After lighting up the German hockey circuit as a teenager, Dominik Bokk made the progression to Sweden’s SuperElit Under-20 league for the Vaxjo Lakers and didn’t skip a beat. That season’s rightly garnered Bokk first-round consideration with some even being so bold as to put him in their top ten.
We’re not quite ready to elevate Bokk to those heights — as his 24th overall ranking by our consensus list can attest — but he’s an intriguing prospect that flashes offensive skill commensurate with that billing. Had that offensive skill revealed itself more regularly and the production followed, I think we’d all be more amenable to that.
It didn’t, though, and so Bokk checks in as the 24th ranked prospect on the CanucksArmy Top 100 Prospects countdown. With that, let’s dive into the German winger’s prospects of developing into a full-time NHL’er.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.62 / February 3, 2000
- Birthplace: Schweinfurt, GER
- Frame: 6-foot-1 / 179 lbs
- Position: Right Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Vaxjo Lakers HC J20 (Superelit)
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All three charts are from his time in SuperElit.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
The name of the game is offence for Bokk. Playing for the Vaxjo Lakers in Sweden’s SuperElit Under-20 league, Bokk had the 17th most points in the league this season with 41 (14 goals and 27 assists) in 35 games, good for the eighth best points per game pace. Not too shabby.
Context is king, and this seems especially true of Bokk’s seemingly elite production. The SuperElit Under-20 just isn’t a great league, for starters. Most of the scouts I’ve spoken to compare it to the BCHL regarding the league’s quality, and that aligns relatively well with my own perception of the league. A lot of the draft analytics at our disposal courtesy of the indispensable Jeremy Davis align with that, too.
I would caution against investing one’s self heavily in the numbers Bokk accrued in the SuperElit accordingly.
When one adjusts Bokk’s production using the SEAL (Situation Era Age League) method developed by Davis, his production drops to 0.76 points per game. That ranks 91st among first-time draft-eligible skaters. Using Bokk’s production from last season and his stature to find historical comparable players, 29% went on to develop into full-time NHL’ers using the pGPS draft analytics system, and based on that cohort, Bokk carries a 39.7 points per 82 game expected production rate.
In the interest of fairness, Rob Vollman, a pioneer in the field of hockey analytics, has developed NHLe (NHL expectancy) points per 82 games as a translation factor for scoring in developmental leagues, and it shines a better light on the SuperElit. Vollman’s data suggests that a point in SuperElit is worth about the same as a point in the QMJHL.
If Bokk were even a little more productive in the SHL, that might’ve assuaged my concerns. Instead, Bokk put up an uninspiring two points, a goal and an assist alike, for Vaxjo in the SHL in his 15 games played. To Bokk’s credit, he did have a fairly productive Champions Hockey League tournament, with two points in three games.
These quantitative concerns are part of what made it so difficult for us to move Bokk beyond the 20s. These are obviously good numbers, and they’re absolutely deserving of first-round status. That’s probably where the buck stops though.
Shifting gears towards a more qualitative read of Bokk’s game, it becomes clear, though, why some might make that leap.
If you’ve been following draft analysts for the course of this cycle, you’ve probably heard about the glimpses of elite, high-end offensive skill that show up from time to time in Bokk’s game. And with good reason — it’s there.
The best tool in Bokk’s offensive toolkit are his hands. He’s a deft stickhandler who can maneuver his way through the offensive zone with relative ease. This trait sticks out a lot when watching Bokk under duress; he’s calm, collected and doesn’t parachute on plays at first contact. With hands of such quality, Bokk can be fairly effective attacking through the neutral zone, even though he’s not a particularly good skater.
In the offensive zone, Bokk likes to set up on the right half-wall where he often acted as something of a quarterback for the U20 Lakers’ attack. He can distribute the puck well, and you can attribute a lot of that to his patience for developing plays and his ability to shield the puck from the opposition — Bokk’s plus-vision doesn’t hurt either. As a finisher, Bokk does a lot of his work off the rush, but he’s also wont to pick holes in the defensive coverage and find ways to get the puck in tight against the opposition netminder.
The majority of Bokk’s critics will point to his play without the puck as a primary concern. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment, though. I often find that his vision works to his advantage in the offensive zone, where he’s able to anticipate the opposition’s outlet and jump the pass regularly.
It’s the defensive zone where Bokk’s game needs the most refinement. His effort level is decidedly absent a lot of the time. Only making matters worse is the fact that Bokk doesn’t initiate a tonne of contact. He plays very high in the defensive zone more often than not, more concerned with getting an outlet than preventing the next goal against, often to his team’s detriment.
Circumstances beyond my control meant that I couldn’t contribute to our final draft board on CanucksArmy. With the benefit of more time spent watching and researching this year’s crop of prospects, I feel fairly comfortable with the 24th overall billing we’ve come to for Bokk — it’s right around where I’d have him if I were to submit a list.
There’s a lot to like about Bokk’s game, certainly. His hands, vision and playmaking ability are all high-end. If his production reflected that in either the SuperElit or the SHL, Bokk might be closer to ten than twenty. But it didn’t, so he’s an intriguing bet towards the end of the first-round — one with the potential to develop into an impact winger in the NHL.
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Powerful skater with a deadly shot who is the top German-born draft prospect since Leon Draisaitl went in the Top-10 in 2013. A recent import pick of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, Bokk is a goal-scoring winger with soft hands and an excellent release. He assumed top-line duties for Kolner, and also for Germany at several international events, including last April’s Division 1B U18 World Championship where he led the tournament in goals. Bokk is a pure goal scorer who can deke or dangle his way into prime shooting areas, and he has the size, puck control and balance to ward off harassment. His plays hard in all three zones and will drop down below his own goal line to lend support, but is smart enough to sniff a possession change and dart into open ice for a counterattack.