2007 NHL Entry Draft PreviewBy Max Giese
SHARKS 2005 1ST ROUND PICK DEVIN SETOGUCHI - TSN
The 2007 draft has a wide open feel and while it lacks the sexy top end prospects, it is loaded with solid depth. Plenty of players from this class will fill roles in the NHL, but very few will be stars. This class has an exceptional American-based crop that should produce dozens of good NCAA players and adequate NHL players. This is the USHL’s deepest draft ever, and both Western and Eastern High School and Prep Schools have produced a boatload of talent this year.
The WHL has a deep draft class as well, especially on defense. The QMJHL is no slouch either with top end talent and a lot of depth. This is a weak year for the OHL as there simply is not a lot of talent from the league this year after Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner. From Europe, Sweden has the best draft class thanks to a group of underrated forwards. Russia has a handful of names that should go before the early to mid rounds as well. This draft could quite possible be the worst for Finland and Slovakia in recent memory. Their best players are playing in the QMJHL or the WHL.
Top 5 Players ranked by attribute:
High Risk High RewardSYMBOL KEY:
1. C Angelo Esposito, QMJHL – Fast and skilled but seems to be afraid to take a hit. If he couldn’t handle the punishment in junior how will he handle in the NHL?
2. RW Akim Aliu, OHL – Has already been traded twice in his brief OHL career for attitude problems. First round talent but has some real character issues.
3. RW Brett MacLean, OHL – Laziest player I saw in the first half of the season but he’s always near the puck. Despite his size, if he isn’t scoring, he’s useless.
4. C Luca Cunti, SWIS – Electrifying talent that is the most individualist in the draft and may refuse to play in the AHL which would hurt his odds of ever playing in the NHL.
5. RW Alexei Cherepanov, RUS – Russia did not sign the transfer agreement and this might have teams passing on Alexei early. He also struggles with inconsistency.
Safe But Limited
1. RW Brandon Sutter, WHL – It is too bad his offensive game doesn’t match his excellent defenseman game. Big, simple, and hard working third liner.
2. D Taylor Ellington – Think Craig Rivet, he’s not a sexy pick but you win with players like him.
3. LW Mikael Backlund – Complimentary second liner or third liner at the worse but he’ll never be the first liner we thought he could become last season.
4. C Olivier Fortier – Gritty two-way third liner in the making that can kill penalties and win big face offs.
5. RW Spencer Machacek – Owns a non stop motor and is a gritty two-way winger, but don’t expect much in the way of offensive ability.
Top Goal Scorers
1. C Kyle Turris, BCHL – Joe Sakic like release and can release it at full speed.
2. RW Patrick Kane, OHL – No one can shoot the puck more accurately through traffic than Kane.
3. RW Alexei Cherepanov, RUS – No one finds the open nice near the net better than Cherepanov.
4. C Oscar Moller, WHL – Possesses innate ability to find the puck in heavy traffic and owns a heavy shot.
5. RW Aaron Palushaj, USHL – Thomas Vanek like ability to bear down in front and finish.
Best Play Makers
1. RW Jakub Voracek, QMJHL – Vision, creativity, and ability to pass the puck with the opposition all over him are unmatched in this draft. Might not have the most assist of this class as a junior, but his play making ability translates better than the others to the NHL.
2. C Sam Gagner, OHL – Power play quarterback extraordinaire from the half wall.
3. C Zach Hamil, WHL – Future power play dynamo.
4. RW Simon Hjalmarsson, SWE – Creativity and instincts are through the roof.
5. RW Max Pacioretty, USHL – Patient with the puck and exploits the open creases in the defense with a deft passing game.
Diamonds In The Rough
1. D Will Weber, USHS – Athletic ability to be a star and can go coast to coast.
2. C Craig Smith, USHL – Trevor Lewis upside, just needs to physically mature.
3. C Travis Erstad, USHS – Tall and can skate with a great offensive package but is very raw.
4. LW Joshua Turnbull, USHL – T.J. Oshie like one on one and finishing ability.
5. RW Steve Moses, EJHL – Effortless and quick skater with great one on one moves.
1. LW Billy Sweatt, NCAA – Amazing skater with an elite top gear and he knows how to use it.
2. C Angelo Esposito, QMJHL – Effortless and powerful stride.
3. C Kyle Turris, BCHL – Patrick Marleau like stride and power.
4. D Mark Katic, OHL – Agility is the best I have ever seen for a defenseman.
5. LW Colton Gillies, WHL – Long and powerful stride that is commanding.
1. RW Patrick Kane, OHL – The puck seems to be magnetic to his stick and he creates a buzz every time he has the puck.
2. C David Perron, QMJHL – Simply fun to watch with the puck in his hands.
3. RW Alexei Cherepanov, RUS – Not flashy but the opposition can’t get the puck away from him. 4. C Sam Gagner, OHL – Capable of highlight real moves.
5. C Luca Cunti, SWIS – Type of player you will pay to watch play because of his hands.
1. D Nick Petrecki, USHL – Possesses hulk like strength and the draft’s nastiest mean streak.
2. D Kevin Marshall, QMJHL – Sean Avery like agitating ability to go a long with Volchenkov like toughness.
3. LW Colton Gillies, WHL – Big kid with superb strength and finishes every check.
4. C/D Jim O’Brien, NCAA – Ryan Getzlaf like size and strength to compliment his edge.
5. D Taylor Ellington, WHL – Teams will covet him at the trade deadline every year. Think Craig Rivet.
1. C P.K. Subban, OHL – He is hesitant to involve himself in traffic and will let a guy walk him to the net before he takes a bruise.
