Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! The third and final 2010 Mock NHL Entry Draft is here for your consumption. As the hockey minds, the movers and shakers, and future stars converge on downtown LA (6:00p CT, Versus) tonight and tomorrow for an exercise in selection (unless the teenie boppers riot over the Twilight premiere), I have done the leg work for you and figured out who will be going where, pick by pick. Already this week we’ve had a couple first round picks change hands, and the way it looks, the moves will not stop before, during, or after the draft.
Many of the picks remain the same, but with resources scarce, and different teams with different needs now, some teams missed out on who they hoped for last go round. Let’s put the Oilers on the clock and get on with this Hollywood production. Tick….tock…. tick….tick….
By: Bryan Vickroy
Before we get to the first pick, here’s a little background information to help make the whole concept of the entry draft a bit clearer. The Draft is seven rounds long. All players eligible must be 18 by September 15, and not older than 20 on December 15, except for non North American skaters. A player who has been drafted can re-enter the draft if he hasn’t signed with the team who owns his rights within two years. NCAA players may be drafted and keep their eligibility, as long as they do not play for a professional team, or hire an agent. NCAA player rights are kept until 30 days after the player leaves college.
As an added bonus, here is a quick breakdown of the abbreviated leagues:
- Onatario Hockey League (OHL)
- Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
- Western Hockey League (WHL)
- Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)
- Finnish Elite League (FEL)
- United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP)
- High School (HS)
- East Coast Junior Hockey League (EJHL)
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
- British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL)
- Taylor Hall, LW (6’ 1”, 185)
Windsor Spitfires (OHL) [57 GP 40-66-106 56 PIM]
Oilers will not fail with either player, but Hall should be the pick. Top ranked player last two years, except final rankings. Will bring much needed scoring to the tundra.
2. Boston (via Toronto)
- Tyler Seguin, C (6’ 1”, 172)
Plymouth Whalers (OHL) [63 GP 48-58-106 54 PIM]
Bruins will be team most likely to make some moves, and supposedly covet Hall. But Seguin is also well above anyone else and should fit right into the lineup.
- Cam Fowler, D (6’ 1”, 190)
Windsor Spitfires (OHL) [55 GP 8-47-55 14 PIM]
Fowler is an offensive dynamo on the blue line. The Panthers though last year was going to be the breakout year, but this pick can actually make breakouts for their skilled forwards.
- Brandon Gormley, D (6’ 2”, 185)
Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) [58 GP 9-34-43 54 PIM]
Gormley has the size and skill to become an elite defenseman. The Blue Jackets hope it happens immediately, as he is a clear upgrade over nearly all their current backliners.
5. New York
- Brett Connolly, LW (6’ 2”, 181)
Prince George Cougars (WHL) [16 GP 10-9-19 8 PIM]
After having the top pick last year, the Islanders luck out this year and get a possible #1 choice who’s fallen due to injuries. Connolly will pair nicely with John Tavares on all units.
6. Tampa Bay
- Eric Gudbranson, D (6’ 4”, 195)
Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) [41 GP 2-21-23 68 PIM]
With so many weapons up front for the Lightning, this pick will help them rebuild the ragged defensive corps that doesn’t seem to stop any goals.
- Ryan Johansen, C (6’ 2” 192)
Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) [71 GP 25-44-69 53 PIM]
A team who never seems to be consistent one season to the next, Johansen gives the Hurricanes stability down the middle, as he is an Erik Staal clone.
- Vladimir Tarasanko, RW (5’ 11”, 205)
Novisibirsk (KHL) [42 GP 13-11-24 18 PIM]
What do you draft when you just traded away your best player, a cocky Russian sniper? The Thrashers draft another cocky Russian sniper, and Tarasanko has the skills to be just as good, or better, than Ilya Kovalchuk.
- Mikael Granlund, C (5’ 10”. 180)
HIFK Helsinki (FEL) [42 GP 13-27-40 2 PIM]
No doubt about it, the Wild need a real second center to take some of the pressure off the top line. Granlund is a Mikko Koivu prototype, and would learn well watching Mikko everyday. Wouldn’t be surprised if they took in state talent Nick Bjugstad instead.
10. New York
- Nino Niederreiter, RW(6’ 2” 201)
Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) [65 GP 36-24-60 68 PIM]
Rangers need scorers, and Niederreiter has shown the ability to score at all levels of play, continues to wow personnel, and has been creeping up the charts recently.
- Derek Forbort, D (6’ 5”, 198)
USNTDP[26 GP 4-10-14 26 PIM]
Forbort might have the most upside of any of the defenseman this year. The Stars will benefit from this Duluth kid’s size and skills no matter what.
- Emerson Etem, C (6’ 0”, 190)
Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) [72 GP 37-28-68 26 PIM]
Ducks grab a literal home grown player, which is extremely rare to say for California. Etem has great speed and hands, and will blend seamlessly with the youth movement.
13. Phoenix (via Calgary)
- Nick Bjugstad, C (6’ 4”, 188)
Blaine (MN HS) [25 GP 29-31-60 24 PIM]
Coyotes will not rush anybody up to the NHL with their situations, and drafting Mr. Hockey 2010 allows Bjugstad, who will enroll at Minnesota a year early, to develop with the Gophers before making the roster.
