World's Best/Only Hockey Recruiting Overview: 2020, Part 1, Yes Part 1

World's Best/Only Hockey Recruiting Overview: 2020, Part 1, Yes Part 1 Comment Count

Brian May 15th, 2018 at 11:08 AM

Previously: 2018 and 2019.

w7MGNnZ

Bakanov is a sniper

2020 and beyond

War. War with the OHL never changes. Michigan has returned to their Berenson heyday ways, picking off super high-end OHL prospects and watching some of them defect. London already signed Antonio Stranges, one of the four(!) five-star types who'd announced commitments to Michigan by the time the OHL draft rolled around. That particularly sucks because he had supposedly already signed with the NTDP, and none of the other three guys are Americans who can shelter under USA Hockey's wing until it's time to matriculate.

The big-timers, in order of likelihood to actually arrive:

Andrei Bakanov. Bakanov moved from Moscow to play AAA in the States a couple years ago and immediately drew notice thanks to his 6'2" frame and skill to pair with it. He didn't go in the OHL draft because he wasn't eligible; he probably wasn't eligible because he didn't bother applying to overturn whatever bylaw kept him out. Another Russian immigrant was technically ineligible but the OHL swiftly repaired that once he indicated he was interested in the league.

Bakanov subsequently signed a USHL tender with Cedar Rapids and will likely play there for two years before matriculating. He is a big, scoring wing.

His 13-10-23 line in 18 games led the HPHL, a six-team league of major AAA teams in the Midwest, in PPG. They play relatively few games because at that age group there's a ton of going around to various showcase events; the league fills downtime between them. His full season stats are eyepopping:

Bakanov, a six-foot-two, 192-pound forward, spent the 2017-18 season with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, totaling an impressive 112 points (57G, 55A) in 77 total games between the program's HPHL schedule and U16 AAA schedule.

Before the draft a couple of OHL scouting sites were touting him as a potential top five pick, with Priority Selection ranking him fourth amongst OHL draft eligibles. OHL Prospects:

You don’t have to watch too long before you see his best trait, a deadly accurate, hard shot that probably gives goalies at this level nightmares. Bakanov has the Russian patience for sure, taking his time to read plays at times and then striking exactly when you least expect it, often drawing peer-to-peer comparisons to famous NHL player Evgeni Malkin. Footwork is a little heavy for Bakanov, but his smooth puck handing and decent smarts help mitigate this issue. … His goal scoring capabilities, his patience with the puck, and his NHL sized frame will be highly coveted.”

Some guy on HF Boards who seems to know what he's talking about:

…really made strides since last year when I saw him. Big kid that gets through the neutral zone with a lot of speed and he has some hands to match. He had a really nice breakaway goal against York Simcoe. Whoever gets him has a player on their hands.

Tenders skip the draft and sign with a USHL program; in exchange the USHL team forfeits their first rounder and commits to playing the tendered player for a majority of the season. The USHL is a brutal league for 16 year olds; most tenders struggle to put up points. If Bakanov can that'll be a great sign for his future.

[After THE JUMP: Swankler.]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is Bound By Law To Embed This Photo

Unverified Voracity Is Bound By Law To Embed This Photo Comment Count

Brian May 8th, 2018 at 12:16 PM

26729258488_72190aa010_z

this bullet mentions Charles Matthews and Nick Ward [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Implications of exclusion. Charles Matthews was not invited to the NBA draft combine, and MLive's Kyle Austin has some data on what that means:

In the two NBA drafts since 2016, when college players were first allowed to return to school after declaring, 254 college players have declared early. Of them, the majority (157) didn't receive a combine invite.

Most prospects in that situation opt to return to school -- a total of 130 players have withdrawn from the draft in the last two years. But 47 of those players have opted stayed in the draft despite no combine invitation. None of those 47 players were drafted.

Many of the 47 who stayed in had reasons: they were going to be ineligible or were never going to be NBA players anyway and wanted to get on with overseas careers. (CC: Nick Ward?) A few have worked their way into the league after going undrafted, but it's a rough way to attempt to break in.

Another year of John Beilein Development™ is a better path to the league for Matthews, who clearly has NBA upside if he can just learn to shoot some.

