1. Joseph Garreffa
Joseph Garreffa finishes up the list as the #1 potential Hidden Gem in this year’s Entry Draft, and for good reason. Garreffa, despite being the oldest member of this list at 20 years old, is ready to move to the next level of hockey.
Garreffa scored 32 goals and 55 assists for a total of 87 points in 68 games played with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. Garreffa is currently an Alternate Captain for Kitchener, which showcases his leadership ability early on. Garreffa has a huge upside to make an impact on the NHL level.
I’m not sure that I see Garreffa impacting the NHL right away, but (as with upcoming goalie and my #5 pick on this list, Spencer Knight), a year or so on an AHL team will season him right up. Garreffa is a strong, physical skater who isn’t afraid to take the puck to the ‘dirty areas’. Coming in at 5’7″ and 176lbs, he isn’t the biggest of skaters, but makes up for his lack of size with incredible speed and explosiveness.
Garreffa is currently projected to be picked roughly 135th-180th overall, and I don’t necessarily disagree with that ranking. The young winger could still turn out to be a standard, run-of-the-mill late round pick, but with the right development, anything could happen.
So, there you have it. My Top 5 Potential Hidden Gems in this year’s Entry Draft. Again, this is all my own opinion, and is in no way meant to represent a Universal Objective Truth™. Either way, this year’s draft is going to be very interesting to watch. The Carolina Hurricanes have always drafted well in the later rounds. Hopefully Don Waddell can continue the trend.
Question for CC Readers: What prospects in this year’s Entry Draft are you most excited about?