Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
In the latest edition of our prospect expert's mailbag, Ryan Kennedy answers questions about a red-hot Detroit draft pick, a high-scoring little man and more from you, the readers.
After a week off for vacation, the mailbag returns in full force. The volume of questions is beginning to get fatter and that's awesome, so keep them coming by hitting me up on Twitter with the hashtag #thnfutures. If your question isn't answered this week, check back next time. Let's get to it!
What's your take on Dylan Larkin? Personally, I wouldn't take any other prospect other than Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.
– Dangle Dangle (@sAAp34)
I'm pretty high on Larkin myself. It was a big blow for Michigan when he decided to sign his entry-level deal with the Detroit Red Wings this summer, but based on how mature his game is and the speed at which he plays, I can see why he believed he was ready for the pro ranks. Playing in the AHL with Grand Rapids will be a good challenge and let's not forget: he's still eligible for the world juniors. So watch out for Team USA this year.
Why isn't Alex DeBrincat in the discussion as a top-five player for the 2016 draft after a 104-point OHL rookie season?
– Josh Young (@Josh_Young7)
Lemme give you Johnny Gaudreau's phone number. Actually, that's a bad idea (plus I don't have it). There is still a size bias when it comes to the first round of the draft, no matter how many points a player puts up. Keep in mind Max Domi wasn't a top-10 pick and he's not even small; he just wasn't 5-foot-11. DeBrincat was listed at 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds in the playoffs, though I've been told he's grown a bit since.
I'm sure scouts want to see what he can do without Connor McDavid feeding him perfect passes, too, though DeBrincat was still more than a point-per-game player when McDavid was injured.
As any coach will tell you, it's not where you go in the draft, it's what you do after that counts. If DeBrincat ends up going late in the first round, whether it's fair or not, he can just use that for motivation.
Who is the Blackhawks' top goalie prospect and what is his potential?
– Matt Dorabialski (@blackhawks95)
That's actually a pretty tough one. Chicago hasn't put much focus on drafting netminders lately (too busy winning Stanley Cups, I guess) and veteran Michael Leighton was the starter in AHL Rockford last season. Matt Tomkins is battling Christian Frey for starts at Ohio State, so I'm gonna go with Ivan Nalimov in the KHL. He essentially split time with a veteran starter on Admiral Vladivostok and led the team in shutouts with three in 30 appearances. Nalimov has great size and could be a solid option, assuming he comes to North America eventually.
Does Michael McCarron still project as a winger, or can he legitimately play center in the NHL?
– Dude (@bshah79)
Thanks to his faceoff prowess and size, I'd say McCarron has a shot at playing center. Getting to play for two premier OHL franchises in one season (London and Oshawa) certainly helped his development and for me, the question for the Montreal Canadiens prospect comes on the physical end. If he can bring consistent intensity, I wonder if he might even be a Brian Boyle type at the next level. The size, skill and shutdown ability is there.