NHL prospects I was wrong about, 2022 version: Corey Pronman looks back

I am very a lot not excellent, particularly relating to giving my opinions on the way forward for teenage hockey gamers. I make numerous errors, and I will proceed to take action sooner or later.

Therefore, yearly I have a look at some key participant evaluations I bought wrong. I’m not simply trying to present a chuckle to my readers — I’m trying to remove key classes and share them with the viewers.

There are two standards I use to outline a mistake. The first is that it should be a mistake you may be taught from. If all the data factors in a single path on the time of an analysis and there is not any convincing argument that I missed one thing important on the time, then it would simply be chalked as much as the inherent excessive charge of error concerned in projecting youngsters.

The second is the magnitude of the error. If I venture a participant as a third-pair defenseman and now he is a second, that is probably not price discussing on this discussion board.

I urge you to reference earlier articles the place I have possible already mentioned a participant I bought wrong earlier than you remark that he ought to have been included:

NHL prospects I was wrong about: 2021-22

NHL prospects I was wrong about: 2021

NHL prospects I was wrong about: 2019

NHL prospects I was wrong about: 2018

NHL prospects I was wrong about: 2017

NHL prospects I rated too low

K’Andre Miller, LHD, New York Rangers and Mattias Samuelsson, LHD, Buffalo

Why am I itemizing these two gamers on totally different NHL groups collectively? Miller and Samuelsson had been on the identical US NTDP group, in the identical draft yr, and have similarities of their kinds of play, so I thought it made sense to speak about them collectively even when I have Miller rated a good quantity greater as a participant .

I wasn’t notably excessive on each gamers going into their draft and even a yr or two after it. I simply noticed massive defenders who skated nicely with some physicality, and I thought they had been heading for an NHL third pairing in the event that they made it. That could not have been extra off. Both seem like high quality top-four defensemen and Miller was an absolute rock within the playoffs for the Rangers final spring.

While neither of them will probably be true PP1 sorts within the NHL, I underestimated their offensive potential. Miller has talent and a giant level shot, whereas Samuelsson is wise sufficient to supply secondary offense on his shops and blue-line play.

In basic although, over the previous couple of years I’ve felt I’ve systematically undervalued massive, cellular, bodily defensemen like these two in favor of smaller gamers with a flashier toolkit. I’m going to wish to recalibrate that going ahead, given how few of the latter sort of gamers play main minutes on a blue line.


Sean Durzi’s skating and defending aren’t inspiring, however he has a wonderful hockey IQ. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today)

Sean Durzi, RHD, Los Angeles

When I noticed Durzi as a junior I thought his hockey sense was glorious. He made so many robust performs with the puck, displaying high-end imaginative and prescient on his shops and within the offensive zone. It was a transparent NHL puck recreation, however I thought his skating wasn’t NHL caliber to go along with an average-sized body. I noticed a nice prospect, however you see so many average-sized, average-skating gamers in junior with good offense who go straight to the AHL and by no means go away. I did not see a man who might defend as a professional and was going to have good, however not unbelievable offense. I could have even dinged him for going back to the CHL as an overage regardless of him being younger for the AHL as a late birthdate. I noticed a possible AHLer who would perhaps get a pair NHL video games.

Since then, Durzi has made the NHL and has proven that he can assist a group at that stage. He performed 22 minutes an evening within the playoffs for the Kings final spring. His skating and defending nonetheless do not encourage, however that glorious hockey IQ has allowed him to assist an NHL group and make performs at that stage. Super sensible defensemen are all the time extremely engaging, and whereas not each certainly one of them makes it with so-so athletic traits, I ought to have guess extra on a defenseman with hockey sense who looks totally different than different gamers.

Kaiden Guhle, LHD, Montreal

Guhle was a participant as a junior whose bodily instruments jumped at you. He was this massive, rangy defenseman who had glorious hole management and was extremely bodily. Forwards didn’t get by him and he recurrently punished those that tried. I noticed all of this, however I was fairly hung up on his offense. I noticed a man who was simply OK with the puck, when I watched his Prince Albert group he was at instances not on the primary power-play unit, and I simply did not see him make many performs with the puck.

Even if all that was true, and I nonetheless assume it largely is to at the present time, he did not have zero offense. Guhle nonetheless scored 11 targets and 40 factors in 64 WHL video games. That’s been an adjustment to my course of I’ve made after Guhle, Samuelsson, Miller and different comparable circumstances over the previous couple of years the place I’ve been underrating the large defensemen and overrating the smaller ones. For the large, cellular, bodily defensemen, in the event that they even have some offense, that is sufficient, given all the good issues they will do defensively and in transition. You noticed a primary glimpse of this transformation in my course of within the first 2023 NHL Draft listing I put out.

I thought Guhle was only a third-pair defenseman within the NHL, nevertheless it’s clear he has the flexibility and competitiveness to be a great top-four man for a very long time.

Janis Moser, LHD, Arizona

Almost a little bit greater than a yr after being drafted, Moser is taking part in half the sport for his NHL membership. Yes, it is on a skinny Coyotes roster, nevertheless it’s nonetheless spectacular nonetheless, particularly for a man who I listed as “having an opportunity to play” in his draft yr. Part of how good Moser has turn into so shortly was his age — he was drafted in his third eligible season. I do not know if there was proof that he would turn into such an necessary participant for his membership instantly, however in his draft yr, Moser was excellent towards males. He captained his NLA group taking part in a significant position after which went to the world championships for Switzerland as a 20-year-old and greater than held his personal. Moser went undrafted twice as a result of he was, and nonetheless is, a so-so skater. But he proved over time versus execs that he was so sensible and aggressive with first rate sufficient measurement to beat these skating points. Given what he confirmed in that third draft-eligible season at excessive ranges of competitors, he ought to have been rated greater.

