Rebuilding on the Fly – Part 5 – Later Round Draft Targets

In this series, I’ve contemplated how the Canucks could achieve their “rebuild on the fly” goal of winning now while incrementally moving towards becoming a contender again. 

In the first part of the series, I argued that the Canucks should look to move Chris Higgins, the rights to Shawn Matthias, and 2016 UFA’s Radim Vrbata, Kevin Bieksa, and Dan Hamhuis in exchange for draft picks and cap space. In my second and third parts, I suggested forward and defense UFA targets that are worth a look in the efforts of keeping the team reasonably competitive while the rebuild happens through the draft and prospect development. 

In terms of the upcoming 2015 draft, I profiled Nick Merkley, Evgeni Svechnikov, Daniel Sprong, Filip Chlapik, Jansen Harkins, Michael Spacek and Anthony Beauvillier as potential first round selections. Using the PCS% system I discussed here

Now we’ll get into players the Canucks should target in later rounds of the draft after the jump.

The real value in the Prospect Cohort Success % (PCS) method come in evaluating undervalued prospects, especially later in the draft. Let’s see which names pop up as potential high-percentage bets: 

Round 2 Round Targets (Consensus Ranked 41-60)

Name Position Team League Consensus Height GP G A Pts P/GM PCS% PCS P/GM PCS N
Jens Looke LW/RW   Brynäs SHL   42 184 43 2 4 6 0.06 36% 0.62 33
Erik Cernak D HC Kosice Slovakia 48 192 43 5 8 13 0.3 33% 0.21 3
Gabriel Carlsson D Linkoping  SHL   50 193 7 0 2 2 0.29 44% 0.23 9
Jack Roslovic C/RW U.S. National U18 Team USHL 55 185 25 11 27 37 1.48 50% 0.7 6
Rasmus Andersson D Barrie OHL 56 182 50 9 41 50 1 42% 0.31 21
Vince Dunn D Niagara OHL 58 183 68 18 38 56 0.82 32% 0.31 53


Jens Looke LW/RW (CSS EU 10, Button 51, Pronman 51) 

Looke first caught my eye when looking at draft eligible prospects at the World Juniors. His numbers don’t exactly pop off the page, but as is the case with most 17 year olds in the SHL, Looke played limited minutes, less than 7 minutes a game. On a points/60 basis, Looke scored 1.24P/60 min, which is pretty close to the rate that William Nylander scored last year for Modo (1.44P/60). In terms of his PCS stats, he coming from a relatively large cohort group, with 33 players with, 36% of which went on to successful NHL careers. His closest statistical comparable is Frans Nielsen, although Anton Lander, Magnus Paajarvi, Mike Zibanejad, and Alex Steen are all close as well. Looke is known as a highly skilled playmaker who plays and up-tempo game.

Erik Cernak D (CSS EU 16, Button 100, Pronman 20) 

Cernak is another player I’ve highlighted in the past, as he’s been playing in top tournaments for Slovakia for quite a while. He’s been playing in the Slovak Extraliga for two years now, which is impressive for any prospect, but especially when considering his team HC Kosice, was the top team in the league. According to ESPN’s Corey Pronman, Cernak has high end skating, puck handling, and a very well developed two way game, although the knock on him appears to be his decision making. 

Gabriel Carlsson D (CSS EU 2, ISS 30, Button 78, Pronman 90)

The disparity in rankings for Carlsson are huge, with the groups that tend to overvalue size ranking him very high (CSS/ISS), and groups that traditionally place a high value on skill (Pronman/Button) rating him a bit lower. Pronman points out that he’s excellent in his own end, which is likely why the coaches at Linkoping decided to give him a respectable 12:18 in TOI/GP in a 7 game stint in the SHL (former Canuck prospect Gustav Forsling played 17:24/GP for the same team this year). There were 9 players in his PCS cohort who went on to play over 200 NHL games. Given his “projectable frame” I expect some team will reach for in the late first or early second round, but if he’s on the board later in the second or early third he’s definitely worth a look.  

Jack Roslovic C/RW (CSS NA 39, McKeen’s 30, Button 82, Pronman 53)

US Development program players can be a bit tricky to forecast, given how high the quality of their team mates can be. Friend of the blog, Bryan Nikkel (@bryan_nikkel) noted to me that Roslovic spent a fair amount of time on a line with Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk, both of who are top prospects for the 2016 draft. There were only 6 close matches to Roslovic, but they included both Paul Stastny and Thomas Vanek, who scored at a very similar rate to Roslovic in their draft years in the USHL. Aaron Portzline, of the Columbus Dispatch, had an excellent story on Roslovic’s ascension up the draft ranks this year, which is definitely worth a read. Corey Pronman also highlights his skating, two-way play, and on-ice vision. 

