one situations. The puck always seems to find him, and he considers using all of his teammates as he carries the puck up the ice with confidence. His hands are incredibly soft and the power play is where they come into play — he receives and controls hard passes rather effortlessly. The lone blemish is his seemingly nonchalant compete level, as Joly has a habit of looking totally disinterested and can be careless with the puck with the occasional loaf on the backcheck. He can play center or wing, but his poor production in the dot and struggles with defensive-zone coverage makes us think he’s better off on the flank.
161 RHD Grant Anderson

Wayzata, HS-MN

6’2,186 | 09/15/99

Wayzata took a big hit from graduation after winning the Minnesota high school state title, but Anderson was the glue that kept the team not only competitive, but extremely difficult to play against. He’s a physical blueliner with very good speed and a blistering shot, so he’s good enough to anchor any pairing in any situation. His defensive-zone play is excellent, as he realizes the importance of maintaining elastic coverage from below the dots. Opponents find difficulty in breaking free from his shadow, and he’s quick to steal the puck and immediately begin a counterattack. Bound for Nebraska-Omaha and drafted in the third round by the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, Anderson is a pup who missed 2018 draft eligibility by one day.
162 RHD Pavel Yelshansky (OA)

Dynamo-SPB, MHL

6’2, 196 | 08/19/97

Double overager and captain of SKA-Dynamo SPB who anchored their top pairing and played against opposing top scorers. Yelshansky is very mobile and strong on his skates, but he’s not going to do anything fancy with his footwork or blow past somebody unless he has quite a bit of a head start. He has a very hard shot and his teammates look for him to fire off one-timers from the point on the power play. Yelshansky is confident in his passes — they’re timely, crisp and accurate — plus he has good vision to identify players open at the side of the net at he walks the line on his forehand. He’s competent defensively and likes to stand up at his blue line or use a quick poke checks rather than back in and concede real estate.
163 C Domenic Commisso (OA)

Oshawa Generals, OHL

5’11, 192 | 02/19/98

Oshawa was a bit of a surprise this season, and the overage Commisso had a big role in not only getting the Gens to the playoffs, but winning a round against Sudbury. He’s a fast two-way center with effortless breakaway speed who hustles, backchecks and seems to always be involved in plays around the net at either end. He has willingness to contribute beyond goals and assists, but Commisso was Oshawa’s leading scorer, making him the perfect lead-by-example type. Commisso was for more cleaner on his set-ups and looked more poised and under control than a year ago, plus his faceoffs improved from 49 percent to 53 percent.
164* RW Micah Miller

Sioux City Musketeers, USHL

5’8, 193 | 10/29/98

Dangerous offensive force who uses his stickhandling, shifty skating and playmaking ability to force defenders to conceded more of their own end then they’d like. Miller isn’t very big, but he is a strong battler who uses a long stick to protect the puck from thicker opponents. He was critical to Grand Rapids’ title winner at the Minnesota state tournament, where he was used on the top line and displayed highlight-reel plays. Miller is a fast skater with first-step quickness who consistently beats defenders to the outside. If the gap tightens, he can fire a heavy wrist shot that just explodes off his stick. He’s committed to St. Cloud State but likely spends a full year with powerhouse Sioux City, where in 23 games this season all 13 of his points came at 5v5.
165 RW Sami Moilanen

Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL

5’8, 185 | 01/22/99

Swift skating Finnish waterbug who led all WHL rookies with seven playoff goals and placed second with 16 points in 20 games. He was critical to Seattle claiming its first postseason WHL crown, playing key minutes in all situations and playing on the top penalty killing unit. Moilanen is very aggressive, especially on the forecheck, where he combined his speed and understanding of play development to position himself in an area where an opposing puck carrier is destined to make his mistake. He is also a ferocious backchecker who always seems to be the first forward standing up at his own blue line, and his step-ups are timed and successful. But Moilanen is no checker with limited upside — he has very good vision and can create chances off puck pursuit with either a subtle centering pass or a blistering wrister off a curl and drag. Thirty two of his 43 points came at 5v5, including 16 of his 21 goals.
166 RW Patrick Bajkov (OA)

