Monday, 30 May 2016

Alexis Vanier, Alexis Pépin about to re-enter the draft?

Here's a list of drafted players whose ‘rights’ will expire by June 1 if not signed by their clubs.

1) We talked a couple of days ago about Conner Bleackley. Not signed by the Avalanche, Patrick Roy was reportedly seriously disenchanted with this prospect. Traded to the Coyotes in the Michael Bodker deal.

2) Keegan Iverson, a tough heart-and-soul type who coaches love, but whose production and game has regressed apparently. Ten years ago there’s no doubt he would have been signed, “you need these kind of guys, warriors, who battle for their team, …”

3) Alexis Vanier, Alexis Pépin. A couple summers ago, a deluded blogger lost his marbles about the Canadiens passing those guys up, choosing to trade up and draft Brett Lernout instead.

Alexis Vanier has just been wrecked by injuries. Wasn’t available for the Drakkar when they were trying to make a playoff run, was acquired by the Phénix last season. They thought they were loading up for a run this year, but they never got in gear, and he got dumped at the deadline.

I’d still think hard about picking him in the late rounds if he goes back in the draft. Lots of talent, leadership, great size, good production when he’s healthy. I’d still be surprised if the Sharks passed on him.

Alexis Pépin is the classic case of the uber-talented player with everything going for him, except discipline and desire. Even more questions about whether he ‘gets it’. Production underwhelming. Bounced from team to team, finally had a full season on a stacked Foreurs team, didn’t score enough for a drafted 19-year old.

But all that size and talent though…

4) Lukas Sutter, again. We went through that with him last spring, he went back into the draft after the Jets elected not to sign their 2012 2nd-rounder. You have to wonder if he’d have been picked that high if his name was Lukas Smith.

Anyway, he went back into the draft last season and the Islanders took him in the seventh round. It looks like he’s been playing in the ECHL and AHL on AHL-only or pro-tryout contracts.

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