Every NHL Entry Draft, plenty of players who are no longer in their first year of eligibility get selected to the big leagues. This year will be the same and there’s no shortage of quality prospects who should get picked despite being passed over in previous drafts. In this piece, I list my top five available overage players as it stands right now. If any of these guys do not get selected in June, it would be surprising, but with the NHL Draft, you really just never know.
5. Linus Nyman
Bio: LW – Lukko – Liiga – 5’10 – 159 – 07/11/1999
Stats: 31GP – 5G – 4A – 9P
Linus Nyman is a player I have had on my draft boards for two straight seasons, and after both drafts, I was surprised that he wasn’t picked. As the draft approaches, I remain hopeful that this is finally his year. Nyman recently played on Finland’s World Junior team, and although he failed to produce much offensively, he remains a top overage candidate to be drafted.
Yes, he’s a little small, but over the past few seasons, Nyman has done everything to show he deserves to get drafted, whether it’s putting up big numbers in league play or playing key roles in international tournaments. It’s hard to go wrong taking a chance on a player like Nyman with a late-round pick.
4. Jeremy McKenna
Bio: RW – Moncton – QMJHL – 5’10 – 174 – 04/20/1999
Stats: 41GP – 27G –37A – 64P
Jeremy McKenna is another prospect in his Draft +2 season who deserved to be picked last season. He had 77 points in 68 games for the Moncton Wildcats after getting only 26 points in 66 games the season before. This season, McKenna has once again taken his game to another level, amassing 64 points in only 41 games.
This incredible production alone makes him a legit overage prospect for the upcoming draft. Not only is McKenna improving at an impressive rate, he is the one leading the way offensively for the Moncton Wildcats. This season is the second straight that McKenna is leading them in scoring which is always an excellent sign for an overage prospect.
3. Justin Bergeron
Bio: LD – Rouyn-Nouranda – QMJHL – 6’1 – 181 – 09/14/2000
Stats: 40GP – 7G – 28A – 33P
Justin Bergeron is barely an overage player which is why he finds himself highly ranked on this top five list. In fact, if he was born two days later, he would be eligible for the 2019 draft for the first time where he would surely be ranked in the first few rounds. Bergeron’s offensive upside is sky-high.
Putting up almost a point per game and playing on the first power play unit for the Rouyn-Nouranda Huskies, Bergeron is clearly depended on for offence from the back end. While he has areas of the game to work on, Bergeron is well worth the gamble as a mid-round pick in this year’s draft. If he keeps improving as he has, Bergeron will be a force in the QMJHL next season.
2. Samuel Fagemo
Bio: RW – Frolunda – SHL – 5’11 – 190 – 03/14/2000
Stats: 22GP – 6G – 6A – 12P
Samuel Fagemo is the top overage option from Europe. Prior to this season, he played well at numerous international events for Sweden but failed to gain any draft attention. Heading into last year’s draft, I thought Fagemo would for sure get drafted.
However, that was not the case as he slipped through all seven rounds. So far this season, Fagemo has gone on a mission to make sure that never happens again. With 14 points in 8 SuperElit games and 12 points in 22 SHL games, Fagemo has put himself in a position to get drafted in the second or third rounds despite being an overeager. Fagemo recently finished playing for Team Sweden at the World Juniors.
1. Brett Leason
Bio: RW – Prince Albert – WHL – 6’4 – 205 – 04/30/1999
Stats: 32GP – 28 G – 36A – 64P
Brett Leason, who I had listed as one of my five risers for the 2019 NHL Draft, is also among the most fascinating overage prospects available for 2019. It’s hard to understand how much Leason has improved over the past year. Leason has literally gone from zero to hero on everyone’s draft list.
The best part about Leason is the fact that he is still a very raw prospect despite his dominance in the WHL this season. No team should hesitate to pick up Leason with a late first rounder or an early second. I expect that the team who selects Leason will plug him into the AHL to start next season, but I would not at all be surprised if he ends up playing a solid number of games in the NHL.