2. C Luca Cunti, SWIS – I’ve never seen him finish a check or sacrifice himself to make a play.
3. D David Stich, QMJHL – Big mature body goes to waste with his timid attitude.
4. RW Travis Erstad, USHS – He’s big but he’s hesitant to drive through anybody.
5. RW Sergei Korostin, RUS – His skill is amazing but he always sticks to the perimeter.
1. C Calle Ridderwall, USHL – Down to earth and is genuinely kind to everyone.
2. D Theo Ruth, USNTDP – Enamored teams at the combine with his character. Also, every teammate he has played says he’s a great guy. People just glow about his personality when discussing him.
3. LW Colton Gillies, WHL – Every coach would love to have the pleasure of coaching him.
4. RW Dana Tyrell, WHL – Team first attitude is contagious.
5. C Logan Couture, OHL – Future captain is well spoken and is well grounded.
1. RW Luca Cunti, SWIS – Potential coach killer and will flat out give up some games.
2. RW Akim Aliu, OHL – He’s been traded twice already in the OHL because of his terrible attitude.
3. C Angelo Esposito, QMJHL – Cocky, arrogant, and hesitant to venture into traffic. Some feel he hasn’t improved himself since he was 16.
4. RW Brett MacLean, OHL – Lazy and uninspired physical game despite his size.
5. RW Keven Veilleux, QMJHL – Lazy, the team that drafts him will have to wake him up every game.
1. G Kent Patterson, USHL – Best goalie in the draft could be the next Ryan Miller.
2. D John Negrin, WHL – Less physical but more mobile Scott Hannan.
3. RW Max Pacioretty, USHL – Big, fast, skilled, and a fine play maker.
4. D Nick Petrecki, USHL – Second round talk is bologna. He’s big, mean, and mobile with exceptional athleticism and character.
5. D Jonathon Blum, WHL – He has top 5 upside. He’s projection but his upside is through the roof.
1. G Jeremy Smith, OHL – Athletic but he’s not the best goalie in this draft and if a team takes him in the first round they will regret it.
2. C Nick Spalling, OHL – Decent but not great at anything, needs to focus on a being a shut down center instead of trying to be the skilled offensive player he is not.
3. RW Nick Bonnino, USHS – He’s older than most of his peers in this draft and will struggle against higher competition because of his poor skating.
4. G Trevor Cann, OHL – Will be a back up in the NHL. But he is impatient and goes down too early making him easily exposed up high.
5. RW Brett MacLean, OHL – He seems a step behind mentally, I have a gut feeling he won’t cut it in the NHL.
1. D Kevin Shattenkirk, USNTDP – Head and shoulders above everyone else as his offensive instincts, vision, and skill are through the roof.
2. D Jonathon Blum, WHL – He’s fast and has the hands of a skilled forward to go a long with creativity and offensive instincts.
3. D P.K. Subban, OHL – Terrible defensively but pure dynamite offensively.
4. D Colby Cohen, USHL – Big defenseman that possesses a cannon point shot and impressive offensive creativity.
5. D Thomas Hickey, WHL – Great hands with confidence and oozes creativity.
Shut Down Stay At Home Defenseman.
1. D Nick Petrecki, USHL – Big, mean, and mobile, Petrecki is the prototypical shut down defenseman in the new NHL.
2. D John Negrin, WHL – Big and mobile with exceptional defensive awareness.
3. D Taylor Ellington, WHL – Physical, tough, mobile, and smart, Ellington is going to be a tremendous asset to the team that drafts him.
4. D Tommy Cross, USHS – Tall with swift mobility and a heady defensive game. His physical game is underrated.
5. D Ian Cole, USNTDP – Mature defender with size, smarts, and tenacity.
++ = Great, the player’s stand out qualities.
+ = Good, the player’s above average qualities.
- = Limitations holding the player back.
TOP 100 NHL DRAFT ELIGIBLE PROSPECTS
1. C Kyle Turris, 6-1 175 8-14-1989, Burnaby Express BCHL, NHL comparable: Joe Sakic
+ Vision, hands, character, competes
- Lack of bulk
While it may take several years before it becomes evident, Turris will be the best player in this draft and is the only player in this draft that I would categorize as “special”. Turris is the best finisher in the draft with a heavy and accurate shot with a release that makes 90% of the NHL envious already. He possesses the ability to let go his rocket shot while skating at full speed. Blessed with exceptional vision, Turris sees the ice well and is a superb play maker. Committed to the University of Wisconsin, Turris just needs to add bulk to his wiry frame. He’s instinctive with the puck and his hockey IQ is off the charts as is his ability to anticipate the game. Turris is one of the best skaters in this draft and it will he will even get better when he bulks up his skinny legs. Blessed with a powerful stride that is similar to that of Patrick Marleau’s and a deadly change of gears that he has recently mastered to use as a fierce offensive weapon. His hands are velvety and he has all the tools to develop into a franchise player and will be a star in the NHL. His defensive game is above average too as he’s capable of killing penalties and is the type of player you want on the ice in the last minute of the game if you are holding a lead or trying to tie the game up. The knock on Turris is his obvious lack of strength as he’s quite skinny. That said, he’s hockey strong and he battles hard as he’s quite gritty. He forechecks and back checks with vigor, he wins one on one battles a long the boards, and he is a willing shot blocker. The kid has it all. The fact that he played in the BCHL shouldn’t worry teams as he’s played against elite competition internationally and has excelled.
2. RW Patrick Kane, 5-10 165 11-19-1988, London Knights OHL, 58 gp – 62 g – 83 a – 145 points - +42 – 52 pim. NHL Comparable: Alex Hemsky with excellent fishing ability.
++ Magnetic hands, offensive creativity and patience, quick and accurate shot
+ play making ability, balance, nimble feet, puck protection
- size, defensive play.
The most dynamic offensive talent in the draft and is the type of player you can build around up front. A pure offensive game breaker with the most pure offensive upside of anyone available in this draft. Size and lackadaisical defensive commitment are the only concerns with Kane but I don’t see either as a long term detriment as he’s extremely balanced and isn’t shy to go into traffic areas, and the other can be coached. He the best hands of the draft and his skill level is just sick. If you haven’t seen him play yet, you will be receiving a treat when you finally do as he’s the type of player that people will pay to see play. He possesses magnetic hands that make the puck appear like it’s attached to a string. Kane has the type of dangles that are absolutely sick and he will appear on Sportscenter a dozen times over the course of his career. He also possesses elite composure and patience with the puck as he can seemingly make the game stand still when he has the puck. His puck protection is top notch and when he has the puck it’s almost like the opposition freezes like a deer caught in the head lights as he knives through them with his dynamic arsenal of one on one moves. A pure sniper, Kane’s release is quick and his shot is precisely accurate as he’s a threat to score from anywhere inside the blue line. The best player in the draft at finding seams in the defense and exploiting them. Not only can he finish with the best of them but he also is an exceptional play maker with sixth sense like vision. Kane is a creative offensive dynamo with exceptional patience and deceptively quick skating ability. An instinctive player who processes the game quickly. Kane is an underrated skater as he’s extremely agile with nimble feet and some of the best lateral mobility in the draft. He also possesses a deceptive change of gears and can separate from the opposition. While he’s small, Kane handles traffic well as he’s slippery with tremendous balance and isn’t afraid to attack the net. Currently he is not asked to play defense in London and he will need to be coached that side of the game. He’s NHL ready and should contribute immediate offense.
3. RW Jakub Voracek, 6-1 190 8-15-1989, Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL, 59 gp – 23 g – 63 a – 86 points - -7 – 26 pim.
++ Play making, powerful drives to the net, character
+ accurate shot, play in traffic, puck possession
Voracek is a highly skilled big winger who likes to drive the net. He adjusted seamlessly to the North American game and capped it off with a dominant second half of the season including a phenomenal playoff performance. An above average skater for a player of his size, Voracek’s stride is a bit stiff but he has nimble feet and good agility to go a long the ability to get find another gear to get around the opposition. Possesses soft hands with a long reach as he can really dangle and he shields the puck exceptionally well. Blessed with superior vision and creativity, Voracek is one of the top play makers available in this years draft Does a great job of drawing the opposition to him and then threading the needle with a slick pass at the last moment. Can distribute the puck from both sides of his stick equally well. Unselfish almost to a fault at times as maybe passes too much and should trust his finishing ability more. Has a heavy shot with a quick release but his accuracy is still inconsistent. Projects as a 35-40 goal scorer in his prime. Isn’t a power forward despite his large frame but he’s willing to get his nose dirty and he uses his size well with the puck. Has a mature two-way game with impressive defensive awareness and commitment. A fairly complete player that is close to NHL ready.
4. D Ryan McDonagh, 6-1 205, 6-13-1989, Cretin- Durham Minnesota High School, 26 gp – 14 g – 26 a – 40 points.
++ Huge upside, soft hands, good skater, creative
+ Physical, smart
- Needs to prove himself at higher levels.
The best defenseman eligible this year, Ryan McDonagh possesses special ability both with or without the puck. A University of Wisconsin recruit, Ryan was named Mr. Hockey for the top player in Minnesota this season. He is the most complete defenseman in this draft and has terrific upside at both ends of the rink. McDonagh is a swift skater with nimble feet and a quick stride with a very impressive burst of power behind it. His acceleration is especially impressive and he also possesses a great top gear. His agility is superb for a big man as he can twist and turn at top speeds all the while maintaining possession of the puck. Ryan is blessed with exceptional hands and is creative with the puck as he’ll stick handle around the opposition with dangles that look they are coming from a first line forward. He’s composed with the puck, he sees the ice well, and makes a heads up first pass. Ryan is an instinctive passer and also displays impressive creativity while quarterbacking the power play. His hockey sense is superb and he seems to read the play one step quicker than his peers. He has the size and strength a long with an adequate physical edge to be a physical one on one defender. Ryan maintains a healthy gap with his man at all times and because of his swift mobility he can stay with anyone one on one. McDonagh also has exceptional stick work and defensive positioning to make him a formidable defender. He competes hard every night and while he’s already a complete defenseman, there is also tons of upside here and several years from now he will turn out to be the best defenseman taken in the 2007 draft.
5. RW James Van Riemsdyk, 6-3 200 5-4-1989, USNTDP, 42 gp – 33 g – 30 a – 63 points.
++ Puck protection, character, has upside but is also a safe pick.
+ play making, shot, drives to the net, hands.
- Doesn’t always play to full potential, needs to use power more often.
Has an enticing package of size, character, and offensive talent. One of the safest picks in this years draft and projects as a top six winger with good skill and size. His hands are velvety soft and he has the best puck protection of anyone available in the draft. He’s one of the best in the draft at lowering his shoulders and driving the net although he needs to do so more often. He covers the puck well and has great puck possession. A threat to score and create. He possesses a heavy wrist shot that is fairly accurate with a quick release however he seems a bit hesitant to use it. Sees the ice very well and can execute a pretty pass even through heavy traffic with sharp creativity. Above average skater for his size with a deceptive top gear and a fluid stride. His first step is actually quite good for a player of size at this age as is his agility. Has a good two-way game and holds his own in traffic. Not a mean spirited player as he could use his big frame to finish his checks with more authority. That said he’s nearly impossible to knock off his feet as he does a great job in front of the net and a long the boards.
6. RW Alexei Cherepanov, 6-0 185 1-15-1989, Avangard Omsk Russia, 47 gp – 18 g – 11 a – 29 points. NHL Comparable: Pavel Datsyuk.
++ Offensive instincts, hands, ability to finish
+ Creativity, strength on the puck, willingness to go the net.
- lacks explosiveness, difficulty signing.
Cherepanov has the upside of a first line winger in the mold of a Pavel Datsyuk. He’s not an end to end game breaker but he’s extremely smart with the puck and his skill level is top end. His offensive instincts are elite and he has great timing around the net. Has the uncanny ability to get open in front of the net. His release is special and it produces the precision accuracy of a surgeon and the velocity is also quite good. He possesses a dangerous one timer and is a threat to score from anywhere inside the blue line. Has a knack for finding the puck in heavy traffic near the net and burying it. Broke Pavel Bure’s record for most goals in the RSL as a rookie with 14, proving he’s an exceptional finisher. Anticipations the game very well and has that innate ability to see the play before it happens. Possesses some of the softest hands in this draft as he’s not a flashy dangler but he seems like the puck is attached to a string and the opposition simply can’t strip him off of it most of the time A fluid skater that just lacks explosiveness but he owns a deceptive change of gears to the outside. Underrated play maker, Cherepanov sees the ice very well and has the passing skills to thread the needle. Defensively he leaves a lot to be desired and while he isn’t hesitant to venture into traffic, he’s not a physical player. I could deal with that though if his effort was there every night as currently it isn’t.
7. D Johnathon Blum, 6-0 170 1-30-1989, Vancouver Giants WHL, 72 gp – 8 g – 43 a – 51 points - +37 – 48 pim.
++ Hand skill, creativity, mobility
+ Vision, puck movement, upside
- inconsistent shift to shift, needs to bulk up.
Blum possesses arguably the most offensive upside of any defenseman in this draft and his defensive game also has the potential to be special if he adds some strength. He’s the Kyle Turris of this draft on defense as while he’s a lot of projection, he’s one of the few players in this draft that has the potential to develop into something special. His best attribute is his offensive upside. He’s blessed with silky soft hands for a defenseman with a good reach and is a dynamic one on one threat making him a threat to skate the puck up the ice on his own. Can make the opposition miss in the neutral zone and isn’t hesitant to try to take the puck to the net himself. Blum sees the ice instinctively and can creativity quarterback the power play and hit a home run pass from his own end. He seems to know where he’s going to move the puck before he even receives it. Early in the season he drove me nuts by making soft plays with the puck as he was turning it over the middle, he ironed that out of his game as the season progressed without sacrificing his offense. He’s very rangy and lively skater with a galloping stride. His all compass mobility is superb and he owns a good top gear a long with a fine first step. Blum lead the WHL in plus/minus this season and his defensive play improved steadily all season long. His defensive awareness and positioning are fine and he has developed an adequate physical edge. Tons of untapped potential here as he still has a lot of room for physical growth.
8. D Kevin Shattenkirk, 5-11 195, 1-29-1989, USNTDP 48 gp – 12 g – 22 a – 34 points.
++ Vision and puck movement
+ Mobility, hand skill, creativity
- Defensive awareness
The best puck moving defenseman available in this years draft. Shattenkirk sees the ice exceptionally well and possesses elite vision. He moves the puck crisply and instinctively from both sides of his stick. Kevin makes that all important first pass out of his zone better than anyone in this draft but he also displays the creativity and poise to quarterback the power play. His mobility is an asset as he’s deceptively fast and he’s blessed with superb agility. Kevin possesses soft hands and can rush the puck up the ice all on his own making a few sparkling moves to make the opposition miss in the process. Shattenkirk owns a quickly released point shot that is precisely accurate and he does a good job getting it on net and keeping it low. The question marks with Kevin is on the defensive side of the puck as he’s a bit small and his defensive zone coverage needs some fine tuning. At times he tries to do to much in his own zone and gets caught chasing the puck. Despite his limited size, Shattenkirk is strong on his feet and has a deceptively strong upper body which he likes to use his he’s fairly physical.
9. C Lars Eller, 6-1 200, 5-8-1989, Frolunda SWE 41 gp – 19 g -40 a – 59 points.
++ Polished two-way game, top gear, vision and creativity
+ Hands, developing shot
- Has very few flaws, could shoot more.
Danish center that played this season in Sweden for the Frolunda’s stacked Junior team. Eller is a late riser that had teams flocking to see him late in the season and has emerged as arguably the top draft eligible player this year in Sweden. He’s a mature two-way center with impressive play making skills and few flaws. Eller is blessed with excellent hockey sense and good awareness at both ends of the ice. Type of two-way center that can play on the power play and penalty kill. Eller forechecks hard and finishes all of his checks. He plays the game the right way with two hands on his stick and he competes at both ends. Offensively he sees the ice very well and has the passing skills to thread the needle with exceptional creativity. He’s poised with the puck and can seemingly slow the game down to find the open man. Eller possesses a quick shot that needs to be more accurate, but he does a good job getting open near the net but he could also shoot more. His stride is fluid and quick with a good initial burst and a rapid change of gears to the outside. He’s an effortless skater that can hit another gear when he wants to. Possesses a soft pair of mitts and is a crafty stick handler who can beat the opposition with a creative move. Limited viewings are the only thing that might hurt his stock as he’s a legit talent.
10. C Sam Gagner, 5-11 190 8-10-1989, London Knights OHL, 53 gp – 35 g – 83 a – 118 points - +32 – 36 pim. NHL comparable: Saku Koivu.
