#8 Buffalo Sabres – Marco Rossi, C, Austria/Switzerland, Ottawa (OHL)
Standing almost knee-high to a hobbit, “Frodo” Rossi was arguably the best player on the best team in the OHL. You can look up his stats yourself, but what is notable is that the scorers didn’t give the old man of the class bonus points from secondary assists— the bugbear of many elite scorers.
In fact, he presents to the board, a primary-points-per-game rate of 1.53 per game (58 at even strength), which is second amongst the draft hopefuls. What boggles the mind is that other teams didn’t even want to score while he was on the ice. Specifically, while he skated, the 67’s scored 103 goals, but opposition teams only scored 35.
That is pretty embarrassing really to be so handsome and dashing that the other team can only look to the ground casting furtive glances at you while blushing bashfully. Yet, this is what Rossi found to be the case this season.
Buffalo line up to draft one of the oldest and smallest players in the draft, and it’s Buffalo. Buffalo… It’s a shame Rossi’s journey from rags to riches ends here, but the Sabres drafting this stud muffin is like giving a pig strawberries.
Astoundingly poor decision making from a rudderless ship. Do they think he is going to grow an entire foot and become an inept defenceman? Buffalo should have stayed in their lane.
Pre-Draft Grade: F
#9 Minnesota Wild – Cole Perfetti, LW/C, Canada, Saginaw (OHL)
The final draft position for Perfetti is harder to pick than a broken nose, but I’m going to take a guess and assume that Wild take a flyer on a guy who started a little slow and worked his way through some slumps to be a top scorer in his draft class. He’s not a perfect prospect by any means, but he has some smarts and a willingness to shoot, which will prove enticing to some teams if they can overlook his relatively smaller stature.
The Wild take a flyer, hoping that Perfetti’s flaws are ironed out and the brilliance he sometimes flashed is more common than not. It seems crazy to say this, but if the Wild were good at drafting and developing hockey players they wouldn’t have been so bad this season. Terrible choice to waste an incredible asset on a player they’re going to ruin.
Pre-Draft Grade: F
#10 Winnipeg Jets – Alexander Holtz, LW/RW, Sweden, Djurgardens (SHL)
Winnipeg adds to their impressive list of young goal scorers, a normal-sized Swede who is nothing if not a goal scorer. He has great positional awareness, a lethal wrister, and is quite the underrated playmaker.
Jets fans would see him lining up with Patrik Laine in the future and I think that the level of cruelty one has to enjoy to inflict two such elite goal scorers on an opposition team is disgusting. Low risk and high reward make this pick a no-brainer.
Who cares if you can shoot the puck if you can’t do two backchecks before each score? That’s the Anaheim Ducks way, the NHL way, and that’s why the Jets waste this draft selection by picking this pure goal scorer.
Pre-Draft Grade: D+