Robert Rooba grew up in Estonia, less than 90 kilometers due south of Helsinki, Finland, and he and his father attended dozens of Jokerit games over the last four seasons. When it was apparent the younger Rooba was going to be good enough to play in the league, he joked with his dad that he would soon be sitting in the arena without Robert by his side because Robert would be on the bench or the ice instead. That scenario will play out when Oslo comes to play in Helsinki from now on. The Outlaws drafted Rooba as the first player selected in the second round. Rooba is a lot like the player who went just ahead of him in the draft, Bratislava’s Morten Madsen. That is, he’s big, sound defensively, pretty well-balanced and he won’t take a lot of penalties. Rooba, 22, shouldn’t expect top line minutes for Oslo, even in the distant future. He projects as a second or third line winger on an Outlaws team that already has 23-year-old Tyler Seguin and 21-year-olds Tomas Hertl and Elias Lindholm in the fold.
St. Petersburg plucked a defenseman with their second pick in the draft. Stefan Ulmer is a 22-year-old Austrian who could break into the lineup in a season or two. The Red Stars came into the draft with two 24-year-old defensemen as their building blocks for the long-term. Brenden Dillon and David Savard are both big, strong boys who will play tough around the net. Ulmer moves a lot better than either of them, and although he’s not going to match them in physical play, team officials see Ulmer as the best shooter of the trio with potential to get onto the powerplay and shorthanded units.
Milan went to western Canada for its second round selection. Manitoba-born Jayce Hawryluk will join the team after he earns his attributes in the NHL. Currently, he is a forward in the Florida Panthers organization. Hawryluk projects as a two-way forward capable of scoring goals. He’s 5-10, solidly built and does not mind barging into high-traffic zones. Hawryluk and Par Arlbrandt, who was selected in the first round, add a gritty, high-energy element that the Guerriero lineup could use more of.
Felix Bruckmann, a 21-year-old goalie from Breisach, Germany, was taken by a team that plays its home games in the same country and about a 4-hour drive east. Bruckmann will be a backup for the first part of his career in Munich and must make the most of his chance to start whenever it does come because scouts project him to be a borderline starter in the EURO League. If nothing else, Bruckmann will be a solid backup for several seasons. Munich GM Chad Legge now has three under-30 goalies on the roster, led by Cory Schneider. Robert Kristan, a Slovakian with 72 EURO games under his belt, should continue to share the duties with Schneider for several seasons.
Yegor Milovzarov is too young and new to say much in his new dressing room in Dublin, but someday the 21-year-old Russian will emerge as a leader and calming influence. Today, it’s Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel and Evander Kane’s room, which could explain why the Fighting Irish are picking high in this year’s draft. Milovzarov has a great attitude and makes friends easily, so he will help the dressing room gel. On the ice, he’ll skate hard and play tough defense. He won’t wow anyone with his offense, although he is capable of someday hitting 20 assists in a season. But his time is years away. The emergence of Hampus Lindholm and Ryan Murray on the Dublin blueline will delay the Russian’s EURO debut and keep him from first-pairing ice time, but he’ll be a valuable Irish team member in a few seasons.
In a top half of a draft dominated by forwards, Prague made it five straight non-forward picks by taking one of the youngest players available in 18-year-old Swiss defenseman Robin Grossman. Siamese Cat Coach Patrick Roy would love it if Grossman would grow another 2 inches and pack on another 20 pounds of prime beef. That would make him the kind of stay-at-home defensemen goalies – and former goalies – love to have on the ice. Ranked 13th by Central Scouting, Grossman fell all the way to number 30, probably because he is so young and the fact it will take years of seasoning before he’s going to be ready to skate against men in the EURO League. But it’s not like Prague needs him right now. The team now has 12 defensemen on the roster including six who are 25 or younger. Grossman is described as a smooth skater who likes to check.
Geneva added its third forward of the draft when it picked Swedish left wing Andreas Johnson. Earlier in the draft, the Generals took Sergei Mozyakin and Bud Holloway. Johnson looks to be your stereotypical Swedish forward: Skates fast, thinks offense, displays skill and steers clear of the rough stuff. Looking at the younger players on the Geneva roster, it appears Johnson has the inside track – due to his offensive tendencies – to be one of Mozyakin’s wingers as the two youngsters mature and older Generals leave the team. Johnson came into the draft ranked 30th and was the highest ranked left wing on the board when Geneva’s turn to pick came.
Scouts have raved about Tomas Nosek’s hockey sense for a long time now. They say it’s advanced for a 20-year-old, but they agree it hasn’t really translated into tangible results.The young Czech has the legs to skate in the EURO league, but his hands have not developed quite as fast. The Madrid Royals took him at No. 32 and they hope his breakout year comes while he’s playing for the Spanish club. Madrid has built two-thirds of three scary young lines; they are minus right wings on each of those lines. Current centers who are 25 or younger include Derek Stepan, Sean Couturier and Nosek, and left wings in the same age group include Gabriel Landeskog, Chris Kreider and Loic Lamperier. All six have PO ratings of 80 or higher.