2017 NHL Draft

Mock Draft: Round 5 Picks 125-155 (May)

Center Emil Bemstrom was one of the top point producers in Sweden’s most competitive junior league.

Steve Kournianos  |  5/23/2017 |  New York  |  

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Team Pick Player Notes
125 LHD Jesse Bjugstad

Stillwater, HS-MN

6’2, 178 | 04/04/99

Hard-nosed defender with NHL bloodlines who was a critical piece to Stillwater’s Minnesota high school steamroller. Bjugstad is a two-way blueliner with a rocket of a shot who plays on the top pair and is used for all key matchups. His presence as a No. 1 on the back end reveals a team leader with sound instincts and a suffocating style that in my view was critical to team success. His skating is slightly above average, but he identifies gaps and will fill them in as far down as the opposing goal area.
126* RW Shawn Boudrias 

Gatineau Olympiques, QMJHL

6’4, 197 | 09/14/99

Can you call a former high QMJHL draft pick underrated? In the case of Boudrias, who went 13th overall in 2015, you may want to consider it. He’s big, strong and improved his speed from a year ago, plus he boasts an NHL-level shot. Boudrias seemed invigorated after a midseason trade from Charlottetown to Gatineau, as his production increased from 0.46 to 0.66. Not to mention, 24 of his 33 points came at 5v5, and his 2.02 eP/60 ranked seventh among first-year QMJHL eligibles with 50+ games. Boudrias is a promising 200-foot power forward with legitimate NHL potential who plays hard and battles every shift.
127 C Emil Bemstrom

Leksand J20, Superelit

5’11, 177 | 06/01/99

Hard-nosed speedster who led the J20 Superelit Norra with 20 goals in just 24 games. Bemstrom is a quick, dual-threat forward who can bury the puck as well as he can dish it. He has excellent vision and will utilize hard, accurate cross-ice passes to improve the quality of a scoring chance. His speed allows him to create time and space when the ice seems clogged, but he’s an even bigger threat in open ice – he rarely makes mistakes on odd-man rushes and will not telegraph his next move. Bemstrom controls the puck with speed through the neutral zone and uses accurate lead or drop passes if he senses a defender will vacate a lane. He may not look big, but he is strong enough to come away with pucks during one-on-one battles with bigger opponents. Bemstrom is a relentless forechecker who finishes his checks and can win key faceoffs.
128 RW Isaac Johnson

Des Moines Buccaneers, USHL

6’2, 180 | 01/24/99

Heavy-shooting power forward with a quick release and crafty puck skills who was one of the USHL’s top snipers among rookies. Johnson has size and strength, but its his blistering shot that keeps opponents honest. The puck simply explodes off his stick, and Johnson doesn’t require much backswing to wire it. He’s very good in tight spaces and is constantly in motion with or without the puck, which always seems to find him. The kid has incredibly soft hands, and you’ll see him deaden tough passes or fire bouncing pucks with accuracy. Twelve of his 14 goals were scored during 5v5 and he was third among USHL rookies with a 1.15 eG/60.
129 LHD Jonathan Smart

Regina Pats, WHL

6’0, 197 | 06/01/99

Making Team Canada for the Hlinka probably did more for this puck mover’s draft stock than the way he actually played in the tournament, but he had an otherwise solid season split between two powerhouses in Kelowna and Regina. Smart is a pretty good skater and sound decision maker who takes a hit to move the puck, and a lack of creativity doesn’t mean he’s afraid to handle the puck. He was used on the penalty kill with success, but his patient approach to puck carrying and a hard shot tells me he should have seen more time on the power play.
130 RHD Leon Gawanke

Cape Breton, QMJHL

6’1,186 | 05/31/99

A Strong-skating power play quarterback with a quick first step and a long stride, Gawanke was Cape Breton’s primary option for generating offense from the blueline. A German import with good size and sound instincts, he was second only to Pierre-Olivier Joseph in points (32) and 5v5 points (19) among all first-year QMJHL blueliners. He wasn’t very effective on the penalty kill, mainly for obvious struggles with slot coverage and getting outmuscled. Still, he is very confident with the puck and loves to shoot — he has a hard, accurate shot with a quick release.
131 RW Michael Pastujov

