2019 Draft Countdown 40-36: Nicholas Robertson, Lassi Thomson, Kaedan Korczak, Anttoni Honka, Yegor Afanasyev

Welcome to Canucks Army’s 2019 Draft Countdown. Over the next four weeks leading up to the draft, we’ll be rounding up scouting reports, quotes, and videos about our Top-100 prospects available. Here are aggregated profiles on 2019 Draft Countdown: Nicholas Robertson, Lassi Thomson, Kaedan Korczak, Anttoni Honka, and Yegor Afanasyev.

No. 40: Nicholas Robertson

Date of birth: September 11th, 2001

Nation: United States

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Position: Centre/Left Winger

Shoots: Left

Height: 5’9″ / 175 cm

Weight: 161 lbs / 73 kg

Profile: A very intense forward while he’s on the ice, constantly skating hard. Full of skill as well, not a one-way player.

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Robertson’s work ethic makes him stand out from both his peers and opponents on the ice. He forechecks hard, backchecks hard, supports low in the zone and strides as fast as he can to get on offence — where he shines the most. He isn’t just a unique, undersized grinder. He is also a very skilled player. He goes to the corners and to the front of the net, finds the puck, and digs it out to attack the opposing defensive box using his shifty hands and size to his advantage to slip in and out looking for scoring chances. — David St-Louis

No. 39: Lassi Thomson

Date of birth: September 24, 2000

Nation: Finland

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’0″ / 182 cm

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Weight: 190 lbs / 86 kg

Profile: Offensively-minded defenceman with great skating skills and a heavy shot from the blue line. 

Thomson left Finland to play for the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, and so far that decision has looked good for him. He had a great start to the season offensively but has slowed down a bit since then. He gets to play good minutes with lots of power play time which suits his strengths as an offensive defenseman. He’s not big but he has a big shot from the blue line. And it’s not just a heavy shot, it’s pretty accurate as well. His playmaking abilities aren’t quite as good but they’re pretty good as well. He’s also developed a lot as a skater this season, and it’s a strength for him now. That skating ability allows him to be a good transitional defenseman. His defensive game needs a lot of work before he’s ready to play in the NHL. One important thing to remember about Thomson is that he’s very old for his draft class. If he was born nine days earlier, he would have been available for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Thomson is likely going to be drafted in the second round. — Jokke Nevalainen

No. 38: Kaedan Korczak

Date of birth: January 29th, 2001

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Nation: Canada

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’2″ / 188 cm

Weight: 192 lbs / 87 kg

Profile: A steady presence on defence, Korczak won’t impress with his offensive skills but a heavy IQ-type player.

The right-handed defender is a good skater who has no trouble keeping up with the play in all four directions. Even if he doesn’t stand out with exceptional mobility he has the advantage in terms of physicality. Korczak is solid in close quarters. At 6’2”, he has an advantage over many opponents, and is also strongly built. He can separate attackers from the puck along the boards and prevent net-front plays by denying access to the area. The defenceman is also smart in his defensive game. He takes good angles and reads the intentions of the oppositions well. It’s what earned him so much playing time from his coaching staff. — David St. Louis

No. 37: Anttoni Honka

Date of birth: October 5th, 2000

Nation: Finland

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

Height: 5’10″ / 179 cm

Weight: 176 lbs / 80 kg

Profile: Seen as a high-risk, high-reward prospect, Honka has high offensive upside but needs work on the defensive side of his game.

The first thing everyone should know about Anttoni is that he’s an amazing skater. As an undersized defenseman (he’s 5-foot-10), you need to be a good skater. But he’s not just good, he’s great. And I’m not just talking about his speed either. He has great acceleration, amazing ability to change pace, and unbelievable agility as he can twist and turn like most people can’t. That skating ability allows him to join the rush, and that’s something he loves to do. He will also happily lead a rush if needed.

Honka also has high-end puck-skills. He can make tape-to-tape breakout passes. He can make plays at high speed. He can slow down the game and create space with his puck-handling. He can make opposing players look foolish with his tricks and fakes in one-on-one situations. You want to give him the puck because he knows what to do with it. He’s a creative and dynamic player with great offensive vision. — Jokke Nevalainen

No. 36: Yegor Afanasyev

Date of birth: January 23rd, 2001

Nation: Russia

Position: Centre

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’4″ / 193 cm

Weight: 201 lbs / 91 kg

Profile: One of the top players in the USHL this past season, Afanasyev is a highly-offensive player that uses his big frame to his advantage. 

Egor Afanasyev’s size and skill make him an intriguing prospect heading into the 2019 NHL Draft. Sometimes bigger forwards take some time to develop before being NHL ready and given the deficiencies in Afanasyev’s defensive game he is a bit of a project. If he develops properly he could be a second liner at even strength, with the ability to play an important role in front of the net on the power play. He can also continue to work on his footspeed and improve his explosiveness going forward. Afanasyev’s game is similar to James van Riemsdyk. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability. — Ben Kerr

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    • j2daff

      would way rather have Thomson if he’s available. This team needs a dman that can hammer a shot from the point, which is Thomson in a nut shell, his skating and drive is also at an elite level as well and with above average play making he would fit right into the talent driven team that this management group is trying to build. There are also a number or reports that would call his game gritty as well.

  • j2daff

    Honka is also an interesting prospect. Has a lot of work to do to complete his game but was ranked as the top D in this draft for the first half of the season for a reason and that talent is still there. I don’t think we should take him at 40 and he has even been ranked well into the 3rd round on some list but trading up into the end of the 2nd round if he’s still there might be worth it.

      • TD

        I’m not sure why having a similar skill set to Hughes makes him redundant. He may not be a good partner for Hughes, but the Canucks have 3 D pairs. I would think having mobile good skating offensive D men would be valuable on all three pairs.

        • Cageyvet

          Actually, having the offensive chops but lacking on the defensive side would be acceptable for the third pairing. It’s dangerous on the second pairing. Given the number of high-end defensemen that have been found in rounds 2 and 3 over the years, you should be aiming for a player who can make your top four. Honka might well be that guy, but if you project him on your third pairing, just draft someone else.