Draft darlings

Publish date:
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Another NHL draft is in the books and the weekend in Pittsburgh certainly lived up to expectations. Trades were made, raw kids were gambled on and sure things fell to teams that were happy to snap them up. Since we know as much as we can about the dynamic No. 1 pick, Nail Yakupov, let’s spread the love around and look at some of the other players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

Hampus Lindholm, D – Rogle BK (Swe.)

One of the big surprises of the first round, Lindholm went about 10 spots higher than anyone predicted. But the Ducks are excited about their new D-man, particularly since his play got better and better as the season went on, culminating in two playoff tournament performances that helped Rogle win promotion up to the Elite League for 2012-13.

“I’ve always been a guy who plays better when there’s a lot of audience,” he said. “Of course they were important games and our team had a rush from the first playoffs.”

If Lindholm doesn’t make Anaheim’s roster this fall – and at 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds he has the size – Rogle is still a fantastic destination, what with the increase in competition and responsibility.

“It’s going to be real fun to play in the Elite League,” Lindholm said. “It’s probably good for me to get more experience.”

As to what he brings to the table, the young Swede prides himself on his puck-moving ability and poise.

“I’m a playmaker, always calm with the puck even if there’s one minute left,” he said. “I’m trustworthy, you could say.”

In terms of improvement, Lindholm wants to shoot more and earn power play time as a result. Whether he does that in southern California or southern Sweden is the next question. Drafted sixth overall by Anaheim in 2012.

Andrei Vasilevski, G – Tolpar Ufa (Rus.)

According to Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, the Bolts have had their eye on the big Russian netminder ever since the Steve Downie trade in February netted them Detroit’s first round selection. Vasilevski was an ace for most of the world juniors and word he might come over to play major junior will calm any fears about crease time next season. Drafted 19th overall by Tampa Bay in 2012.

Tom Wilson, RW – Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

The Capitals stole Filip Forsberg with the 11th pick, but Wilson at No. 16 represents another potential coup. The power forward’s stock was on the rise thanks to a great playoff showing and scouts love his hands – both for scoring and face-bashing. Plymouth players tend to get more ice time as vets, too, since the Whalers’ deep depth chart sometimes restricts them as youngsters. Drafted 16th overall by Washington in 2012.

Mitch Moroz, LW – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Much like they did last year with Travis Ewanyk, the Oilers balanced their high-end skill pick with some sandpaper for the future. Moroz knows how to chuck ’em, but he also posted eight points in 20 playoff games as the Oil Kings marched to the Western League title. Drafted 32nd overall by Edmonton in 2012.

Dom Toninato, C – Duluth East Greyhounds (Minn. HS)

Toronto GM Brian Burke loves his Minnesota roots and nabbed Toninato a year after state mates Tony Cameranesi and Max Everson. Playing for a Duluth East team that has churned out Derek Forbort and Andy Welinski while making the state final in 2011, Toninato churned out 27 goals and 61 points in 25 games this past season. He needs to get heavier, but time at the University of Minnesota-Duluth will help. Drafted 126th overall by Toronto in 2012.

Shayne Gostisbehere, D – Union College Dutchmen (ECAC)

The kid with the great name went earlier than expected, but after helping the Dutchmen get all the way to the Frozen Four semifinal, Gostisbehere earned it. The Florida native’s five goals and 22 points in 41 games ranked second among Union blueliners and that was as a freshman. Drafted 78th overall by Philadelphia in 2012 (undrafted in 2011).

Rasmus Bodin, LW – Ostersunds (Swe.)

At 6-foot-6 and 207 pounds already, it’s no surprise why a team would be interested in young Bodin. The fact he pairs his frame with a big shot doesn’t hurt, either. While Ostersunds plays in Sweden’s third-best circuit, Bodin will move up the ranks to HV71’s program next year, where Niklas Hjalmarsson and Mattias Tedenby developed recently. Drafted 200th overall by Detroit in 2012.

Teddy Blueger, C – Shattuck St-Mary’s Sabres (Minn. HS)

Many thought Zach Stepan would be the first SSM product to be selected, but his Latvian teammate beat him to the punch. Blueger has already repped his hockey-mad nation at the world juniors and brings an agitating, physical element to his highly skilled game. He’s headed to Minnesota State-Mankato. Drafted 52nd overall by Pittsburgh in 2012.

Dmitry Sinitsyn, D – UMass-Lowell Riverhawks (Hockey East)

Hard to look at this pick and not think the Dallas Stars know something the rest of the league doesn’t. After all, Sinitsyn played for the Jr. Stars’ under-16 team before decamping for Massachusetts, where the big defenseman with good skating ability and shooting prowess redshirted as a freshman. Drafted 183rd overall by Dallas.

Tomas Hyka, RW – Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)

Los Angeles did well to get Hyka as late as it did, considering he was a dangerous offensive player in the Quebec League this year and played at the world juniors. The greatest irony is that Hyka spent last summer at Philly’s training camp, ending up on a line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. Due to collective bargaining agreement rules, the Flyers couldn’t sign him and he went back into the draft, where the Kings took the Czech with a pick they acquired from – wait for it – Philadelphia. Drafted 171st overall by Los Angeles (undrafted in 2011).

The Hot List, a roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play in their first NHL game.

For more great prospect profiles and news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.



Slavin Wins First-Career Lady Byng

Slavin becomes just the fourth defenceman in NHL history to win the Lady Byng Trophy.


Three UFA Goaltenders Coming Off Strong Seasons

Goaltending - like the knuckleball - is a capricious beast. If an NHL GM makes the right call on a UFA twine-minder, he could have it pay off substantially; if he makes the wrong call, his team could be toast. Here are three 2021 UFAs who had good seasons and may be the answer for NHL GMs in the 2021 off-season


Tensions Rise Quickly in Semifinals Between Unfamiliar Foes

The regular season divisional format created tense rivalries, but the final four has proven that there's no love lost for the teams meeting for the first time all year.