Liger's List, top 10
Due to some health issues with my father, I havent had as much time to devote to the draft as I usually do. However I am working on a list and do have the top 10 done. This has been the hardest top 10 I have completed and in the end it differs a lot from most public lists.
1) Shane Wright C, he missed all of last year and I think the teams talking themselves out of him at #1 are forgetting that. Recency bias with Slafskovsky has run rampant at this point but in Wright you are getting a Bergeron type of player with a strong 200ft game and I think more offense than he is currently given credit for. Not writing more because he won't be available but he should go back to the OHL for 1 more season.
2) Logan Cooley C, he might have the most skills of anyone in this draft and if you watch his game the amount of plays that run through him is impressive. He has everything you want in a C except great size and only 5'10.5" but I think his overall skills and skating really make that a non issue. He is very smart and his passing might be the best in the class. Let him bake in college 2 years.
3) Juraj Slafkovsky LW, I love Juraj even if it sounded like I did not. He is very good at a lot of things and this ends the top tier of this draft. His size and shooting allow him to do a lot of different things in the offensive zone making him dynamic. His ability to maintain possession is going to payoff big time once he is fully mature and the only real question is can he increase his quickness to really take advantage of his size. Either get him to NA in the AHL or leave him for another year in Slovakia.
4) David Jiricek RHD, I put a break here because we now enter the 2nd tier of players. Jiricek lost some of this year to injury which sucked because there is a rawness to parts of his game that a full season would have continued to fix. His short WJC though was nothing short of breathtaking and part of why he ranks above Nemec for me. Jiricek has the will, speed, and attitude to try and take over games defensively with enough offense to factor in there too. He is a hardnose physical beast in his own end and that really appeals to me. Needs another year overseas and then an AHL year IMPO.
5) Simon Nemec RHD, I do love what Nemec brings but he is more of a smooth skating playmaker as opposed to the in your face Jiricek style. There were times this year where scouting reports talked about Nemec being less noticable and that is because he doesn't have that "impose my will" on you attitude that really keeps him a step below Jiricek. He is still really good and may even outproduce Jirieck but it comes down to style. Same timeline as Jiricek.
6) Frank Nazar III C/RW, Idk if he will stick at center but worst case scenario you have a really annoying rw charging up and down the ice. If Nazar were 2 inches taller, this ranking wouldn't surprise anyone. I debated who to put at the start of the 3rd tier and I kept coming back to Nazar the more I did research on him. His skating is really good, his hands are good, his shot is good, his deception is good and improving. He is very relentless at times and I think a few years in college (2) will really round out his game and allow him to access that next level. His floor is probably a 3rd line speedy grinder type who plays with 2 bigger players, but his ceiling is legitimately a 1st line player with a 30g, 40a type of threshold. He is a lot of fun to watch and the counting stats and microstats back up what you see. I would let him sit 2 years in the NCAA to make sure he really rounds out that game.
7) Pavel Mintyukov LHD, yes I am ranking a lhd at 7 because holy crap is he good. First, he played on a trash junior team and yet managed to still be an absolute force of nature for them. He was tops on his team in pts... as a defender with 62 (just behind him at 61 was Josh Bloom) and idk what to even say about that. He had 17 goals and 45 assists. There is a bunch of secondary assists and some pp noise in those numbers but still, just watch him. He has everything I want in a defender, he is physical, smart, aggressive, with high end puck skills. His puck skills are in that Power/Dahlin level of holy crap. He is almost 6'2" and uses that to his advantage in the offensive zone. His defensive game needs some work but... I don't care because my lord is everything else fantastic. His bday means 1 more OHL season and then you can put him in the AHL, I would go that route and do all I could to make sure he doesn't ever go back to russia.
8. Liam Ohgren LW, this should probably be Savoie but I can't ignore Ohgren's production because NO ONE produces the way he did at even strength in the SWE u20. He has a super high floor IMPO of a 2nd/3rd line winger and a ceiling of a first line Okposo in his prime type of winger. His shot is excellent although not the best in the class, his ability to be the link on his line where he just facilitates getting the puck to teammates in great spots is really good. He lacks some deception at times when it comes to rushes, he won't weave in and out but the talk of him having bad skating is 100% bs. He has average to above average speed and he actually has good edges. He can produce however you want and is basically Gauthier but IMPO better. He needs to work on his pace a little as there were times he needed to make quicker decisions but overall he is clever where how he navigates the offensive and neutral zones. Defense is okay but can improve. All in all there is just too much offense there for me to rank him lower, it is the Seth Jarvis effect but he isn't as good as Jarvis.... yet. He will be in the Allsveskan next year and then should be brought over to the AHL.
9) Matthew Savoie C/W, idk if he sticks at center and that is a concern because I think he can be pushed out of the way on the wall at times. I like Savoie but don't love him because I felt at times he wasn't aggressive enough. Yes size matters and for a player his size, I want what Nazar brings which is ruggedness that Savoie can do but doesn't always. The good stuff is his shot, passing, and skating. They all are really good and help him to navigate the 3 zones with deception and good not great speed. He is good at finding soft ice and getting open for shots and passing plays. If you watch his tape you will see a player that at times is very dynamic. In the end I wonder if the lack of elite speed coupled with the difficulty he will have playing against defenders that can force him outside will impact his total offense in the NHL. We shall see. 2 more years of juniors and then an AHL year.
10) Marco Kasper C, this was almost someone else but then I watched some highlights of Kasper from the Worlds and I started to see that there is more to Kasper in terms of skill. I think what happened with Marco is he was tasked with playing a very mature defensive game against men and so he did that. An entire season in the SHL as a DY guy is impressive and he managed to produce some points. Further he learned to speak Swedish in 6 months (he is Austrian) and now I am really intrigued. He is one of these guys that just seems to continually work at being better in all aspects of the game. Kasper is an absolute terror of a player, he will eat you. He hits, he backchecks, forechecks, crosschecks, whatever (he is a clean player don't worry) in order to get the puck. If you think he isn't coming for you, that's because he already has the puck. There is no player with a higher motor in the draft and I think because of that he can fix his deficiencies which revolve around poor timing (he doesn't sit in the soft spot or will engage a defender instead of fading from coverage) and there is some question about his overall skill. I think his stickhandling and skills will improve because he is that type of player and I think it is telling that reports outside of the SHL game really paint a different picture. The concern here is is Kasper going to be ROR or is he going to be Tyler Boucher. Honestly, Boucher is probably more likely but I like him better than Gauthier (just a little) so here he stits. Kasper needs refinement and needs another year in the SHL and then at least 1 full if not 2 AHL seasons if you really want to develop him offensively. Physically, he can be NHL ready as early as next spring.