NHL Draft Scout Series: Europe


The final leg of our NHL Draft Scout Series lands across the Atlantic in Europe, as our own Christian Roatis chatted with Future Considerations’ Roman Solovyov (@croulmane).

Christian: Specifically out of Europe, what do you think the strength of this draft class is as a whole? (skill, character, etc)

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Roman:I think mostly skill, character and work hard,  but mostly leadership. You can’t generalize the whole draft, but there are big leaders in this age group. 

C: William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen have fought for the distinction of top Euro in 2014, which has come out on top in your opinion?

R: I haven’t seen too much Kapanen’s plays this year, but I liked mostly Nylander, who could be game-changer, he could do everything with the puck. (Christian’s Note: Kapanen is a similar magician with the disk. Both are game changing, skill guys.)

C: How do you see each of them projecting? Can they be impact NHLers?

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R: Again, I could only speak about Nylander, and his future still in the shadows. He could be another Kirill Kabanov, they’re big friends and they have some strange traits in their behavior. They both wanted to be primadonnas on their team, and it would be difficult to stay on track with those kind of priorities. But he could also be a star if he puts it all together. (Christian’s note: Kapanen is a similar type in that he doesn’t bring it every night.)

C: For an elite offensive talent, Jakub Vrana hasn’t really piled up points. What’s the story on him?

R: Jakub was on an SHL team where he didn’t get enough icetime, his National Team partner Pastrnak was in 2nd tier league and played more. But Vrana puts himself on the radar at U18 level, he’s a great shooter, mover of the puck, also good at playmaking, and physical play. He’s one of the open players at this age group; very friendly

C: Not much has been made of David Pastrnak, what can you tell us about him?

R: He’s more playmaking type than Vrana, big body, puck moving. But he’s not so mature as Vrana. All around though, similar players. 

C: One fast riser has been Russian Vladislav Kamenev, but not much has been published on him. Can you shed some light on the mystery Russian?

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R: First thing is that he was invited by Mike Keenan to main team of Metallurg, he played few games in the season and even scored. Also after some movement players, his role on the National Team was increased and he became a captain for Russia at WJC U18. But for me it’s very doubtful he becomes a pro captain, because he’s not a big leader, very shy guy, who don’t like to be in attention. His best trait is that he’s a two-way player,  but it’s difficult to understand where he plays better – on offense or on defence. It’s a compliment mostly for his defensive way.

C: Speaking of Russians, goaltender Igor Shestyorkin appears to be one of the top Euro goaltenders this year. Is he anywhere in the Vasilevski talent region?

R: I compare this few days ago, and I could say yes. They’re very close to each other, maybe the same type of character. They easily recover after conceding a puck, could sometimes shows all their emotions on the ice. But Shestyorkin could easy calm down off the ice. He has very right in the psychological part. Maybe his techniques not so good as Vasilevski, but Shestyorkin is very good in stopping puck as well.

C: Are there any other goaltenders to keep an eye on?

R: I could say that by my info, Ilya Sorokin who played his second season in theKHL would be drafted, even he though he wasn’t last year. Also Ivan Nalimov could move to NA soon. In comparison to earlier, Sorokin maybe has better technique but he’s not so mentally strong as Shestyorkin.

C: The 1st round always holds a lot of weight with fans, but the later rounds often offer solid value as well, who are some potential Euro gems that are currently ranked outside the Top 30?

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R: I would pick Anton Karlsson, he’s very hard-working guy, he’s a warrior. His season was full of up-and-downs. And if Vladimir Tkachev play in CHL all year, he would be in Top-15  – even higher than Barbashev. He’s full of skills and very comparable with William Nylander, but not quite as skilled. (Christian’s Note: Karlsson was ranked inside most people’s Top 15 to start the year, but nose dived right out of 1st round conversation)

C:  Who are some European prospects you see as overrated?

R: Most of the scouting services mentioned Arhip Nekolenko as a first-round player. He was overrated for the whole season. He didn’t play – his stocks raised for some reason. He’s a good playmaker, with good skating, but he didn’t play physical play at all, at least  haven’t seen it. For this there is a possible explanation that he has a health problems.

C: How does the 2014 International class compare to recent ones? Do you buy the notion that 2014 is a weak draft?

R: For Europe it would a very good draft, now we have two good Czechs who was on the radar last years, we have Nylander and Kapanen who played at this level not now, also we have a group of Russian born, late birthday kids. It’s a very good generation of European kids. The only question is how their handled once they move to NA.

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C: Are there any second or third time eligibles that have made a considerable case this year to finally be picked?

R: I mentioned Nalimov and Sorokin, here believed more in Sorokin that he would be finally picked. Also Nikita Tryankin, big D, who played in top pairs in KHL with 20 minutes ice-time in game. And also it’s Rinat Valiev, who played for Kootenay last season.