Everett Silvertips, WHL

6’0, 180 | 11/27/97

One of the WHL’s top two-way players whose talent scale tips heavily in favor of offense. Bajkov is a very good skater who can make plays at high speed regardless of degree of difficulty. He’s feathery on his skates and cuts and weaves his way into open ice rather effortlessly. Playing for a goal-starved offense skews his numbers, but keep in mind that the Silvertips played tight affairs on a nightly basis, and Bajkov was entrusted with late-game situations in addition to assisting the top power play unit. He’s a lethal passer and quite creative, and we get the feeling that he’ll flourish in an up-tempo system. Bajkov led the Tips in scoring with 78 points, but 50 came during 5v5 that placed him fourth among WHL first-year draft overagers.
167 LHD Jakub Galvas

Olomouc HC, Extraliga

5’11, 161 | 06/15/99

Reliable two-way defender who can play top-pairing minutes while managing the puck properly. Galvas was one of the younger defensemen in the Czech Extraliga, but he cleaned up his defensive game to the point where his coach wasn’t scared to use him late in games. Galvas is a strong skater who is comfortable controlling the puck, and he handled the forecheck against adults quite well. He’ll take a hit to move the puck, but he’s quick and crafty enough to spin away from his man and create an odd-man situation up ice. Galvas likes to shoot the puck and has a hard, accurate shot that can beat goalies from beyond the tops of the circles.
168 LHD Matt Kiersted (OA)

Chicago Steel, USHL

5’11, 175 | 04/14/98

Smart two-way defenseman with good speed who is more sound with his positioning than most puck movers in his draft class. Kiersted was a top-pairing defensemen for Chicago but had a season-ending injury right after winning the WJAC with Team USA in December. He plays aggressive and likes to join the rush, but he’s quick enough to get back and cover up. Kiersted is poised with the puck and doesn’t rattle in the face of an heavy forecheck, but he can beat you with his smarts or a quick burst. If he gets chased, he will either outmaneuver his man or use the boards for a bank to the weak side. Rarely do you see him treat the puck like a hot potato or put his partner or forwards in a position to fail. He has an average shot but it’s accurate, and he is efficient running the point on the power play.
169 RW Daniil Vovchenko (OA)

Severstal Cherepovets, KHL

5’10, 172 | 04/04/96

It isn’t of the ordinary for a triple-overager to put up points as a KHL sophomore. But a scoring winger with a shorter development path like Vovchenko might become a commodity come draft day. He turned 21 in April, and a playoff stint in the MHL proved to be child’s play for him as he registered 14 points in 12 games. He’s extremely fast, has excellent hands and one of the quicker releases you find among any draft eligible. Although Vovchenko isn’t much of a three-zone player, he can kill penalties and take the puck from goal line to goal line. He’s one of those silent types who doesn’t display a lot of emotion but has a burning desire to be the best player every time he steps on the ice. Vovchenko is a real wild card but worth the risk in a later round.
170 LHD Tyler Inamoto

U.S. U18, NTDP

6’2, 194 | 05/06/99

Big-hitting two-way defender with good speed and a hard shot who was stuck in either the middle or bottom pairing of the NTDP for most of the season. Inamoto plays aggressive in all areas of the ice, whether it’s with his feet or his body. He was Team USA’s most physical defensemen, sometimes to a fault in that gunning for a open-ice check placed him well out of position. He needs to work on his breakouts as he’s prone to turnovers, but Inamoto is a tireless worker who competes from start to finish. His combination of strength and speed, plus an admirable work ethic, help offset his issues handling the puck. He’ll play for the Wisconsin Badgers next season.
171 G Josef Korenar (OA)

