Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft: 5 Sleeper Picks

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Oct 14, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; A general view of the NHL logo on a net prior to the game of the Ottawa Senators against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

D David Bernhardt – Djurgardens IF U20 – SuperElit

Staying in Europe, but moving over to Sweden, we find defenseman David Bernhardt, the 39th European Skater on NHL CSS’s list. To get you excited, I would like to mention one name that Bernhardt’s draft-year stats compare to: Erik Karlsson.

Okay, comparing him to the Ottawa Senators captain probably isn’t fair. But, Bernhardt’s 10 goals and 38 points in 45 games from the blue line are definitely impressive. Especially considering that he has an NHL frame at 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds.

From TheDraftAnalyst.com:

"A big, somewhat mobile defenseman with room for improvement who can shoot the puck with authority and help run a power play. Bernhardt won’t blow the doors open with speed, but he’s a smart skater who makes up for his lack of first-step quickness with good instincts and the ability to see plays unfold. He is the perfect option for an organization known to breed quality defenders, and with older brother (and New York Rangers’ draft pick) Daniel leaving Sweden for the London Knights, the chance to coach and mentor the younger Bernhardt without the burden of overseas travel makes the gamble palatable. He was one of the Superelit’s top scoring rearguards this season, finishing second in both assists (28) and points (38)."

As Steve Kournianos noted, there is a lot of room for improvement in Bernhardt’s defensive game, but his offensive tools and frame are enough to get excited. Bernhardt is projected to be picked in the fourth round, and that is probably a fair assessment. But don’t be surprised if he comes off the board in the mid to late third round.

David Bernhardt has an intriguing skill-set and all he needs to do is develop his defensive game. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Next: D David Quenneville