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2015 NHL Draft European Prospect Rankings

Posted By: Chris Ransom Last Updated: June, 22, 2015 Following Our monthly 2015 NHL Mock Draft

    Ready for the NHL In 2016-2017

  1. Pavel Zacha, LW, Sarnia Sting (OHL) Projected Round 1st Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap Zacha is a boom or bust prospect. After playing with HC Bili Tygri Liberec for two seasons you get a boom or bust vibe because Zacha is known more for his time in the Czech Repbulic than he is for his time in Canada.

    Besides his size, the other two things to admire about his game are his versatility and uncanny ability to win face offs. Those two qualities are why he's a top 10 pick.

    When you pop in Zacha's tape you see a guy that has the shooting power and shooting accuracy of a line 1 forward with his wrist shot and slap shot. You see a fast skater with bursting speed as he can glide long distance with his skates. Those are some of his best attributes.

    This guy is known for his versatility. You can plug this guy in at left wing, center, or right wing by inserting him anywhere on offense at forward. That is one of the biggest reasons why Zacha will go top 10.

    If you asked fans to name the top 5 OHL skaters in this years draft they would go McDavid, Strome, Marner, Crouse, and Zacha in that order. I saw Zacha's tape and liked him better than Crouse. At the same time, I think Crouse will get drafted before Zacha because most scouting services have Crouse ranked higher.

    I think we can agree that McDavid is the best center prospect in terms of scoring goals, winning face offs, and showing good defensive awareness with a strong +/- ratio. At the same time Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner are without a doubt the best playmakers in terms of production after McDavid.

    If you told me that Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner were better at winning face offs than Pavel Zacha, that's where I would say you were wrong. I watched the tape of all of these skaters. The thing I noticed was and Pavel Zacha is better at winning face offs than both Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner. Strome struggled with winning face offs. Marner was better than Strome, but not as consistent as Zacha when winning face offs. Strome's discipline, mental awareness on defense, and production on offense make up for his inconsistent play with the face off.

    Zacha doesn't just win face offs. He's also very good at blocking shots. If he's in the right place at the right time and he senses a shot, his shot blocking can bail you out. At times he's almost like a third defenseman on the ice with his shot blocking.

    While Pavel Zacha shows a lot of promise on tape there are some things that have to concern you. Zacha's no one-year wonder. He posted 34 points in 37 regular season games.

    Zacha began the 2014-2015 season at left wing. He posted 2 goals, 4 assists, and 6 points in his first 7 games. Weighing 6-foot-3 and 215-pounds, Zacha got off to a strong start at the wing.

    The thing that concerns most scouts is that he missed 17 games in 2014 due to suspensions. Zacha served two suspensions in the month of November. His first suspension was a 6 game suspension that took place November 8th. Less than two weeks later he got a game misconduct against the Erie Otters and received a 11 game suspension on November 21st.

    Zacha only played in 26 of the Sarnia Sting's first 43 games. He missed 17 games due to suspensions.

    After serving those suspensions Sarnia decided to move him to center. He switched to right wing after the first suspension and did worse there than he did at left wing. When Zacha moved to center he won face offs consistently. He was able to win a face off in another game against the Erie Otters by making Dylan Strome look silly.

    Zacha continued to dominate at center until he suffered an upper body injury in January. That caused him to miss 3 to 5 weeks. Zacha had a bit of a cold streak following the injury.

    With 10 games to go, Sarnia held the final playoff spot. The Sting chose to move Zacha back to left wing where he began the season. In those 10 games, Zacha ignited 7 of his 16 goals on the season after scoring 2 goals in his first seven games. He also posted 9 assists during that stretch as well after beginning the season with 4 assists. Basically 9 of Zacha's 16 goals and 13 of his 18 assists came during his two hot streaks at the beginning and end of the regular season.

    The Sarnia Sting went 7-3 in those final 10 games and got the 7 spot entering the 2015 OHL Playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league. They would face the Erie Otters once again. Sarnia won a road game in Erie in game 1 of the series before Erie tied the series at 1. Sarnia lost both home games by one goal including a game 4 loss in overtime before Erie ended the series in 5 games with a 7-0 shutout in game 5 where Erie fans got to celebrate the teams opening round victory.

    Like I stated earlier, Pavel Zacha is a boom or bust pick. Worst case scenario you are getting a player like Patrik Stefan. Best case scenario you are getting another Steven Stamkos. He plays like both NHL draft bust Stefan and NHL All Star Stamkos at times.

    One thing that's worth noting is that Anthony DeAngelo had character issues last year before the Lightning drafted him 19th overall. Sarnia traded DeAngelo to the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds after Zacha got suspended twice.

    After the Sting dealt DeAngelo, Zacha was on his best behavior. I think trading DeAngelo may have gave Zacha the reality check he desperately needed.

    Zacha is inconsistent, but he's definitely a top 10 talent and can play like a line 1 forward at times when he is on a hot streak. Most NHL teams project him as a line 2 left winger or a line 3 center in the NHL.

