Hockey is often a family-driven sport. To get into the big time, it helps to have a relative who played in the NHL. For Oliver Bonk, it runs a little deeper than that. Oliver is the son of long-time NHL player Radek Bonk. Radek was a 13th overall pick by the Ottawa Senators in 1994. Many Ranger fans don’t remember that draft because they were all out celebrating the fourth Stanley Cup victory in franchise history.
Going back to Oliver, this is a big defenseman already. At 6’1, 180 lbs at the age of just 18, this is going to be a big man. Not to mention, he’s a right-handed defenseman. Outside of a first-line center, right-handed defensemen are the most valuable commodity in this sport. Finding players that shoot righty is difficult enough, but one on the back end with his size is going to be enticing.
Bonk had a great producing season on the back end of the London Knights with 10 goals and 30 assists for 40 points in 67 games. There is all the talent of a great defenseman there. He’s going to need help putting it all together, but a defenseman that plays the right side and can be a force of nature for a long time on the back end and potentially replace the physical aspect that the Blueshirts lose in the future is a big plus.
It is still going to be a long time until we see Bonk in the league. It’ll probably take two years at least to complete his junior career. He may need AHL time on top of that down in Hartford so please do not think this is an immediate impact player. Outside of the top 5 picks, you are unlikely to find someone like that in this draft. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a player that needs consideration
This player is kind of difficult to get a read on where he goes. Some folks have him at 28, some people have him as high as 25, or EliteProspects has him as an early third-rounder. He splits opinions and could be a good pick. 23 may be a little early for the son of Radek, but it is worth considering.