In the thick of draft season focus understandably narrows to first year draft eligibles with the various tournaments and events that surround their season. However, the draft isn’t just limited to those born in 2000 (and late 1999) as there’s a whole group of 1998 and 1999 born players in the draft pool and many will get selected on draft day this June. To be clear, “overagers” as it applies to the draft means anyone who is past their first year of eligibility although when “overage” is referred to junior players it typically means those in their 20 year old season and final year of junior eligibility. Clear as mud, naturally.
There’s been a movement in thinking the last few years to look toward the overage draft pool more and more as they are further along in their development, closer to playing professional hockey and there’s just more data on them as players. An excellent article lays out this exact strategy and even as it applied to Colorado’s own eventual overage draft selection Igor Shvyryov. Of course the caveat to keep in mind is older players are often playing and compared against younger competition as they progress further into the careers but teams are getting once passed over talents such as Drake Batherson and Tyler Steenbergen in the 4th and 5th rounds of the draft.
NHL Central Scouting lists dozens of overage draft eligibles on their just released midterm ranking and the highest ranked of them all at 39th for North American skaters is late-1998 born Owen Sound (OHL) defenseman Sean Durzi. He’s a 5’11 185lb right shot crafty and mobile puck moving defenseman who has put up 47 points with 15 goals in 37 games, it’s easy to see why scouts have taken notice this season and he shouldn’t have to sit in the stands too long on day two of the draft.
Another defenseman who will surely hear his name called on draft day is 1999 born Calgary Hitmen (WHL) Vladislav Yeryomenko, who is ranked at 79th in North America by Central Scouting. He’s a 6’0 171lb right handed defenseman with good two-way ability but has a smooth offensive game and has chipped in 31 points in 42 games with 11 goals. Yeryomenko is also on the radar from a strong World Junior Championship tournament where he did his best to keep Belarus out of relegation with four points in six games.
There are many who fall through the cracks and are not ranked by Central Scouting at all including one who is in the top 10 of QMJHL scoring and that is 1999 born Rouyn-Noranda Huskies left winger Rafael Harvey-Pinard. He’s not a large player at 5’9 and 165lbs but he’s a good skater, plays hard and hustles but also has the skill and hockey sense to lead his team in scoring with 56 points and 23 goals in 49 games. Harvey-Pinard showed well at the Canada Russia series and could be on the scouts’ lists for consideration from that event.
Keep these under the radar names in mind as the draft approaches as many won’t appear on popular ranking lists or even with Central Souting but some teams are going to walk away with gems on draft day in Dallas.