2007 NHL Entry Draft Monthly
1. F Jakub Voracek (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL) - The way Voracek carries the puck to the net is reminiscent of Marian Hossa. He is not an explosive skater but has tremendous puck protection, and is equally impressive creating scoring chances. Voracek does not play on the perimeter, and he has made as clean a transition to the North American game.
2. F Angelo Esposito (Quebec Remparts, QMJHL) Esposito's speed is at an elite level. He cradles the puck effortlessly, and is an exceptional play maker. Finishing touch is still coming a long, but a playmaking centerman with speed is a great asset to any team. The Chicago Blackhawks have shown the most interest in Angelo early on.
3. F Sam Gagner (London Knights, OHL) - Gagner's hockey sense and vision are top notch. Sam Gagner makes the players around him better. His hands are soft as butter and he is a fine player away from the puck as well. Safe pick.
4. F Kyle Turris (Burnaby, BCHL) - Turris was offensively dominant at the World Junior A Challenge. He is thin, but his offensive instincts and abilities are phenomenal. Turris has a little bit of Joe Sakic to him in the way he can finish, create, and be a one-on-one threat all while being the smartest player on the ice.
5. F James Van Riemsdyk (USNTDP) - Van Riemsdyk matured into his prodigious frame and became a top notch power forward prospect as a result. His puck skills are exceptional, and his one-on-one ability is as good as anyone's in this draft. Possesses an accurate wrist shot that has heavy velocity. Tons of untapped upside from this New Hampshire recruit.
6. D Karl Alzner (Calgary Hitmen, WHL) - Reminds me a little bit of Ty Wishart, but is even more dominant at both ends. Has ice water in his veins and his hockey sense is off the charts. Not a flashy defenseman, but makes all the solid plays you want a defenseman to. He's a big kid with superb mobility and distributes the puck well. His defenisve positioning suffocates the opposition.
7. F Sergei Korostin (Russia) - The fact that Korostin is from Russia will scare teams off until the NHL gets a deal done, but you can not deny his talents. Korostin is a swift skater with amazing one-on-one skill, and he's not your typical Russian. He can distribute the puck better than he finishes. Reminds me of a young Alexander Radulov.
8. D Nick Petrecki (Omaha Knights, USHL) - A tantalizing combination of size, strength, and a take no prisoners physical game> A powerful first step makes me believe he can be a dominant shut down defenseman in the NHL.
9. D Keaton Ellerby (Kamloops Blazers, WHL) - As one NHL scout said "He looks a lot like Dion Phaneuf did in his draft year". Ellerby is a swift skating big man who has a mean streak. He also has a booming slap shot he is just learning to use.
10. F Aaron Palushaj (Des Moines, USHL) - Palushaj is a dominating, creative play maker, and a lethal finisher. He makes all the plays right around the net, and his puck protection, and patience are NHL caliber. Similar offensive threat to Steve Bernier without Bernier's one-handed, 360 spin-o-rama move.
11. F Colton Gillies (Saskatoon Blades, WHL) - Despite only having 3 goals in 19 games, Gillies has to much raw ability to be far away from the top 10. Every time I see him, Gillies impresses me with his natural ability. He has a tremendous frame, Mike Modano like skating ability, and a gritty game away from the puck.
12. F Logan Couture (Ottawa 67s, OHL) - Sick with mono and coming off a knee injury has limited Couture's speed, which appears suspect at this point. He needs a big end to his season to save a spot in the top 10. As of right now, Couture looks like a safe pick, but his upside is lacking. He may just end up being a play making, two way second line centerman.
13. F Oscar Moller (Chilliwack, WHL) - Moller is an in your face kind of a player who can also finish with the best of them. His hands are silky soft too. Skating is just average however, but he is the top player from Sweden for the moment.
14. F Patrick Kane (London Knights, OHL) - Kane is tiny, and almost invisible away from the puck, but he is a dynamic player with it. He's very slippery one-on-one, and can dangle his way out of most situations. Kane is a better finisher than teammate Gagner, but he is a much higher draft risk. A big U-20 WJC's would help him get a spot in the top 10.
