The 5th, 6th and 7th round players are going to be some of the hardest kids to get a lot of info on because I dug deep for them. That’s where you find your gems. You have to look under the rocks that other people aren’t looking under and in places that other guys gloss over. If you’re drafting 18 year old kids from the big 3 CHL leagues, you’re probably doing it wrong. These are going to be the kids from overseas leagues, overaged kids who got missed the first time around, and some USHL and US High School kids mixed in. A solid bet though is to rely on the scouting of top NCAA programs. The NCAA is a factory that churns out a lot of undrafted free agent talent and turns late round prospects into future franchise cornerstones.
Brandon Bussi – Goaltender
6/25/98: Sound Beach, NY, USA
Current team: Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Bussi is an unorthodox right hand catching goaltender. He got passed over the previous 2 years because he was playing in the NAHL and the NCDC respectively. This season though, he’s playing outstanding hockey for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL. As of writing this he has a 2.20 GAA and .924 sv% in 33 games. Bussi has the size you want to see from a prospect goaltender. He checks in at 6’3 and 214 pounds. What’s most interesting about him, is that each year as his level of competition increases, so do his stats. He’s committed to Western Michigan University for next season. Western Michigan plays in the NCHC, one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA. Bussi will get the opportunity to grow his game against top schools like North Dakota, St Cloud st, Denver and UMD. From a 7th round goalie prospect this is the kind of thing you want to see. A team that drafts him will have a big body goaltender in their system for at least 3 years playing against top level competition. Even though he’s 20, goaltenders tend to take more time to make the jump. This cuts off 2 years of the waiting, but gets his rights as he enters the NCAA.
Alexandros Aslanidis – Goaltender
1/20/01: Moorestown, NJ, USA
Current team: Avon Old Farms School (USHS)
Aslanidis is another goalie from the North East. I don’t have a lot on the kid but here’s what I do know. Central Scouting ranked him 20th among North American goalies available in the 2019 draft. He’s huge. He’s 6’5, 220 pounds at 17 years old. He’s committed to Providence for the 2020-2021 season. Providence is in Hockey East and they do not mess around. If Providence has scouted this kid, with his tangible size attributes, he’s got a good chance of being an upper echelon NCAA goaltender in one of the tougher conferences. As with Bussi, this is what you want from a goaltending prospect. Time for them to grow in a highly competitive environment.
Cade Alami – Defender (Right Handed)
3/13/01: Bedford, NY, USA
Current Team: Berkshire School (USHS)
A high school kid from NY, Alami is a tall kid who plays defense. By “tall” I mean he’s 6’7. The NHL has gotten away from drafting size on the backend, but if this kid can hone his wheels in the NCAA, his size and reach will give him an advantage against many forwards. He’s also committed to Providence for the 2020-2021 season. Defenders tend to be a long term development prospect. Size and speed are two things you cannot teach. This kid has the size and will get time in college to show if he’s got the speed. That’s worth a 7th round pick.
Elmer Soderblom – Forward (Left Handed)
7/5/01: Goteborg, Sweden
Current Team: Frolunda HC J20 (SuperElit)
Elmer Soderblom is like a 17 year old, Swedish, Brian Boyle. He’s 6’7, 216 pounds and has surprisingly good hands for a kid his size. He’s not a point scoring dynamo but the 7th round is where you take your moonshots. This kid has the size to be annoying, if the rest comes together it’s a worthy investment.
Jeremie Bucheler – Defender (Right Handed)
3/31/00: St-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
Current Team: Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Bucheler is a 6’4 194 pound right handed defender having a really solid year for the Grizzlies. He has 36 points in 41 games. His first draft year with the Chicago Steel he only managed 6 points in the entire 51 game season. The Grizzlies are a powerhouse of the BCHL this season behind scoring phenom Alex Newhook. The logical conclusion is that playing with better players has increased Bucheler’s point production. That’s not necessarily a negative count against him. There’s room in the NHL for defenders who can get the puck up to their forwards in such a way that it helps create scoring chances. If Bucheler has discovered a puck moving aspect of his game, then he has strong potential value at the next level.