Round 4 and Round 3 are what I consider the money rounds. These are the rounds that sustain successful franchises. Franchises that hit in the 3rd and 4th rounds with any degree of regularity are franchises that maintain long periods of success. Nashville is the exampled I will use here. Viktor Arvidsson, Mattias Ekholm, Jusse Saros and Craig Smith were all 4th round picks for the Predators. You’re still happy to wait three to four years on a kid you pick in the 3rd or 4th, but you want to make sure you’re getting an NHL caliber prospect. This is not the place to be taking big gambles. 4th round is also the place where teams tend to start really looking at overage prospects that are outside the top 10 or 15 rated overaged players.
Nathan Dunkley – Center (Left-Handed)
5/3/00 – Campbellford, Ontario, Canada
Current Team: London Knights (OHL)
I like Nathan Dunkley as a hockey player more than anyone I talk to. That’s because he was nothing shy of a dominant offensive force as part of the top line for Kingston in the early going of last year’s OHL season. Then Kingston decided to make moves to gear up for a playoff run. They brought in Gabe Vilardi, making Dunkley expendable and then shipped him out to London in a deal that brought back Cliff Pu. Dunkley didn’t do poorly in London, but he didn’t exactly light it up either. This tanked his draft stock and the player once projected to go in the 3rd round, was passed over entirely. Frankly, it’s unfair. Nathan Dunkley is what some of us like to call a “glue guy.” He’s the guy on a line who holds it together and makes the other pieces work better. Nathan is not a player built around being the best player on his line, but he is a guy who will make whomever he is playing with look better. He probably doesn’t project much above a middle-6 center in the NHL, but he’s the kind of guy that you need to have on a team. As a stand alone player he’s got a good hockey IQ and more often than not makes the correct decisions with the puck. He’s a decent skater and has a good enough shot to get it done. I feel like his playmaking ability is VASTLY underrated. I don’t find it to be a coincidence that Dunkley’s former linemate Jason Robertson was drafted reasonably high, and BOTH Matvei Guskov and Billy Moskal (his current linemates) are ranked well by NHL Central Scouting. There’s a common denominator here.
Yannick Bruschweiler – Left Wing (Left-Handed)
8/28/99 – Switzerland
Current Team: ZSC Lions (NLA)
Swiss hockey is making slowly making a push. There’s a growing number of young Swiss talents in the NHL. Yannick Bruschweiler caught everyone’s attention at the 2019 World Junior Championship. The Swiss squad turned heads as they eliminated a heavily favored Swedish team. Yannick Bruschweiler scored the goal that would ultimately be the game winner in that game on an end to end rush. Throughout the tournament the Swiss forward showed speed, tenacity and finish, scoring 3 goals on only 11 shots. He was also excellent defensively and was one of only two Swiss forwards to finish the tournament with a positive plus minus. He made you take notice of him with his play on the ice. His production in Swiss juniors was solid, with 41 points in 32 games during the 2017-2018 season. He moved up to the NLB, which is best described as Switzerland’s AHL. He has 18 points in 28 games there this season and has recently moved up to the NLA to play with Zurich’s squad. He made enough of an impression at the WJC that it’s hard to imagine him not getting drafted this year.
Ryan Siedem – Defender (Right-Handed)
2/25/01 – Madison, NJ, USA
Current Team: Central Illinois Flying Aces (USHL)
Ryan Siedem is another kid I get super excited about when I talk about him. He went the prep school route, then he was in the US National Team Development Program and now he’s with Central Illinois. He has 23 points (20 assists) in 36 games this season. The numbers do not tell his whole story though. Siedem is a good smooth skater with the ability to move, with the puck in the offensive zone, to find the open space to get a shot off or make the pass. He’s also responsible enough to not over commit or get caught on pinch. Siedem is very defensively responsible and excellent at getting the puck out of his own zone. He can also carry out and initiate the breakout. He has all the tools you want to see from a future NHL defender, packed into a 6’2, 192 pound frame. Siedem is committed to Harvard, current home of NHL defensive prospects: Adam Fox and Reilly Walsh. Siedem has the look of a very similar player to the two of them. It honestly wouldn’t shock me to see him guy higher, but I think he goes at latest in the 4th round.
Adam Edstrom – Center (Left-Handed)
10/12/00 – Sweden
Current Team: Mora IK (SHL)
In my time watching the SHL I didn’t get a real good look at Edstrom like I wanted to. Last season in the under-18 league he was a scoring machine in his 19 games, but he didn’t fair as well in the under-20. This season he was good enough in the under-20 league to get him a call-up to Mora’s top squad, where he didn’t get on the score sheet in 10 games. You cannot teach size and Edstrom has it. He’s 6’6 and 207 pounds as an 18 year old. I simply don’t have the film on this guy to make anything more than generalized assumptions, but it’s reasonable to suggest his scoring prowess at under 18 could have been size related. The Swedes do not tend to elevate bad skaters up to the SHL though. So if you have a 6’6 centerman that can skate with the pros, he is likely worth a mid range pick.
Alex Beaucage – Right Wing (Right-Handed)
7/25/01 – Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada
Current Team: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
The Huskies are a well oiled winning machine this season, thanks in no small part to the contributions of Alex Beaucage. Beaucage is the team leader in goals (as of publication) with 34 and has 34 helpers also, in his 57 games this season. He’s got the size you want to see in an NHL prospect, and he has a very accurate shot. He’s able to find the space to shoot his shot also. I talk a lot about “possession shooters” and Alex Beaucage is a possession shooter. He can work down low, or in the cycle to get himself into a position with an open shooting lane, and then accurately place it on net. He’s also capable of taking advantage of broken plays, and creating a rush. It wouldn’t shock me to see Beaucage climb up into the top 75 picks in this draft, but I could see teams leaving him there until the 4th round. His speed, skating and edge work are not what teams are currently looking for, but it’s very hard to argue with his shot.