Lincoln Stars, USHL

6’1, 175 | 01/31/98

Korenar as an overager had a splendid rookie season in the USHL, finishing third in both save percentage (.925) and goals-against average (2.22). He also yielded two goals or less in 20 of his 26 appearance that ended in regulation. Not bad for a kid not only in his first North American season, but one who was forced to share the workload with fellow 2017-draft eligible Cayden Primeau. He’s an efficient goalie who doesn’t get rattled and can cover ground quickly on his knees. Korenar controls rebounds with his blocker quite well, and doesn’t seem to over-emphasize his glove saves — he’s sees the puck, he smothers it and tucks it away. Comes across as a poised, mature kid who consistently kept his team in games and rarely gives up a bad goal.
172 G Eetu Makeniemi

Jokerit U20, Jr. A SM-Liiga

6’2, 176 | 04/19/99

Sound Finnish goalie with good size and quickness who shared Jokerit’s netminding duties with Chicago Blackhawks’ draftee Wouter Peeters. Makiniemi has impressive stubbornness in that he doesn’t like giving screening forwards any room within sneezing distance of the crease. He a fighter who isn’t stapled to his posts, and his glove hand positioning during lateral movement is almost pro-like. He first caught my attention playing at the Junior Club World Cup in August and is a candidate to not only see some Liiga time next season, but play for Finland at the U20 WJC.
173 LHD Ben Mirageas

Chicago Steel, USHL

6’1, 180 | 05/08/99

A midseason trade from Bloomington to Chicago invigorated this Bay Stater from Massachusetts’ North Shore, as Mirageas won a Clark Cup title and led all blueliners with 10 assists in 14 games. The Providence commit is a shifty, smart puck mover who is poised and decisive under pressure. He’s an offensive defenseman who gets out of trouble with either clean, crisp passes or a burst into open ice. Mirageas isn’t a physically intimidating defender, and while he should be applauded for not avoiding contact altogether, he still needs to work on his timing and finishing checks.
174 C Jan Drozg

Leksand J20, Superelit

6’0, 168 | 04/01/99

A talented Slovenian who plays for Leksand in the Superelit, Drozg led the U18 D1A worlds in scoring by a wide margin. He can play both center and wing but always is used as a scoring forward in offensive zone starts and on the power play. Drozg is a very good skater and an excellent stickhandler whose speed and shiftiness buys him time and space. He has a quick stick, soft hands and the kind of vision that identifies back-door cutters or trailers. Drozg’s start-and-stop is rapid, and all it takes is one step in any direction to gain a step on an opponent. Both he and Emil Bemstrom swapped first-line center duties with Leksand’s J18 club in 2016, but it was Drozg who appeared better at playmaking and incorporating all four teammates into a given play.
175 RW Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen

Altumna, Allsvenskan

6’0, 185 | 08/20/99

Norwegian sniper who ran through the international circuit like a hot knife through butter, scoring in bunches and distinguishing himself as one of Norway’s top draft-eligible player. Roykas-Marthinsen is a very good skater who can finish off the rush or make a set-up on his own. This type of low-maintenance winger should benefit from being surrounded by better talent when he permanently suits up for Altumna in Sweden’s Allsvenskan next fall. He’s elusive along the wall and battles his way through checks to get to loose pucks, and he seemed to have good chemistry with his centers in the form of give-and-go’s, set one-timers off faceoffs, and tic-tac-toe plays with the man advantage.
176* RW Andrei Altybarmakyan (OA)

Serebryanye Lvy, MHL

5’11, 185 | 08/04/98

Altybarmakyan is a speedy overage winger with an incredibly soft touch who should be on a fast track to notoriety. He’s a skill forward who plays under control and doesn’t rush into shots, meaning he’ll take his time to maximize the quality of a given chance. He works his tail of and is always around the puck, He displayed not only hard work, but an ability to make quick set-ups during scrums. His passes were accurate, and on several occasions he feathered perfect backhanders to teammates in stride. A skill forward with excellent vision and awareness, Altybarmakyan was one of the MHL representatives at the KHL All-Star Game and even scored a goal. There are a handful of Russian puck magicians and Altybarmakyan is near the top of the list.
177 G Kiril Ustemenko

