Welcome to the Oilersnation Draft Countdown. Over the next week leading into the draft, we’ll be aggregating content about the top 100 players who will be available in Vancouver on June 21st and 22nd. Here are profiles for Mikko Kokkonen, Mads Sogaard, Ryan Johnson, Nolan Foote, Maxim Cajkovic, Patrik Puistola, Albin Grewe, Ilya Nikolayev, Isiah Saville, and Tobias Bjornfot.
50. Mikko Kokkonen
Date of Birth: 18 Jan 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Mikkeli, FIN
Position: D Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11” Weight: 198 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Jukurit (Liiga)
Profile: A solid, reliable two-way defenceman who excels more as a shutdown defender, but can jump into the rush to and even lead the attack.
“An under six foot defender who is almost 200 pounds but is regarded as yet another new age attacking defenders, despite the fact he excels prominently at neutralizing the opposing teams better attackers. Has all the attributes of the prototypical modern defenseman in his good feet, ability to skate pucks out of trouble with no panic. Displays good feet and light edging that aids in high transition skills. His own forwards count on his ability to successful initiate the breakouts. He will go into a tight spin [to] elude forecheckers, confidently carry the puck using his big first step and make outlet passes with force. He will use his short bursts to secure loose pucks and navigate through traffic safely. He isn’t a gambler offensively and capitalizes only if the situations allow him to. His edging aids his work as a power play quarterback who distributes well on zone entires and while walking the blue line.” -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
“… Kokkonen is a reliable two-way defenseman who does everything well but doesn’t excel in any aspect of the game. He isn’t a flashy player by any means but he gets the job done both offensively and defensively. He’s very mature for his age both physically and mentally which has allowed him to play a significant role at the pro level…” Jokke Nevalainen, dobberprospects.com
“What stands out most for Kokkonen is his defensive play. While many defenders in the 2019 NHL Draft have shown their offensive talent in their respective leagues and internationally, the Finnish player has shown his ability to defend at a level beyond his years… He gets his stick in the passing lanes, cuts down the angles on the opposing rush and has shown that he has great defensive awareness for his age. Combined with the strength he’s shown, Kokkonen looks to be a very promising defender with all of the right tools for the NHL.” -Josh Bell, The Hockey Writers
49. Mads Sogaard
Date of Birth: 13 Dec 2000 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Aalborg, DEN
Position: G Catches: Left
Height: 6’7″ Weight: 196 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Medicine Hat Tigers.
Profile: Behemoth of a goaltender who also has agility and athleticism to compliment his huge frame, making always involved on any scoring chance, even if he’s caught out of position.
“While there are concerns regarding the number of times he puts himself out of position, his size allows him to absorb most of the net and forces the opposition to get creative. He doesn’t flop around and tracks one timers fairly well while giving shooters little to shoot at from east to west.” Steven Ellis, dobberprospects.com
“Giant Danish goaler who is quite agile and flexible. Covers much of the open net and is able in a crouch, take away the bottom, then propel himself in a cross net push to the other post. Looks awkward when standing tall, but is quite athletic enough to shuffle through his positioning despite his massive upper body. Nice developmental goalie who might eventually surprise as a big leaguer. He handles pucks well, but will need to move better. -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
“The main aspect that sets Søgaard apart from other goaltenders in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft is his size. While there have been times where he’s caught out of position, his 6-foot-7 frame allows him to still make the save. He also moves extremely well for such a big goalie, especially in his lateral movement.” -Josh Bell, The Hockey Writers
48. Ryan Johnson
Date of Birth: 24 July 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Irvine, CA
Position: D Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 170 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Profile: Swift-skating defenceman with excellent stick handling skills; uses his shiftiness and agility to burn opposing defenders and create high quality scoring chances. Committed to the University of Minnesota through the 2020-21 season.