U.S. U18, NTDP

6’0, 190 | 08/23/99

Tough, gritty scoring winger with a nice touch around the net who had an excellent second half after battling an injury. Pastujov posted 19 points in his final 34 games and combined for 16 points in 11 contests for Team USA between the Hlinka and U18 Worlds. Pastujov, has a quick first step and an excellent shot. Injuries notwithstanding, he’s pretty close to a complete player, and it’s rare to see such a strong lad handle the puck with care while steamrolling through the opposing zone’s dense network of sticks and bodies. He’ll be playing for Michigan next fall.
132 C Noah Cates

Stillwater, HS-MN

6’0, 165 | 02/05/99

The stats are impressive (65 points in 25 games), but there’s more to Cates’s game than just flash and dash. He’s a highly-intelligent puck distributor, but his competitiveness and tenacity on the puck makes him more than your average set-up guy. All that said, you have to get up real early in the morning to stop him, especially if he’s already got the puck across center. Cates has soft hands to handle hard passes and can stickhandle in and around traffic no matter how fast he’s moving. He’s a strong skater with decent speed, but his agility and sharp directional changes make him tough to slow down.
133 RHD Reagan O’Grady

Sudbury Wolves, OHL

6’2, 197 | 12/15/98

Meat-and-potatoes defender with size and an in-it-goes, out-it-goes approach to handling the puck. O’Grady has average speed and decent footwork, but he improved his defense dramatically from the time Kingston made him the 14th overall pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. In terms of puck skills, the most you’re going to get out of him is a spin off a forechecker into a sharp breakout pass. But O’Grady doesn’t seem all that comfortable with the disc in his hands. That doesn’t mean he’s a liability — he plays quite poised and makes good decisions under duress. He just knows his limitations and doesn’t try to be somebody he’s not. He has a decent shot that he will use only if wide open, but again, this kid is more of a stopper at his own blue line or a blanket to smother an opposing cycle.
134* G Olle Eriksson-Ek

Farjestad J20, Superelit

6’2, 183 | 06/22/99

Static Swedish netminder with size who had a terrific year in the Superelit, finishing among the leaders in goals-against average (2.38) and save percentage (.920). He succeeded from an individual standpoint on the international stage, winning silver with the Swedes at the U18 worlds and placing 2nd at the 2016 Hlinka with a .924 save percentage. Eriksson Ek, the younger brother of Minnesota Wild rookie Joel, has a pretty high panic threshold and has very good post-save recovery thanks to his lower-body strength that allows him to vault back into his set. He rarely ventures outside the crease to challenge shooters, but he is active on dump-ins, breaks up centering feeds and is comfortable using the poke check on breakaways or shootout attempts.
135 G Zach Sawchenko (OA)

Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL

6’1, 175 | 12/30/97

A handful of WHL goalies distinguished themselves in 2017, but Sawchenko was the best of the draft-eligible variety. He was passed over last year in his first look of eligibility, but he took the disappointment in stride and finished with a stellar .917 save percentage in 51 games for Moose Jaw. He also saw a ton of rubber, and no CHL goalie who saw 1400 or more shots had a higher save percentage. Already a competent goalie from a technical standpoint, it appeared as if Sawchenko fine-tuned his butterfly to the point where he was gobbling up far more shots than in previous seasons. He’s always been quick and flexible, and now looks more comfortable in his crease.
136 LW/RW Marian Studenic

Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL

6’0, 164 | 10/28/98

Explosive winger with game-changing abilities who followed up a strong rookie season in the Slovak elite Extraliga with an up-and-down North American campaign with Hamilton. Studenic’s skills are undeniable — he is super fast, super agile and super aware. The problem was he couldn’t get a consistent job in the top six or on the power play, so he was forcing things while relegated to a depth role. Still, 14 of his 18 goals and 23 of 30 points came at even strength, and he is good for a couple of great chances a game. One underrated aspect of Studenic’s game is his vision, especially on zone entries.
137 RW Ivan Kozlov

