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Posted By: Carmack Lloyd on 3/10/2016
My name is Carmack Lloyd and I'll be covering CHL content in different leagues like the OHL, QMJHL, or WHL for the NHL Draft at Draft Utopia. Every month you'll hear my unique insight on something in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, or the Western Hockey League.
NHL Scouts I spoke to said there are only 15 players worthy of first round grades. I think the top 5 with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi, Matthew Tkachuk, and Jakob Chychrun are set in stone. Those have been the top 5 guys on draft boards all year.
Alex Nylander of the Mississauga Steelheads is the sixth best player and the top prospect in Sweden playing in the CHL. Then at seven you got Pierre Luc-Dubois the top prospect in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Olli Juolevi is the top CHL prospect from Finland. After those 8 you got Mikhail Sergachyov, the top CHL prospect from Russia with 5 of the top 9 prospects being members of the Ontario Hockey League. After those nine you got a drop off from A+ prospects that are capable of getting NHL roster spots right away to guys that are A grade prospects that probably need more time in the juniors, and you got six different guys competing for that final spot in the top 10 with Julian Gauthier of the Val'Or Foreurs and Tyson Jost of the Penticon Vees in the British Columbia League being the front runners to claim that #10 spot with neither player holding a distinct advantage over the other.
Gauthier is 6-4 225 lbs and is a natural sniper with 40 goals, but Jost already has over 100 points this year which is why it's too close to call between those two.
Michael McLeod is the top prospect outside of Nylander on the Missiauga Steelheads at center. Then you got Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows at 13 and 14 before Dante Fabbro rounds out the top 15. Those guys are the only NHL picks that are shoe ins to contribute in the NHL. Everyone else is someone of a project while those guys may only need 1 or 2 more years in the juniors. The other remaining skaters in this draft will need 2 years in the juniors and possibly 1 year in the AHL.
Back to Sergachyov, the 6-2 205 lb Sergachyov is arguably the calmest of the three defensemen projected to go in the top 10. Sergachyov can keep his cool under pressure situations and he's quite the playmaker. He doesn't play with the intensity that Chychrun does and he's not as disciplined defensively as Juolevi, and that's really the only thing keeping this pretty complete prospect from being the first defender taken in June's 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Sergachyov is creative with the puck. He's got the size, stick handling, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, shooting power, and shooting accuracy you look for in a defender.
Sergachyov is just as big as Jakob Chychrun. The other defender Olli Juolevi is 6-2 183 lbs. Both Chychrun and Juolevi are better shot blockers than Sergachyov. There are also some scouts that think his job is easier because he is line mates with defenseman Logan Stanley.
Sergachyov has more offensive ability in terms of generating points than either Chychrun or Juolevi. That and his size makes him a safe pick to be in the top 10.
Four scouting services compared the three defensemen. Chychrun is ranked #7, #6, #4, and #7. Those same services have Juolevi ranked #5, #12, #12, and #5. Sergachyov came in at #9, #9, #10, and #11.
Two scouting services have Chychrun, Sergachyov, and Juolevi. The other two have Juolevi, Chychrun, and Sergachyov in that order. I'm gonna say its Chychrun, Juolevi, and Sergachyov. This looks like 2015 all over again when you had Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov, and Zach Werenski all competing to go in the top 10. Chychrun like Hanifin should be the top defenseman taken, but expect both Juolevi and Sergachyov to give him a run for his money.
Mikhail Sergachyov probably won't be the first defenseman taken, but I think he will go in the top 10. Sergachyov simply offers too much on tape for teams to ignore.
I may have more updates on Windsor Spitfires players at some point in the near future. For now Mikhail Sergachyov is the has to be the top prospect from the Windsor Spitfires as we enter the home stretch for assessing players in the 2016 NHL Draft.