Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NHL Draft Preview

Let's start off by saying that we at HockeySureShot mainly focus on watching the NHL and do not pay as much attention to junior hockey as perhaps we should. That being said, the NHL draft is one of our favorite nights on the NHL calender. We did a bit of research by watching video clips on the top prospects and read the scouting reports from TSN and the Hockey News. Some experts have said this is a deep draft, others have said that it thins out after the top eight or so. Regardless,we can expect a lot of wheeling and dealing on the draft floor at Staples Center on Friday night. Here are the top ten draft picks as we see it:

#1 Edmonton Oilers: Taylor Hall LW 6-1 185 lbs.
Ranked #1 by the Hockey News and by draft guru Bob McKenzie. Saw him play at the World Junior Championship for Canada and this player caught my attention early. Brilliant skater, drives hard to the net, and scores goals. Should be a premier forward for the Oilers for years to come.

#2 Boston Bruins: Tyler Seguin C 6-1 186 lbs.
By all accounts Hall and Seguin stand out from all the rest. As of Tuesday night, Edmonton still did not confirm who they would take, which leaves Boston to grab who's left. Seguin is more of a playmaker than Hall and makes his teammates around him better. Although Hall has achieved more success on the junior level, some scouts fell that Seguin may be the better pro. We love what Boston did today by acquiring forward Nathan Horton, and now it appears they will add another dynamic forward to their roster.

#3 Florida Panthers: Eric Gudbranson D 6-4 200 lbs.
It's very hard to pass up on a 6-4 shutdown defensemen with a mean streak, and a blistering slapshot such as the case with Gudbranson. However, the Panthers with new GM Dale Tallon, expect to be active on the trade front, and have already traded Nathan Horton for Dennis Wideman and the 15th overall pick in this years draft. If they hold on to the pick, Gudbranson seems to be a wise choice.

#4 Columbus Blue Jackets: Brandon Gromley D 6-2 187 lbs.
Gromley is probably more offensively gifted than Gudbranson, but not nearly as physical. Very solid prospect who can do anything that is asked of him. Columbus has needed an offensive defensemen forever it seems and this would be a wise pick for the rebuilding Jackets.

#5 New York Islanders: Cam Fowler D 6-2 190 lbs.
The American born defensemen was tremendous in the US gold medal win over Canada at the World Juniors. When watching that game you clearly noticed Fowler's presence on the blueline. Very smart player with an outstanding upside especially on the offensive end. New York drafted John Tavares last year that added to a solid nucleus on offense with Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, and Blake Comeau. Now it is time to add a legit prospect on defense.

#6 Tampa Bay Lightning: Brett Connolly RW 6-2 182 lbs.
Two years ago Tampa drafted stud forward Steve Stamkos, last year it was stud defenseman Viktor Hedman. Does new GM Steve Yzerman go for a goalie such as Jack Campbell? I say he goes for the very skilled, but oft injured Connolly. The only concern for this elite scorer is the hip injury suffered last season that caused him to only play in 16 regular season games. As most scouts will tell you, they're trying to project how these players will be in 3 or 4 years from now. This is a talent that is too good to pass up in my opinion.

#7 Carolina Hurricanes: Nino Niederreiter LW 6-2 205 lbs.
Big Swiss forward who had a eye catching performance at the World Junior Championships. Scored 60 points in 65 games in the WHL. Scouts view him as an imposing power forward with a great attitude.

#8 Atlanta Thrashers: Jack Campbell G 6-2 185
Gold medal winning goaltender for the US Team at the WJC. He has drawn comparisons to Carey Price. For a team like Atlanta which has building blocks such as Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian, it would make sense to draft a goaltender.

#9 Minnesota Wild: Ryan Johansen C 6-3 195 lbs.
Johansen had a huge year in the WHL and his value is skyrocketing. One scout actually compared him to Joe Thornton or Eric Staal. This big physical center plays a solid game on both ends of the ice and will only get better when he matures. Will probably be a few years away from the NHL, but is an intriguing prospect with tremendous upside.

#10 New York Rangers: Vladimir Tarasenko RW 5-11 202 lbs.
What team is willing to take a gamble on a Russian forward who is considered to be the most skilled player in the draft as well as the biggest wildcard in the draft? Glen Sather could either be a genius with this pick, or be vilified even more. Supposedly, Tarasenko is built like a tank and is the most physically imposing prospect in this years draft. If he were born in North America he may be considered first overall. However nobody is sure if he wants to play in the NHL or play for more money in Russia's KHL. It's a risk that the offensively inept Rangers may be willing to take.

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