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Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profiles: #41 – Ivan Lodnia

Ivan Lodnia might not register on most’s radar ahead of the draft, but that’s just because he’s lost in the Erie Otters bounty of flashy offensive prospects. On most CHL teams, Lodnia is a first line forward. In Erie, he was just another guy on a team replete with future stars.

Don’t let that dampen your view of Lodnia, though. He still brings a bounty of desirable skills that were evident to anyone fortunate enough to catch an Otters game before the OHL trade deadline. When Erie geared up for their Memorial Cup run by acquiring Anthony Cirelli, a forward group that was full-to-overflowing burst at the seams, leaving Lodnia a fourth-line afterthought.

This may come as something of a surprise, but Canucks Army isn’t shy about investing in smallish players with high-end offensive skills, and Lodnia is no exception. The Russian-sounding but actually American winger checks in as the Nation Network’s 41st ranked prospect in our consensus rankings.

Bio:

  • Age: 17-years-old, 1999-08-31
  • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Position: R
  • Handedness: R
  • Height: 5’10″
  • Weight: 181 lbs
  • Draft Year Team: Erie Otters – OHL

Stats:

Read about pGPS here.

Scouts:

NHL (CSS) FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS HOCKEYPROSPECT MCKENZIE MCKEEN’S
 
PRONMAN BUTTON MAREK
36 (NA) 35 43 44 N/A 22 82  49

From Future Considerations:

A high-skill player with impressive body-strength and possession skills that loves to play with quick bursts and high tempo… an undersized centreman with a no quit motor…does not let anything stop him from going where he wants on the ice…has some real quick hands and has the ability to get creative with the puck as he enters the offensive zone, deking his man or seaming a pass right through a tight gap…despite his size he is a very difficult player to take off the puck…an attack mentality, attacking off the wing, driving the net off the rush and coming out of the corners with an eye towards the slot…good stick, able to redirect shots and pucks on goal…a quick shot release…excellent awareness with the puck, somehow just knowing where his options are…in full alert of his surroundings… a firecracker who doesn’t stop working in his pursuit of possession…has some risk to his game but also some major upside.  (November 2016)

Lodnia is a personal favorite of mine. I know I’m higher on him than the industry, but I’ve been impressed by him this season. He has one of the highest skill levels among all players in the draft class. He dangles defenders seemingly every shift and can create dangerous chances with consistency. His vision isn’t as good as his puck skills, but he’s clearly an above-average playmaker. He isn’t a perfect player, and that’s because he’s small. He isn’t a great skater for a player at 5-foot-10, and he isn’t going to be the first guy you want to kill a penalty. However, I’ve seen improvements during the course of the season in his speed and hustle. He can score — that’s unquestioned — and he has significant upside as an NHL player.

Goal-scoring puck magnet whose hard work and instincts helps him work his way into multiple quality opportunities. Lodnia’s stats are respectable (57 points in 66 games), but keep in mind he was fighting for ice time with Erie’s top line of Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Taylor Raddysh who combined for nearly 130 goals. Lodnia is just days from being eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, meaning he has close to a full extra year of development over some of the top 2017 prospects. Lodnia is a quick, accurate passer who plays on the power play but can beat goalies with a full arsenal of shots, dekes and fakes. He never stops moving and has a hidden gear, and he seems partial to holding onto the puck in the face of a wall of defenders rather than an effortless dump and chase. He’s a very good skater with strong balance and built to endure the slogging matches, board battles and slot wars, yet he also has a touch of finesse to his game.

Our Take:

I don’t fancy the list of prospects with more offensive talent than Lodnia as especially long, far as this year’s class is concerned. Lodnia spent most of the season in the Otters middle-six before falling to their fourth line, and still produced at a near point per game clip over 66 regular season games.

The deeper one dives into Lodnia’s season, though, the more obvious it becomes that he had so much more to offer. Lodnia played the 14th most five-on-five ice time among Otters’ skaters and finished sixth in scoring on the OHL powerhouse.

If you compare Lodnia’s five-on-five primary point and raw point production to other first-time draft eligibles on a per-sixty-minutes basis, he looks even better. Only Nick Suzuki, Jonah Gadjovich and Robert Thomas produced five-on-five points more frequently than Lodnia. Only Owen Tippett outpaced Lodnia’s primary point production. Lodnia is younger than every single one of these players and just weeks removed from being eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

What’s most striking about Lodnia is the way he retains possession of the puck under intense pressure and never risks losing that possession with a low percentage play. I can count the times I’ve seen Lodnia dump a puck in or out of a zone on one hand. He doesn’t waste attempts on the net from low-danger areas of the ice.

Lodnia’s hands are great, and I’m more impressed by his vision than most. I see more of a playmaker than a sniper, but I would still rate him as an above average finisher due to his strong shot and excellent stickwork.

Most in the draft analysis community don’t rate Lodnia as a strong defensive player. I’m not sure I share their concerns. I don’t see the defensive zone as a strength of Lodnia’s, but the Otters used him sparingly on their penalty kill and his bottom of the lineup role meant taking a fair amount of defensive assignments by virtue of his role.

When we look at Lodnia’s last season through pGPS, about 22% of players in his cohort develop into full-time NHL’ers. The expected points per 82 games of that cohort is 43.8. I think both numbers are artificially low based on the circumstances Lodnia played with, and he’ll see a significant spike as soon as next season.

Lodnia is a player with an exceptionally high offensive ceiling. The only question is whether he’ll get there or not. I tend to like his odds better than most.