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S35 VHL Entry Draft flashback


The S35 VHL Draft class was widely considered to be one of the better classes of VHL prospects in recent history. The draft created no shortage of buzz a season ago, but how did these players fare in their first season of post-draft hockey? We’ll take a look at how the draft’s top 10 picks finished the season.


1st Overall – G Lennox Moher (HC Davos)

Moher dominated the VHLM a season ago and walked into a starting role with the upstart HC Davos Dynamo, playing a key role in the team’s clinching of a European Conference playoff spot. Moher posted a respectable 2.65 GAA and .906 SV% but with scant offensive production league-wide, Moher finished near the bottom of VHL goaltenders in both categories. Don’t expect that to be a trend, however, as Moher has shown he will be capable of being a top-tier VHL goaltender as early as next season.


2nd Overall – C Naomi Young (Helsinki)

The talented playmaking centre had some hiccups in her first season of VHL action as Young managed only 33 points on a stat line that included five goals and 28 assists. Young’s lack of strength proved to be a major factor in her struggles this season but despite the rocky transition, the team is confident that Young still has the tools to be a high-end centre in the VHL. Young should see even heavier minutes next season so it will be interesting to see how she does after an off-season of training.


3rd Overall – C Leon Leitner (Vasteras)

Leitner made the transition to centre this season and like Young, there were some speed-bumps along the way. Leitner finished the season with only eight goals and 30 points but the team was happy with his progression throughout the course of the year as a centre. With improved faceoff ability and positional play checked off, Leitner will now be poised to re-kindle his offensive game as a sophomore in S36.



Davos goaltender Lennox Moher saw no shortage of action in his rookie season.


4th Overall – RW Tony Stark (HC Davos)

Stark was considered to be the top ‘VHL ready’ forward in the draft and he lived up to the billing with an immediate impact this year. Stark finished the season with 28 goals and 63 points and proved to be a two-way force all season long. While Stark’s season was a successful one, the team is concerned about his upside moving forward as his development has shown signs of flatlining.


5th Overall – D Edwin Encarnacion (Seattle)

Encarnacion was a wildcard on and off the ice last season before being selected fifth overall by Riga. His stint in Latvia did not last long, however, as Encarnacion was dealt to the Bears midway through the season where he continued a solid rookie season. Encarnacion finished with an impressive 39 points but more importantly showcased why his physicality and tenacity will solidify him as a defensive menace for years to come.


6th Overall – D Conner Low (Ottawa VHLM)

Low was the first player selected who returned to the VHLM for an additional year of development; a move that looks to have paid off for the New York Americans. While his parent club toiled with a dismal season, Low has developed nicely in the VHLM and will be ready to jump into the VHL next year as a capable two-way defenseman from day one.


7th Overall – RW Brennan McQueen (Ottawa VHLM)

McQueen was drafted by the Seattle Bears who also opted to let their first round pick spend an extra season in the VHLM with the Ottawa Lynx. McQueen had a productive season with 48 goals and 82 points and the sniper appears poised to step into the VHL next year as he closes in on 250 practice hours this off-season.


8th Overall – C Frederik Ernst (Ottawa VHLM)
Cologne has the unfortunate pleasure of taking the first ‘whiff’ on a pick in the S35 VHL Entry Draft. Ernst scored 91 points this season with Ottawa but has shown no signs of improvement which is a major red flag for a first round prospect. At this point, it would be hard to envision a scenario where Ernst develops into anything more than a fringe depth player.


9th Overall – LW Earl Parker (Bern VHLM)

Parker had a big season in Bern with 57 goals and 109 points – good enough for the team lead in both categories – but his overall development hasn’t been there for the Dynamo. Like Ernst, Parker seems destined to be a quality VHLM player at this point with little more to offer a VHL team.


10th Overall – D Tyler Owens (Saskatoon VHLM)

Owens was another VHLM player who turned in an impressive 99 point season from the back-end with the Saskatoon Wilde. Unfortunately the good news comes to an abrupt conclusion there as Owens really has not progressed to the point where he will be in the plans of Helsinki anytime soon.

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Content: 3/3 - I always love media spots like this. While we've seen the stock of some prospects fall and rise, it'll be interesting to see where everyone ends up at the end of their careers. Some people at the top now may fall off later, while some prospects who aren't developing as fast as expected may become late bloomers. Either way, this subject is always interesting.


Grammar: 2/2 - I didn't see anything. Nice.


Appearance: 1/1 - Picture looks a little weird since it's aligned to the right, but no biggie.


Overall: 6/6

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Content: 3/3 - Awesome look at the progress of the rookie class of this season. Crazy that a good amount of them actually played in the VHL for their rookie season to boot.
Grammar: 2/2 - FLAWLESS VICTORY!
Appearance: 1/1 - Moher is a thief!
Overall: 6/6 - It is perfectly acceptable to not call the fire department when it is your ex-wife's house that is on fire.
FINAL: 6/6
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