Rasmus Andersson D (CSS NA 93, Button 33, Pronman 27)

Andersson isn’t the biggest defensemen, which is likely why CSS has him ranked so much lower than Button or Pronman. However, when you look at his closest comparables, 42% went on to be NHLers, ranking him among the top 20 draft eligible players by PCS% in this draft. I’m not going to spend too much time on him, as I’ve covered him in the past and Rhys profiled him recently. When all of us at Canucks Army agree on a prospect one thing is certain – he’ll be drafted by the Jets. 

Vince Dunn D (CSS NA 32, Button 50, Pronman 79) 

Dunn is an interested prospect. He’s an excellent skater, and his offensive production is at the top of his draft class, although he did have the benefit of playing with Brendan Perlini and Josh Ho-Sang in Niagara this year. Then again, most CHLers are playing with someone talented. Amongst 17 year-olds, Dunn ranked second amongst OHL defensemen in even strength points (29), first in the CHL in terms of goals, and top 5 in the CHL in points. The knock on him is his defensive game and his size (6’0/185lb). That said, his closest comparables include players like Brad Stuart, Trevor Daley, and Dimitri Kulikov, with a PCS of 32%, so this is an excellent bet for a late 2nd/3rd round pick. 

Third Round Targets and Beyond

Name Position Team League Consensus Height GP G A Pts P/GM PCS% PCS P/GM PCS N
Yakov Trenin C Gatineau QMJHL 73 188 58 18 49 67 1.16 29% 0.409 125
Veeti Vainio D Blues U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 88 187 42 13 31 44 1.05 33% 0.47 6
Dmytro Timashov LW Québec QMJHL 137 177 66 19 71 90 1.36 23% 0.437 35
Thomas Schemitsch D Owen Sound OHL 196 191 68 14 35 49 0.72 33% 0.219 48
Kay Schweri RW Sherbrooke QMJHL NR 178 53 12 56 68 1.28 25% 0.45 87

Yakov Trenin LW/C (CSS NA 48, Button 65, Pronman 78)

This was Trenin’s rookie year in the QMJHL, having played the prior year in the Russian junior league (MHL). He adapted very well to the North American game, and was top 5 in QMJHL rookie scoring behind Dmytro Timashov, Evgeny Svechnikov, Filip Chlapik, and Kay Schweri. 

To get I a better view on him, I reached out to Guillaume Gervaise, a QMJHL scout for Future Considerations, who had this to say about Trenin:

Physical player with great
playmaking ability. Crashes the net for rebounds and loose pucks. Quick
release that he could use more often. Very good in his own zone either at
supporting teammates when he plays center or by covering the defenseman and the
shooting lanes when he’s playing winger. Great vision & creativity with the
puck but he needs to improve skating more to truly dominate. Had great
playoff. Top 9 potential with some Top 6 playmaking potential if
he improves skating. I like him in the 2nd round anywhere from 40 to
60. 

Veeti Vainio D (CSS EU 25, Pronman Honorable Mention)

There are very few comparables for Veeti Vainio, as it’s pretty unusual to find defensemen who have scored at a point-a-game rate and are also 6’2 in European junior. He’s a fairly off radar name, and I have to wonder if he’d be ranked higher had he decided to play a year in the CHL like Andersson and Jakub Zboril. 

With a 3rd or 4th round selection, this is a guy I would target, but given how impressive his PCS%’s were I thought I should reach out to a professional: Marco Bombino, Future Consideration’s Finish correspondent. Here is what Marco had to say: 

Vainio is an excellent skater with great poise, vision and solid shot selection. However, his physical game and defensive zone coverage were really concerning for me. He must get stronger and show more determination when he’s without the puck. The lack of effort was not good to see from a high-end talent like him. For me, he’s a mid-round selection in the draft. There’s some really good offensive potential, but other parts of his game need to improve. I think playing at the second highest level (Mestis) would be best for his development. I don’t see him playing full time in Liiga yet, but I do believe he will play some games, especially when Blues will also compete in the Champions Hockey League.

Clearly, Vainio has a fair amount of development to do defensively, but given his age, size and offensive prowess, this could be a high potential mid-round bet. 

Dmytro Timashov LW (CSS NA 92, Pronman 66)

Timashov is a guy who’s been a question for me all year long, as he’s been relatively off radar in the rankings, despite leading the QMJHL in rookie scoring. The Ukrainian winger is small in stature at 5’9, but at 190 lbs he’s got a thicker build than one may expect. 