“Johnson is a great skater, who can generate speed with ease and is nimble on his edges. He’s an elusive puck-carrier.” –EP Rinkside
“… Blessed with nimble feet and quick lateral movement, Johnson covers ground in a hurry and effortlessly glides towards where he wants to get to. He’s a confident puck carrier who leaves pressure in the dust by using a lot of head fakes, pivots and quick changes of pace, but he also passes the puck with both accuracy and authority. Johnson is an excellent bank passer, and he must have a high success rate with his subtle leads that help teammates escape from the defensive zone. He’s a cerebral penalty killer with a quick stick who reacts accordingly and is able to equally distribute his attention to the points and both the weak or strong-side threats. Although he isn’t very physical, Johnson shuts down zone entry attempts by making timely step-ups and telegraphing an opponent’s intentions.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Lightweight mobile new age attacking defenseman with good upside due to his mobility, puck carrying skills and over all awareness. Excellent in transition with the outlet pass or my carrying the mail. His high end footwork allows him to be aggressive defensively with the confidence in his lateral agility to get back in the mix. In the World Junior Challenge, he acted as a shadow, who mirrored the movements of Podkolzin. Needs to get better in his diagnosis and reaction in his end so he isn’t running around so much, but his feet with eventually settle down and slow the game down. Very good at joining the rush down low, but is careful not to get caught. His long fast strides point to his upside. Almost looks as though he uses the boards to secure the time and space to suddenly explode out at top gear in a series of cuts to surprise and catch teams flat footed…” -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
47. Nolan Foote
Date of Birth: 29 Nov 2000 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Denver, CO
Position: LW Shoots: Left
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 187 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Profile: With the frame of an ideal pro-level power forward, uses his size to muscle the puck away from opposing players, but more often with rely on his superior positioning and play-reading to get to the front of the net and make the most of high danger scoring chances.
“One of the top power forwards available for the 2019 draft, Foote is a highly-intelligent forward who offers a blend of power, smarts and finesse. While most bigger wingers try to mash and bash their way to a scoring opportunity, Foote usually opts to use the thinking-man’s approach by correctly predicting puck travel and identifying the path of least resistance. That being said, he’s as strong as an ox and can control the puck for lengthy periods of time, and will use brute force to separate opponents of any size when necessary. Foote is an excellent cross-ice passer and can cleanly play catch with his point men during the power play. His skating style naturally looks lumbering, but he’s deceptively fast and agile in open ice, and he uses quick footwork in tight spaces to get a cleaner look at the net… He likes to shoot the puck from the circles, but he’s at his best being a net-front presence in search of deflections and rebound chances.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Adan Foote’s second son is a big strong forward who advances the puck well and has a strong, heavy wrist shot. Very smart player whose strong on his stick and cerebral in his positioning and thinking. Constantly in motion and he leans into his blades and displays crisp edging and can lead entires with excellent passes and once in the attack zone can make nice saucer dishes to open teammates. His changes of direction are abrupt and he looks like a prospect that checks all the boxe at wing.” -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
46. Maxim Cajkovic
Date of Birth: 3 Jan 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Bratislava, SVK
Position: RW/LW Shoots: Right
Height: 5’11” Weight: 187 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Saint John Sea Dogs
Profile: Crafty winger who is good with the puck, and can create playmaking opportunities for teammates, but is most comfortable when he gets to just fire the puck.
“He moves around the ice quickly, competes hard and doesn’t need much room to release his shot” –Draftin Europe
“The first overall pick in the 2018 CHL Import Draft, Cajkovic is a dangerous offensive weapon who like Valentin Nussbaumer has found difficulty in carrying the offensive load of a talent-strapped team. Cajkovic transferred to the QMJHL from Malmo in Sweden’s Superelit, where last season he was as dominant as a 17-year-old player could be. He owns a soft set of hands and can shoot the puck with authority from any type of shooting or body position. Cajkovic’s a crafty player in odd-man situations and will make sharp directional changes while traveling at top speed. He can wear the playmaker hat thanks to his vision and ability to fake opponents out of position, but he clearly loves to shoot the puck and would likely put up more impressive numbers had he been given a decent supporting cast.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Slovakian wing who is in first North American season in the QMJHL after an excellent season in Sweden’s J20 Superelite with Malmo and then following it up with an eye-opening World Junior Under-17. A very agile East-West skater who has excellent jump and a very good shot. his [skating] is average, and there may be a lack of hockey smarts and vision, but the ability to shoot is his strength. This season with a weaker St. John team he struggled but still managed 22 goals / 46 points in 60 games, but he also was sat out when he looked like he was give less than the best when teams rolled up scores on his putrid team. I think there is enough there for some team to take a chance that there is a player they can develop. -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
45. Patrik Puistola
Date of Birth: 11 Jan 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Tampere, FIN
Position: LW Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 174 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Tappara U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)
Profile: Gifted winger who has speed and elusiveness to get open and away from opposing defenders, and uses his high-level stick-handling to create scoring chances.
