With the NHL draft less than two months away, we thought we’d take a look at the players who might be on the bubble, and who might not.
For now, that means only players who have been invited to the draft and have been selected in the past two drafts.
We’ll start with the players with the highest ceiling and lowest floor, who should have the most interest from teams, and whose chances of getting drafted are the highest.
We’ve already seen several players fall in the first round and be invited to next year’s draft, including goalie prospect Jake Virtanen, defenseman Nick Jensen and forward Matt Puempel.
Virtanin is the second-best goaltender in the draft, behind only Ilya Samsonov, and Jensen is a good bet to go No. 1 overall.
The other two are a bit tougher.
Forward Matt Puemer is a solid second-line player with a good chance to go in the top 10.
But he’s going to be a long shot to get drafted.
He is one of only two players in this draft class who has been selected at least once in the last two drafts, the other being defenceman Adam Erne, who was picked in the third round of the 2013 draft.
It’s hard to see Puemer being selected anywhere.
He was taken in the second round of this year’s tournament and was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That’s why we have him ranked #16, behind two other prospects, and the Leafs were one of three teams to be able to get him in the seventh round.
In the second and third rounds, Puemer and Jensen are both a bit better than Puemper.
They’re better goalies, and Puemer’s draft pedigree should make him a better choice than Jensen.
He could get the nod over Puempe if Puemer falls to the second or third round.
Jensen, though, would be a tougher pick.
The Minnesota Wild are hoping to get a top-four pick this year and are looking to add another forward, but Jensen has been out of the NHL for several seasons and the team has little depth in the net.
It’s not as if Jensen is ready for the NHL level, so the Wild may opt to wait and see if he can get over a concussion.
It seems unlikely that the Wild would take a player who would be an even bigger gamble than Puemer.
The Leafs were able to snag another forward in the fifth round, and it would be hard to imagine them taking another forward at this point.
Rasmus Dahlin is a decent prospect who has had some trouble in his first full season in the AHL, but his biggest issue has been his lack of size, which is an issue for him in a draft that doesn’t feature much size.
He may be better off as a rental than a first-rounder, but he is not a top pick.
Dahlin, who has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, is a nice fit for the Leafs and could potentially be a top prospect.
He’s still a bit raw, but is likely a top 10 pick in this year.
The next player who’s not in the lottery is goalie prospect Ben Smith.
Smith is a talented goalie who has shown flashes of being a star.
However, the Leafs don’t have a first overall pick, and Smith’s ceiling is likely much lower than Puempel.
Smith was taken ninth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2013.
He struggled for most of the season and finished with a 9-19-5 record, a .912 save percentage and two shutouts in 16 games.
He also had a couple of tough losses to the Toronto Marlies in the playoffs, which led to the Leafs sending him home.
Smith would have a tough time going anywhere in the fourth round, where teams tend to draft prospects from lower tiers of the AHL and Western Hockey League.
He will be the fourth goalie chosen in the upcoming draft.