Throughout these past few months, a popular term swirling around sports, and life in general, has been “uncertainty.” In a world dependent on set timelines and clear expectations, there really weren’t any. Now, still in those unprecedented times, we are at least receiving some sporting news and dates worth our excitement. One of them is the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, now set to occur the weekend of October 9th and 10th.
Although the likelihood of a Silvertip going in the first round is essentially nonexistent, Everett still has four players ranked and expected to be chosen somewhere in the seven-round event. Here is a look at the four Everett Silvertips set to have their names called at the beginning of October.
Ronan Seeley is Everett’s top-ranked draft-eligible player. He’s a skilled skater with an offensive upside that flourished once given more ice time. Seeley’s 32 points ranked only behind expected first-rounders Kaiden Guhle and Braden Schneider, in terms of points from first-year, draft-eligible blueliners. His most significant strength is his skating, but he demonstrated how valuable a puck mover he is for the Silvertips. He can rush the puck effectively and has an accurate and reliable first pass. Although most of his production will come from assists, Seeley is not afraid to shoot. He is active in the offensive zone and is not afraid to fire the puck on the net when given the opportunity. Currently, his shot is accurate; however, it lacks a lot of power.
The area of Seeley’s game in need of the most work is his play in the defensive zone. His highly-skilled skating makes him a capable defender on the rush. However, that has not translated consistently to his defensive zone play. His positioning is a bit unpredictable. There are times where it is on point. At the same time, occasions arise where he is slow to react and cannot get into the right position.
There’s a lot to like about Seeley and his skillset at this point in his development. His skating ability and offensive talent will intrigue teams, understanding that his defensive game still needs work. Most likely, an organization will draft him somewhere between the mid-to-late third or beginning of the fourth round.
The puck-moving defenseman, Kasper Puutio, really started to thrive offensively once dealt from Swift Current to Everett. Similar to Seeley, Puutio’s strong suit is on offense. However, his best asset is his puck-moving. Additionally, he is intelligent offensively, an efficient passer, and composed in pressure situations.
As expected with young offensive-defensemen, Puutio needs to work the most on the defensive aspects of the game. The opposition rarely has trouble overtaking him physically down low, making it challenging for Puutio to make an impact. Teams tend to thrive with the dump and chase game against him, which is going to need to change if he eventually wants to become a player at the NHL level. He tends to lose a lot of battles in the defensive zone, which is going to make a lot of organizations cautious.
With Puutio comes a great deal of uncertainty. He is signed with Karpat in Finland until 2022, which will likely affect his draft stock. Though he possesses the offensive skill, it doesn’t eliminate his struggles defensively. NHL teams may view Puutio as a risky pick, making him more of a late-round option.
2020 will be Gage Goncalves’s second crack at the NHL Draft. After a rookie season full of adjusting, Goncalves failed to land with an NHL franchise in 2019. However, he saw a significant increase in his production this season. The 19-year-old forward is a strong two-way player that succeeds offensively around the net. This skillset assisted him greatly on the power play, helping him score 14 of his 33 goals on special teams opportunities. Goncalves is an intelligent player that reads the play effectively. His work ethic is top-notch, as he always gives it his all in every aspect of the game.
At this point, there are aspects of Goncalves’s game that prevent a lot of people from thinking he can make it to the NHL. His strengths on offense are around the net. However, he rarely shows the high-end skills that make him a threat elsewhere. On top of that, there seem to be some concerns among scouts surrounding his skating. There’s a good chance that a franchise selects Goncalves this time around. It just might be in the later stages of the draft due to his current lack of upside at the NHL level.
Since joining the Silvertips as an import this past season, Michal Gut has cemented himself as a reliable top-six forward. He’s an offensive-minded forward with a strong hockey IQ, great vision, and a shot that could transform into a valuable weapon. Right now, there are some inconsistencies in his shot, but it is something that can improve with continued work. His skating is average, but he is not afraid to get physical and possesses the ability to take the puck away from opposing players. There are some concerns regarding his effort defensively. Still, this is something that can change with proper coaching.
Gut is an interesting prospect to watch towards the later stages of the draft. Only NHL Central Scouting ranked him and that was 176th. Still, there is certainly some potential for Gut to assume a bottom-six role at the professional level someday.