Heinsight is 20/20. If teams could travel back in time, every NHL team would travel back to 2014 and draft Brayden Point way before the third round. After a phenomenal Stanley Cup winning performance, Brayden Point has proven the hockey world wrong with the old-school philosophy that small players will likely not make it as NHL stars.
While Point is one of the best current examples, he is hardly the first player to get passed on or drafted way below where he should have in the draft. Superstars like Martin St. Louis is just one name that comes to mind when we think of stars who were overlooked due to their size.
The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is just a few hours away and it is filled to the brim with talent. Like every year, it is impossible to predict exactly where each and every player will be in 10 years. There will obviously be players who fall in the draft and leave fans wondering how the hell they fell so far.
Brayden Point is just one of many examples of this. After Point’s superstar playoff performance, many teams will not want to make the same mistake as 2014 by passing up on a potential superstar simply due to their size.
Meittenen is a player nobody should be sleeping on. He has been dominating the Jr. A. Liiga circuit for the past couple of seasons now, but took his game to new heights this year, specifically in the department of goal scoring. Miettinen scored 42 goals last season, which put him in the history books for the second highest single season goal totals in the league.
He finished the year just one goal behind NHL legend, Teemu Selanne. Miettinen also set the mark for the highest all-time goal total for a player in Jr. A. Liiga. He did so with 80 goals. Next season, he will move to North America where he will play for St. Cloud State in the NCAA.
Miettinen’s goal scoring prowess cannot be ignored and teams should not pass on drafting him based on is size. The winger has a very high ceiling and if he can find his stride in the NCAA next season, there is no reason why he can’t find success at the NHL level.
Antonio Stranges – London Knights, OHL
Stranges is one of the most polarizing prospects ahead of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He may not have dominated on the stat sheets, however, he has all the skills necessary to become a dangerous NHL player. His puck-handling abilities are atop the draft class and his unique skating technique could translate very well at the NHL level.
However, like everyone else on this list, his size could result in a slide at the draft. At 5’10 and 170lbs, Stranges is not the most physical player, but his style of play, similar to that of Brayden Point, is based on speed and skill and thus it’s believed that he has the tools necessary to succeed at the next level.
Goalies are a bit different than skaters when it comes to size and the philosophies teams use when drafting goaltenders. Regardless, there’s always a chance that teams could still make the same mistake. Teams tend to favour bigger goalies who can cover more space, but there are plenty of smaller goalies in the NHL.
Veterans such as Anton Kbudobin, or young rising stars such as Juuso Saros, are smaller backstops in the NHL that have found success at the highest level. What Levi lacks in size, he makes up for in work ethic as well as his athleticism.
Gushchin is one of the more electrifying players that we have had the pleasure of watching in the USHL. The Russian winger possesses undeniable speed and puck-handling abilities that constantly put him on highlight reels. Gushchin stands at five-foot-eight and weights 161lbs and this works to his advantage.
Gushchin is described as sneaky and hard to contain due to his constant movement. Even though he may not be the biggest player, he battles hard and is very aggressive on the forecheck.
Crnkovtc was one of the WHL’s smaller players this season, but he was one of the most fun to watch. His quickness and puck-handling abilities made him a threat every time he stepped on the ice. There are still several areas of his game that need to be worked on before he makes it to the pros, but Crnkovic has a unique skillset which could translate well to the NHL level.
A great shot and speed are the two things you need to remember about Alexander Pashin. Like many undersized wingers, what Pashin lacks in size, he makes up for in overt quickness and his ability to be one stride ahead of defenders. Pashin constantly finds himself in alone against goaltenders and in situations where he can burry the puck due to his hockey IQ and constant movement.
When you watch Alexander Pashin, you see that he never just stands still. He is always moving around and creating space for himself while anticipating where the puck will go. When he gets a chance, his shot speed and accuracy tends to be the factor that seals the deal.
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