“We’ve got some guys that NHL teams really love, and I think we’re going to see a few of them picked next month at the draft.”
Attack General Manager Dale DeGray is optimistic for his players chances to be selected this year at the NHL draft. As he looks at his roster of draft-eligible players, he sees five or six names that could go off the board in early October as the big league holds its first ever online event. Slated to take place on October 6th and 7th, the first round will take place on the first day with rounds two through seven on the following day.
“Our blueline has been getting a lot of draft attention, these are guys the NHL likes.”
DeGray says he doesn’t expect any of his guys to go on the first night, but a handful have the potential to be picked on day two. It starts on the blueline for the Attack hopefuls, where Igor Chibrikov’s size and skill might be too much for scouts to pass up on. “I’ve spoken to a lot of NHL teams about [Chibrikov], and I think he’s going to find a landing spot in the draft, possibly as high as the fourth round.” The towering Russian defenseman is ranked #188th overall by Central Scouting, but DeGray thinks his strong play this season boosted his stock even higher.
The defense corps continued to receive praise from NHL scouts with DeGray fielding calls regarding his shutdown pair, Andrew Perrott and Mark Woolley. Perrott was invited to the Boston Bruins rookie camp last season after being passed over in the draft, but an excellent 2019-20 campaign makes DeGray think that he might get a few more looks in his second time through the process. “There are some teams out there that have asked me about Andrew, and I know he’s definitely on their radar” says the Attack GM. Woolley fits the prototype of a bruising, stay at home defender and that has turned some heads in the show. His physical play has drawn rave reviews from clubs looking to add size and strength to their blueline.
“I think both of our goalies have a chance to hear their name called on draft day.”
Workhorse Mack Guzda and young Nick Chenard were a strong tandem in the Attack crease this past season, helping the Attack be the only team with two goalies that held a save percentage above .900. Guzda turned in the best year of his career, playing 51 games while upping his saves and lowering his goals against average. With an entrenched #1 in the net, it was difficult for Chenard to find consistent playing time, but the rookie from Tecumseh shined when he had his opportunities. The 17-year-old posted a .909 save percentage, good for seventh in the league among goalies who played at least 10 games. Both netminders are big, athletic bodies with NHL potential.
“If he’s picked, it might surprise some people, but he’s worked hard for it.”
Josh Samanski checks a lot of boxes for the scouts. He has the prototypical size, takes draws and plays a two-way game. The start to his OHL career was sidelined due to an injury in practice, but once the German-Canadian forward got going, there was a lot to like in his game. DeGray says “He’s put on a lot of muscle over the summer, and I think he really impressed a lot of people at the German Junior camp.” The German pipeline to the NHL has been growing in recent years, and Samanski could be the next to make the leap. The forward put up 20 points in his rookie season for the Attack, and DeGray thinks that with a full season he could be one of the biggest surprises in the league for 2020-21.
The NHL Draft begins on October 6th and runs through October 7th and can be followed online at nhl.com.