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The Best of the Last Round: A Review of the Last Round of the Portal-Era Entry Drafts


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Since the portal era, the last round in the draft has always been something that has interested me and where these players end up. Some teams pass if they don't have anyone specific in mind, other teams pick people based on funniest names. Most importantly, there are some players that drop to the last round in the draft who have potential to become VHL regulars, and make a serious impact in the league. Today I will be going through the portal era drafts and picking some of the best players who were selected in the last round, and discuss the impact they had in the league.

Season 63 - Round 4, 25th Overall 
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RW - Joey Boucher - @Tape-to-Tape

503 GP - 115 G - 199 A - 314 P
Joey Boucher is the first player to be selected in the 4th round, behind players in the third in second round who never graduated to the VHL. After posting just over point per game in his draft+1 year, he graduated to the VHL where he had a lackluster rookie campaign with Helsinki. He was then dealt to Calgary, before being flipped to Toronto shortly thereafter. His S65 campaign was a comeback year for the young forward, posting 28 goals and 63 points in the regular season, and 11 points in the post season as Toronto went on to capture the Continental Cup. His career continued on this pace, before being dealt to Malmo in the offseason. Boucher posted his worst season since his rookie year, and returned to Helsinki as a free agent in the off season. Boucher's career is currently easily the best of the last round picks, posting the most games played and points by almost double. However, with a slew of young prospects being selected in the last round of the S72, time will tell if he can hold onto the title.

Season 64 - Round 4, 28th Overall
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D - Basaraba Moose - @Toasty
288 GP - 42 G - 108 A - 150 P
Basaraba Moose is a defenseman who's career took many twists and turns. In his draft+2 season, Moose posted 91 points in the VHLM's Halifax, an amazing improvement from his d+1 season, where he only posted 18 points. Similar to Boucher, he was dealt early in his career, being traded to Malmo for a barrage of draft picks. As a rookie, he posted an impressive 48 points. The awards committee was more impressed with Basarba in another category, however. His 118 hits and 174 shot blocks allowed him to tie veteran Samuel Gate for the Jake Wylde trophy, as the VHL's best defensive defenseman. Moose's rookie campaign proved to be his greatest, as his point totals declined to 34, 33, and 35 in his next seasons. Moose was a key part of the S67 trade that saw the two first entries on this list swap teams, with Moose landing in Toronto. Similar to Boucher, Moose was only a member of the team for a season, being dealt to Davos, where he would end his career after one more season.

Season 65 - Round 4, 28th Overall
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RW - Don Draper - @Infernal

288 GP - 77 G - 70 A - 147 P
Another player who did not play a game with their drafting team, Draper had two great seasons post draft, having back-to-back 90 point seasons. He was dealt to Davos following his performance in Ottawa. Draper had a disappointing  transition to the majors, only posting 17 points in his rookie season. Draper opted to enter free agency following this season, and was a highly sought after player, entertaining offers from Toronto, New York, and finally the expansion team in Prague. His first year in the Czech Republic was return to form for the young Canadian, posting 58 points. However he quickly regressed in the following seasons, and retired quietly in season 70. The Infernal agency returned in S72, and the agency seems to be following a similar career path to Draper, having posted a near 90 point performance in his draft+1, and now on pace for a near 150 point season back in Ottawa. He also finds himself returning to an expansion team, being selected 3rd overall to the Warsaw Predators in the expansion draft. Despite his agent saying that playing for an expansion draft ruined Draper's career, Dayne's is eerily creeping into repeating his agents supposed mistake.

Season 67 - Round 6, 55th Overall

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G - Virgil Ligriv - @MMFLEX
 182 GP - 0.912 SV% - 2.82 GAA - 7 SO
The first goaltender on the list, Ligriv was also bounced around before making his VHL debut for Helsinki in season 69. He played the backup role for the Titans until season 71, where he became the bonafide starter. Despite his impressive 0.917 SV%, 2.64 GAA and 4 shutouts, he finished the season with a losing record. After only one season of being "the guy" in Helsinki, the American was once again bounced around, going to Malmo and then Prague in the offseason. Ligriv has been the Phantoms starter since, and looks to lead his team to the postseason for the first time in his career. One of two players currently playing in the VHL, Ligriv seems to have plateaued at his current level, but could remain as the #1 guy in Praha for at least another season, potentially stretching his starter gig to season 75.