++ Vision, hockey sense, hands, patience
+ Toughness, character
- Lacks a Top gear
Earlier in the season it was debatable who was better between Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner. While Kane dominated at the WJC’s, Gagner sputtered which showed scouts he’s still a whiles away. Gagner possesses some slick hands with some sick moves. Although he can do too much with the puck at times, you can’t deny that he has one of the softest pairs of mitts in the draft. He’s undressed a few defenseman this year and he’s real creative in the way he attacks the defender one on one. Not a pure burner, Gagner does possess quick and agile feet although I would like to see him add more explosiveness to his stride before he plays in the NHL. Besides his hands, Gagner’s best attribute is his ability to create. He has the rare ability to slow the game around him when the puck is on his stick and he displays extraordinary patience with the puck. Blessed with superior vision, Gagner can thread the needle creatively as good as anyone in this draft. Gagner will make a living quarterbacking the power play in the NHL from the half wall. He also possesses a quick and accurate shot making him a threat to score also. Despite his modest size, Gagner has a well constructed frame and plays with grit and passion every night. He’s the first in the forecheck and the first back on defense. Has the character and leadership to be a captain down the road and is a safe pick.
11. C Angelo Esposito, 6-1 180 2-20-1989, Quebec Remparts QMJHL, 60 gp – 27 g – 52 a – 79 points - +9 – 63 pim.
++ Speed, hands, passing ability
+ Creativity, quick shot
- Bust potential, doesn’t like to be hit.
Possesses exciting talent but his hesitation to take a hit to make the play is worrisome. Owns an effortless and powerful stride that gives him one of the drafts best top gear. He’s a special skater who just flies around the ice. He possesses soft and quick hands and is dynamic one on one. Creative offensively and sees the ice very well. Does an excellent job of using his speed to force the opposition back and then threads the needle with a crisp pass. His speed is elite and is arguably one of the best skaters in the entire draft as he possesses a powerful and quick stride. Finishing ability is above average as he has a quick release with decent velocity and accuracy. He’s most dangerous when he shoots the puck while skating at full speed. Was pushed around in junior and he must improve his play away from the puck if he expects to last in the NHL. Never generates offense through hard work or a crafty play, with Esposito it’s either a pretty play or nothing at all. That said he has as much upside as anyone and shouldn’t slip far past the top 10.
12. D Karl Alzner, 6-2 210 9-24-1988, Calgary Hitmen, 63 gp – 8 g – 39 a – 47 points - +16 – 32 pim.
++ Hockey sense, poise, defensive awareness
+ vision, safe pick
- Doesn’t possess elite athletic talent.
Smooth and reliable defenseman with top notch hockey sense that is good at everything but great isn’t great at anything. The safest pick of the draft that won’t go first overall, Alzner plays a mature two-way game and is a reliable defenseman that can be utilized in any situation. Tall with good mobility and excellent defensive awareness, Alzner is an exceptional defender and only lacks a mean streak. Possesses a great reach and his defensive IQ is among the best of any defenseman in the draft. Blessed with the ability to see the ice well, he makes a great first pass and distributes the puck adequately from the point. Every team in the NHL would love to have a guy like this. While he will never dominate or jump out at you, he’s the kind of guys teams win with and you can build your defensive core around him. He’ll play in all situations in the NHL as he can log tons of ice time 5-5, will play on the first power play unit (although he won’t be the quarterback), and will definitely be on the ice in every key defensive situation.
13. RW Billy Sweatt, 6-0 185, 9-21-1988, Colorado College NCAA, 30 gp – 9 g – 17 a – 26 points.
++ Amazing top gear, clutch performances, effort
+ Safe pick, honest two-way player, adequate finisher.
- Lack of top end offensive upside.
No one in this draft possesses a top gear that can even match the one Sweatt possesses. He has elite speed even compared to players in the NHL already. What separates Sweatt from say a Fredrik Sjostrom is that he knows how to utilize his speed to generate offensive chances for himself and his teammates. His dynamic top gear opens up the ice and opportunities for the team and he seems to come up clutch at the critical moments with an end to end rush that he either scores with or shifts the momentum to his teams side. The knock on Billy is that he’s not a great goal scorer or play maker. That said he finishes and creates enough plays through his speed and determination. He’s a gritty player with a good motor and awareness away from the puck. Sweatt lacks the finishing ability to be on a teams first line but he has a future on the second line and will receive ice time on both special team units.
14. D Nick Petrecki, 6-3 215, 7-11-1989, Omaha Lancers USHL, 44 gp – 11 g – 12 a – 23 points.
++ Size and Strength, mean streak, athleticism.
+ Skating, character, confidence.
- Puck movement.
Great skater with an upright but powerful stride that gives him an exceptional top gear and first step. Petrecki possesses soft hands with a long reach. He’s still rough when receiving the puck as his in-close coordination is awkward. Puck movement is the question mark but it came along nicely as the season progressed as he was making a heads up first pass by the end of the year. Uses the glass and boards well when there are no open options. He distributes the puck adequately on the point and will likely be on the second powerplay unit in the NHL, as he also possesses a canonizing shot. Petrecki is aggressive with or without the puck. He possesses a bone-rattling slapshot that is much more accurate now than it was early in the year. Possesses a quickly released snapshot that also carries good velocity. Petrecki is guilty of the odd miscue while moving the puck on the point, as he can force a pass or shot into the oppositions legs. His vision is okay, as he can stretch the ice at times with a home run pass but can also struggle to find open lanes. Decision making with the puck is fine but he still makes a few questionable ones without it. Can get caught up the ice to often. Will be caught out of position near his crease, as he gets to aggressive and skates too much in his own zone. He possesses freakish strength, as he is like a brick wall out there and will be huge when he plays in the NHL, as his frame is capable of adding another 15-25 pounds. Petrecki possesses the nastiest mean streak in the draft, but will take it too far with an undisciplined penalty, especially after the whistle. Nearly unbeatable in one-on-one situations, as once he locks on his man it is over. He neutralizes his man every time and often in the most physical way possible. He’s great in terms of one-on-one coverage down low and along the boards. Petrecki uses his long reach well and is unbeatable off the rush because of his fine gap control and superb mobility.
15. D Keaton Ellerby, 6-4 190 11-5-1988, Kamloops Blazers WHL, 69 gp – 2 g – 23 a – 25 points - -2 – 120 pim. NHL Comparable: Much less offensive, but more physical Jay Bouwmeester.