Dynamo-SPB, MHL

6’3, 187 | 01/29/99

Belorussian-born backstop who represented Russia at the recent U18’s with aplomb following a dominant season in the MHL. Ustemenko had the benefit of playing for a sound defensive team, as he faced 30 or more shots in only nine of his 27 appearances. The good news is he allowed two goals or less in eight of the nine, so it wasn’t like he didn’t earn his paycheck. It was his stellar play in a shutout against Sweden at the U18 worlds that helped Russia earn a bronze medal — it’s first medal at the tournament in six years. He’s a very aggressive goalie who will challenge well above the top of the crease, partly because of equal quickness in both blocker and glove hands. Ustemenko has excellent reflexes and is square to the shooter immediately after centering feeds. Plus he’s relatively solid on quick-release attempts like one-timers or goal-mouth feeds.
178 LW Denis Smirnov (OA)

Penn State, Big-10

5’8, 185 | 08/12/97

Crafty undersized forward with speed and exceptional puck skills who took the NCAA by storm, leading all freshman in scoring with 47 points. Born in Moscow before emigrating the U.S. as a child, Smirnov was a prolific point producer in the USHL in each of his first two looks for the draft. He’s certainly got everyone’s attention now, not only for being the top NCAA rookie but playing a key role in Penn State hockey winning their first Big-10 title. He’s a dangler, deker and head-faker who can beat you with his vision or his shot, and he’s an absolute beast in one-on-one scenarios. Smirnov is one of those possession wizards who can slow the game down and keep the puck on his stick from the beginning of a shift until whenever he feels like getting rid of it.
179  G Ivan Prosvetov

Minnesota Magicians, NAHL

6’4, 162 | 03/05/99

The transition from Russia to North American isn’t quite over for this big-bodied netminder who was the sixth overall pick in the 2016 KHL draft. He faced a lot of rubber for the Magicians, including 34 or more shots in more than half of his 44 regular season appearances. A butterfly goalie who looks quite comfortable dropping down wherever the puck may be, he’s solid at covering the lower half of the net, and doesn’t look gangly or slow recovering from an initial save. This kid was helpless on most nights, but he will stop most initial shots regardless of whether he gets a clean look or not.
180 LHD Matteo Pietroniro

Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL

6’0, 180 | 10/20/98

Pietroniro is a slick offensive-minded defenseman with superior puck skills who uses quickness and sound vision to eat away at opposing schemes. He quarterbacks the top power play unit with confidence, as all plays usually run through him before completion. Pietroniro is incredibly accurate with his passes and can split the zones with tape-to-tape stretch passes from as far back as his own goal line. He can either initiate a rush with puck carrying or join one to create an advantage — both revealing a smart, instinctive player who understands how critical a role he plays. Pietroniro has good chemistry with his partners and makes timely and decisive pinches. Rarely will you see him drop down below the circles without ensuring the void will be covered, and when he does, he’ll put his head down and bolt back to thwart an opposing counterattack. He has a decent shot from the point, but it’s accurate and fired without hesitation. Pietroniro is reliable in one-on-one coverage and slot positioning but can be moved off the puck by bigger forwards, especially on the penalty kill or in close-quarter battles. That doesn’t mean he can’t play physical — Pietroniro likes to mix it up and stands up to any challenge.
181  G Jeremy Swayman

Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL

6’2, 187 | 09/17/98

Athletic goalie with size who had a solid rookie season in the USHL after Sioux Falls drafted him in the 12th round. The first thing that stands out about Swayman is how quick he is getting set and squaring up to a shooter. His butterfly coverage on initial shots is decent, but Swayman is very quick not only stopping initial shots, but recovering quickly to handle rebounds. Finding gaps is something USHL shooters had difficulty doing, and he will challenge beyond the top of the crease. He ranked 12th in save percentage (.914) but save close to 34 shots a game, which made him one of the busier netminders in the league. He’ll soon call Orono home when he suits up for the Maine Blackbears in 2018.
182  RHD Reilly Walsh