I reached out to Guillaume Gervaise to get his thoughts on Timashov as well: 

Dynamic offensive smallish forward. Prone to make turn overs at times when he tries to do too much but he does more good than bad. Not afraid of traffic. High end vision & playmaking, can make plays at top speed. He can stickhandle his way through tight spaces. He’d be a Top 30 guy if 6-foot-0 tall. Top 6 potential in the pro. I have him in 2nd round in the 40-45th spot range.

Thomas Schemitsch (CSS NA 91, Pronman 100)

At 6’3, 200 lbs, Schemitsch already has the frame you’d look for in an NHL defender, but it was his offensive game that made the biggest strides this year, where he was in the top 5 in 17 year-old defensemen goal scoring and top 10 in 17 year old defensemen points according to CHLStats.com on an Owen Sound team that was middle of the pack in terms of offensive production. According to Corey Pronman, he was impressive in playing in all situations, with good upside as a two-way defensemen. 

Kay Schweri (Unranked)

Schweri, like Timashov and Trenin, was among the top 5 in QMJHL rookie scoring this year, but is completely off the list for most draft boards. To get a sense as to why this player, who scores to well in PCS%, wasn’t getting the love from scouts, I reached out to Jerome Berube, the head Quebec scount for hockeyprospect.com. Berube noted that while Schweri was a fantastic playmaker, he tends to play too much of a perimeter game, and suffered from inconsistency during the season. During the World Juniors, he was outshone by fellow prospects Timo Meier and Denis Malgin on the Swiss team, which is partially why Berube expects he’ll slide to 6th or 7th round, if he gets selected at all. 

Like any draft pick, especially players available in the later rounds, Schweri is clearly not without his flaws, and obviously has a lot to work on. However, given his advanced playmaking and offensive game, Schweri could prove to be an excellent, high reward gamble with a late round pick. 

Other Posts in this Series

REBUILDING ON THE FLY – PART 1 – TEARING IT DOWN

REBUILDING ON THE FLY – PART 2 – UFA DEFENSE TARGETS

REBUILDING ON THE FLY – PART 3 – UFA FORWARD TARGETS

REBUILDING ON THE FLY – PART 4 – 1st Round Draft Targets 

  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    It will be interesting to see if Benning, who comes from that scouting background, turns our drafting around and can find some gems in these later rounds. Its funny, you look at these names in this article, and you wonder if any of them is going to be that elusive draft steal.

    We really won’t see until a few years the real impact Benning is having, but I am really glad that he has brought in some guys like Baertschi and Clendenning to fill out some holes we had in that age group.

    Glad to see Utica doing very well, it is nice to see we may have some potential call-ups and possible roster additions for next year.

    Markstrom has been phenomenal in the playoffs and Benning has been on hand to see his performances in some of them. What do you think he is going to do with him?

  • andyg

    I’m going to suggest a name change. Rather than “Rebuilding on the Fly” how about we go with “What the Canucks would do if they weren’t actually a business that’s trying to earn money.”

    All this advanced stat math is interesting but not nearly as interesting to the Aquilini’s as the underlying math of things like “gate receipts” and “concession revenues” and “franchise value”.

    Consider this my plea for something I like to call reality-based advanced stats. This whole “Who we would draft with the picks acquired from liquidating half the team” stuff is really not all that interesting.

    • andyg

      Dare to dream. Maybe if we all say it enough, it’ll happen. Like Supertroopers 2.

      Although saying that will probably just make the Aquilini’s launch an Indigogo campaign to encourage fans to pay for roster changes that impact revenue…

      Raise $1 Million: Trade Bieksa

      Raise $3 Million: Trade Hamhuis

      Stretch Goal at $5 Million: Trade Miller, guarantee replacement goalie at

  • andyg

    I’d love to know which players PCS loved in past drafts, and whether they panned out or not. For example, if somebody like Bergeron or Weber had a high PCS.

  • andyg

    I’m really impressed with your research on prospects. I think there’s a very good chance that you might be on to something here, we will have to see how some of these guys progress. Stats can be so amazingly predictive when you’re comparing and contrasting the right things and I think this PCS% has the potential to be a great method of comparison. Very curious to see the long term results of this methodology. Great work! Not gonna lie, I really wish you guys were part of the Canucks scouting department right about now…

  • andyg

    There are certain elements of this series I don’t buy into at all, including the premise of going about all of these significant trades for skeptically high draft picks while still trying to hold face of a competitive season.

    BUT I really do have to commend the effort and thought that went into all of this. I legitimately want to look into these up and coming hockey youth and entertain the thought of bergenheim in the top 9 (ehehe) because you’ve put appreciable effort into arguing for it.