    Before 2014

    Posted 68 points in 2012-2013 on the Under HC Bili Tygri Liberec Under 16 Team. Posted 4 goals, 4 assists, and 8 points on the HC Bili Tygri Liberec main roster in 2013-2014.

    The Sarnia Sting drafted Pavel Zacha with the top pick in the 2014 CHL Import Draft. Zacha looks like a top 10 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft with a strong season.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

  2. Timo Meier, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) Projected Round 1st Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap Timo Meier is the top prospect from Switzerland. Meier made the transition from Switzerland to the CHL back in 2013-2014 and kept making strides this season in 2014-2015.

    The 6-foot-1 and 209-pound Meier showed NHL scouts he had the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing in 2014-2015, even though right wing is his main position. The two-way forward matched Connor McDavid's point streak going 27 consecutive games registering a point. The only other player to surpass that streak was Meier's teammate Nikolai Ehlers.

    Meier did an awesome job in 2014-2015 recording 44 goals, 46 assists, and 90 points in 61 regular season games. In 14 games during the 2015 QMJHL Playoffs, Meier posted 10 goals, 11 assists, and 21 points in those 14 games during the first two rounds of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs.

    Timo Meier is a safer pick than Pavel Zacha. He lacks the size, ability to win face offs, hard hitting, and shot blocking that Zacha seems to have a god given talent with. One thing you have to applaud Meier for is his ability to keep his nose clean. Meier is a high character guy and he has his head on straight.

    Timo Meier is a beast on the power play. He led the Halifax Mooseheads with 25 power play goals. Over half of his 44 goals came on the power play. NHL teams have to feel comfortable that this guy can make an impact on the power play. At the same time you have to wonder if Meier's production will take a hit if you take away the power play for the Halifax Mooseheads.

    Before 2014

    Timo Meier posted 17 goals, 17 assists, and 34 points in 66 games. Meier looks like a 2nd round pick. He will go in the first round if he can improve on those numbers though.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

    Ready for the NHL In 2017-2018

  3. Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) Projected Round 1st Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap In his first 12 games, Jakub Zboril had 1 goal, 5 assists, and 6 points. Zboril ended his season with 13 goals, 20 assists, and 33 points. Zboril looks like a complete defenseman who will be playing in the NHL by 2016.

    Before 2014

    Jakub Zboril was a man among boys in Europe the moment he stepped on the ice as a Czech Republic native in middle school. He led his middle school team to three straight middle school national championships with his stout ability as a two-way defenseman.

    His game was so impressive that HC Kometa Brno signed him to their team in the Extraliga league after he won three consecutive titles in Middle school. After his surreal play in middle school he became a freshman in high school at the mere age of 13 years old after his parents enrolled him in Kindgarden at the age of 3.

    The following season, he posted 30 points during his freshman year of high school leading the HC Kometa Brno team to an Extraliga title as true freshman in high school while carrying a 3.4 GPA

    Even though he maintained his GPA, his play declined over the next three seasons with Europe. He posted a 3.5 GPA as a sophomore and a 3.7 GPA during his junior season. As a senior in high school, Zboril scored a career high 8 playoff points, en route to getting his GED and graduating from high school with a 3.6 GPA. This guy is smart. He needs to turn his knowledge in the classroom by applying that knowledge on the ice to comprehend the fundamentals of being a defenseman in the NHL.

    After graduating from high school, Zboril opted to enter the 2014 CHL Entry Draft. The Saint John Sea Dogs drafted Zboril fifth overall with a top five draft pick. What Zboril does in the QMJHL will dictate what he can do with the Vancouver Canucks down the road.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

  4. Filip Chlapik, C, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) Projected Round 1st Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap In 64 games, Filip Chlapik posted 33 goals, 42 assists, and 75 points. Chlapik has the shooting power and shooting accuracy to execute any wrist shot or slap shot that you want him to. Not only is he an effective sniper, but he is also an excellent playmaker with an tremendous Hockey IQ on both offense and defense.

    The one concern with Chlapik is his skating. He only knows how to skate forward towards the net. He struggles to skate around the corners and lacks the agility to shift gears or the versatility to play the wing.

    Another issue with Chlapik is his inconsistency as a face off man. Chlapik will struggle to win the face off at times and the fact that he doesn't have the versatility to move to the wing like Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Pavel Zacha, or Kyle Connor has to concern you to an extent.
    Filip chlapik has all the tools to be a deadly line 1 center. At the same time he only has one year of experience in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He needs a few years to correct his issues in the QMJHL. By the time he's 20, he will be ready for the NHL without having to play for the AHL team affiliated with the NHL team that drafts him.

    Before 2014

    Filip Chlapik is talented enough to go in the top 100. The thing that concerns me is the fact that his numbers dropped each year he advanced an age group on HC Sparta Praha in the Extraliga junior leagues that HC Sparta Praha has. Chlapik has to correct that once he goes to the Charlottetown Islanders with a breakout season.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

    Ready for the NHL In 2018-2019

  5. Daniel Vladar, G, Rytiri Kladno (Extraliga) Projected Round 2nd Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap Daniel Vladar finally starts for Rytiri Kladno’s main roster. In 5 games he has a 1.95 GAA and a .938 save percentage.

