With the 25th overall selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (acquired from Toronto in exchange for the 29th and 76th picks in this draft), the Blues selected German-born winger Dominik Bokk from the Växjö Lakers HC in Sweden.
Bokk rose rapidly in the eyes of scouts this year, starting the 2017-18 season as a “C” rated player on NHL Central Scouting’s initial “Players To Watch” list, before peaking at 8th in Europe at Midterm. He slipped a bit to 12th in Europe in the Final rankings, due partly to a lack of exposure at the World Juniors; Germany competed in the D1 “A” Pool at the U20 World Juniors after failing to qualify for the elite group last season, and Bokk did not play for Germany at the U18 D1 World Juniors.
Bokk was not particularly outstanding at the NHL Scouting Combine a couple of weeks ago. This is not to say that he tested poorly; only that he finished in the Top 25 (out of 104 prospects tested) in just three tests:
- Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Right (Max Speed), where he finished fifth with a maximum speed of 12.8 MPH.
- Anaerobic Fitness: Fatigue Index (measured during the dreaded stationary bike test), where he finished 20th with a score of 22.6. The leader, Detroit draftee Joseph Veleno, had a score of 13.3.
- Body Composition: Juhasz % Body Fat, in which he placed 20th with a body fat percentage of 8.59%. The leader, QMJHL defenseman Xavier Bouchard (not drafted yet) checked in at 6.96%.
Your GTPD subscribes to four different scouting services in order to get the broadest possible spectrum of views on potential prospects. Each of these had a somewhat different taken Bokk’s potential.
”Future Considerations,” in their 2018 NHL Draft Guide, ranked Bokk 33rd. Ten players ranked above Bokk by FC were drafted after Bokk was selected at 25th overall.
FC considers Bokk a “high-risk/high-reward type of prospect.” On the plus side, they like his skating and his speed, especially his ability to make things happen at top speed. They also liked his vision and stickhandling, and noted that he is a “natural passer” with the ability to thread passes to teammates even under pressure.
Negative attributes noted by FC include a tendency to become frustrated when teammates can’t keep up with his high-tempo game, and lack of a physical component to his game. He’s also considered by FC’s scouts to be nonchalant in attending to his defensive responsibilities, although they note that he has made strides in improving his work ethic.
”Hockey Prospect.com,” in their 2018 NHL Draft “Black Book,” ranked Bokk 13th overall for this draft, and in their scouting report quoted an unnamed NHL scout as saying that Bokk is “a Euro version of (Mathew) Barzal,” who just took home the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2017-18.
The “Black Book” scouts noted that Bokk “developed over the course of the season into one of the best offensive talents the 2018 draft has to offer,” and had high praise for his creativity and skill set. They were not as high on his skating ability as “Future Considerations,” noting that his skating technique is “unrefined,” but did acknowledge that he is able to generate adequate speed and separation once he gets moving.
HP did not emphasize the negatives of Bokk’s game, but did – like “Future Considerations” – note that he tends to use his stick and not his body to check, limiting his effectiveness along the boards, especially against the bigger and older competition in the SHL.
International Scouting Services, or ISS, ranked Bokk 28th overall, and nine of the players they ranked above him were drafted after Bokk was chosen 25th overall.
The folks at ISS ranked Bokk as “Very Good” in six of the nine categories that they use to evaluate each prospect (Skating, Puck Skills, Shot, Offensive Play, Competitiveness, and Hockey Sense), and “Good” in the other three (Size/Strength, Defensive Play, and Physical Play). His NHL Comparable player, per ISS, is André Burakovsky, who is an Austrian that played junior in Sweden (similar to Bokk being a German playing junior in Sweden), and who just won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals.
ISS lists the Strengths of Bokk’s game as Puck Skills and Passing, Vision, and Skating, while his areas of improvement would be Strength and Defensive Zone Play.
Finally, “The Draft Analyst” website, run by former ESPN hockey prospects analyst Steve Kournianos, listed Bokk at 26th overall, noting that Bokk is “a goal-scoring winger with soft hands and an excellent release who can deke or dangle his way into prime shooting areas, and he has the size, puck control and balance to ward off harassment.”