2023 NHL Draft top prospects 70-61: Alex Ciernik, Lenni Hämeenaho, Denver Barkey, Coulston Pitre, Jakub Dvorak, Adam Gajan, Aram Minnetian, Danny Nelson, Carson Rehkopf, and Luca Pinelli
By Zach Laing2 months ago
Welcome to our series taking a look at the top 100 prospects for the 2023 NHL entry draft as ranked by Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis.
Today, we’re looking at the prospects ranked from number 70 to 61: Alex Ciernik, Lenni Hämeenaho, Denver Barkey, Coulston Pitre, Jakub Dvorak, Adam Gajan, Aram Minnetian, Danny Nelson, Carson Rehkopf, and Luca Pinelli.
Ciernik, a native of Slovakia, is a left-shot, left-winger who split time between three teams in two Swedish leagues last year: one in the J20 league, and two in HockeyAllsvenskan, the Swedish second league.
The 5’10, 179 lb. prospect scored nine goals and 21 points in 18 J20 games and three goals and 12 points in 25 HockeyAllsvenskan games.
Scouting Report: “This season, one of his biggest areas of growth was gaining comfort playing at the level of HockeyAllsvenskan. Ciernik plays a smart game and shows maturity through his IQ. He has deceptive hands, which he uses paired with his skating ability. In transition, he often moves laterally, sometimes fully covering the width of the ice. He’s no longer the fastest player on the ice as he was in many junior leagues, but his feet do provide an advantage.” – Alexa Potack, Dobber Prospects
Hämeenaho scored nine goals and 21 points in 51 games last year in the Finnish pro league, Liiga. He stands at 6’0, 174 lbs. and is a right-shot forward.
Scouting Report: “Hämeenaho is a player who makes small details look effortless and easy. He is not a flashy player by any means, but he finds ways to add value throughout a lineup by being a solid jack-of-many-trades. You want a winger with decent shooting ability? Check. You want a winger who forechecks well and wins puck battles? You got him. You want a smart player, who can find open space and attack it? Look no further.” – Anton Rasegard, Habs Eyes on The Prize
Barkey spent last season with the OHL’s London Knights, where the 5’8, 174 lb. left-shot centre scored 22 goals and 59 points in 61 games.
Scouting Report: “Barkey has a lot of things to like about his game. He has good skill and vision and he competes his butt off. He plays without fear and gets to the inside which is what you like to see from a smaller player. He’s a good skater, with strong speed and edgework and has shown in junior he can be a reliable two-way player. Whether the toolkit is dynamic enough at his size to be an NHL player, though, is up for debate but you love the way he plays.” – Corey Pornman, The Athletic
Pirte played last season for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. Standing at 6’1, 172 lbs., the right-shot centre scored 25 goals and 60 points in 59 games there.
Scouting Report: “Pitre is a highly intelligent player who responds well on both sides of the puck. He plays in all situations including the PK but it’s his effectiveness 5-on-5 that draws interest in him. He’s an above-average skater but doesn’t possess any after-burners. Instead, he uses his high IQ along with the skating skills he does have to be in the right places.” –Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers
Last season saw Dvorak notch two assists in 24 games in the Czechia League for Bílí Tygři Liberec. The left-shot defenceman stands at a towering 6’5, 209 lbs..
Scouting Report: “Dvorak is a huge defenseman who gives his best effort in all three zones. Dvorak, considering his size, is a decent skater with ability to control the puck at speed. He showed in this game that he is able to skate past defenders outside of the dotted line, protecting the puck to entry the offensive zone. He is active on and off the puck.”- Miroslav Simurka, FC Hockey.
Gajan is the first goaltender to appear on the top 100 list. The 6’3, lb. netminder spent last season playing for two teams in North America: the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, where he posted a 5-1 record and a .906 save percentage, and the NAHL’s Chippewa Steel, where he posted a 19-12-1 record and a .917 save percentage. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for next season.
Scouting Report: “He is a big, athletic goalie with long legs and excellent reflexes who never gives up on the play. He keeps his positioning tight and square to the shooter. His rebound control is good, and the same can be said of his glove hand. His poise is solid, as seen at the World Juniors.” – Marc-Antoine Levis, Habs Eyes on The Prize
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Minnetian spent last season with the US National Development Team. The 6’0, 170 lb. right-shot defenceman scored seven goals and 31 points in 62 National Team games. He also appeared in 22 USHL games scoring six assists.
Scouting Report: “On the blueline, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. But the one defender receiving a ton of praise recently is Aram Minnetian. The offensive blueliner had an excellent Five Nations tournament with eight points and is really starting to look comfortable. He spent a lot of time as a forward as a youth, and you can notice that in the way he pinches in and helps drive plays. Minnetian does an excellent job of rushing the puck down the ice and his high offensive IQ allows him to find teammates through his peripheral vision, which can be highly deceptive. Minnetian should have no issue finding a role in the NHL one day once he finishes at Boston College.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Nelson was also with the US National Development Team last year. Standing at 6’3, 203 lbs., the left-shot forward scored 21 goals and 47 points in 62 National Team games, and eight goals and 17 points in 23 USHL games.
Scouting Report: “A former defenseman who has transitioned very nicely to a winger, who moves really well for a big man and also has soft mitts. He is a powerful skater with excellent balance who is tough to move off the puck. He is more of a complementary attacker – a huge horse who eagerly does a lot of dirty work down low and creates more time and space for his more highly skilled linemates. He wins plenty of puck battles along the wall and behind the net. He will move out of them with power moves towards the net, and funnels pucks to the middle.” – Bill Placzek, Lines
Rehkopf players 68 games last year for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers scoring 30 goals and 59 points. Standing at 6’1, 194 lbs., he can play both centre and left-wing.
Scouting Report: “He has one of the most explosive wrist shots in the draft. Combining his quickness, size, and finishing ability, Rehkopf could be a consistent 30 goal scorer at the NHL level. He also offers positional versatility, with the current ability to play center and the wing. Given his length, range, and physical potential, there would likely be a desire to keep him as a pivot in hopes that he can be an elite two-way center.” – Brock Otten, McKeen’s Hockey
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Pinelli spent last season with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. Standing at 5’9, 161 lbs, the left-shot centre scored 29 goals and 63 points in 67 games.
Scouting Report: “The younger Pinelli is a good skater who uses his edges efficiently to weave through traffic while stickhandling, showcasing an entertaining brand of hockey. His passing ability is what his game is built on as he scans the ice and spots teammates in opportune positions.” – Tony Ferrari, The Hockey News
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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