    Vladar is nicknamed Darth Vladar just like the legendary Star Wars villain Darth Vader. Vladar posted a .926 save percentage on Rytiri Kladno for the second season in a row. What's impressive is that he posted a .926 save percentage on the main roster in the Extraliga league rather than doing it on an Under 20, Under 18, or Under 16 team.

    Vladar is projected to be the third goalie drafted after Ilya Samsonov and MacKenzie Blackwood. I think Blackwood is the one All Star goalie from this draft. The other goalie with a chance of developing into a solid starter is Daniel Vladar.

    Vladar does better in the regular season than the playoffs in the Extraliga league. He's not a pressure player that can step up in the playoffs unlike Blackwood who got to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in both of his seasons in the OHL Playoffs. If you want to win a Stanley Cup with Vladar you will need a really good defense when the postseason arrives. A team like the Dallas Stars or Minnesota Wild would be a perfect fit for Vladar.

    Before 2014

    The last two seasons Daniel Vladar played with the Rytiri Kladno Under 16 Team, Under 18 Team, and Under 20 Team for Rytiri Kladno in the Extraliga league. In 2012-2013, his GAA was 3.00 or higher on all of his team. In 2013-2013, his GAA was under 3.00 on all of his Rytri Kladno Under 18 and Under 20 teams.

    Kladno is the second best goalie in the 2015 NHL Draft after MacKenzie Blackwood of the Barrie Colts. He is also the top prospect in the Extraliga league thanks to the Czech Republic natives like Pavel Zacha and Jakub Zboril making the jump to the CHL.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

    Ready for the NHL In 2019-2020

  6. Michael Spacek, C, HC CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice (Extraliga) Projected Round 3rd Round

    2014 Season Recap In 40 games, Michael Spacek had 5 goal, 7 assists, and 12 points. Michael Spacek can crack an NHL roster if he can show better production next season. Spacek will also need a few seasons of experience in the AHL before he has any chance of contributing in the NHL.

    Spacek continued to dominate with winning face offs. He also looks like he displays outstanding defensive awareness. This guy is a line 2 center on an AHL team. If he develops his offensive game he could be a line 3 center in the NHL in a few years.

    Before 2014

    Michael Spacek showed a lot of strong qualities during his rookie season. He only played in 4 games, but he showed great defensive awareness and posted a face off percentage of 100 percent winning 30/30 face offs in 4 games.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

  7. David Kase, C, Pirati Chomutov (Extraliga) Projected Round 4th Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap David Kase finally got called up to the Pirati Chomutov junior team after playing for Pirati's Under 18 and Under 20 teams.

    In 30 games on Pirati Chomutov's junior team he posted 7 goals, 7 assists, and 14 points. David Kase is also good at winning face offs.

    David Kase is talented enough to get to the NHL despite his lack of experience. Even though he has yet to play on Pirati Chomutov's main roster in the Extraliga league, he shows a lot of promise and will be a line 4 player in the NHL one day. He's not line 3 material like Michael Spacek, but he's still good enough to make the NHL.

    Before 2014

    David Kase is a fourth round prospect. He needs a big year to improve his stock.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

  8. Jonas Siegenthaler, D, ZSC Lions (National League A) Projected Round 4th Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap Jonas Seigenthaler is a good defensive defenseman with great passing. He only posted 3 assists in 41 games. He needs to do more on offense if he wants to succeed.

    Before 2014

    Jonas Seigenthaler only played 6 games in 2013-2014. He had 0 points in those 6 games last season. As long as he improves on that he will be go in the first 5 rounds of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

    AHL Players At Best

  9. Auguste Impose, LW, Geneve-Servette HC (National League A) Projected Round 6th Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap Auguste Impose has been with the Geneve-Servette HC Junior A team for three seasons. The top prospect from Switzerland

    Right now Impose has 21 points in 12 games with the junior team and will get called up to the National League A team very soon. The main roster is scouting him extensively.

    Impose ended his season with 45 points on his junior team. He got called up for 4 games on the National League A team. He had 0 points in those 4 games.

    Before 2014

    Impose posted 20 points on the Junior A team for 2 consecutive seasons in 2012-2013 and in 2013-2014. The 5-foot-10 and 185-pound can play left wing or right wing.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

  10. Ales Stezka, G, HC Bili Tygri Liberec (Extraliga) Projected Round 6th Round Projected Team

    2014 Season Recap Ales Stezka has yet to start for HC Bili Tygri Liberec’s main roster. In 40 games he posted a 2.77 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

    One thing you have to love about Stezka is that he did much better in the playoffs despite his team losing in the first round. In 6 games he posted a 1.98 GAA during the playoffs. His .929 save percentage in those 6 playoff games was also a sign of improvement.

    Before 2014

    Ales Stezka rarely saw any playing time in 2013-2014. He was teammates with Pavel Zacha last season though. I think Stezka could needs a huge year after Zacha went to the Sarnia Sting where he was the top pick in the 2014 CHL Import Draft.

    Career Statistics Presented By Elite Hockey Prospects

NHL Draft Prospects

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