++ Skating, Size, upside, mean streak
- Questionable hockey sense.
Big defenseman with a good mobility, a physical edge, and exciting upside. One of the best skating big men I’ve seen in awhile as he’s light on his quick feet and his stride is fluid and long as it effortlessly produces exemplary power. Accelerates swiftly and is agile in all directions. Ellerby does a good job maintaining a good gap with his man and uses his long reach to disrupt the opposition. Owns a mean streak and once he adds some weight to his lanky frame he should be a real intimidating physical presence. While he’s not an offensive defenseman, Ellerby possesses soft hands and he sees the ice adequately well. The knock on him is his decision making with the puck but as the season progressed his first pass noticeably was much better than it was earlier in the year. Ellerby owns a heavy slap shot but he’s largely ineffective with it because of his poor shot selection. Ellerby lacks creativity to be an offensive defenseman and despite possessing a powerful slap shot, he’s ineffective with it because of poor shot selection. So what separates him from being a disappointment like Braydon Coburn? First, his mean streak, Coburn never had the physical edge this kid does. Second, Ellerby’s decision making with the puck is ever improving and he has a lot of untapped upside as he hasn’t filled out yet.
16. RW Max Pacioretty, 6-2 205 11-20-1988, Sioux City USHL, 52 gp – 19 g – 36 a – 55 points.
++ Vision and play making
+ Size, top gear, work ethic, hands
- questionable finishing ability.
The best forward available for the 2007 draft out of the USHL and deserves a selection in the first round for his intriguing blend of size, speed, and play making ability . He owns a power forwards body at 6-2 205 with long limbs and strong lower and upper body strength. He’s sturdy on his feet and shows good footwork to fend off checks as well as impressive leg strength. Displays decent agility with good stops and starts. His first step is a bit awkward but once he gains momentum he has a commanding stride as he can really fly with a superb top gear. Pacioretty’s hands are soft with some impressive quick moves. He’s strong on his stick and covers the puck well with his big frame. He’s blessed with exceptional vision and impressive creativity as he emerges as a gifted play maker. Max can thread the needle with a crisp pass through a small lane and displays good touch as he can execute a nifty saucer pass in limited space. He owns a quick shot with good velocity and a quick release, although accuracy still needs to be upgraded as he gets his shots on net but doesn’t pick corners. He does a good job stopping at the net for rebounds and is a useful big body in front to create traffic in front of the goaltender. He began to use his size more away from the puck late in the season. He tracks the puck well as he anticipates the play well and maintains good positioning at both ends of the ice. Pacioretty back checks adequately and marks his man well as he’s a decent two way player. Can get feisty at times but isn’t a power forward. Will attend the University of Michigan next fall.
17. C Zach Hamill, 5-10 180 9-23-1988, Everett Silvertips WHL, 69 gp – 32 g – 61 a – 93 points - +16 – 90 pim.
++ Hands, creativity, vision
+ Quickness, hockey sense
- Size, questionable play in traffic.
Possesses top end skill and will surely bolster any teams power play that is he on but the question is if he can score in the NHL five-on-five. Hands are magnetic and his offensive creativity is second to none. Hamill sees the ice incredibly well and has the passing skills to match his vision to thread the needle with a creative pass. Instinctive offensive player who is not only quick in a skill set sense, but also mentally. Simply one of the drafts best play makers but is also a natural finisher too with a quick shot that possesses good accuracy. Nimble on his feet with good agility and quickness but he will need to upgrade his top gear.
18. LW Simon Hjalmarsson, 5’11 170, 2-1-1989, Frolunda SWE 43 gp – 33 g – 25 a – 58 points
++ Creativity, vision, hands, offensive instincts
+ Smart, fluid and deceptively quick skating ability.
- Flash in the pan or tip of the ice berg?
One of the most skilled and creative players available in this draft. He’s extremely crafty and creative with the puck and his options seem limitless when in possession. A decent skater that is deceptively quick with nimble feet and while he’s not explosive he can separate from his man thanks to his rapid acceleration. Possesses outstanding hands with dynamic one on one ability as knife his way through traffic. His patience and poise with the puck is special. Simon has a hard wrist shot with decent accuracy although he’s more of a play maker. His anticipation and offensive instincts are also special as he seems to process the game one step quicker than his peers as he knows exactly what he wants to do with the puck before he even receives it. He battles with the puck on his stick and is strong on his feet. He competes adequately in his own zone. Simon was one of the best players by the end of the season but was this just him on a hot streak or are we seeing the beginning of something special?
19. C Patrick White, 6-1 190, 1-20-1989, Grand Rapids USHS 17 gp – 11 g – 25 a – 36 points.
++ Natural offensive instincts.
+ Hands, vision, shot, patience, skating
- Won’t be a first line guy.
White is a natural offensive player with great skill, speed, and creativity. This Minnesota Gophers recruit has a lot of skill and offensive instincts. His first few steps are very quick and he has a fluent stride with good acceleration and he possesses an adequate separation gear. White can create a nice play, he moves the puck quickly after receiving it and thinks the game at a fast pace, can execute a nice pass at full speed. He loves to run the give and go. He thinks the game like a pro as once he moves the puck he works to get open. He’s strong on draws and is a natural center. White has soft, quick hands with some real tricky moves. He’s imaginative with the puck and challenges the opposition one on one. White knows where to be and is a natural offensive player. Patrick has the look of a pure goal scorer as well. He possesses a strong snap shot that he releases quickly with sneaky velocity and precise accuracy. His defensive game is ever improving as is his physical tenacity. He’s fairly complete with no real weaknesses.