Val-d’Or Foreurs, QMJHL

6’0, 200 | 03/26/99

A mini midseason slump was the lone blemish on this sturdy Russian winger’s rookie resume, as Kozlov was one of the QMJHL’s most opportunistic scorers in terms of ice time and level of responsibility. He’s a strong skater with excellent balance who displays patience and awareness as he crosses center with the puck. Combining Kozlov’s thickness with his pro-level shot reveals a power forward capable of scoring from just about anywhere inside the blue line, and goalies seemed to have difficulty controlling rebounds of his shots. He won’t kill penalties or be on the ice in late-game scenarios, but he plays physical and has success using his strength to overpower opponents during board battles in his own end. Think of Kozlov as a poor man’s Vlad Tarasenko.
138* RHD Martin Bodak

Tappara U20, Jr. A SM-Liiga

6’0, 194 | 11/28/98

Tough to tell what kind of upside this Slovak blueliner has because you rarely see an in-between — he’s either unstoppable or a hot mess. Puck management can be downright poor, albeit sparingly, but he’s outstanding at reacting to and neutralizing chances created by his own mistakes. He’s obviously not some sort of glutton for punishment, as he has stick–to–itiveness and will recover both mentally and tactically from bonehead mistakes. When he’s composed, Bodak has high-end puck skills and can run a power play, using speed, vision and anticipation to enter the zone and help set things up. Defensemen with his skill set are great low-round projects because puck management can be fixed under the right guidance and within the proper system.
139 LHD Oliver Gatz-Nielsen

Herning, Metal Ligaen (Denmark)

6’1, 207 | 10/06/98

Nielsen is a versatile, minute-munching shutdown defender with top-four potential. He consistently takes hits to move the puck to safety and opts for the quickest route to the puck rather than worry about the price he’s going to pay for having his back turned. Nielsen is a smart, poised puck distributor who stays within himself and doesn’t try to be flashy. He can be used as a top option on the penalty kill for shot blocking and quick reaction time to pucks within his immediate area, and he wins most of his 50/50 battles thanks to a long stick that he utilizes in a quick but legal manner.
140 LHD Matt Anderson

Holy Family, HS-MN

5’11, 199 | 04/11/99

Offensive-minded rearguard who excels running a power play but looks for big hits and logs a ton of minutes. Anderson was critical to Holy Family’s success this year, playing in all situations and leading breakouts with either his skating or hard, crisp outlet passes. He plays through pain and doesn’t back down from a challenge. Anderson will play for Minnesota-Duluth.
141 C Calle Miketinac

Frolunda J20, Superelit

5’11, 183 | 04/02/99

Aggressive forward with a non-stop motor and versatility to provide competence to both the power play and penalty kill. Miketinac for a teenager thinks the game at a high level and anticipates where the puck will go, especially on the forecheck. He’s strong on his skates and tough to knock down, and he keeps his head up while controlling the puck and getting mugged from behind. Identifying open or cutting teammates is one of his strong suits.
142* LHD Antoine Crete-Belzile

Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL

6’0, 188 | 08/19/99

Oft-injured blueliner with good speed and an above-average command of his position. Crete-Belzile is a heady and poised rearguard who can be counted on to beat a breakout either with his speed or via hard, accurate passes. Things get complicated once he crosses his own blue line, but he’s reliable option to augment a puck mover on a first or middle pairing. He possesses average puck skills in terms of creativity, but he has a very good shot that he uses sparingly. Crete-Belzile is a safe player who isn’t in the business of risk taking in the offensive zone. He’ll pinch to keep a play alive and quickly retreat to his point rather than roll the dice on a carry deep into the corners. He’s used sparingly on the power play but stands out on the penalty kill, where his slot positioning and quick stick helps him break up plays around the net.
143 C Jan Hladonik

