In the first part of this PCS pre-season draft ranking series, I looked at players whose 16 year-old seasons were so off the charts that they did not have peers in our PCS database. Now I’ll look at some other consensus first round picks who put up monster 2014-15 seasons in the eyes of PCS.
The PCS Juggernauts
Jakob Chychrun (D, 6’2, 194 lbs, PCS 35%, ISS #2)
Chychrun is the most highly touted defensemen in the draft, and for good reason. Despite being a 16-year-old rookie, Chychrun was named Assistant Captain of the Sarnia Sting and added to Team OHL for the Canada-Russia series. His offensive production was impressive last year on what was a mediocre offensive team. Chychrun’s 16 goals and 33 points nearly equaling the production of teammate, and 2015 6th overall pick, Pavel Zacha.
Scouts rave about his all-around game, excellent skating, and hard shot. From Central Scouting’s Al Jensen “I haven’t seen a young defensemen with this type of skill set in his draft year since Scott Stevens”.
Here is Chychrun scoring his first goal of the season off a rocket from the point:
Matthew Tkachuk (LW, 6’1, 194 lbs, PCS 50%, ISS #4)
Tkachuk has some pretty impressive linemates, suiting up beside Auston Matthews last year with the US Development Program, and Mitchell Marner this year with the London Knights, and he’s more than held his own playing alongside these future stars. He’s currently off to a red-hot start, leading the Knights in scoring (17 points in his first 9 games).
The son of Keith Tkachuk, scouts seem to echo many of the qualities of his father when praising Matthew, such as his intelligence, skating, and leadership. We see these intangibles translate on the score sheet with regularity, as Tkachuk is currently second in the OHL in scoring.
Julien Gauthier (RW, 6’4, 212 lbs, PCS 39%, ISS #7)
Gauthier was the youngest player at the Canadian national junior team’s summer camp in August, as a result of his impressive 2014-15 where he scored 38 goals and 73 points in 68 games for Val-d’Or. He has the NHL frame that scouts will drool over, but he supplement’s that with good skating and a well-rounded offensive toolkit.
According to Central Scouting director Dan Marr, “He’s a big guy that doesn’t have any holes in his game. You aren’t projecting that his skating has to improve a whole lot. His hockey sense is good. You know he can shoot and score. There’s not a whole lot you’re going to look for where you need to see improvement in, in order to enhance his projection.”
Here is a look at his hat trick earlier in the season against Sherbrooke. First, here is Gauthier finishing off an excellent pass from teammate Olivier Galipeau.
Here is Gauthier finishing on a breakaway
.. and here is Gauthier finishing his hat trick
Pierre-Luc Dubois (LW, 6’3, 201 lbs, 34%, ISS #13)
With a package of size, speed, strength and skill, its no wonder he was invited to join Team QMJHL for the Canada-Russian series later this fall, along with Julien Gauthier. He’s followed up a very strong rookie year in the QMJHL with a solid showing at the Ivan Hlinka tournament for Team Canada and currently leads Cape Breton in scoring.
Carl Grundstrom (LW, 6’0, 190 lbs, PCS 75%, ISS not ranked, Future Considerations #27)
Grundstrom split his 2014-15 season between Modo’s SHL and SuperElit teams, and in both circumstances his historical peers had impressively high success rates (SHL PCS 75%, SuperElit PCS 42%). While his offensive totals at the SHL level may seem underwhelming (5 points in 24 games last season), this is mainly a product of minimal ice time. To start the 2015-16 campaign he’s seen a pretty significant bump in ice time with Modo’s SHL team, up to 11:30 TOI/GP from 7:45 TOI/GP last year, so it will be interesting to see whether that translates to high production this year. We know that given the opportunity to play more minutes against weaker competition, Grundstrom was lights out, scoring 21 goals and 36 points in 27 SuperElit games last year. He’s typically performed very well internationally for Sweden, and like most European fringe first round picks, his draft position will likely be somewhat dependent on a strong showing at this year’s World Juniors.
Chad Krys (D, 5’11, 183 lbs, PCS 50%, ISS #25)
Krys is the prototypical, puck moving offensive defensemen. Our friend Anthony Mauro of Draftbuzz Hockey described Krys: “Offensive catalyst is a buttery smooth skating hybrid puck rusher/move with a slant towards playmaking.. has unbelievable poise with the puck, and can handle/dish under any circumstance, no matter the pressure closing in on him.”
While Krys doesn’t have the ideal size for a defenseman, he compares favorably from a PCS perspective given his lights-out offensive production that saw him score nearly a point per game as a 16-year-old member of US Development Program.
Clayton Keller (C, 5’10, 170 lbs, PCS 50%, ISS #21)
Keller may be small, but his offensive dynamism is undeniable. Keller excelled with the US Development Program, scoring at above a point per game with both the U17 and U18 squads last year, he’s producing at nearly two points per game so far this year. He is a silky smooth playmaker, with an elite offensive skillset.
Here is a look at his playmaking ability, setting up potential 2016 first rounder and future Boston University teammate, Kieffer Bellows:
Another glance at Bellows’ second goal of the night. Once again, set up by a great pass from Keller. pic.twitter.com/J6ksrWeMTq
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 17, 2015
And here’s a look at team Canada standing still and watching as Keller weaves his way through them on route to a pretty goal:
Others in Series: