NHL teams looking for a power forward don’t have to do that in the first round. Since power forwards are known to take longer to develop, why not pick one a bit later to maximize your draft. Here are three that will go at different times and can still have an impact down the road.
Colangelo had a great season for the Chicago Steel. He had 28 goals and 30 helpers in just 44 games. At 6-2, 207 pounds, he was a handful to cover and USHL teams had a hard time doing it. Let’s see how he does at Northeastern University.
Colangelo, 6-2, 205 pounds, has a great shot but he doesn’t rely on just that to get by as a hockey player. He worked hard on his 200-foot game this year which is smart. You never know what kind of role the winger will have to play to break into the NHL and he’ll be ready. He can play bottom six for sure and that gives him some flexibility.
He told me this when I asked him about taking a hit to make a play.
“I like to say that I’m a physical player and I’m working on using my size to my advantage. Having a bigger frame allows me to take more hits, and not get knocked over and stay on the puck and maybe take a hit and keep skating through it with the puck. I will continue to work to use my size as my advantage and that will continue to help.”
All the ingredients are there and he should start to see some chatter when the second round starts.
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Peterson played this season for the U.S. National Team Development Program. At 6-4, 192 pounds, he already plays a rugged game, but he has room on his frame to put on more muscle. Teams look for that and just know his development cycle will be a long one, but it could have a nice return.
Being a pivot can help his draft stock. In 53 games, he had 29 points with two game-winning goals. Not eye-popping statistics but he’s not expected to be a top liner or even a second-line player seems a reach. Let’s see how he looks at Boston University.
Peterson does make hard, accurate passes. There’s offense in his game for sure. He does know how to lay the big hit already. He can do that from the middle or on the wing, and that versatility will keep him on some draft boards as well. Not everyone can be a center at the NHL level if they get there.
What can help Peterson is the fact that he’s a good skater and stickhandler. That could vault him ahead of a player like Colangelo, as an example, but it will be close. He’s another player who should go somewhere between the second and third rounds.
Sokolov is an overager who wasn’t drafted twice before. At 6-4, 240, and the fact that he can play right or left-wing means he could fill a role for more than a few NHL teams down the road if it all goes well.
His numbers at Cape Breton were terrific, but he’s big and he’s 20 so getting 46 goals and 46 assists in 52 games have to be examined the right way.
I like the way this player controls the puck in the offensive zone. The longer he has the puck, the more chance he has of making a play or drawing a penalty. As you would hope, this forward plays hard along the wall and in the tough areas. He is capable of scoring hard-working goals. We’re talking about another bottom-six player for sure, but the trick will be where he goes?
Because of his age, which could count against him, I can see anywhere from late second through the middle rounds. It will depend on how the draft goes in the sense of other players dropping.
If a team is so inclined, they could drop him in the AHL and see what they have based on his age and size and strength. That wouldn’t shock me. Let’s see where these three power forwards go.