Tier B – Likely Top 4 Defender
5. Tobias Bjornfot / L / APR 01 / Djurgårdens / SHL
U18s was a wake-up party for scouts who slept on Bjornfot. He seems to always outplay expectations and leading PP1 for the Swedes showcased that. Defensively, Bjornfot is tough to get around, and his footwork and competitive nature shines here. Above average tools all around. Shows his smarts through good timing. A prospect I learned to stop doubting.
6. Albert Johansson / L / JAN 01 / Färjestad / SHL
An under-the-radar defender who’s as competitive and decisive as Bjornfot. Johansson isn’t as polished or NHL-ready but has more ceiling in my books. Johansson reads plays well and expertly jumps plays and passes in all three zones. His shot is average but his hands are better, especially since he hardly does too much. He started and finished the year well, despite an up and down season.
7. Moritz Seider / R / APR 01/ Mannheim / DEL
A player always in motion. Seider is very aggressive in the offensive zone below the hash marks but is often caught backchecking. Feels like a steal or trap pick. He’s a smart and efficient defender with an active stick and long wingspan. He makes a decent first pass but his hands betray him too often when he thinks and holds on to it. His thinking is a small concern.
I would have a development route thought out before making the pick. Seider to the AHL or Liiga, SHL? I like it a lot for picks in the ‘teens’. Cautious, but okay with the risk if he can be ‘tamed’. Especially over the USHL D or some of the next CHL guys. Some of Seider’s defensive zone play has Pronger-esque traits.
8. Thomas Harley / L / AUG 01 / Mississauga / OHL
Harley is one of the youngest top prospects in the draft. The overall picture is appealing: size, skill, athleticism, and can put up points. Although he is active all over the ice, he easily gets out of position or forgets his duties while puck chasing.
His defense is a large work in progress. Some teams will be okay with it. He fits the new possession-based rover style defender. Along with Seider, Harley has a lot to like and common sense says he makes the NHL but may be frustrating at times. Two Prospects I had trouble placing amongst Tier A/B/C.