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2020 Draft Countdown: Theo Rochette, Jack Finley, Simon Kubicek, Alex Laferriere, Pavel Novak

Welcome to OilersNation’s 2020 Draft Countdown. Over the next few weeks leading up to the draft (or, well, when it seems the draft might be), we’ll be rounding up scouting reports, quotes, and videos about our Top-100 prospects available. Here are aggregated profiles on Theo Rochette, Jack Finley, Simon Kubicek, Alex Laferriere, and Pavel Novak.

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No. 90: Theo Rochette

Date of Birth: February 20th, 2002

Nation: Switzerland/Canada

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Position: Centre 

Shoots: Left

Height: 178 cm / 5’10”

Weight: 72 kg / 159 lbs

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Profile: Though he grew up in Switzerland, Rochette has spent his last two seasons playing in the QMJHL. Last season, he was dealt from the Chicoutimi Sagueneens to the Quebec Ramparts and posted 39 points in 49 games between the two teams. Rochette is small and doesn’t boast amazing physical tools, but he’s one of the strongest passers in the draft. 

Rochette is one of the best passers in the draft. He’s not that big and lacks elite speed, but the upside he has is very intriguing. – Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Small lightweight center with high skilled playmaking abilities. Eluisve puck carrier who is slippery enough to give his wingers time to get open before he sends them the pass. Has soft hands and great vision though he isnt a burner. Is quick and agile enough to walk out of tight spaces with the puck still on his stick. Rail thin and needs pelnty of grith and muscle as he moves forward. – Bill Placzek, Draft Site

No. 89: Jack Finley

Date of Birth: September 2nd, 2002

Nation: Canada

Position: Centre

Shoots: Right

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Height: 196 cm / 6’5″

Weight: 94 kg / 207 lbs

Profile: The son of former NHLer Jeff Finley, Jack Finley busted out with 19 goals and 57 points in 61 games for the Spokane Chiefs this season. He’s a huge 6’5″ centre, making him one of the biggest draft-eligible forwards despite being among the youngest. Finley doesn’t have elite skills, but his combination of size and strong skating projects him to become a quality middle-six centre. 

Jack Finley is one of the youngest players in his draft class playing one of the most difficult positions, and he is making it look almost easy at times. His combination of size and smarts is well-suited to the pro game, most likely as a middle-six centerman. He is a dependable player with or without the puck, who could develop an untapped upside once he fully matures physically and realizes his capabilities.

Finley possesses a fairly hard wrist shot but usually doesn’t try to score from distance like so many at the major junior level do. Most of his goals are scored from in tight and on deflections or rebounds. His shot is reasonable in accuracy but with room to improve still.

A protoypical centerman with the combination of size and skill that teams covet. Finley is equally comfortable handling the puck and leading the rush or distributing to his wingers and going to the net. His hand-eye coordination is excellent resulting in deft deflections from in front, as well as in the faceoff dot. Willing to handle the puck in heavy traffic without losing it. – Arlo Schulz, McKeen’s Hockey 

No. 88: Simon Kubicek

Date of Birth: December 19th, 2001

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Nation: Czech Republic

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Position: Defence

Shoots: Right 

Height: 187 cm / 6’2″

Weight: 93 kg / 205 lbs

Profile: After growing up in the Czech Republic, Kubicek made the transition to North American play with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2018-19. He put up two solid seasons in the WHL but put his name on the map with a strong showing at the World Juniors this year. Kubicek is a big, strong, fundamentally sound defender with a bit of a mean streak. 

Kubicek is a solid two-way defender who can play in all situations. He certainly is not a flashy player in any regard but is quite effective no matter how he is deployed. For Seattle, he can be found running the power play and getting quick wrist shots through to the net or by playing physical below his own red line and boxing out players along the boards.

He is positionally sound and would rather be the last man back than the first guy to pinch in the zone to keep a play alive. Kubicek is capable of rushing a puck up the ice but looks to prefer to allow teammates to take charge of the zone entries. Overall, his stretch passes and solid two-way play make him a versatile defender with good size. His fantasy value won’t be as high as others but his overall impact could see him become a strong transitional defense prospect. – Joel Henderson, Dobber Prospects

No. 87: Alex Laferriere

Date of Birth: October 28th, 2001

Nation: United States

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right 

Height: 178 cm / 5’10”

Weight: 73 kg / 161 lbs

Profile: No, he isn’t the guy you’re thinking about. Alex Laferriere has a similar name to top-ranked prospect Alexis Lafreniere, but they’re two different players. Laferriere is a small, skilled, chippy winger from the United States who enjoyed a breakout season in the USHL this year. He’s committed to play at Harvard University in the fall. 

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After struggling to make an impact in the United States Hockey League last season in limited time, Alex Laferriere showed he is here to stay this past season. Playing with the Des Moines Buccaneers, he scored 19 goals and added 26 assists for 45 points in 42 games played.

Although Laferriere only stands at 5-foot-10, he plays a much bigger game when he steps out onto the ice. Not afraid to get physical, Laferriere can often be seen in the corners battling for the puck and grinding away down low. He battles for position in front of the net and is not afraid of bigger defenders. He sticks up for his teammates and can often be found ensuing opponents after the whistle has gone. – Mathieu Sheridan, The Hockey Writers

No. 86: Pavel Novak

Date of Birth: April 26th, 2002

Nation: Czech Republic 

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right 

Height: 177 cm / 5’10”

Weight: 77 kg / 170 lbs

Profile: Novak made the move to North America this season, joining the Kelowna Rockets after spending his entire career otherwise in the Czech Republic. With the Rockets, the winger led the team with 25 goals and 58 points. Novak boasts some amazing stick skills, including amazing passing precision, but his skating could use work. 

The 2020 draft-eligible forward has been impressive in his first season in North America. Pavel Novák has quick feet, a good shot, and adept passing ability. His ability to locate teammates and put the puck on their tape with a variety of passes that range from a beautiful bank passes up the boards to the soft-touch of a Pavel Novak saucer pass. He sees the ice in the offensive zone at a high-level which makes him dangerous every time the puck is on his stick.

Novák is a good skater who likes to push the pace and get the puck to the middle of the ice. He doesn’t always get there with his feet as consistently as one would like but he filters the puck to the slot with efficiency and consistency. He still plays a bit of a perimeter role at times but his passing and vision are effective from the outside at the junior level. He likely needs to find that extra gear to get to the middle more often at the next level. When he does so in the WHL, he is extremely dangerous and has good hands in tight to find daylight. – Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects