Three overagers to keep an eye on at the NHL Draft...
Every year a lot of players end up not hearing their name called on draft day the first year they are eligible. Just because a player has been passed over one or more times doesn’t mean they will never end up drafted. This year there are a handful of players that could finally hear their names called and could be worth a late pick in fantasy drafts.
Eric Locke, C, Saginaw Spirit
Eric Locke had an outstanding season with the Saginaw Spirit this season scoring 44 goals and adding 53 assists for a total of 97 points in 68 games. He had great chemistry on a line with Chicago Blackhawks 2012 fifth round pick Garret Ross and draft-eligible Jimmy Lodge. Undersized at 154 pounds and 5-9, the speedy Locke found more consistency this season, his first full season with one team in the OHL. The two seasons prior to that, he was traded. First from the Windsor Spitfires to the Barrie Colts, then from the Colts to the Spirit.
Sven Andrighetto, RW, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
The two-way Swiss forward scored 31 goals and added 67 assists for 98 points in only 53 games this season. The season before that, he was skipped in the draft despite scoring 36 goals and adding 38 assists. Andrighetto also had an excellent playoffs, scoring eight goals and adding 22 assists for 30 points with a Huskies team that advanced to the QMJHL semi-finals. I watched him play during the Mooseheads and Huskies series where he was the most dangerous player on the ice for his team. Come draft day, chances are 29 teams will regret not picking this 20 year-old forward with a great shot.
Teammate Jean-Sébastien Dea is another player re-entering the draft who could be selected this year. While he doesn’t possess the same upside as Andrighetto, he had a great season scoring 45 goals and adding 40 assists for 85 points in 68 games. He may never be relevant in fantasy but is worth keeping an eye on just in case.
JC Lipon, C/RW, Kamloops Blazers
The name JC Lipon probably rings a bell if you follow Team Canada at the World Juniors. This past year, he was on the team but was held pointless and suspended for one game after a hit on Slovakia’s Tomas Mikus. The 5-10 and 154 pound Lipon scored 36 goals and added 53 assists for 89 points in 61 games in the regular season. In the playoffs he scored 6 goals and added 17 assists for 23 points in 15 games. The skilled power-forward worked hard in the offseason and it has paid off. If Lipon makes it to the NHL, he would be particularly valuable for leagues that count penalty minutes. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves and has put up more than 100 PIMs in his three years of major junior.
Previously from Briggins