COPENHAGEN – The Season 6 EURO League draft will open today in Copenhagen, Denmark, where as many as 8 draftees could cancel their return flight tickets because the Tridents have accumulated that many picks in this draft, including 3 in the first round. Trades brought them Dublin’s and Madrid’s top picks in addition to their own.
The first players to get picked are likely to be forwards. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers looked to be a points machine until he got injured and the question remains – for Websim purposes – how much will his DUR durability factor figure into a drafting GM’s thought process. He is very likely to get in the minimum 35 games needed to be assigned WSH attributes, but his DUR rating will surely start out low.
Other super NHL rookies like Dylan Larkin (Geneva), Max Domi (Lisbon) and Artemy Panarin (London) are already claimed in the EURO, but Jack Eichel is available and he has been a key member of the Buffalo Sabres, getting 19 minutes per game and scoring 26 points through 40 games.
But how good Eichel and McDavid are with Websim attributes remains a guessing game. They have to be considered gambles. Wingers Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau are all set with their attributes and both are ready to step into a team’s starting lineup. Gaudreau is much faster and craftier than Stone, but the Senator comes with a 99 defense rating. Both are durable and won’t get called for penalties.
So, GM with a top pick, do you pass up McDavid and Eichel for one of these guys? Could the prospects come in with a PO rating even higher than Stone’s 91 and Gaudreau’s 90? Quite a decision to make.
There are also 3 good goalies waiting to find out where they will play their EURO games. Andrew Hammond can start today, and Calvin Pickard and John Gibson could turn into the reliable starters every team wants.
On the blueline, pickings are slim. John Klingberg and Damon Severson are skilled offensively and both stand a chance of being picked in the top half of the first round. Zach Werenski and Ivan Provorov played prominent roles in the World Juniors last week and they could hear their names announced in Copenhagen in the next day or two, but overall, it is not a good draft pool for defensemen.
Draft lotteries will decide the selection order, but if nothing changes, here is how the top 8 picks will shake out. Each of the 8 teams has a chance to move up toward the top of the draft. No team can lose more than one draft spot. We’ve included an observation or two about the team’s existing young talent)
Oslo – (Top young players in Olso include Tyler Seguin at C/RW, and Tomas Hertl at LW; and defensemen Viktor Antipin and Morgan Rielly. A player who can eventually team with Seguin and Hertl seems like a tasty option.)
Milan – (Well stocked already with young talent at most forward positions; Jaden Schwartz, Tomas Zaborsky, Mathis Olimb, Par Arlbrandt, etc.; Milan might consider grabbing a goalie or trading down, but it would hard to pass up one of the top forwards.)
Bern (also has Belfast’s #1) – (Mika Zibanejad is the centreman of the future for the Bears and he could easily land a future winger in this draft)
Munich – (The Dire Wolf seem set at LW with Filip Forsberg and Fyodor Malykhin, but there are no obvious superstars at the other two forward positions; defense includes Nikita Zadorov, a 20-year-old who should be a mainstay)
Copenhagen (also has Dublin’s #1 and Madrid’s #1) – (Dougie Hamilton on defense and Andres De Le Garma are the team’s best young non-forwards. Up front, Jonathan Drouin, Marko Dano and Andre Burakovsky provide the foundation.)
Stockholm – (Like Milan, Stockholm already has a good young core of players. Up front, Brendan Gallagher, Ryan Johansen and Mattias Sjogren look to be top talent on the wings, with Sean Monahan, Cutris Lazar, Marcus Foligno, and J.T. Miller crowding the depth chart at center. Olli Maatta and Jindrich Barak are the best 21 and unders on defense and Braden Holtby has a stranglehold on the goalie position for at least three or four seasons.)
Geneva – (Sergei Mozyakin at C, and Valeri Nichushkin at RW would love to have Gaudreau grow up alongside them, but they will require a lot of luck or a trade to see that happen. Whoever ends up being picked will be a welcome addition to the team which is short on young players.)
Minsk (from Gothenburg) – (Already one of the top teams in the league, Minsk would love to win EURO’s version of the Powerball lottery today and add Stone, Gaudreau or Hammond to the team, but it’s much more likely they will stay in the eighth spot. The Hussars already have superb young talent on the blue line with Max Chudinov, 22, and Aaron Ekblad, 19. They would probably lean toward goalie or forward with the pick, if they keep it.)