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The Nation Network’s 2017 Top 100 Draft Eligible Prospects: #85 – #81

It’s day four of the Nation Network Top 100, and you really aren’t coming here to see the little blurb that I write before the rankings themselves, so why don’t we just get right into it? Here are the players that we have ranked 85th down to 81st.

#85: Markus Phillips (D – OHL)

By J.D. Burke

Bio:

  • Age: March 21st, 1999
  • Birthplace: Port Perry, ON, CAN
  • Frame: 6’0″ / 207 lbs

I tend to think that we (the royal we included) in the draft analysis community are going to rue the day we doubted Markus Phillips. Perhaps doubted is too strong a word. I just tend to think ranking Phillips this low has the potential to come back to haunt us.

Phillips came into the OHL considered an offensive defenceman, and though his point totals might suggest he struggled to meet those expectations in his first year with the Owen Sound Attack, the fact that he made Team Canada at the U18 World Hockey Championships in that same year suggests he couldn’t have been that bad. A few months afterwards he represented Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, and wore the ‘C’ no less. You don’t represent Canada in back-to-back tournaments without showing a little something.

Upon returning to the Attack for this, his draft season, Phillips kept showing that something and added the offence everyone expected from the start to boot.

Phillips is an exceptional skater and isn’t afraid to use it to apply pressure in the offensive zone and create offence off the rush. Scouts laud his ability to protect the puck as a carrier and that he doesn’t turn it over when he’s using his outlets. Phillips is at his most creative in the offensive zone, where he makes himself available for his teammates as an outlet and isn’t afraid to shoot the puck when they send it his way.

Phillips is at his most creative in the offensive zone, where he makes himself available for his teammates as an outlet and isn’t afraid to shoot the puck when they send it his way. The Attack used Phillips as their power play quarterback, too, where he was more of a setup man than the go-to guy, which makes sense when one considers the multitude of fully capable offensive players around him, like Nick Suzuki, Jonah Gadjovich, etc.

I can’t speak for the rest of the Canucks Army staff, but the reason I ranked Phillips as lowly as I did is that I never left my viewings of him overly impressed, truthfully. The physical tools are all readily apparent, but I just haven’t seen him use them well enough and with enough consistency to warrant a higher spot on my board.

Perhaps we can chalk this up to sample size, but I tend to think Phillips is a bit careless with the puck in the offensive zone. I’ve seen him make some crafty plays, to be certain. I’m just unconvinced that I can expect them from him on a shift-to-shift basis.

Still, Phillips’ production is hard to overlook. His 43 points in 66 games (13 goals and 30 assists) were seventh on the Attack, and only overage defenceman Santino Centorame outproduced him among defencemen. Phillips is the fourth highest scoring first-time draft eligible defenceman in the OHL.

When we account for Phillips’ season with pGPS, roughly 30% of his cohort went on to develop into full-time NHL’ers. The list of comparables is impressive, and his career assignment is as a second pair defenceman.

#84: Joel Teasdale (C – QMJHL)

By J.D. Burke

Bio:

  • Age: 18 – March 11th, 1999
  • Birthplace: Beloeil, QC, CAN
  • Frame: 5’11” / 196 lbs

The scouting community expected big things out of Joel Teasdale this season. Despite being just 16-years-old, Teasdale played a significant role on a struggling Blainville-Boisbriand side last season and looked great. In the 2016 HockeyProspect Black Book, their QMJHL scout Jerome Berube even went so far as to suggest he didn’t play like a 16-year-old on most nights.

While Teasdale failed to take that next step this season on a much-improved Armada squad, he reinforced a lot of what made scouts fall in love with his game in the first place. He’s a tenacious forechecker, who plays a smart, sound and responsible 200-foot game and brings it every shift. Scouts laud his intelligence as a player and work ethic as being miles ahead of his peers. He’s a fine skater, and he has a decent shot. The problem is, he just didn’t produce, and he really should have.

The Armada weren’t the most offensively potent QMJHL team, and it’s worth noting that even in a year where he fell short of industry expectations, Teasdale was their second leading scorer. Still, playing in one of the more leaky leagues in the CHL and one with a lower quality of competition than most major junior leagues, it’s concerning that he wasn’t even close to hitting the point per game mark.

Teasdale’s 47 points (18 goals and 29 assists) in 60 games don’t jump off the page, and that much is reflected in his underwhelming showing through pGPS. Only about 8.6% of Teasdale’s cohort achieved full-time NHL success. On average, players with Teasdale’s build and statistical profile who did make the show were generally third line players.

It’s possible, likely even, that Teasdale’s ability to read the game made his physical tools appear far more advanced than they actually were in his rookie season, setting unreasonable offensive expectations for this, his draft year. It’s also possible that he was suffering a low on-ice shooting percentage or poor luck in some other fashion not made available to us by the QMJHL stats database. Who knows?