“A tricky winger with the puck on a string and a loaded arsenal of ways to beat you, Puistola is one of those rare pre-draft prospects that prove they are too good for both the junior leagues and the adult-age second tiers throughout Europe. He’s a dangler who can create his own shot (and a fine, accurate shot it is). Puistola is a very good skater and is to be considered a breakaway threat, but it’s his agility and escapability in the neutral that separate him from atypical draft-eligible goal scorers. Puistola is a smart kid who is used in any situation, to include the penalty kill, where he is an obvious threat to score. There isn’t much an opposing coach can do to slow down his scoring chances, but Puistola ups the ante late in games by becoming a playmaker and rocking defenders to sleep with pump fakes and slap passes. He hustles and works hard but lacks in the physicality department; something NHL coaches are good at addressing.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Puistola started this season in the top junior league in Finland but soon it became evident he was ready for the next level. He’s played some games at the Liiga level and has scored his first point there as well but Tappara has a stacked team, so Puistola’s minutes have been very limited there. Because of that, he’s been playing mostly in the Mestis lately, and he’s been tearing it up much more than expected. His season is one of the best that league has ever seen from someone his age… He’s a skilled offensive played but he’s also responsible defensively and does all the little things needed to have success against pro players. Puistola is likely to be a second-round pick in the summer.” Jokke Nevalainen, dobberprospects.com
“… A lean six footer, he most certainly seemed to have a high level of functional strength and blazing speed that aided him in dominating battles all over the sheet. Not the most gifted high end skill player, he nonetheless give great energy and created lots of scoring opportunities by carrying defenders on his back to the net, winning most board battles and thrown big hits, and driving hard to the net strong on the puck. His wide stance enabled his quick pivots to receive passes and loose pucks and drive hard on the attack. Pounces on turnovers and capitalizes. Saw little time with his top end teammates, which left me wondering what if he was surrounded by quality line mates. Worth a look. -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
44. Albin Grewe
Date of Birth: 22 Mar 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Marsta, SWE
Position: C/RW Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 187 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Djurgårdens IF J20 (SuperElit)
Profile: Hard-working forward who uses his relentless energy and aggression on the forecheck to create scoring chances, but also plays a responsible two-way game, effective on the penalty kill and deadly on the powerplay.
“There are two types of “dirty” players — the one who breaks every rule in the book and the other being a hard-nosed, lunchpail type who does a lot of heavy lifting for his coach. Grewe is most certainly the latter, and if he played baseball, he would have his pockets full of infield dirt by the second inning. Grewe is a strong skater with excellent balance who takes the puck inside with authority and confidence. He is a two-way forward of the throwback variety because he applies relentless pressure on the forcecheck, will finish his checks on defensemen, and he’s next to impossible to knock off the puck once he collects it off the turnover his pressure created. Grewe is shifty and quick with a strong lower body and leg drive that helps him knock down bigger opponents. He’s one of the draft’s best penalty killers, but his two-way play and effort should not be considered his way of compensating for a lack of puck skills — Grewe is an open-ice threat with keen vision and quick release on his shot. He is one of the few kids in this draft who is willing to pay any price for going into the rink’s most dangerous areas.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Grewe has split this season between SuperElit and the SHL. He’s been an offensive force at the junior level but hasn’t been able to bring that similar offensive game to the pro level just yet. But he’s been given a good amount of games in the SHL with very limited minutes because he can be a great energy player on the bottom-six. Even though he’s not big, Grewe plays a power forward type game. He has a good shot, good puck-skills, good vision, and he’s a good skater. And most importantly, he works harder than most players on the ice. Currently, he’s able to combine that grinding power forward game with great offensive success at the junior level but it remains to be seen if he can do the same in the NHL. If he can, he could become a very valuable complementary top-six winger. But if he can’t, he can still have a very good career in the NHL as a bottom-six grinder. Grewe is likely to be drafted in the second round in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.” Jokke Nevalainen, dobberprospects.com