WOULD BE NICE. Standard offseason new position coach articles do come with a little more oomph when the coach in question has the track record of Ed Warinner. Angelique Chengelis got a hell of a quote from Stephen Spanellis:

“It’s really amazing,” lineman Stephen Spanellis said during the team’s trip to Paris this past week. “Coach Warinner’s philosophy, he tells us that he doesn’t to start calculus before everybody can pass Algebra 1. I felt like before we would go straight to rocket science and try to cover everything possible in every meeting. And some guys can’t keep up and it doesn’t have value for a guy to sit in a meeting and they have no idea what’s going on fundamentally with normal plays like inside zone or power.

“So why not slow it down and learn all the basics before you progress? What makes it hard is our defense is so complex, that they break a lot of rules and you have to advance a little bit. But fundamentally, slowing it down a little bit has a lot of value especially for the younger guys who are still learning the offense. For example, James Hudson coming over from defense, it takes a long time to learn the offense in general. Why leave a guy like that at a disadvantage by making it too complicated?”

"No idea what's going on with normal plays" is unfortunately the story of every Michigan line since 2011, and the most depressing thing about last year was that disease following Michigan through a third head coach, and the one who should have been least susceptible to such a thing. But at least the ax fell.

It will not be another off year for Michigan in the NFL draft. The league's official site put out a list of 150 guys to watch for next year's draft, and Michigan players are liberally sprinkled throughout:

  • #3 Rashan Gary: "A big man with linebacker-like movement skills"
  • #10(!) Devin Bush: "the new prototype for linebacker in college and the NFL -- not necessarily big, but fast and aggressive."
  • #25 Shea Patterson: "shows off great escapability on the run and an ability to move the ball through the air."
  • #47 Chase Winovich: "can rush from a two- or three-point stance. He can also be effective bringing pressure from the interior."
  • #65 Karan Higdon: "clearly superior to Ohio State's Mike Weber."
  • #76 Khaleke Hudson
  • #112 Lavert Hill

David Long's continued absence from these lists is baffling.

Per Zach Shaw, Michigan has the fourth-most players on the list, behind Clemson, Alabama, and OSU. A couple of OSU's are a little… uh… speculative. JK Dobbins, who isn't eligible for the upcoming draft, is there. So is Dwayne Haskins, who hasn't started a game yet.

On Mo Hurst in the NFL. Hurst dropped to the fifth round because of his heart issue, and the Raiders picking him prompted a bunch of criticism from everyone's favorite, the Anonymous NFL Insider. A former NFL team doctor reps his bros in response:

I actually think it is not only unfair and inaccurate but also irresponsible for a scout to characterize the drafting as "irresponsible." There is no way for a non-medical person to know.

As an orthopedic surgeon and physician, even I would rely on my primary care doctor and cardiology consultants to weigh in.

I do not see how a personnel person can make this proclamation. This opinion should carry the same weight as a team physician publicly criticizing Baker Mayfield as not worthy of the first pick in the draft.

I also don't know what's going on with Hurst's heart; hopefully everything works out for him.

Apparent hockey exit. The USHL's various drafts are ongoing—I won't bother you with the details—but since one weird hockey thing is that transfers will often return to the USHL for their NCAA mandated sit-out year, you occasionally get roster news. Roster news:

Sanchez had 8 points in 27 games last year after playing in 34 as a freshman; he was stuck on the fourth line and probably had a talk about whether that was ever going to change.

Also in USHL draft news, highly touted 2020 commit Owen Power went 7th overall to Chicago in a different USHL draft—yes there are like seven different ways to get in this league—after being an early second-round pick in the OHL draft. That's a good sign for this edition of Michigan's never-ending blood war with the OHL.

Fellow touted 2020 commit Cole Perfetti went in the third round, also to Chicago. He went fifth overall in the OHL draft and will either be traded to a different OHL team for a bushel of picks in August or September and report or stick with his commitment. Due to yet more details about junior hockey that you don't need to know*, a high OHL draft selection is not necessarily the kiss of death. As Antonio Stranges demonstrated, it's more about location than draft slot.

*[OK, fine: Saginaw has a nearly full roster this year with or without Perfetti and will get a compensatory pick one slot lower than Perfetti's #5 selection next year if he doesn't report and is declared "defective."]

Etc.: AFC Ann Arbor plays an Open Cup match in Ypsi at 6. This year's basketball noncon tourney projects to be pretty lame, especially since M gets GW in the first round. Ok thanks Bobby Kotick but when do we get an updated Mechwarrior? Very detailed take on Comcast dropping BTN out of footprint.