15. F Luca Cunti (Switzerland) - Was impressive last year at the Viking Cup, but his real coming out party was in Sweden this year when was the most impressive player at the U-18 tournament. Cunti's strength is magnetic hands that may be unrivaled in this draft. He is a deadly finisher, and is by far the most talented offensive player to come from Sweden in a long time. Could be this years Kopitar.
16. D Nick Ross (Regina, WHL) - Full of raw upside. Ross plays on the power play but it is his knack for landing the bone rattling open ice hit that has most intrigued. His mobility is fine, and he is a smart player can dominate at both ends when he is on his game. Has a little bit of Brad Stuart to him.
17. F Billy Sweatt (Colorado College, NCAA)- As one NHL scout said "His stride is dynamic, and speed kills" the rest of his game is just above average. Sweatt's averaging a point a game in the NCAA.
18. F Michael Repik (Vancouver Giants, WHL) - An offensive dynamo, plain and simple. One of the best stickhandlers in the draft with magnificent skating ability. Repik can set up his man, but his bread and butter is making people miss one-on-one, then releasing his devastating shot.
19. F Joshua Turnbull (Waterloo Blackhawks, USHL) - Turnbull goes to the net as hard as anyone. I would draft him for his competitiveness and hockey sense alone. It is his natural finishing touch, and tricky stickhandling that makes him worth a late first round selection.
20. D Mark Katic (Sarnia Sting, OHL) - Katic will be a second pairing defenseman who leads your power play. He is possibly the best skater in the draft and is also a gifted passer. Katic fought once this year which bodes well for his character. ALthough even in the new NHL you can't help but wonder how his 5'9 frame will hold up.
21. D Jonathan Blum (Vancouver Giants, WHL) - The American born defenseman has a lot of offensive talent thanks to his instinctive style and splendid mobility. Offensive defenseman are at a premium and he will likely rise.
22. D Kevin Shattenkirk (USNTD) - A bit small but he makes up for that with always being in position and making the smart play. Has a nice point shot but it's his ability handle the puck with his velvet hands then make a creative pass that really stood out. His mobility is above average.
23. F Patrick White (Tri-City, USHL) - His hand skill and patience with the puck make him worth of a late first round selection. White is a natural offensive player who can create and finish equally as well.
24. F Ryan Hayes (USNTDP) - It appears scouts have underrated his offensive upside at first glance according to an Eastern conference scout "I saw him last year at the U-17's and I just thought he was a grinder, but his speed and shot have really blossomed this season". His hand skill is amazing as he can really dangle, and he has a deadly wrist shot, but he's limited as a play maker.
25. D Jaraj Valach (Tri-City Americans, WHL) - One NHL scout had this to say about the Slovakian import "He's good, but not great at both ends of the ice, but when you add in the fact that he's a 6-6 Slovakian, you have a first rounder in sight". I don't have confirmation on this, but imagine the Tampa Bay Lightning are hot on his trail as they love guys like him.
26. D Thomas Hickey (Seattle, WHL) - Some scouts see him as a top 10 pick and the top defenseman in the draft as one NHL scout said "He's a top, top defenseman, he's a dominant player at both ends on a poor team, he's the real deal". Another scout questioned his hockey sense "His game won't work in the NHL and I won't preach for him in the first round unless his hockey sense comes a long".
27. F James O'Brien (Minnesota Gophers, NCAA) - Has had a slow start but exploded with a 2 goal, 1 assist night vs. Michigan. He's big and gritty with soft hands, and a play makers touch.
28. D Brendan Smith (OPJHL) - This University of Wisconsin recruit may ultimately end up being the next Scott Hannan. He has a very strong 6-1 205 frame, and his decision making on the ice is exceptional. Hockey sense, defensive positioning, gap control, puck movement, are all top notch. He's not an offensive defenseman but he's a steady two way player. Not flashy.
29. F Olivier Fortier (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL) - He's on the rise according to a scout from the QMJHL "He's a quick, quick player as he thinks the game well, handles the puck well, and his speed is pro caliber already".
30. D David Stich (Saint Johns, QMJHL) - Not your typical Czech defenseman, he isn't as mature overall in his game at the same stage, but he's similar to a Ladislav Smid. Stich is a composed, two way defenseman who makes the smart, although not flashy play.
31. F Zach Hammil (Everett Silvertips, WHL) - Quick, skilled, and smart. He's a more skilled, less gritty version of Mike Richards.
