Hendrix Lapierre has a real chance to be a steal if he is drafted in the right spot. He has been ranked as high as the 10th-best player in the draft by Craig Button, with him being ranked as the 13th-best North American-Skater.
I like Lapierre, not just because of his cool name and my respect for Craig Button, but because of what he does on the ice.
This kid killed it in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, scoring 11-points in just 5-games. He has had a great career in the QMJHL, so far, playing in 67-games, scoring 15-goals, and 47-assists for 62-points over the last two seasons.
Everywhere Lapierre goes, success follows him. The only issue scouts are seeing him injured too frequently. He’s had multiple concussions over the past year and a half, which will send him down on a team’s draft boards. He has a real good shot of being around at 17, but is he worth the risk?
He’s a high risk, high reward player. If Lapierre can stay healthy, he will be a solid NHL player in a few seasons. If Lapierre continues to stay injured in the NHL, he will be labeled a draft bust and will be out of the league faster than he came in.
He still has a great offensive game, with his playmaking abilities being one of the best in the draft. I wouldn’t be shocked if he landed in the Top 15, but if he is around at 17, Chicago has to take a look at him.
Rodion Amirov is a 6-foot center, with great size. He is ranked as the 5th-best European-Skater in the draft. Amirov was ranked as high as the 14th-best player in the draft by Future Considerations.
The 18-year-old models his game after two NHL studs, Auston Matthews and Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov had an interesting draft story, as he was looked down on by many scouts and wasn’t a high draft pick in 2011. It took Kucherov a few years to get to the level he is at in the NHL, but if Amirov will be even half as good, it’s worth the wait,
Amirov plays a strong 200-foot game, but he lacks size, even at 6-foot. He is an impressive player on the ice but he hasn’t scored in the KHL the way he did in the MHL. The step-in competition is big between the MHL and the KHL, so the expectations for him to improve next season is there.
In the MHL, Amirov played in 60-games, scoring 25-goals and 26-assists for 51-points. The KHL hasn’t been too kind to Amirov, as he has just 3-points in 24-games. Amirov is just 18, give him time.
I am not sold on him, even if he’s modeling his game after Matthews or Kucherov. The production isn’t there right now. He is ranked too high, in my opinion. He will be around at 17 and the Hawks should pass on him. He screams bust, as we’ve already seen him struggle when changing skill levels (MHL to KHL). If he was around in the second round, taking a chance on him would be fine – he just isn’t a first-round talent.