Trinec, Extraliga U20

5’9, 161 | 08/18/99

A fast skater who is quick on his feet and can maintain top speed for the duration of his rushes, Hladonik was a top scorer in the Czech junior league and had a top-six role for the Czechs in international events. Hladonik’s game is based on speed and vision, and he develops chemistry with wingers rather quickly. They know how fast he is, and he knows how to slow things downs and let plays develop. Hladonik has quick feet and a solid understanding of play development, and controlling the puck in and around traffic helps him break through zone defenses. The power of his shot is above average and accurate, and he finds a way to score “dirty goals” from the tough areas around the net. Hladonik is average on faceoffs, but he kills penalties with an aggressive mindset and always looks for the chance to pick off a cross-ice pass and jet up ice.
144* RW Ivan Kosorenkov (OA)

Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL

5’10, 187 | 01/22/98

Dynamic overage puck magnet who is strong on his skates and can stickhandle his way out of a jam. Kosorenkov is pretty quick on his feet, using exceptional agility and balance to maintain control of the puck. He comes across as more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, but scored 18 goals on 97 shots during 5v5 and finished second in the QMJHL with a 22.4 shooting percentage. Scoring pretty goals is something Kosorenkov is capable of doing, but he doesn’t bogey the tap-ins and slam dunks. He is listed at 6’0, 185 pounds but looks a bit stockier and his skating style is somewhat hunched.
145 C Igor Shvyryov (OA)

Stalnye Lisi, MHL

6’0, 205 | 07/10/98

One of Russia’s top young talents who was Stalnye Lisy’s first line center and scoring leader, Shvyryov is arguably Europe’s most talented draft-eligible playmaker. The work needed to get him to leave Russia for North America is part of what keeps him relatively obscure — he was kept off Central Scouting’s rankings despite being one of the MHL’s leading scorers. Shvyryov is a dynamic offensive player with excellent vision and hockey sense, and he’s deadly in odd-man situations. He has very good straight-line speed and can hammer the puck with accuracy, plus he’s defensively responsible and won 56 percent of over 1000 faceoffs.
146 LHD Mark Rubinchik

Saskatoon Blades, WHL

6’0, 179 | 03/21/99

Physical blueliner who as a first-year import with Saskatoon dealt ups and downs but remains a worthy project pick for the middle rounds. Rubinchik is a big hitter with very good mobility and a hard shot, but he can also make plays and play aggressive in the offensive zone. Yes, he can play undisciplined or drop the gloves from time to time, but there’s more to his game than just brute force. Rubinchik is strong on his skates and is nimble enough to spin away from pressure, and he spots the open man properly. Sure, he’ll have games where every pass seems telegraphed, but he usually bounces back by using the boards effectively and neutralizing a forecheck with poised, calculated plays.
147 LHD Eemeli Rasanen

Kingston Frontenacs, OHL

6’7, 208 | 03/06/99

They say you can’t teach size, but one has to wonder if it will even matter four or five years from now. Rasanen is a big, mobile rearguard with a long reach who had a relatively solid first year in North America following his time in the Finnish junior leagues. He maintains a tight gap and is very good at sealing off an onrushing opponent into no man’s land, and he has been used on late-game scenarios and on the penalty kill. Rasanen is strong enough to shove guys out of the crease, but there are times he struggles with floating and will lose guys behind him. His play with the puck is pretty standard for a shutdown type, but he isn’t fast or own a heavy shot. Keep him away from the power play and he’ll make a coach happy with his work below his own dots.
148  LW Linus Weissbach (OA)

Tri-City Storm, USHL

5’8, 161 | 04/19/98

Quick overage forward with blinding breakaway speed who left Sweden for the USHL but has been a top scorer for his junior team in each of the last two years. Once considered too weak on his skates, Weissbach improved his strength and balance, two things he’ll need when he suits up for the Wisconsin Badgers next year. He has a continuous motor and is very active in all three zones, and will even challenge bigger defenders in puck battles. Weissbach isn’t strong in his own end, but he relies on sound instincts and telegraphing opposing tactics near his blue line rather than cover up the slot or support a battle in the corner. The NCAA schedule should give him plenty of time to bulk up and learn his side of the red line.
149 C Igor Martynov