32. D Jens Hellgren (Sweden)- He has done a remarkable job in each major international event he has played at this year. He's a tall defenseman with fine foot work and does a admirable job distributing the puck.
33. G Kent Patterson (Cedar Rapids, USHL) - Reminds me of a young Ryan Miller. One day too old of being eligible for the 2008 draft, Patterson's abilities are amazing for a player of his age. Patterson's really flawless and I think he's the best goalie available this year. Consistency is the only issue, but that will come with maturity.
34. F Mike Hoeffel USNTDP - One scout describes him as "A John Leclair type, he always makes the play as physical as possible". Hoeffel has a power forwards upside and he can finish too. A strong finish could make him a top 20 selection.
35. F Brandon Sutter (Red Deer, WHL) - A physical, two way player with adequate skating ability and an above average finishing touch. Sutter has rebounded after a slow start and has come on as of late on a high scoring Red Deer club.
36. D Teddy Ruth (USNTDP) - Ruth is a team player. His hockey sense is average but he's mobile, physical, competitive, and can do a little bit of everything for a team.
37. F Jean-Simon Allard (St.Johns, QMJHL) - Reminded me of a poor mans Vincent Lecavalier with a great U-17's and hasn't disappointed this season.
38. F Keven Veilleux (Victorialle, QMJHL)- He's a giant with a howitzer shot and plays like a physical beast. Has a little Brian Boyle in him.
39. D Alex Plante (Calgary Hitmen, WHL)- Towering pivot with a reliable defensive game.
40. F Max Gratchev (Rimouski, QMJHL) - Once thought as a Russian Phenom, he saw his stock drop last year but it's regaining again this season. He's a slippery, skilled offensive dynamo.
41. D Colbey Cohen (Lincoln, USHL) - Left the USNTDP early in the season and has dominated the USHL offensively. Blessed with good size, however it's his puck movement and cannon point shot that have stood out most.
42. D John Negrin (Kootenay, WHL)- Some love him, don't see it. I personally believe he has some upside on the offensive end but haven't seen enough to make a final judgement.
43. D Eric Doyle (Everett, WHL) - He's a mature two way defenseman with some intriguing upside as a puck moving defenseman with good size.
44. F Yuri Cherepanov (Russia)- Tall, lanky, with supple hands, Cerepanov hasn't blossomed at any international event yet, but scouts who've traveled to Russia this year are saying he's a poor mans Evgeni Malkin.
45. F Lars Eller (Sweden) - He's a smooth skater, who has subtle skill that doesn't jump out at you, but after repeated viewings you learn to really like him.
46. F Craig Smith (Waterloo, USHL) - He's a hidden gem, diamond in the rough. He has an elegant, powerful stride with great hockey sense, a play makers touch, and a gym rats work ethic.
47. G Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver)- He outplayed Slade this year, and will be the starter for the Memorial Cup hosting Giants. He's an athletic goalie with a lot of raw upside.
A fan video of Jakub Voracek scoring for the Halifax Mooseheads against the PEI Rockets in exhibition play on Youtube is available here.
[Update] The latest prospect report from November 28th is available in a Microsoft Word format from SJsharks.com here.
Sharks forward prospect Jay Barriball (9G, 8A, 15GP) at the University of Minnesota (WCHA) was names the CSTV Rookie of the Month for October. Sharks prospects Torrey Mitchell (5G, 13A, 18PTS) and Mike Morris (6G, 7A, 13PTS) each lead their team in points, at the Univeristy of Vermont and Northeastern University respectively.
[Update2] OHL tops Russia in tight affair at the Canada-Russia Challenge - Hockeys Future.
[Update3] Wisconsin native Joe Pavelski takes center stage in San Jose - USAhockey.com.
Winning and San Jose Sharks rookie forward Joe Pavelski (Plover, Wis.) go together like a hockey rink and a Zamboni.
More on Sharks rookie forward Joe Pavelski from the Mercury News: Rookie on center stage is making it look easy.
The NHLPA posted a two part feature on San Jose rookie defenseman Matt Carle here and here. The USA Today also published a feature on a San Jose rookie blueliner, Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Sharks rookie Vlasic, 19, a quick study - USA Today.