C: Who’s your favourite eligible and why?

R: Here is obvious that I liked mostly players who is very friendly with media, with whom you could share conversation. I can’t pick one, so namely: Ivan Barbashev, Rinat Valiev, Vladimir Tkachev. Great guys, who made an improvement last seasons. Also in Europe: Shestyorkin, Vrana and Karlsson.

Big, big stick-tap to Christian for all his Scout Series previews of this year’s draft!

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    • piscera.infada

      The small amount of reading I’ve done on him sounds very appealing. With WHL roots, he should also have a knack for developing. The Rockets have also been exceptional when it comes to grooming NHL defencemen, so hopefully that can transfer over. I’d be very interested to see a more in-depth analysis here in the coming days.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      I’m taking a wait and see approach. Off the top (so, superficially) I wonder if this signals:

      -more WHL type players (not necessarily from WHL) are going to be drafted. What is the WHL known for? It’s a more physical fighter league compared to others. The big nasty WHL D man for example.

      -Ward had a college background, cerebral, less fighting, emphasis on forwards and skill.

      Certainly, the WHL and Kelowna have produced highly skilled forwards but it’s defencemen which are the historical (and perhaps incorrect) calling cards. I concede, I know nothing about Huska or how his teams play but I assume the systems continue to be same as NHL. So, I wonder what, if anything, this means to Hartley’s future? Hopefully nothing.

      It just seems to me, that a GM is going to have a vision for all levels of the org. Meaning he wants everyone on his page. This is natural and proper.

      Calgary has a relative abundance of skilled wingers. How does it all fit?

      I’m not trying to assert the hiring as a bad one, I’m wondering why him over Ward? Philosophically. What does this illustrate wrt BT’s grand vision?

      He likes C’s and D’s. Ok. Which kind? So three lines to score? Two lines and two to agitate? Does he prefer the Boston type of D corps or the Chicago type?

      • piscera.infada

        I think you’re over-thinking this too much. By all accounts, the guy is excellent with young players, and (as I said earlier) the Rockets have been great at preparing young players for the NHL. It seems like a very good hire. As always, the “wait and see approach” is a good idea (I’m with you on that). But honestly, I don’t see it signalling much at all aside from the fact that Treliving wanted his own guy and hired some one with great pedigree (7 successful seasons as head coach in the WHL, 2 WJHC’s).

        He’s also a relatively fresh face to the pro ranks, I really like that idea.

        • McRib

          They keep saying it’s all about development. Clearly they’re thinking about more than just players when they say things like that. It goes for managers (Conroy) and coaches (Gelinas and now Huska).

          Good way to run an organization… at least until you get that reputation and then every other team starts poaching your newly-developed staff (Detroit).

  • McRib

    William Nylander has bust written all over him for me. I don’t think we take Nick Richie, but I would take him over Nylander anyday. Because lets face it worst case Richie is a third liner. Worst case with William Nylander is he won’t be playing hockey period in a few years.

    Everyone is raving about William Nylander’s U18 performance, but he put up a ton of points in nothing games and then went scoreless in two games against Canada. This is a Vancouver Canucks pick if I have ever seen one.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I wonder if we’ll more Europeans (and specifically Russians) selected this year. If your going to take a flyer on a prospect, maybe it’s in a so called weak draft year.

  • McRib

    “Jakub was on an SHL team where he didn’t get enough icetime, his National Team partner Pastrnak was in 2nd tier league and played more.”

    I could never understand why most people in the hockey world have David Pastrnak, well ahead of Jakub Vrana in most mock drafts, it now makes sense. Because after watching them both in the (World Juniors & U18s), Jakub Vrana has stood out substantially both times over David Pastrnak, IMO. Expecially against the North American teams (Canada / USA).

    David Pastrnak just seems like a typical soft European that is going to have a hard time adjusting to the smaller ice. Whereas Jakub Vrana seems like he is going to thrive over here. I attended the World Juniors in Alberta when the Czech’s had both Radek Faksa and Tomas Hertl and must say it was a similar situation. Where the Hockey World was in love with Radek Faksa and I liked Tomas Hertl much more. Playing in a good situation is everything and though both Tomas Hertl and Jakub Vrana played in a better league there drafts years they played in tough situations on deep men’s league teams. Put it this way if Detroit or San Jose drafts Jakub Vrana don’t be suprised! I wish we could get Vrana with our 34th pick, but doubt he slips.

  • Derzie

    Looks like a challenge finding a consensus pick. We need the correct attitude that matches the identity we are forging. Take a flyer in a later round perhaps on a character guy, otherwise, pass. Remember Cervenka.

  • If the Flames can snag one of the Finnish or Russian goalies with a later pick, I’ll be pleased.

    Although not mentioned, and passed over at last years draft, I think my favorite is Ville Husso.