Welcome to Oilersnation’s Draft Countdown. Over the next few weeks leading into the draft, we’ll be aggregating content about the top 100 players who will be available in Vancouver. Here are profiles on Ethan Keppen, Samuel Fagemo, Arvid Costmar, Gianni Fairbrother, Reece Newkirk, Antti Saarela, Matej Blumel, John Farinacci, Eric Ciccolini, and Nikita Alexandrov.
100. Ethan Keppan
Date of Birth: 20 Mar 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Whitby, ON
Position: LW Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 214 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Profile: Power forward who’s strong along the boards and in front of the net; owns a heavy, accurate shot.
“He is one of the major building blocks, centerpieces, in our franchise. He’s a tremendous leader. He’s a great person. He leads every day on the ice and off the ice, by example, and those are the kinds of guys that you want as centerpieces of your franchise. We think that that’s what Ethan brings to us. That’s how important he is to our organization.” – Barclay Branch, Flint Firebirds GM
“I bring power up the ice, and that creates a lot of space for my linemates. I’m always hard on the forecheck, always making hits to try to create a battle out there. I’m good at retrieving pucks. That’s my offensive game. I’m always trying to play a 200-foot game, which means I try to backcheck very hard. I try to block shots and be a good half-wall player… I try to bring a lot of body presence to the game, is probably one of my biggest abilities.” – Keppan to Aaron Vickers of EliteProspects Rinkside.
99. Samuel Fagemo
Date of Birth: 14 Mar 2000 (Age 19)
Place of Birth: Goteberg, SWE
Position: LW/RW Shoots: Right
Height: 5’11” Weight: 194 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Frolunda HC (SHL)
Profile: Goal-scorer with good passing abilities, but will generally opt for a shoot-first option, even from low-danger areas. Projected as high as late-second round.
Because Fagemo has had an extra year of development than his peers his path to the NHL will be a bit more fast-tracked. It’s very beneficial that he is playing over in Sweden, giving him the opportunity to play in the AHL right away. That wouldn’t be the case if he was being drafted out of the CHL, where certain restrictions would force him to play another season due to his March birthday.
I’d as advised Fagemo to come play in North America as soon as possible. His experience against men leaves great confidence he can handle the change of scenery. While the NHL isn’t completely out of the realm of realism for next season, the AHL makes more sense in that it gives him an adjustment period on the smaller ice surfaces. That transition isn’t easy for everyone and because of Fagemo’s average skating and puck skills he’ll need the time to refine his game. As good as he is at recognizing space, creating space is just as important, especially if he wants to unleash his shot. – Cam Kuom, WingsNation
98. Arvid Costmar
Date of Birth: 7 July 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Stockholm, SWE
Position: C Shoots: Right
Height: 5’11” Weight: 181 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Linkoping HC J20 (SuperElit)
Profile: An underrated talent whose pace dictates his team’s play; owns a shoot-first mentality.
“Center Arvid Costmar led Sweden in scoring and had the best performance in the [U18 5-Nations] tournament among the Swedish forwards. He was the driving force behind Sweden’s offense all tournament. He played the game at a solid pace and has a knack for getting himself open is prime scoring spots. When he gets passes in a scoring position he wastes no time. When he shoots he gets really low and hammers a low one-time snap shot. He posted seven points including four goals.” -Draft Prospect Hockey
97. Gianni Fairbrother
Date of Birth: 30 Sept 2000 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: North Vancouver, BC
Position: D Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 194 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Profile: An all-situations defenseman who uses his size but relies on skating and hockey IQ first and foremost; not afraid to be aggressive and drop the gloves.
“His skating abilities, hockey IQ, and shooting prowess are the main the attributes that stand out about his game. He sees time on Everett’s powerplay and penalty kill units and effectively contributes in all three zones. The 6’0” and 195 lbs defender has a physical side to his game as well. Looking to make hits that eliminate the puck carrier while entering the zone and willing to drop the gloves when the situation arises.” -Ryan Biech for EPRinkside.
96. Reece Newkirk
Date of Birth: 20 Feb 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Moose Jaw, SK
Position: C Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11” Weight: 170 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Profile: Hard-battling winger who uses smart passing skills.
