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Five Year Draft Review - Norsemen 2012 Draft Review

by Matt MacInnis | April 22, 2017, 6:18 PM ET

The 2012 draft produced a franchise goalie, cornerstone defenceman and a backup goalie for the Vancouver Island Norsemen.

Hampus Lindholm, D – Drafted from Rogle BK (Swe-1)

1st round – 11th overall

SICHL player – 130 games played, top pairing defenceman

A member of the all-name team, the Norsemen brass was legitimately surprised by his availability when they came around to pick at 11.  Seen by the team as a potential top 5 pick on draft day, it took no time for GM MacInnis to call Lindholm’s name when their pick came up.  The Swede was in North America the next season, and has rapidly progressed through all levels of competition.

Today, Lindholm is a critical part of the 2016-17 Norsemen, who led the SICHL in regular season points.  He frequently led the team in minutes played, and finished with 8 goals, 40 points and an impressive plus-22 rating.  While he isn’t expected to put up huge numbers at any point in his career, Lindholm’s stellar two-way game and reliability should make him a cornerstone of the franchise for many years to come.

 

Martin Frk, W – Drafted from Halifax Mooseheads

 

2nd round – 39th overall

 

Prospect – 1 game played (pending RFA)

A native of the Czech Republic, Frk made the decision to come to Canada and play major junior hockey to help achieve his dream of playing in the SICHL.  A consensus second round pick in the draft, Frk hasn’t been able to put it all together at the professional level.  He’s done well in lower leagues, demonstrating an ability to score consistently, but has not yet been able to prove that he can elevate his game against the best of the best.

Frk made his SICHL debut in the final, meaningless, game of the 2017 regular season, scoring a goal on his first career shot.  However, the reality is that Frk doesn’t appear to be on the cusp of a breakthrough. It would take a surprising progression for him to be in the Norsemen lineup even for the 2018-19 season. 

 

Ludwig Bystrom, D – Drafted from MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik

2nd round – 52nd overall

Prospect – Under contract with the Norsemen

The second Swedish blueliner selected by the club this draft, the man from the Sedins hometown continues to be a steady presence in the minor leagues.  Bystrom isn’t a remarkable talent, but seems to have the physical and mental tools to be a contributing factor at the SICHL level if he can catch a break.  However, there is growing concern that Bystrom may have plateau’d, and may be getting close to his ceiling. 

 

Daniil Zharkov, LW – Drafted from Belleville Bulls

2nd round – 54th overall

Bust

The third of three second round picks in 2012, the Norsemen scouting staff swung and missed big-time with Zharkov.  Tricked by his size and flashes of brilliance with the puck during his draft year, the franchise was actually quite high on Zharkov internally and even considered drafting him earlier.  This was a complete misread.  Zharkov seemed to stop developing as  a hockey player  at age 17, and is yet to be an impact player at any level of hockey.  After missing the entire 15-16 season, Zharkov played just a handful of games in Russia this year.  What a disaster.

 

 

Brian Hart, LW – Drafted out of Harvard

3rd round – 67th overall

Prospect (under contract)

Good news: Hart is a Harvard graduate, so he’s really smart.  Bad news: he’s not particularly good at hockey.  Calling Hart a prospect is probably not entirely accurate, as he’s a prospect really only nominally. Hart is a big-bodied presence, but has never developed the hands or puck skills to play at an elite level.  There’s a marginal chance of him seeing a surge and becoming a depth player, but it seems improbable. 

 

 

Matt Murray, G – Drafted out of Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

4th round – 95th overall

Starting goaltender (3 games played, 2 wins)

Probably the steal of the draft, the selection of Matt Murray went away from the Norsemen’s practice of drafting goalies who were either gigantically tall or had funny names (preferably both). Despite moving away from that principled approach, Murray shows signs of being a bonafide star goalie.  He’s already led a team to ‘that other Cup’ and has put up big numbers everywhere he’s played.  Next up for the Thunder bay native is the SICHL – he’s expected to share the crease with Jonathan Quick next season, and seems well positioned as the franchise’s goalie of the future.

 

Joonas Korpisalo, G – Drafted out of Kiekko-Vanta (Finland)

4th round – 108th overall

SICHL back-up goalie (28 games played, 19-6 W/L record, 4 shutouts)

Definitely selected by the team because his name is Joonas, the gangly Finn has already paid dividends for the team.  Korpisalo made his SICHL debut this season, delivering 19 wins in 28 appearances and has even caused some to question who the Norsemen starter will be in the post-season.  However, it’s likely that this season will be the greatest performance of Korpisalo’s SICHL career, as he’ll be the third man in a crowded crease next season for the club.  His long-term project is also muddy as he finds himself having difficulties securing himself enough games to continue to hone his skills.  The team could also consider using their depth at goaltender to shore up weaknesses in other areas.

 

 

Henri Kiviaho, G – Drafted out of KalPa Kuopio (Finland)

7th round – 176th overall

Bust

Sometimes you go to the well too many times; eventually it’s going to come up dry.  For the first time in club history, the Norsemen drafted three goalies with consecutive picks – but it appears the quality of player the received got progressively worse.  While Murray and Korpisalo were great selections, Henri Kiviaho was…not.  On the brink of being hockey five years after his selection, it’s difficult to imagine he will have a role in the Norsemen’s future.

 

 

Cody Payne, RW – Drafted out of Oshawa Generals

7th round – 179th overall

Bust

When asked to predict the outcome of his fight with Rocky Balboa, Mr T called for “Pain.”  Unfortunately, GM MacInnis thought he said “Payne” – and was predicting future greatness for Cody Payne.  That has not transpired as expected.  Following a CHL career that wasn’t particularly memorable, Payne is now playing CIS hockey and getting an education.  Barring a miraculous comeback, he’s never going to make the big show.

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