Comments

The OHL Draft Was Apparently Relevant Enough To Warrant A Post

The OHL Draft Was Apparently Relevant Enough To Warrant A Post Comment Count

Brian April 9th, 2018 at 12:23 PM

This was a UV bullet and now it's 900 words, so now it's a post.

Yes, folks, the OHL draft has come and gone, and since Michigan is provisionally recruiting like gangbusters in the 2020 hockey class it once again becomes an event with great import for M hockey fans. Michigan commits:

S_Z_SilverStick_prospects_Perfetti_02_348c6___Super_Portrait

Perfetti (right) barely fell

Cole Perfetti: 1st round, #5, Saginaw. Perfetti barely fell, which is usually real bad news. In this case there is a glimmer of hope because Saginaw has close to a complete roster for the year and OHL teams get compensatory picks if their first rounder is "defective," the OHL's charming term for a player who doesn't report. Rolling the dice on Perfetti doesn't cost them much; if he doesn't report they get the sixth overall pick in next year's draft, when they need it more. For now the Saginaw GM is playing coy and pretending the USHL doesn't exist:

"He has committed to Michigan, and there is a recruiting process for us. But when you talk about elite skill like this, the risk is worth the reward. And personally, I think he's too good to wait two years to play at this level."

OHL teams can trade defective picks and keep that compensatory pick, so we'll know if this was a flier or a plan in September. If Perfetti's immediately traded for a bushel of picks to another OHL outfit he's gone. This is the most likely outcome.

FWIW, Saginaw took former M commit Blade Jenkins and got him after one NTDP year. That might have been more desperation than anything else as Jenkins struggled immensely in the USHL, scoring 5 points in 34 games, and just 8 in 56 overall. He's up to 44 in 68 in an OHL he's found more tractable and is once again draftable.

Antonio Stranges: 2nd round, #21, London. Ugh. London has the resources to acquire players not otherwise headed for the OHL. Stranges is talented enough and London has enough players for this to be a flier. Stranges did tweet out something after he got picked—and then deleted that, hopefully once a strong Michigan advocate in his inner circle cocked an eyebrow at him.

Stranges has been invited to the NTDP, which usually announces its new U17 team in late April, so it won't take long to know which way he's going. FWIW, plugged in persons still think NTDP:

It is unusual for an NTDP kid to not follow through on a college commitment, because there's no wait to get into the tougher league and "hockey plus college" is better than "hockey and college later if you don't play 18 months pro."

Owen Power: 2nd round, #22, Flint. On the other hand, Flint is a league-owned mediocrity with little appeal. Power is safe unless and until he gets traded. There are no compensatory picks outside of the first round, so there's no timeline. Power was likely to be a top 5 pick until he committed, so his drop indicates that the OHL took it at least somewhat seriously.

Jacob Truscott: 5th round, London. London again but deep enough in the draft that it's a flier for a guy with Truscott's quality. He's also an NTDP invite.

Mitchell Smith, 5th round, Saginaw. This would be shrug territory except for the article that the local paper put out when Smith committed to Michigan:

"One thing you learn about hockey is that it has a huge network. You have to choose the right people to believe, the right people to trust. To have people like Brendan and Brian [Kischnick] giving advice is invaluable."

And if that means ultimately choosing to play college hockey, Michigan is not a bad destination.

"Michigan presented us with a good situation … basically he would have a chance to play right away," Tim Smith said. "And a Michigan education is pretty nice too."

The Kischnicks mentioned are father and son, the younger is Smith's D-partner. Kischnick committed to the OHL route after being picked in the sixth round and sent back to AAA this year. If that's the advice the Smiths are listening to, he gone. Also Smith is from Saginaw.

Cole McWard: 11th round, Kitchener. Patrick Guzzo: 13th round, Oshawa. Flier territory. Kitchener used to be a London level threat but has dropped off the radar recently.

Andrei Bakanov: N/A. Bakanov was widely expected to be a top ten pick but was not eligible for some reason or another despite having played his most recent two years of junior in OHL territory. The reason is probably "didn't bother to apply":

He's likely be a USHL tender.

UPSHOT

Michigan's likely to lose Perfetti and Smith; what's left over is still Michigan's best class in forever as long as Stranges sticks.

Comments