2nd round, 34th overall: D, Ville Pokka
Pokka spent his last three years playing for the Oulun Kärpät organization at the U16, U18 and SM-Liiga levels. The 2011-2012 year was Pokka’s first full year at the SM-Liiga level and, while not the most impressive year statistically (3 assists, a -3 rating and 12 penalty minutes), he did average 19 minutes of ice-time a game.
Pokka’s real breakout, however, came at the 2011 U20 World Junior Hockey Championships. When fellow countryman/defenseman Olli Maatta was injured in the team’s first game, the onus was on Pokka to carry the defensive load for Finland. Pokka did not disappoint, putting up 1 goal and 3 assists in 7 games while anchoring Finland’s defense which helped them to a fourth place finish at the tournament.
Weight: 198 pounds
Born: June 3, 1994
Pokka has clearly proven himself against top competition which has to be a boon for any team looking to add young talent to their blue line. Any player, regardless of position, that has the ability to step up as Pokka has, especially at his age, is worth at least a look.
Pokka is currently ranked 7th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting and we should expect to see Pokka off the board in the very late first round or early second round.
3rd round 65th overall: D, Adam Pelech
Adam Pelech / Erie Otters / Defence / 6’2″ / 210 / Aug. 16th, 1994
Adam Pelech has had an interesting past few years. When I originally saw him playing his minor midget year with the Toronto Marlboros, he was a player that displayed some strong NHL level potential, but was more of a raw prospect. In his first year in Erie, he displayed some strong growth in his first year in the Ontario Hockey League. He took that year and had a strong Ivan Hlinka tournament, and was quickly being viewed as a potential top 20 selection for this years NHL Draft. This season things did not go as smoothly for Pelech, as he struggled with a wrist injury that took away half of his season right off the bat. When he returned, the Otters struggled with defensive depth, and Pelech was put in a position to be more of an offensive defenceman for the Otters, a role that really does not suit his skill set. He tried to do to much at times, which really effected his development and created some questions among the scouting community. I did not see him play live, reports are that he rebounded to have a pretty solid world under 18 championships, which should help his draft stock.
When his game is on, Pelech as a lot of attributes that make you envision a really smart defensive defenceman. He is very effective positionally in all three zones, and displays the intelligence to be in the right place at the right time. He is smart and shows good hockey sense, anticipates the play well and knows how to quickly read a play and assess the best coarse of action. He is effective at controlling his gaps, taking space away from opposition forwards. He has a good, active stick that is effective at knocking down passes and taking passing lanes away from opposition forwards. He is effective at using his wingspan to angle opposition forwards away from high percentage scoring areas and angling them into the boards. He is good down low and along the boards, battling for loose pucks. He may not always win the battles, but always brings a high compete level. He is strong at pinning forwards against the boards, taking them out of the play.
Pelech has some room to grow in some very specific elements of his game. First and foremost, he needs to focus on his assets and play to them. To many times this season Pelech has tried to be something that he is not, and struggled to do so. He would try to skate the puck up the ice and generate offense, which is playing against his skill set. That may be trying to do to much given the team that he was on, but he needs to simplify his game. He struggles with his vision at times with the puck, and does not show a high offensive upside, or alot of offensive growth. He also has some room to grow with his mobility and acceleration. He can struggle with his first few steps, and needs to work on his acceleration and overall footwork. He can struggle at times with his transitional footwork, and needs to be better while going from offensive to defense.
Individual skill Rankings (out of 10)
Skill : 7
Hockey Sense: 7.5
Positional Play: 8
Pelech is projected to be a top 4 defenceman at the next level. He may not have a high offensive ceiling, however I do like this positional play as well as his strength. He has the ability to be a strong, physical defenceman who shows good positional play.
Pelech is rated as a second round selection for the 2012 NHL draft, and should be selected in the 40th to 55th overall area.
4th round 103rd overall: D, Loic Leduc
Defenceman Loic Leduc is ranked No. 209 among North American skaters. Leduc, a 6-6, 190-pound native of Châteauguay, Que., recorded two goals and eight assists in 65 games this season. He’s hoping an NHL team will be looking for a towering defenceman with shutdown ability
5th round 12th overall: D, Doyle Somerby
6th round 155th overall: D, Jesse GrahamBy the numbers:
Defense…6-5 220 pounds…committed to Boston University – class of ’13
Hometown: Marblehead, MA Birthdate: 07/04/94
10-11 Kimball Union(HS-NH) 33GM 2G 4A 6PTS
NHL Central Scouting Mid-term ranking #127– North American skaters
Size simply can’t be taught and Somerby has that commodity plus an ability to handle the puck as a starting point.
What they’re saying:
“Somerby, who is on a defensive pairing with Alex Carle, brother of NHLer Matt Carle, previously played for St. Mary’s in Lynn, Mass., and in last summer’s Senior Chowder Cup, he skated for the New England Nordiques. On Friday after committing to BU, Somerby tweeted “best day of my life.”
2011-12: Somerby had a strong junior season at Kimball Union as the Wildcats captured the New England Prep School League championship. He scored 1 goal with 13 assists in 31 games; playing alongside highly-regarded freshman Jonathon MacLeod. Somerby was selected by Muskegon in the sixth round (77th overall) of the 2012 USHL Entry Draft. He committed to playing college hockey at Boston University in 2013-14. Somerby was ranked 99th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.
Undersized offenseman who has tremendous up-ice ability but so far struggles in the defensive aspects of his game. Much of his weaknesses were masked by his pairing with early 2011 pick Dougie Hamilton. His size and strength make battles with attackers difficult. He simply gets out-sized and knocked off the puck, and cannot firmly handle them as they engage him in his zone. On the offensive end, he is a speedster with good vision and creativity who can run a PP. He confidently controls play whenever he has the puck. He is an excellent puck-handler who can score from anywhere and reads and reacts going to the scoring areas. Not a player who is ever intimidated. The question may be, can he get bigger and stronger, and play the position of defense as to not back off from contact or run from it.
Jesse Graham / Defence / 5.11 / 160/ May. 13, 1994
Graham is an offensive minded defenceman who is at his best skating the puck up the ice. He is at his best at skating the puck up the ice, reading the play and making a smart pass. He either drives the net or uses his speed to create open passing lanes. He is a very strong skater who displays good footwork and mobility. His development issues include his positional play in his own zone, as well as his core strength and his ability to win battles for the puck. He projects out as a good puck moving defenceman, and should be a mid to late round draft selection.