A continuation of the series since I began as GM in this league. You can find the 2014 and 2015 reviews here: http://nefhl.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3598
The point of these articles is to look back at the draft 5 years ago to see what impact those prospects have had on the current depth chart of the team.
For a little bit of context, the 2016 NEFHL entry draft was the first year I owned my own picks as GM and the first ‘real’ tanking season. The previous 2 years I was tearing down the roster attempting to maximize assets while simultaneously trying to compete. I had seven 2nd round picks that year and needed to hit on a few if I wanted the rebuild to go smoothly.
1-10. Wild, Luke Kunin
1-13. Wild (from Penguins), Michael McLeod
2-36. Wild (from Oilers), Pascal Laberge
2-37. Wild (from Stars), Taylor Raddysh
2-40. Wild, Janne Kuokkanen
2-49. Wild (from Coyotes), Kale Clague
2-53. Wild (from RedWings), Noah Gregor
2-54. Wild (from Capitals), Carter Hart
2-56. Wild (from Rangers), Linus Lindstrom
3-65. Wild (from MapleLeafs), Givani Smith
3-75. Wild (from Sharks), Connor Hall
4-106. Wild (from Sabres), Tobias Eder
4-111. Wild (from Jets), Brandon Gignac
4-119. Wild (from Predators), Tanner Kaspick
5-123. Wild (from Blackhawks), Domenic Commisso
6-160. Wild, Jack Lafontaine
7-193. Wild (from Penguins), Fredrik Karlstrom
8-214. Wild (from Panthers), Julio Billia
8-237. Wild (from Senators), Devin Williams
I remember wanting Kunin real bad but not wanting to draft him 10th overall. But I didn’t want to draft a Defenseman so high either with such an important pick. Looking at how that draft went in our league, I did ok. Sergachev went with the 11th pick which would help my current roster for sure but having a C/RW that can play in the middle 6 with strong defensive ratings is equally as good. And he’ll be cheap for me to sign which is always nice. McLeod was a big target of mine. I was pumped to get him. I didn’t expect his offense to fall off so much however. He is currently carving out a career as a bottom 6 player in the NHL. I traded him for defenseman Jared Spurgeon in our league.
28. Islanders (from Flames),Jonathan Dahlen I didn’t draft Dahlen, but I ended up picking him up as a piece in a trade. I later traded him for defenseman Nate Schmidt.
Laberge and Raddysh were both 2-way players in their draft year and the type of player I liked. Laberge is out of the organization now and would be a surprise to make the NHL at this point. Raddysh has had a great junior career and is still putting up goals in the AHL. If not for NHL Lightning’s ridiculous depth he would be an NHL player already (stuck on the Taxi squad). It will be interesting to see what becomes of him, but there is still potential for a middle-6 type player.
Kuokkanen was dealt earlier this year for a 2nd round pick. I would have liked to upgrade him for a pro roster player but nobody wanted him. Funny how things go as a couple weeks after I traded him he went on a bit of a tear with NHL Devils and established himself as an NHLer. I later used that 2nd round pick to pick up Joonas Donskoi for a more immediate impact on the roster.
Clague/Gregor are both establishing themselves in the NHL with the Kings and Sharks respectively. Clague has had a bit of an up and down season but that is normal for a young defenseman. I think a little more confidence and experience will allow him to use his offensive skillset more. Gregor found himself in the bottom 6 of the sharks but showed flashes of his junior offensive game. If he could use his speed a bit more I think he would benefit greatly. A top6 upside for him seems unlikely, but he has shown he is too good for the AHL and needs to find his role in the NHL. There is still potential for these two.
Hart established himself as a #1 and the future of Canada internationally between the pipes 2 seasons back but had an atrocious year following that up. To be fair to him, NHL Flyers defense looked like shit all year round which certainly didn't help. Regardless, he needed to be better. While some are vocal about his career falling off a cliff, I am not ready to count out a super young goalie. His bad season is an opportunity for me to sign him cheap. Now with dynamic ratings, it could be a steal down the line.
Lindstrom was another one of those 2 way players I liked. He never came to North America and doesn’t seem like he will either. No longer in the organization. Hindsight is 20/20 but it stings a little seeing Adam Fox go two picks later in our draft.
Givani Smith is one of those physical glue guys you stick in your bottom 6 that helps others play their game knowing he has their back. His NHL red wings teammates love him. Those ratings don’t translate well in the NEFHL so I traded him for a pure rental player in Josh Bailey. While my season ended in a complete disappointment, Bailey was a strong performer from the moment he dressed in Wild gear.
No idea why I picked Connor Hall in round 3. No longer in the organization. But that’s ok because some time later I traded a cup of coffee from Tims for this guy right here : 86. Stars (from Rangers), Filip Hronek
Eder/Gignac/Kaspick/Commisso are no longer in the organization. While Gignac and Kaspick are still playing in the AHL it doesn’t seem like either will make the NHL fulltime. My 4th round picks tend to suck and I have since changed strategy.
I completely messed up understanding the rules on signing Lafontaine. He’s got potential for the NHL. But it’s not so bad given my current goalie depth. Still, having another guy with potential would have been nice. It will be interesting to see if the NEFHL Oilers get a player on their pro team down the line from this mistake.
For a late pick Karlstrom has been chugging along under the radar. Has been playing in the SHL and getting decent points which isn’t easy for a young guy. NHL Stars signed him hours before his eligibility was running out and he’s poised to start in the AHL in 21-22. While he’s not a name most people recognize, he’s putting in the work and kind of reminds me of another late pick I had that people now know of but had no clue existed for years and years: Jake Evans.
Billia/Williams....who? 'Nuff said.
So far from this draft, I ended up with players that make up big parts of my team. Hart is the backbone if he recovers (I am pretty confident he will), and Kunin, Raddysh could be two parts of a 3rd line starting in a years time. Gregor and Clague is added depth which is always nice. Through trades I also got Schmidt, Hronek, Spurgeon, Donskoi from some of the players drafted in 2016.