“Perpetual motion fireball of a wing with non stop speed, motion and intensity. Has terrific vision, compete level and seems to always come out of the high battle areas with the puck. Leading his junior team scoring by virtue of his skillful hands, his moves, and his ability to make successful passes in high traffic areas. His strong push on his wheels get him past defenders like he is bulling his way where he wants. Always moving in his low to ice stance, he dekes you, and makes time to thread the puck to an open teammate. Players like this are a nightmare to defend, and he still will score when double-covered. In the Swedish league in which he has played the most, he was much hated by the opposition, but a home town fan-favorite. Displays a lightning-fast release. One of the best forwards in the Under-18 Five Nations tourney on a team filled with older players from the 2018 class. Was once viewed as pretty near close to the late first rounder but things have cooled, although he still evokes memories of his energy laden gritty past performance. He is now apprehensive about contact and has disappeared in the battle areas. There is no question that he has skills as a guy who can play fast, make deft moves and display solid stick work and start out strong on the puck on his way down low, but has been prone to over-handles. Needs to use his linemates more effectively. Has a good shot and release but isn’t hitting the open spaces on the net. There is enough there to warrant developmental time. -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
43. Ilya Nikolayev
Date of Birth: 26 June 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Yaroslavl, RUS
Position: C Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 190 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Profile: Good framed, all-situations centreman who has good hands that result in playmaking passing and stick-handling that lead to scoring chances.
“Six foot thick centreman who has a strong first step and bursts that glide him into the soft areas on the attack. Good balanced skater with a bowlegged base but it doesn’t deter him from controlling the middle of the ice in three zones responsibly. A very soft passer who is slick in his movements before he dishes. Displays fast hands and quick burst explosions as he comes out from the corners and wall.
Was Podkolzin’s centre at the Five Nations Tourney in the summer. Fights hard to maintain space in blue paint area. Strong middle zone defender. Was one of the more noticable players in the World Junior Challenge with his effort, and slick opportunistic passing including his slap passes.” -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
“The 17-year-old’s best attribute may be his versatility, he is strong at even-strength, on the power play and on the penalty kill. Every now and then he’ll display extreme skill, whether it’s passing or puck-handling, but he needs to work on his consistency. There are times when he disappears for a game or stretches, although that wasn’t the case in the 2018-19 playoffs.” -Josh Bell, The Hockey Writers
42. Isaiah Saville
Date of Birth: 21 Sept 2000 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Anchorage, Alaska
Position: G Catches: Right
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 194 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Profile: Agile goaltender with a calm demeanour and good puck-tracking abilities. Committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the 2019-20 season.
“… terrific athlete with superb reflexes who already stops second and third attempts with a cool and calm demeanor far past his age. Displays excellent puck tracking, super quick leg pads and the ability to direct rebounds where he wants them. Fills the net and there is little net to shoot at… lead the USHL in goals against average in this his rookie season. A tremendous skater with or with his equipment on, he is rising up the charts.” -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
41. Tobias Bjornfot
Date of Birth: 6 Apr 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Upplands Vasby, SWE
Position: D Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 203 lbs.
2018-19 Team: Djurgårdens IF J20 (SuperElit)
Profile: Big defenseman, but plays with more pace and speed. Creates most chances with excellent awareness and lightning-quick passes; still plays a disciplined game in this own end and one-on-one.
“An excellent skater with or without the puck, Bjornfot is a versatile defender who can contribute in all situations. He can run a power play by using quick thinking and staying in motion, and he owns a heavy shot with a massive backswing. Bjornfot isn’t all that creative or one to be classified as a playmaker, but he generates offense with his wheels and quick-strike mentality — several times a game he catches opponents in a line change by whipping turnaround passes up ice. He’s an excellent 1-on-1 defender who sticks to puck carriers like Velcro and makes the right reads if he sees a dangerous play developing…” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“A push the pace attacking defenseman who plays with some jam, and a blazing wrist shot. A mobile defender who pivots well, he has a bit more size and thickness than many of the prospects categorized as new age push the pace defenseman. Plays calm and aware in his end and is willing to engage with attackers trying to set up shop in front. At the U-18 Five Nations tourney in the summer, he tied the game for Sweden against the United States in the final period and then with an end to end rush, he tied it again.” -Bill Placzek, draftsite.com
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