When I watch Teasdale, though, I see a player who’s probably best suited to playing on a third or fourth line as a checking forward with the odd burst of offence at the next level. There’s no shame in that. That’s about as well as one can hope to do in the mid-to-late rounds of that draft. And that’s precisely why Teasdale is ranked 84th on Canucks Army’s board.

#83: Logan Cockerill ( )

By Ryan Biech

Bio:

  • Age: 18 – March 3rd, 1999
  • Birthplace: Brighton, MI, USA
  • Frame: 5’9″ / 163 lbs

Ranked 214th amongst North American skaters in diminutive Logan Cockerill. Measuring in at 5’9” and 163 lbs, the Michigan native had a fairly productive season with 14 goals and 14 assists in a middle six role for the USNDTP. His 0.54 PPG had him ranked 11th on the team and isn’t great production, but compares favourably to Canucks prospect William Lockwood, who had a 0.56 PPG rate last year.

He had a decent showing at the U18’s with three assists in seven games for the US.

Cockerill is a speedy and gritty winger who works hard in all three zones. He doesn’t give up on the puck and can be effective at just always getting into the play. His quickness is noticeable and he uses that speed to separate himself in transition. He has a hard wrist shot that he is able load up when given the space.

Given his size, he will be fighting an uphill battle to carve out an NHL career but if he can continue to do the things he is doing he may have a shot. He will need to add weight and strength to take the next step.

He is committed to Boston University next season.

It’s fair to believe that a team will think that Cockerill, with the longer development path of the NCAA, could be worth a later round pick. With speed being the most sought after trait right now and Cockerill has that in bunches.

#82: Marcus Sylvegard (LW/RW – SuperElit)

By J.D. Burke

Bio:

  • Age: 18 – May 4th, 1999
  • Birthplace: Gessie, SWE
  • Frame: 6’0″ / 190 lbs

Marcus Sylvegard didn’t leave his draft-minus-one season with much fanfare from the scouting community. With a strong showing at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the summer, though, he forced himself onto the scouting communities collective radar.

A long-time contributor in the Malmo Redhawks system, Sylvegard got his first taste of SHL action this season, playing in 14 games for the big club. When it was clear that Sylvegard needed more seasoning, Malmo loaned him to the IK Pantern of the Allsvenskan, where Sylvegard scored three points (two goals and one assist) in three games. Mostly, Sylvegard played in the SuperElit for Malmo’s J20 team, where he scored 28 points (15 goals and 13 assists) in 37 games.

Sylvegard isn’t the tallest skater, standing at just 6’0″, but he’s no pushover. In fact, scouts often use the word “bulky” to describe Sylvegard. On a related note, skating is considered one of Sylvegard’s biggest weaknesses and working on that will go a long way towards carving out a professional career.

When we view Sylvegard through the pGPS lens, his likelihood of developing into a full-time NHL’er doesn’t look great. His SHL season produces 24 matches and only 6 of them went on to carve out a full-time NHL career (good for about 21%), producing on average at 46.9 points per 82 game season. Sylvegard’s SuperElit season produces 161 matches and 5 (about 3%) of them went on to have full-time NHL careers, and they produced, on average, at a much more modest 33.7 points per 82 game season.

#81: Rickard Hugg (C/LW – SuperElit)

By Jeremy Davis

Bio:

  • Age: 18 – January 18th, 1999
  • Birthplace: Hudiksvall, SWE
  • Frame: 5’10” / 183 lbs

Swedish forward Rickard Hugg played in several leagues this season, as is commonplace for European prospects, though he mostly resided in the junior SuperElit league, where he tallied 13 goals and 38 points in 32 games for Leksands IF. He also played 11 games for Leksands’ SHL counterpart, collecting a single assist.

An unimposing player at 5-foot-10, Hugg is sturdily built with a low center of gravity that makes it difficult for much larger players to knock him around. Combine that with his adeptness at keeping his body between the puck and a defender, while also fending off opposing sticks, and Hugg becomes incredibly difficult to take the puck away from. He makes nifty plays and shows excellent control over the puck, corralling poor passes and bouncing pucks effortlessly. He shows decent creativity and accurate passing ability. He’s played the net front position on the player play, but has also garnered success as the strong-side goal line option, quickly redirecting passes he receives from the half-wall on to the sticks of players in the slot.

Hugg captained Sweden’s U18 squad in Slovakia last month, while also centering the first line, typically between Fabian Zetterlund and Oskar Back. He put up four points in the tournament, which was just one off of the team lead, and showed well in several areas, including an improved commitment to defensive play.

On the other side of the ledger, Hugg’s shot and skating leave something to be desired, which is why he remains this far down the list. Both would have to improve for him to be a viable NHL option, but there’s plenty of time for that, and in the current NHL climate, it’s probably better to build on the foundations of intelligence and creativity anyway. Hugg projects as a middle six two-way center.

***Note: this article is posted Network-wide and that the comments are an open forum***


The Nation Network Top 100

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