The SBNation NHL mock draft continued yesterday with picks twenty-two through twenty-four. Over the next few days, the NHL sites here at SBN will run through the first round deciding who they think their teams should pick. The Lightning don’t have a first round pick this year, so we won’t be included. Even so, we’ll be keeping an eye on the proceedings so that you know what to expect come Friday, June 22nd when the draft starts.
We’ll cover picks 22, 23, and 24 today. The trend that’s emerging as we approach the end of the first round is that our bloggers are looking for high upside players. That makes sense because there are no consequences for missing. And we’ll learn about three more players with a chance to deliver a big return on a late first-round pick.
To start, we’ll look at pick 22 for the Ottawa Senators via Silver Seven Sens followed by the Anaheim Ducks via Anaheim Calling, and the Minnesota Wild via Hockey Wilderness. The Senators pick is the one they acquired in the trade for Derick Brassard earlier this year.
The 22nd Pick - Jonatan Berggren
Berggren is rising up the board of lots of scouts who’s work I respect. He’s frequently making appearances in the top 20, which is quite a climb from where he was earlier in the season.
Here’s what Silver Seven Sens wrote about their pick:
Berggren is an offensive dynamo, and has showed it both in international competitions for Sweden, and in his top domestic leagues. One of just seven forwards to play 10+ games in the SHL this year, the July-born Berggren spent much of the season tearing up Sweden’s top U20 junior league, the SuperElit. Here, he led all players in points (57) and points-per-game (1.50) and finished with 17 more points than his closest teammate.
Building off his success at the U17 World Championships last season, Berggren put up 10 points in 7 games at the U18s for his bronze-medal winning squad — finishing tied for third in tournament scoring, leading Sweden, and ranking ahead of top picks like Wahlstrom, Kotkaniemi, and Farabee. His 29 shots on goal tied with teammate Boqvist, and was just behind Wahlstrom, Farabee, and Finland’s Niklas Nordgren.
What makes him so productive? He’s extremely smart, is an elusive skater, and relies on his vision to consistently generate dangerous scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates.
Berggren will be a player to watch on draft night. He could go any time from the last third of the first round to the middle of the second round. If he slides, he’ll become a high value pick. If he makes it to the top of the second round, one of the teams at the top of the draft could end up with quite a haul if they get a top five prospect early and Berggren in the second round.
The 23rd Pick - Grigori Denisenko
In the spirit of picking high upside players with some risk, Anaheim Calling takes Denisenko 23rd. The Russian winger has plenty of offensive talent but was inconsistent and that could cause him to drop in the draft.
There seems to be no limit to what Grigori Denisenko can do, besides the ones that he imposes on himself. He unfortunately has some inconsistency issues. Despite his ridiculous package of skill, which should lead him to dominate most shifts, Denisenko can go the full length of a game without creating much for his team.
With how well his feet and hands work together, he could be using deception more through his stickhandling moves to freeze defenders, enabling him to keep possession under pressure longer and gain a larger separation from opponents to make a more frequent use of his scoring tools.
Right now there are a lot of flashes, but it might not be enough to rank him as a top pick in June with certitude.
Denisenko is another intriguing player in this range. He has enough talent that a team in the middle of the first round could take a chance on him. Or the concerns about his inconsistency and the difficulty of assessing players who play in lower Russian leagues could lead to him dropping to the end of the first round. The question is at what point the potential return starts to outweigh the risk.
The 24th Pick - Dominik Bokk
Rounding out our trio of high upside players is Dominik Bokk. Bokk is perhaps, after Ryan Merkley, the biggest boom or bust player in the first round this year. He has a rare combination of physical traits and raw hockey talent that make him a potentially special player but he hasn’t put those things together yet.
Here’s what Mile High Hockey wrote in their profile:
Bokk has offensive potential that matches just about anyone in the draft class. He is a very creative puck-handler and has shown the ability to beat defenders one on one. He plays an up-tempo game and is effective on either wing.
He is a skilled puck mover, possesses smooth hands, and has good offensive instincts. He’s a threat to create a scoring chance whenever he has the puck on his stick in the offensive end. He can both set up teammates and finish the play himself. He works hard when battling for the puck and has a quick stick to allow him to win the loose puck. He’s smart and thinks the game at a high speed. He does a great job of anticipating the movement of both the puck and defenders.
As much potential as we see, he is very raw. This was Bokk’s first year playing in a competitive, high-end hockey league. There is very little physicality to his game, despite having a frame that projects to a good size. The level of competition he’s seen through his hockey career has been pretty low and outside of his tryout in the SHL this season, he hasn’t really had to worry about matching up with anyone close to his skill level. You can see that in his game.
He is extremely rough defensively and is going to take time to learn how to play within a structured system. At times he looks either lost or disinterested on the defensive side of the puck. Teams will see his near elite offensive ability, but will have to decide whether or not they can be patient enough to let him round out the rest of his game. Another two seasons in Sweden before a year in the AHL seems like the minimum for Bokk.
This is a perfect spot for a team to take a risk on Bokk. The end of the first round doesn’t offer many opportunities to land players with this high of a ceiling. Despite the exended development timeline, the potential return on investment here makes taking a flyer on Bokk worth it.
And with that, we’re through the top twenty four picks of the draft. Tomorrow’s article will cover the next four picks as we approach the end of the mock draft later this week.
Those will be picks twenty-five, twenty-six twenty-seven, and twenty-eight with the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Chicago, and Rangers again on the clock.
SBNation NHL Mock Draft Recap:
- Buffalo Sabres - Rasmus Dahlin
- Carolina Hurricanes - Andrei Svechnikov
- Montreal Canadiens - Filip Zadina
- Ottawa Senators - Quinn Hughes
- Arizona Coyotes - Brady Tkachuk
- Detroit Red Wings - Adam Boqvist
- Vancouver Canucks - Noah Dobson
- Chicago - Oliver Wahlstrom
- New York Rangers - Evan Bouchard
- Edmonton Oilers - Martin Kaut
- Washington Capitals (via New York Islanders) - Jesperi Kotkaniemi
- New York Islanders - Ty Smith
- Colorado Avalanche (via Philadelphia, via Dallas) - Joe Veleno
- Dallas Stars (via Philadelphia) - Joel Farabee
- Florida Panthers - Bode Wilde
- Philadelphia Flyers (via Colorado) - Rasmus Kupari
- New Jersey Devils - Barrett Hayton
- Columbus Blue Jackets - Isac Lundestrom
- Philadelphia Flyers - Vitaly Kravtsov
- Los Angeles Kings - K’Andre Miller
- San Jose Sharks - Ryan Merkley
- Ottawa Senators - Jonatan Berggren
- Anaheim Ducks - Grigori Denisenko
- Minnesota Wild - Dominik Bokk