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NHL Draft: Five Underrated Prospects in 2019

There are many great players for the upcoming NHL Draft like Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, but here are some sleeper picks!

Philip Tomasino

Tomasino is a speedy playmaking center. He started off the season with eight points in 16 games with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League). He has since gone off recording 64 points in 51 games! That’s 1.25 points per game average. That adds up to 34 goals and 38 assists for 72 points in 67 games. He also put up a goal and four assists at the U18 World Junior Championships.

As I mentioned before his skating is excellent, he has a good shot and great hands as he can match his speed with his stick handling. His defensive game needs some work and he needs to bulk up before he can make the NHL. I really enjoy his game.

Here is a 2018-2019 highlight reel for Philip Tomasino:

Projection: Drafted Mid 1st Round, Second Line Center

Domenick Fensore

Domenick Fensore is easily one of my favorite draft-eligible prospects. He’s a left-handed defenseman, who played for the USNTDP (United States National Team Development Program). He put up six goals and 36 assists for 42 points in 55 games. Fensore also added four assists in seven U18 World Junior Championship games. What makes him one of my favorite prospects? He’s 5’7″ and 155 pounds as a defenseman!

James Mirtle of The Athletic did a study on the average height and weight of NHL players in January of 2018. He found the average size of an NHL player is 6’1″ and 200 pounds. That’s a six inch and 45-pound difference!

Fensore is committed to Boston University next year. he is an explosive skater, can move up and down the ice with ease, his offensive vision is great and he attempts passes that some players can only dream of making. He does need to work on his defensive game, his physical game and he needs to bulk up.

Here is a play highlighting Fensore’s skating and passing:

Projection: Drafted In The 3rd Round, 2nd/3rd Pairing Defenseman/Power Play Specialist

John Beecher

John Beecher is an American born center. Last year, he played for the USNTDP and recorded 15 goals and 28 assists in 63 games played. He also posted three goals and added an assist in seven U18 World Junior Championship games. While, as a center, these numbers won’t blow you away, he was the 3rd/4th line center behind Jack Hughes, Trevor Zegras and Alex Turcotte.

Beecher plays a power game and he does it well. He constantly goes to the net and that’s where he gets his goals. He is also a good playmaker. His skating is awkward, but it works for him and should work in the NHL. He is great in the defensive end, able to block shots, hit and has great positioning. There are some questions about his offensive upside, but he’s a great all-around player.

John Beecher Highlights:

Projection: Drafted Late 1st/Early 2nd Round, Second Line Center

Patrik Puistola

Patrik Puistola is a sneaky scoring winger. Puistola is a left-winger who spent most of his season with LeKi in the second division of Finnish hockey (Mestis). He also spent time with Tappara (Liiga) and Tappara U20. In 22 games with LeKi, he recorded 15 goals and 11 assists. In five games at the U18 World Junior Championships, Puistola recorded five goals.

Puistola is a scorer as I mentioned before. His shot is lightning quick and it is very accurate, hitting its mark often. His skating is good because of his speed, acceleration, and agility. But far too often Puistola gets knocked off the puck so he needs to get stronger on his skates. Defensively, Puistola needs to work on positioning and physicality.

Highlight reel for Patrik Puistola:

Projection: Drafted Early 2nd Round, Middle 6 Winger

Alex Newhook

Alex Newhook is a fantastic playmaking Canadian center. He played this past season with the BCHL’s, Victoria Grizzlies. The BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League), is a step below the three main Canadian Junior Leagues. He scored 38 goals (3rd in BCHL) and had 64 assists (1st in BCHL) for 102 points (1st in BCHL) in only 53 games played! Newhook also added five goals and five assists for 10 points in seven games at the U18 World Junior Championships.

Newhook is an elite playmaker and does it at an elite speed. His skating is among the top in this draft class. Everything from his edge work to his speed is at an elite level. He is also very strong on his skates. Newhook’s great vision allows him to thread the needle, make terrific moves around defensemen and intercept passes wherever he is. He has a quick wrist shot and can play a complete power game. Newhook’s only weakness might be the level of competition he faced this year.

Highlights for Alex Newhook:

Projection: Drafted Early/Mid 1st Round, 1st/2nd Line Center

Conclusion

All-in-all, these guys are great prospects. I believe they are highly underrated and that one day they will be fantastic NHL players.

stats from: Elite Prospects

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