14. St. Louis
- Mark Pysyk, D (6’ 1”, 174)
Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) [48 GP 7-17-24 47 PIM]
Blues recentely upgraded their goaltending with the trade for Halak, and now Pysyk will upgrade their defense with some toughness and grinding that their other D don’t do.
15. Florida (via Boston)
- Dylan McIlrath, D (6’ 4”, 212)
Ottawa 67’s, (OHL) [65 GP 7-17-24 169 PIM]
Panthers got another first rounder in the Nate Horton trade earlier in the week. An offensive weapon is tempting, but the chance to create a top blue line pair for years to come is just too important to pass up on McIlrath.
- Alexander Burmistrov, C (5’ 11”, 157)
Barrie Colts (OHL) [62 GP 22-43-65 44 PIM]
There are a lot of Jason Spezza trade rumors out there, and this adds to the Senators pivot men. Stock slipped somewhat do to questions of his desire to be in N. America, but he has said he wants to play in the NHL, not KHL.
- Austin Watson, LW (6’3”, 185)
Peterborough Petes (OHL) [52 GP 20-35-54 22 PIM]
The Avalanche got quick last draft, so this go round, they add a little bit of size to the lineup. Watson shows a good touch around the net, and is a proven winner with all his tournaments won.
- John McFarland, LW (6’ 0”, 192)
Sudbury Wolves (OHL) [64 GP 20-30-50 70 PIM]
The Predators get a natural leader, who also has a pretty good scoring touch. McFarland isn’t afraid to back down, and is more than willing to throw his body around on the ice.
19. Los Angeles
- Tyler Toffoli, C (6’ 0”, 178)
Ottawa 67’s (OHL) [65 GP 37-42-79 54 PIM]
Kings are the host of this year’s shindig, and taking Toffoli should get them good reviews. Averaged almost a point and a half a game this past season, and more than a point per game in his career postseason play.
- Stanislav Galiev, RW (6’ 1”, 178)
St John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) [67 GP 15-45-60 38 PIM]
Penguins might be tempted to grab a defenseman to restock their depleted corps, but with so many drafted, Galiev is the best player available and could replace some aging vets.
- Riley Sheahan, C (6’ 2”, 202)
Notre Dame (NCAA) [37 GP 6-11-17 22 PIM]
- Jack Cambell, G (6’ 3”, 175)
USNTDP [11 GP 2.21 GAA .917SAVE]
With multiple first round picks and budget constraints, the Coyotes nab a possible franchise goalie while not affecting their bottom line.
- Tyler Pitlick, C (6’ 2”, 194)
Minnesota State-Mankato (NCAA) [35 GP 10-8-18 27 PIM]
Pitlick is a strong player who put up decent numbers in his freshman year, despite playing with less than stellar talent. Sabres will be rewarded with a two way player who could do some things on the special teams units.
24. Chicago (via Atlanta/New Jersey)
- Calvin Pickard, G (6’1”, 195)
Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) [62 GP 3.09 GAA .914SAVE]
Blackhawks get this pick in the Dustin Byfuglien deal, and use it to select a goalie who can create a new tandem with Antii Niemi. Pickard has been peppered all season with shots, and somehow was undefeated in games where he faced more than 50 shots.
- Johnathon Merrill, D (6’ 3”, 198)
USNTDP [22 GP 1-8-9 12 PIM]
Canucks seem to lack a shutdown blueliner, and the last two playoff exits showed the glaring hole. Merrill should mature into top line d-man who excels in protecting his own zone.
- Alexander Petrovic, D (6’ 4”, 193)
Red Deer Rebels (WHL) [57 GP 8-19-27 87 PIM]
Capitals finally get somebody big and mean to protect their big guns, and Petrovic will be a good defensive compliment to the offensive pushings of Mike Green.
- Quinton Howden, C (6’ 2”, 182)
Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) [65 GP 28-37-65 44 PIM]
Gives the Canadiens some size and grit to go along with their flying forwards, and someone who will be a solid two way centerman.
28. San Jose
- Beau Bennett, RW (6’ 1”, 173)
Penticton Vees (BCHL) [56 GP 41-79-120 20 PIM]
Another product of the NHL expansion into California, the Sharks will enjoy this homegrown prospect in a couple years.
29. Anaheim (via Philadelphia)
- Petr Straka, RW (6’ 1”, 185)
Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) [62 GP 28-36-67 54 PIM]
Ducks received this pick in the Chris Pronger deal, and Straka will help fill out their young and deep offensive corps.
- Brock Nelson, C (6’ 3”, 205)
Warroad (MN HS) [25 GP 39-34-73 28 PIM]
So sit back, relax, and make sure you boo Gary Bettman every time he approaches the podium. and remember one thing: most of these kids aren’t being drafted to help a team today, these are the players who will make the difference between winning or losing the Stanley Cup in a few years. To all the kids lucky enough to have their name called on Friday or Saturday, congratulations, and welcome to the rest of your life. We look forward to seeing you on the ice soon.
If you know more than me, know something I should know, just flat out annoyed by me, or feel as if I am some type of oracle, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or holler for all to see and get a real time feed into my mind at www.twitter.com/bryanvickroy/.