20. C Logan Couture, 6-0 195 3-3-1989, Ottawa 67’s OHL, 54 gp – 26 g – 52 a – 78 points - -1 – 49 pim.
++ Hockey sense, mature two-way game, safe pick.
+ Hands, vision and play making ability
- Skating, shot.
Teams can’t afford to miss in the first round and that’s exactly why Couture will be coveted on June 22nd, he’s a mature kid with resilience, leadership qualities, and a good work ethic. Savvy two way center that is limited by his hunched over stride that lacks initial quickness. He anticipates the game well which helps make up for his skating deficiencies. Hands are soft and he’s strong on the puck with good balance. Couture sees the ice well and is a mature play maker with fine creativity. He can execute a nice tough pass through heavy traffic. Scores most of his goals because of his hard work and craftiness but his shot lacks the accuracy to be a goal scorer at the next level. Mature two-way player with superb defensive awareness and never cheats on his assignments in his own zone. He’s pretty gritty and finishes his checks and plays with adequate jam. I never see him developing into a first line center and it’s even debatable if he will ever become a 2nd line center. But at the least you are looking at a real top end 3rd line center that is reliable at both ends. He’s the type of player that can be put at center or wing on any line and be asked to perform in any situation and he’ll do just that for you. Whether he is asked to create offense, make a hit on the forecheck, or shadow the oppositions top talent, Couture does it and excels at it.
21. D Ian Cole, 6-2 215, 2-21-1989, USNTDP 61 gp – 16 g – 33 a – 49 points.
++ Hockey sense, strength, safe pick
+ Quick shot, mature decision making, physical and smart defensive game.
- Lacks creativity
This Notre Dame recruit has come a long way over the last year as his development has been exceptional. He’s a big and strong stay at home type that has recently seen his puck skills improve tremendously. Cole is a savvy defender with exceptional defensive awareness, healthy gap control, and a physical edge making a shut down one on one defender. He’s blessed with a good reach and superior strength which he uses both to engulf his man. He competes hard and plays with an edge in his own zone as he clears the crease area well and excels at winning battles in the trenches. While he isn’t a pretty skater to look at he is an above average skater especially considering his size. His feet are good and his stride has a decent burst to it. He pivots well and can skate in any direction. While he lacks the creativity to be a power play quarterback Cole is useful offensively. He makes a great first pass as he moves the puck crisply and is smart with the puck as he never forces an errant pass up the middle. He moves the puck like a pro already. Ian also knows when to pinch in or jump into the offensive rush at appropriate times and he’s just learning how to utilize his impressive shot. He owns a quick release with good velocity and accuracy and he does a fine job of getting his shots through to the net.
22. LW Colton Gillies, 6-4 205 1-12-1989, Saskatoon Blades WHL, 65 gp – 13 g – 17 a – 30 points - -20 – 148 pim. NHL Comparable: Mike Grier
++ Speed, Size, Character
+ Physicality, Safe pick.
- Lack of offensive upside.
Gillies is the best combination of size and speed in this draft at the forward position. Still learning how to use his fabulous top gear to his advantage with the puck but he’s a real freight train a coming while pursuing the puck on the forecheck and he finishes every check. Gillies has a great work ethic and never stops moving his feet at either end. Owns a mean streak as he throws thunderous body checks at every opportunity but he keeps it all clean. His hands are underrated as he is blessed with a long reach and soft hands. While he’s not a creative play maker standing still, he does a good job of drawing the opposition to him and then making a quick dish to the open man. Gillies just needs to learn how to finish. Opens the ice for his line mates and sparks the whole bench with his relentless game of speed and size. Deserves a high draft pick in the real NHL draft but not in the keeper leagues where the only thing you are concerned about is stats. He’s the type of player you win games with and any team will love to have him even though most of his contributions won’t show up on the box scores.
23. D Tommy Cross, 6-3 200, 9-12-1989, Westminster 25 gp – 8 g – 12 a – 20 points.
++ Size and mobility
+ Defensive awareness
- Lacks top end offensive ability
Defenseman with the combination of exceptional mobility and size that Cross possesses don’t grow on trees and he will be a sought after commodity come draft day. Cross is a great skater for a big man with exceptional feet and agility. He’s a fluid all compass skater with an elegant stride that produces impressive quickness for a big man. Cross is also blessed with a big and strapping frame that intimidates the opponents. He’s a very rangy defenseman as he can skate, has a long reach, and has a big body. Tommy is difficult to beat one on one as his gap control is superb and he’s an astute defender. While he’s not a mean defenseman, Cross is one of the best in the draft at picking his spots to stand up his man with a stiff body check. He competes well and is can develop into a legit shut down defenseman. Despite his impressive skating Cross isn’t an offensive defenseman. He makes mature decisions moving the puck but he doesn’t identify the open man as quick as his peers do. He’s still a few years away and has plenty of time to develop and should be a high selection in this years draft because of his stellar defensive game.
24. C Joakim Andersson, 6-2 200, 2-5-1989, Frolunda SWE 44 gp – 21 g – 28 a – 49 points. NHL Comparable: Samuel Pahlsson & Marcel Goc
++ Mature two-way game, vision and passing skills.
+ Long reach with soft hands, blossoming power game.
- Lacks quickness
Andersson is a hard working two-way center with a mature defensive game. He wins important face offs in the defensive zone and is a good penalty killer. Blessed with superb vision and passing skills, Andersson is a creative play maker that can execute a crisp pass. Possesses soft hands with a long reach and he uses his big frame to cover the puck well. He passes the puck some times to much and lacks finish. The main issue with Andersson is his skating as his feet are fine but his stride lacks any burst to it. He does an adequate job making up for his poor skating by taking good angles to the puck as he anticipates the game soundly. Just learning how to use his big frame to his advantage offensively as at the end of the season he began to drive the net a bit and is just scratching the surface of how good he can become offensively. Safe bet for a teams third line but also has second line upside.
