41. William Carrier, Left Wing, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Carrier had an impressive season despite the mitigating factors of Cape Breton's struggles as a team and a midseason ankle injury, which kept him out for the second half of the campaign. His best skill is his truly plus skating. He has explosiveness with his feet, and he can easily pick up speed and push the pace in transition. He couples speed with offensive ability, as he can be a quality playmaker, with a hard shot. His puck skills, however, are fairly average, and while he has the creativity to make some moves, I would not describe him as an overly fluid or coordinated puck handler. When Carrier is on, he has the physical ability to own the puck and do well along the boards. Consistency is his area of concern. A few sources praise his work ethic and believe it to be plus, while others say he shows a fluctuating willingness to play the body.
42. Ryan Hartman, Right Wing, Plymouth (OHL)
Hartman is a do-it-all type player who can provide significant two-way value despite being a tad undersized, at around 5'11". He is smart, and he makes creative plays in both puck handling and passing. He is a very aware defensive player, as he makes great reads, and he will provide value in his own end at both even strength and the penalty kill. Hartman is a hard worker, which adds to his defensive value. On the forecheck, he can deliver good pressure, and the occasional big hit. He has decent, if not solid speed. He lacks the blazing top gear that a player with below-average size would optimally possess, but his skating is acceptable. Hartman will create from the perimeter, drive the net, and play tough defensive situations. He does not have a ton of upside, but he projects as an above-average regular. He can play center or wing, a versatile bonus for the Whaler forward.
43. Marko Dano, Center, Slovan Bratislava (KHL)
Dano transferred to a KHL team in Slovakia after playing in that country's domestic professional league the season before. Despite being born in Austria, he has represented Slovakia, playing well for them in internationally. His most notable performance was at this season's World Junior Championship, where he was one of the tournament's top players. He has a lot offensive skills, most notably his hockey sense and his good hands. He is a very aware player, capable of top-end distributions. He tends to make quick decisions, and is an agile player, with powerful, all-around bursts. One scout described him as a slippery skater because of his agility and creativity with the puck. He has an above-average top gear. He will show some physical effort, but he is a smaller player at 5'11", and he projects as fringe in the physical areas at the NHL level. He will need to build up his strength.
44. Kerby Rychel, Left Wing, Windsor (OHL)
Rychel, the son of former NHL player Warren Rychel, has been a productive OHL forward the past two seasons, averaging over a point per game during that span. He has above-average puck skills, good offensive instincts, and a great shot. While he has good skill, I would not define him as a creative player. The Spitfires used him on the right point of their power play, where he was free to unleash his big one-timer. He can be effective in front of the net, as he has good hand-eye coordination, and a quality power game that helps him establish body position. He projects as a good secondary scoring option, with skill and physicality adding to his value. His skating is roughly average; he has some poor mechanics, but decent speed. He also needs to work on his defensive game.
45. Anton Slepyshev, Left Wing, Salavat Yulaev (KHL)
Slepyshev was passed over in last year's draft, mostly due to signability concerns. Despite being ranked 17th in last year's Hockey Prospectus draft rankings, he falls to 45th this season, simply due to the depth of the draft class. He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. He can still make plays, and he does not have tunnel vision, but his playmaking skills are not his best element. His physical game has progressed, and he has added strength since last season. He can protect pucks moderately well. He will display physical effort, although it could be better at times. He also needs to work on his defensive game.
46. Juuso Ikonen, Left Wing, Blues (SM-Liiga)
Ikonen is an exceptionally skilled player who produced an impressive amount for an undersized, U18 forward in Finland's top professional league. His skill set is explosive and dynamic. He has outstanding skating ability, and he can jet through the neutral zone, creating a ton of space off of his rushes. He also has high-end puck skills, which combined with his skating can make him a handful to contain. He has elements of flash to his game, as he can make appearances on highlight reels through completion of difficult plays, but sometimes he will try to do too much. He has above-average ability as a passer, if not better, and he can create off of the perimeter very well if the tempo slows down. Ikonen also shows some quality finishing skills. His main issue is his size. Ikonen measures in at 5'9", 170 pounds. He needs great offensive tools to potentially be even an average scorer at the NHL level. Despite this, he works very hard, and he will try to fight through checks. His ability to win battles against big North American players is a significant question mark.
47. Michael McCarron, Right Wing, USA Under-18 (USHL)
McCarron did not blow the doors down with his numbers this season, but his game continues to trend in the right direction. His main improvement has come from his skating. He has progressed from a well below-average skater to a roughly average one, especially considering his 6'5" stature. He is not only big, but also very strong, and he still has room to grow. He protects the puck very well, displaying solid physicality. McCarron is not an overly gifted offensive player, but he has decent hand-eye coordination, and an above-average amount of offensive instincts, enabling him to maintain possession with more than just his frame. He flashes good offensive plays here and there, but he still appears raw, and his overall feel for the game is unimpressive, despite some late-season improvement. He sometimes becomes too preoccupied with landing big hits, which can hurt his team. McCarron is committed to play for former Kings and Blues coach Andy Murray and Western Michigan in the fall.
48. Nick Sorensen, Right Wing, Quebec (QMJHL)
Sorensen had a good bounceback season after missing most of his first QMJHL campaign due to significant injury, although he experienced some injury issues this season as well. He was born in Denmark, but he represents Sweden in international play. He has above-average top speed, which he couples with a fair amount of puck skills, creativity, and offensive instincts. This combination of offensive skills projects him as a player with scoring line upside. He also displays a good level of physicality while not taking too many penalties. He needs to continue to gain strength while working on his defensive play. Whoever drafts him will be adding a player with quality tools to their organization, but also one who has a history of injury in consecutive seasons.
49. Dillon Heatherington, Defense, Swift Current (WHL)
Heatherington's offensive stats do not jump out, as he only recorded 27 points in 71 WHL games, but he is a solid prospect due to his very good defensive value and what one scout described as a conservative and steady game. He is a mobile player, and he skates very well for a 6'3" defenseman. He will not blow past players, due to his wide skating stance, but he can move in every direction well. He stays with his checks, and he can close gaps. Heatherington is a very smart defensive player who shows good positioning in his own zone, with good ability to read the play. He is always making defensive stops. He is calm off of the puck, and he does not panic with his outlets. Still, a good first pass is the extent of his offensive ability. He has good size and a great wingspan, but scouts are divided over his physical play. I have spoken with two who praise it, and one who says he is not as impressed with that aspect of Heatherington's game.
50. Peter Cehlarik, Left Wing, Lulea (SEL)
Cehlarik had an interesting season from a developmental standpoint, and his status is trending upwards. Born in Slovakia, and brought up through their amateur program, he has played in Sweden the past two seasons. He played U20 hockey there before breaking into the top-level team, eventually receiving a regular shift. He is average sized, but still strong for a U18 player. He shows quality physical value in terms of his ability to protect the puck and win battles. Cehlarik is a skilled individual as well, and he can make above-average plays with the puck. He shows good vision as a playmaker, making quick decisions and processing the game well, especially considering his age and the SEL-level competition. His major issue is his skating, which is notably below average. He has a sluggish first few steps, and his top gear is not threatening.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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