Season 68 - Round 5, 61st Overall
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RW - Raleigh Ritchie - @DangerGolding
243 GP - 46 G - 36 A - 82 P
Almost falling all the way to becoming the VHL's Mr. Irrelevant, Raleigh Ritchie had two fantastic seasons in San Diego, climbing to become their fifth highest franchise scorer. His VHL career, beginning in season 70, has been the definition of mediocre. He has posted three full season in the VHL, and his point total has been increasing from his rookie performance of 20. Continuing on this trend, Ritchie is on pace to hit just shy of 30 points this season. An interesting fact is that Ritchie is the only player thus far to stay on one team, having played his entire career thus far in D.C, and being only the second player on this list to be playing in the VHL. Based on his current point trend increasing by around 2 for the past 3 seasons, the Brit will become a point per game player in just 21 seasons. #72inS94

Season 68 - Round 5, 56th Overall
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D - Ryan Chism - @Jables

72 GP - 0 G - 0 A - 0 P
Chism, having been selected 5 slots ahead of Ritchie, had one of the most impressive stat lines I've seen while researching this post. In his stellar rookie year, Chism was dressed for all 72 of Calgary's games, and played a total of six minutes, averaging nine seconds per game. In this six minutes, Chism recorded one hit, one shot attempt, and a fight, which was ruled a tie on HockeyFights. The Kiwi followed up this regular season performance with an impressive one minute in 11 playoff games. He retired with little fanfare at the end of the playoffs, finishing his career with an impressive 50 penalty minutes per 60. Chism should go down in the history books as the best most efficient player of all time.

Season 72 - Round 4, 38th Overall
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D - Ziarie Anigbogu - @ngine4
PROSPECT
Entering into the speculation part of the article, we skip to the S72 where we see the Nigerian as the second pick in the last round. Unlike most players in this roster, Anigbogu is a VHLM journeyman, playing for his third team in four seasons. Ziarie is known for his strong skating ability, and elite passing from the point. He is expected to make his VHL debut for the Toronto Legion next season, where I could see him being a way-too-early contender for the Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy. In the future, Anigbogu should become a bonafide top 4 D-man by season 75, and will be a huge factor if Toronto looks to get younger.
 

Season 72 - Round 4, 40th Overall

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D - Chance Rust - @turkey2349
PROSPECT
Another VHLM journeyman, Chance Rust's minors career is synonymous with success. Rust featured on the dominant Lynx' blue line as they crushed the competition on the way to their S71 Founders Cup victory. Following the dispersal draft, Rust was a key member of Mexico City's Cinderella run to the Founders Cup finals in his draft+1 year. He now joins the elite Miami Marauders in their quest to winning the VHLM. Rust himself is an offensive defenceman who projects to be an important piece in a teams top four defense, providing offence both 5 on 5 and especially on the powerplay, where he plays a pass-first quarterback.

Season 72 - Round 4, 42nd Overall
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G - Bacon - @Bacon
PROSPECT
An inaugural member of the Miami Marauders, Bacon now backstops the best team in the VHLM. Becoming the Americans only addition to the list, they hope that either Bacon or Cal Conway become the future starter to replace the aging Red Guy. As one of the Americans best prospects, he could easily become trade bait as the Americans look at making a push for the Continental Cup this season. On the bright side for Bacon, he is easily in contention for the Founders Cup this season, as the Marauders are easily the strongest team in the M. I don't expect Bacon to play a game for the Americans, but I bet they'll regret that decision in the future, as Bacon could easily become what Red Guy is, and potentially more.

Season 72 - Round 4, 43rd Overall
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G - Nils Friedriksen - @Biggreen10
PROSPECT
The second of back-to-back goalies in the fourth round, Las Vegas' Nils Friedriksen joins Bacon in the grind to become a VHL player. Traded to the London United as a way for the Wranglers to move up in S73 draft, the United hope the young Dane becomes the franchises first true starting goaltender. His VHLM career has been plagued by a disappointing playoff record following a good regular season performance, most recently losing in six to the underdog Kings. Expect Friedriksen to become a key piece of a young London team, and prove himself to be a consistent goaltender in the VHL.


Season 72 - Round 4, 44th Overall

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LW - Jared Willis - @BlueMaple
PROSPECT
The biggest VHLM journeyman of the list, Willis has been involved with four VHLM teams, finding himself with fellow S72 last rounders in Miami for S73. Despite being a part of a worse roster, his point total is on pace to drop below his draft+1 year, probably due to the lack of ice time available for the young winger. Willis is an offensive minded forward who could become quite the liability in  the defensive zone. The winger projects to be a middle six scoring forward, especially on the current dominant Davos roster. I could see Willis becoming one of the better players on this list, at least in terms of point production.

Season 72 - Round 4, 47th Overall
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C - Pietro Angellini - @okifenoki
PROSPECT
The second player on the list that was dangerously close to becoming Mr. Irrelevant, Angellini has made considerable strides since his draft year. Near capping every single week, Angellini has quickly risen on the TPE totals for the S72 draft class, finding himself 22nd at the time of research. The American has followed this up with an amazing start to the S73 campaign, finding himself on pace for just shy of 150 points for the Marlins. Joining Moscow's young forward core next season, expect Angellini to become a top line center somewhere in the VHL. This young man can definitely take Boucher's point total and become the best player to be selected in the last round. Angellini should be a contender for the Christian Stolzschweiger in season 74.


This concludes the Best of the Last Round, despite there being some people I debated writing on in S73, their current trend leaves them as barely scratching the VHL's 250 TPE cap. I hope this list revealed to everyone that Ryan Chism should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer for his pure grit and determination in his 9 seconds per game. Please do not comment about how there was some dude who went in the last round pre-portal era nobody cares about them, old man.



2092 words ty ty ty

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