“Very smart passer who understands how to get pucks around and through defenders.” Hockey Prospect.com
“Very calm and confident whenever he was on the ice [against Seattle Thunderbirds on 22 Sept 2018].” – Hockey Prospect.com
95. Antti Saarela
Date of Birth: 27 June 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Laitila, FIN
Position: LW/RW Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11” Weight: 183 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Lukko (Liiga)
Profile: A long-term project, with some strides needed in better decision-making, but possesses the raw skills to succeed at the professional level.
“Quite well thought of, but projects as a long developmental center when still needs time to strengthen his overall game. Thought of as a gifted guy with smart instincts, with good energy and stick skills, but that might be a premature assessment. At the Five Nations Under-18 his zone entries were thwarted on zone entires with puck losses. Was given first line responsibilities but neglected his defensive end responsibilities after he was stifled on the attack. Took a needless kneeing penalty against Russia a got a one game suspension. All this doesn’t close the book on him, just points to a need for more maturity in his on ice demeanor and in his game and skill development.” -Bill Placzek, Draftsite.com
94. Matej Blumel
Date of Birth: 31 May 2000 (Age 19)
Nation: Czech Republic
Place of Birth: Tabor, CZE
Position: LW Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 198 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
Profile: Speed is his greatest asset, which allows him to create opportunities all over the ice. Committed to the University of Connecticut for the 2019-20 season.
“Second year eligible player who surprisingly was not selected last year. The most impressive Czech player in the Five Nations U-18. a year ago. He is an explosive skater who needed time to adjust to the new surroundings of an experienced Waterloo USHL club. Works hard to use his speed to separate, find seams, and forecheck. His shot is coming along and is a dangerous player when on the ice in short-handed situations.” -Bill Placzek, Draftsite.com
93. John Farinacci
Date of Birth: 14 Feb 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Red Bank, NJ
Position: C Shoots: Right
Height: 6’0′ Weight: 185 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Dexter School “C” (USHS-Prep)
Profile: Sublime passing is the key to his skill-set, while using his size and speed to open up space on the ice. Committed to Harvard University for 2019-20 Season.
“A big right shot centre who passes the puck quick and effectively, uses his size to protect pucks and wins the battles along the boards. One of the best passers in high school as he puts but touch and zip on them.A really good skater for a large kid; he needs to work on his first step quickness, but once he is moving straight ahead, he is barreling freight coming down the track. Long term developmental project who needs to get first step quicker, and add sixty minute a compete level.” -Bill Placzek, Draftsite.com
92. Eric Ciccolini
Date of Birth: 14 Jan 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Vaughan, ON
Position: RW Shoots: Right
Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 170 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Toronto Jr. Canadiens (OJHL)
Profile: High-end puck-handling abilities with speed to burn, a near-elite shot, and good offensive instincts; sees the ice well even at full speed.
“Ciccolini is an offensively gifted player who can play both the wing and center. He has good size at 6’ and very good speed – both in first steps and top speed – with a deceptive separation gear. He’s an extremely good stickhandler and seemingly has the puck on a string whenever he’s in possession. He has the ability to make things happen at top speed… sees plays developing and has an uncanny ability to slow the play down and wait for opportunities to open up. Perhaps his greatest offensive weapon is his shot which borders on elite. He gets the puck off his stick quickly and accurately and often times catches goaltenders by surprise… underrated… defensive game. Coaches trust him in any situation and to go up against the opposition’s top players. He uses the same hockey senses in his own zone as he does in the O-zone. He keeps his gaps tight, gets into passing and shooting lanes quickly and is very good at creating turnovers. He battles for pucks hard and is excellent at retrieving pucks. And his transition game is excellent.” -Dominic Tiano for OHL Writers.
91. Nikita Alexandrov
Date of Birth: 16 Sept 2000 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Burgwedel, GER
Position: C Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 179 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Profile: Russian national, but born in Germany. An all-around player, but with more of a bend towards goal-scoring.
“Under six foot thick winger who has offensive skills and good speed. Some perceive him as more of a scorer based on his shot and offensive gifts but also creativity and excellent unselfish passing skills. Plays with intensity when on the offense but also needs to play stronger without the puck and in his own end.” -Bill Placzek, Draftsite.com
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