NHL prospects I rated too excessive

Cody Glass, C, Nashville

I was approach off on Glass. I had him rated as probably the greatest gamers within the 2017 NHL Draft and he is principally struggled to remain in an NHL lineup since then. The error is not as irritating to me as why I made it. I noticed numerous talent in Glass’ recreation and cherished his playmaking and hockey IQ, particularly for a giant heart. But reality be instructed there have been instances I watched him and wasn’t over the moon about him as a result of his recreation might lack tempo and vitality, and scouts I was speaking to had been questioning whether or not his recreation would work as a professional. It appears ridiculous to say, particularly since I’ve by no means been shy to specific my (at instances wildly off) opinions, however I nearly felt I was following the group a bit on Glass, who on the time was universally rated as a high prospect within the draft and was a high scoring participant within the WHL. I particularly thought after his U18 world championships in his draft season, the place he laid an egg, that he did not seem like an excessively particular participant.

An NHL scout pal of mine as soon as instructed me the largest errors he and his group have made are following the group and placing a participant “the place he belongs” on their listing even when they are not passionate concerning the participant. This is a lesson I discovered with Glass. I’ve discovered to belief my intestine much more in the previous couple of years when I can inform a slotting feels off.

Jesse Ylonen, RW, Montreal

Ylonen was a tricky case for me. I rated him fairly extremely in his draft yr as a top-20 prospect. I thought he was such a wonderful skater, with a excessive talent stage who had the flexibility to interrupt open a shift. I keep in mind watching him as an underage on the U18 worlds and being blown away by his expertise. His draft yr was stable however not as spectacular. He performed second division professional in Finland, a league that does not traditionally produce NHL gamers, and posted good numbers however did not precisely mild it up.

I nonetheless rated him that extremely because of the pure expertise he had, even when his recreation lacked physicality and energy at instances and scouts had questions on whether or not the way in which he performs would translate to the large league. I keep in mind speaking to an NHL govt about Ylonen on the time who stated he could be hesitant to charge a participant together with his manufacturing that top except “the toolkit was merely off the charts.” It wasn’t for Ylonen — it was excellent, however not of that stage. It was too aggressive a ranking, and I discovered to attempt to not fall in love with dynamic traits so simply if they are not resulting in precise outcomes.

Dominik Bokk, RW, Carolina

This one is an enormous whiff. I cherished Bokk in his draft yr. I thought he was a dynamic offensive expertise who had an opportunity to be an upper-echelon participant within the draft. Yes, his manufacturing for a draft-eligible in Sweden’s junior league wasn’t all that incredible, and sure, when he went to play with Germany’s U20 group, his compete stage wasn’t excellent and he laid an egg on the world juniors Pool B. But have a look at the talent (is what I thought)! He had a lot talent. Bokk’s junior video games had been like watching one-man spotlight reels at instances. This was a humbling one, an instance of the boundaries of pure offensive expertise, and studying to think about a participant’s effort stage and skill to play up ranges, extra importantly.

Ryan Merkley, RHD, San Jose

Merkley has had numerous dialogue and noise surrounding him over the previous couple of years. This is what his case boiled right down to: He’s an elite passer who skates nicely, however not extremely, and he is a small defenseman who would not compete that nicely. I nonetheless rated him very extremely due to that talent and notably the passing potential. He would make distinctive performs that few others might make at a excessive charge. I nonetheless assume he is a stable prospect and he has about 40 NHL video games already, however the offense hasn’t been there as a professional like I thought it will be. You mix that with the truth that there aren’t many 5-foot-11 defensemen within the NHL who’re subpar defenders and it is clear I overshot Merkley.

Connor McMichael, C, Washington

McMichael is a humorous case for me as a result of at one level I wasn’t a fan. I did not have him rated as a first-round choose going into his 2018 draft after which within the seasons after I jacked up his prospect ranking into a real top-tier participant. I was most likely wrong in each cases, and the reality was most likely within the center! I all the time revered that he had talent, sense and goal-scoring potential, however the debate on McMichael has all the time revolved round his skating, particularly for his measurement. I initially thought it was unhealthy sufficient to probably preserve him out of the league, which was most likely a little bit harsh, however then I thought he was so dynamic offensively that it would not be a lot of a problem, which was most likely too bold and I overshot the offense a bit. He’s a tough employee, however the lack of foot pace will possible preserve him from turning into a real influence professional, though I assume with time as he matures bodily he’ll nonetheless be a great NHL participant.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Carolina

Kotkaniemi’s a participant whose inventory stored going up as his draft season progressed. I assume our minds normally affiliate these circumstances with gamers who are typically extremely profitable, however this was a case of a inventory that most likely should not have gotten that top. Kotkaniemi was all the time extremely intriguing as a giant heart with excellent talent and imaginative and prescient, however he by no means put up large numbers actually at any stage or match. His inventory reached an apex following the 2018 U18 worlds, the place Finland received a gold medal; he was their no. 1 heart and performed excellently. Even throughout his nice play there have been nonetheless considerations about his skating, and he was nonetheless third on the group in scoring. I nonetheless see an excellent participant who is usually a legit middle-of-the-lineup heart for some time, however I had him rated as a top-five choose, and there was most likely an excessive amount of recency bias constructed into that. I ought to have centered on his pure toolkit and general monitor file.

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