Belarus U20, Belarus

6’0, 181 | 01/19/99

Dynamic skater with excellent offensive traits who opted to spend another year in Belarus after Peterborough made him a second round import pick. Martynov has top-six upside and can be used in any situation at 5v5 or on special teams. He’s strong on his skates and forces opponents to do a lot of puck gazing as he stickhandles his way through traffic while moving quickly and with confidence. The Belorussians always field a top-heavy team no matter the tournament, but Martynov continued to be their top producer despite facing the toughest matchups against prospect-loaded teams. His hockey sense is quite high and he identifies multiple options for set-ups, and periods of erratic play are somewhat justified when the scales are tipped so heavily against him.
150  RHD Mario Ferraro

Des Moines Buccaneers, USHL

5’10, 194 | 09/17/98

Fast puck-moving defensemen with excellent first-step quickness and footwork who keeps a tight gap and takes the right routes to seal off his man. Ferraro, a UMass-Amherst recruit, stays glued to his man and will finish checks with authority. He is not very tall but is strong as an ox, using his upper-body strength to pin his man with little to no chance of escape. He has an aggressive mindset with the puck and explodes up the ice to create a numbers advantage without it. A good bodychecker who likes to drive into people, Ferraro is an attack-minded defender who looks to transition up ice no matter where he is or how much traffic is in front of him. This style of play results in a lot of gaps and counterattacks, but he is fast enough to get back most of the time. He owns a booming, accurate shot and is the primary point man on the power play
151  C Skyler Brind’amour

South Kent School, USPHL

6’2, 170 | 07/27/99

He’s got the familiar name, but Brind’amour plays a different style to his father Rod, who won a Cup with Carolina in 2006 and played in nearly 1500 NHL games. Skyler is a strong-skating forward who is competent in all three zones and has potential for more, especially when you consider his size. He’s headed to Michigan State after brief stints with the South Kent School U18 Selects and the NTDP. Brind’amour is a cerebral player who hustles, competes and displays occasional periods of dominance. He doesn’t have breakaway speed but is difficult to slow down once he reaches top speed.
152*  LHD Jocktan Chainey

Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

6’0, 198 | 09/08/99

Promising two-way defenseman with excellent footwork and sound instincts. Chainey reacts to dangerous situations with both poise and confidence, and being a very good skater helps maintain a tight gap and win a fair amount of footraces. Although he shared power play ice with Nico Hischier, Chainey was Halifax’s nominal power play quarterback. He has a good, accurate shot and a quick release, and when pressured will use bank passes effectively. Getting stronger will be important as he struggles with one-on-one battles, but his defensive-zone play is quite good for a puck mover.
153  RW Joona Luoto (OA)

Tappara Tampere, Liiga

6’2, 185 | 09/27/97

Definitely a project pick even if he’s one of the better overagers for 2017. Luoto is a power forward who can play physical and protects the puck extremely well. I don’t know how much of a hindrance his lack of speed would be in North America, but he can be a load to handle and makes smart, subtle plays with guys draped all over him. Luoto makes up average straight-line quickness with strong balance and sharp directional changes once he gets inside the zone.
154 LHD Kristians Rubins (OA)

Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL

6’4, 216 | 10/11/97

Hard-hitting Latvian who had a fine rookie season with Medicine Hat but can’t seem to shake the injury bug. Rubins is a late-1997 born overager who plays a steady, positional game but can carry the puck away from pressure thanks to his strong skating ability. He’s capable of playing physical and on occasion will throw a crushing hit, but where he makes the most money is acting as a safety net for a puck-moving partner. Rubins won’t put up a lot of points, but he clearly understands both his role and the importance of covering gaps.
155 G Jake Begley

Brookings Blizzard, NAHL

6’1, 170 | 03/18/99

The top goalie in Minnesota high school hockey is a tremendous competitor and student of the game. He won the Frank Brimsek award and deservedly so — Begley led Hill-Murray to the state tournament and posted a .936 save percentage. He followed up his stellar high school career with a four strong games for the NAHL’s Brookings Bandits, stopping 0.926 percent of his shots. It was tough to determine how quick and athletic he was because he made every save look rather effortless, and his positioning, net awareness and post-save recovery were excellent for a teenager. He remains without an NCAA commitment, but that should change sometime during his rookie season in the USHL next year.