Chicago Steel, USHL

5’11, 181 | 04/21/99

Harvard-bound puck distributor who split the season between prep school and the Chicago Steel. Walsh is an excellent skater and can quarterback a power play, where he stays in constant motion and doesn’t throw pucks away trying to be cute. His passes are crisp and on the tape, but he has soft hands to play catch or hammer a one-timer without worrying about fumbling it out of the zone. Walsh has vision is excellent, and he looked extremely comfortable at the Hlinka working the puck around on a power play full of talent. Yes, he’s not very physical and will resort to some pretty weak stick fouls. But his step-ups and stick placement while defending zone entries revealed a defenseman who used technical know-how to make up for any physical shortcomings. There were times in the USHL where he seemed overmatched, and it might scare teams away regardless of how wonderful he looks moving up ice.
183  RHD Matt Brassard (OA)

Oshawa Generals, OHL

6’2, 201 | 08/08/98

Hard-shooting overager with size who split the season between Barrie and Oshawa, finishing the season as the Gens top-pairing defenseman and playing in most important situations. Brassard is not that much of an overager — he made 2016 eligibility by less than a month — and he was one of the busiest OHL rearguards in terms of shot production. He finished third in the league with 204 shots, of which 129 came at even strength.  Nic Hague and Markus Phillips were the only notable OHL rearguards who generated more shots per game than Brassard, who also plays with a mean streak and likes to hit people. His low number of assists — 11 during 5v5 — confirms the belief that he isn’t very creative and relies on his shot far too often when a extra pass may have been prudent. Still, he’s a good skater who knows where to position himself and isn’t a liability in his own end.
184*  G Lassi Lehtinen

Tappara Tampere, Liiga

5’11, 169 | 02/25/99

Quick Finnish netminder who makes up for a lack of ideal size with exceptional net awareness and tracking ability. Listed at only 5’11, Lehtinen doesn’t blanket the cage with an imposing silhouette, but he challenges shot above his crease to cut down openings. Lehtinen’s rebound control and ability to track pucks during chaotic sequences of events are strong, and he’ll hold his ground with skill forwards juking and deking their way to the goalmouth. He’s quick with his side-to-side movement, but the speed of both his glove and blocker hand seem weak. Lehtinen was outstanding for Finland at last November’s U18 Five Nations tournament and the recent U18 world championship.
185* C/W Zach Solow

Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL

5’9, 184 | 11/06/98

The USHL’s top scorer who ran Dubuque’s offense and power play. Solow is a skilled offensive player who makes his linemates better thanks to excellent vision and the ability to find the man who nobody knows is open. Time and again, Solow serves the puck to his teammates on a silver platter, but he won’t rush into a decision if he thinks a better option could develop. His zone entries range from poised and deliberate to quick and violent, but dumping the puck in is viewed as the last resort. Solow is adept at one-touch and slap passes, and he always looks for trailers and cutters. Solow may be undersized, but he’s quite strong and will try to finish his checks. His skating is slightly above average and choppy, but he can change gears and eventually outmaneuvers defensemen.
186 LW Anton Vasilyev (OA)

Dynamo-SPB, MHL

5’9, 196 | 05/25/98

Strong skater with solid puck skills who plays with confidence and can finish. Vasilyev played on the first power play unit because he enters the zone clean regardless of traffic or can sneak into the circle and fire a hard, accurate one-timer. His wrist shot is as difficult for goalies to control as his slapper, but he’s so shifty that he can beat you with a simple pump fake then dance his way towards the goal. Vasilyev isn’t overly physical, but he plays with an edge and gets involved after the whistle.