With the 2018 NHL Draft coming up, we’re taking a look some hidden gems that can be found in the later rounds of the selection process.
Sometimes the teams at the top of the NHL Draft cycle don’t always win the day. A great scouting team can do a world of wonder no matter where a specific team is placed on the selection list. It’s exactly why scouts spend so much of their time dedicated to filling out draft boards for all seven rounds.
A lot of young talent has emerged from the second round and beyond. Prospects selected there are becoming more and more critical to the farm system and the modern day NHL. Teams obviously never want to waste a pick.
There are a ton of stories of players being selected in very late rounds who turn out to become NHL superstars. Take a look at Pekka Rinne, for example, who was selected in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft only to turn out to be an elite goalie in today’s game.
Of course, there’s more variability to later round selections. Most top-end picks are thrown right into an NHL lineup where they have a good chance to thrive. Lower prospects don’t get to experience that luxury, meaning they will likely have to through a ton of development.
A lot can happen during years of development, but in all, it’s a risk well worth taking for some players and clubs. If developed well, selections in the later rounds can be critical to having a very successful youth system.
That’s why this piece will try and cover some hidden gems in the later rounds of the draft. Prospects and youth are super important in the modern game, so they need to be covered well, too.
5. Danila Galenyuk
Danila Galenyuk is projected to go in the early fourth or late third round of the draft. The Russian can be thankful for his boost on the draft board after a great season for him that came with some silverware.
Clubs that need help with big-bodied defenseman should give Galenyuk a shot. The defender comes in at 212 pounds, and he has some great attributes to go along with that.
Galenyuk is not the type of player to jump up in the play too often. He’s a low-risk, stay at home type of defenseman who likes to move the puck to his forwards. With his size, supporters will most often see him parked in front of the net to block shots or clear the crease.
The 18-year-old doesn’t have a lot to show in terms of stats, but he has a lot of experience to back himself up. At such a young age, Galenyuk is already signed with SKA St. Petersburg for next season, and he’s already previously played three contests there with players such as Ilya Kovalchuk.
Internationally, Galenyuk recently came out with a World Junior Championship with the U18 Russian side where he posted two assists in seven contests.
Galenyuk won’t need any further development soon as he signed with SKA in the KHL. He’ll be gaining some more pro experience and then from there, we could see Galenyuk in the AHL to hone his skills before going pro.