25. D John Negrin, 6-2 200, 3-26-1989, Kootenay Ice WHL, 44 gp – 1 g – 15 a – 16 points - +11 – 57 pim. NHL Comparable: A less physical but smoother skating Scott Hannan.
++ One on one defensive positioning, gap control, stick work
+ Size, skating, hockey sense
- Lacks offensive creativity.
The most poised defenseman in this draft with or without the puck. The smartest defender I’ve scouted in awhile and he has the potential to be a shut down defenseman with some offensive upside as well. Has a little Marc-Edouard Vlasic to him in the way he defends as he doesn’t use punishing body checks but he’s going to be unbeatable one-on-one thanks to his strong defensive positioning, superior gap control, and exemplary stick work. That’s not say he’s soft as he bodies up his man and uses his fine strength to neutralize his man. Displays excellent footwork staying with his man a long the wall and he simply doesn’t get tricked by fancy stick work and always plays the body. Mobility is superb for a big man as he possesses a fluid and swift stride in all directions. His lateral mobility is especially special. He sees the ice well, he’s poised and patient with the puck and he never forces an errant pass as he makes a great first pass although he’s not a power play quarterback type. One of the drafts best kept secrets and should be a horse on the back end in the near future.
26. D Kevin Marshall, 6-0 200 3-10-1989, Lewiston Maniacs QMJHL, 70 gp – 5 g -27a -32 points - +34 – 141 pims. NHL Comparable: Sean Avery on defense.
++ Competitiveness, agitating mean streak, simple but effective game.
+ Decent feet, good first pass, smart two-way player
- Lacks creativity
Well built stay at home defenseman with a feisty mean streak that could possibly develop into an Anton Volchenkov or a Sean Avery on defense. Really agitates the opponent and gets under their skin with his relentless physical game. Strong in a defensive positioning sense and he competes hard as anyone. He separates his man off the puck with his tenacious physical game. Willing to put his body on the line as he’ll take a hit to make the play and is a valued shot blocker. Marshall is strong down low and clears the crease area exceptionally well. He anticipates the game very well and has a knack for the big open ice hit. He does a good job standing up his man at the blue line with a stiff body check. Marshall is not only smart defensively but as well offensively as he’s poised with the puck and makes a good first pass. He doesn’t panic in the face off pressure and moves the puck quickly and maturely. Kevin possesses adequate feet with good agility and a quick, but choppy stride that gives him good acceleration. His hands are okay and at times he shows some offensive talent pinching in but at the next level he projects as a shut down defenseman with a physical edge.
27. G Kent Patterson, 6-1 180, 9-15-1989, Cedar Rapids 20 w – 5 L – 2 SO’s.
++ Upside, mechanics, poise, anticipation
+ Quickness, athleticism.
- Needs to improve his puck handling.
One day shy of being eligible for the 2008 draft, Patterson has tremendous poise and ability. While he isn’t as hyped as other goaltenders available, Patterson will be the best of the bunch and possesses the talent and potential of a Ryan Miller. He doesn’t give the shooter much net to look at even from the butterfly as he possesses a sizable frame and he also plays the angles perfectly as he stays square to the puck and challenges the shooter by playing on the top of his crease. Kent anticipates the play and is always in position .. patient, will stay on his feet to make the save and makes the shooter make the first move. He’s very athletic yet his movements are economical as he makes everything look easy and controls the game thanks to phenomenal rebound control. He does a good job sucking the puck in, or kills it right in front of him if he can’t steer it to the corner. Has a wide butterfly. He’s lightning quick and fluid recovering from the butterfly back to his stance and has strong dexterity. All of his movements are quick, smooth, and controlled. Kent has marvelous reflexes in all his limbs, and really follows the puck in on every shot as if he can he’ll put his whole body behind the save. He’s equally difficult to beat down or up high. Patterson steers the rebounds to the corner with this blocker and is almost unbeatable on the other side as his glove quickness is exceptional. Does a good job using his glove to aid his rebound control. Possesses quick leg reflexes with above average leg extension and flexibility. His quick lateral and controlled lateral movement stands out and his lateral movement from the butterfly is superb. The only blemish is his average puck movement.
28. C Jim O’Brien, 6-2 185, 1-29-1989, Minnesota Gophers 43 gp – 7 g – 8 a – 15 points.
++ Upside, tenacity, size.
- Questionable offensive upside.
His upside is underrated as he could develop into a Ryan Getzlaf like center or a Brent Burns on defense. He’s still growing into his 6-3 frame as he's lanky and at times appears uncoordinated. Jim has an awkward looking first step but it delivers a rather decent burst for a player of his size. His top gear is commanding as he can blow by the opposition in the open ice or use his speed to get in quickly on the forecheck. His quickness and agility still are rough. O’Brien plays with a mean streak at times and could be a blossoming power forward. Added bulk would bring his physical game full circle as currently the initiative is there but he can still be knocked around a bit as he could improve his balance. Possesses a long reach with adequate hands as he protects the puck well but isn't a one on one dangler either. He uses his speed to get to the outside than uses his size and puck protection to drive the net. O’Brien works hard away from the puck and has a non stop motor. This season as the youngest player in the NCAA he didn't look out of place on the penalty kill as he disrupted passing lanes with his reach and has a great technique to blocking shots. His offensive ability is underrated as he sees the ice decently and passes the puck well although he lacks the creativity to be a play maker. He can finish too as he drives the net naturally hard and owns a quick release and accuracy in tight make him an adequate finisher in close although he's not a pure goal scorer either. He gives you a little bit of everything and has plenty of untapped potential as with added strength he should take his game to new heights.
29. RW Brandon Sutter, 6-3 180 2-14-1989, Red Deer Rebels WHL, 71 gp – 20 g – 37 a – 57 points - -3 – 54 pim.
++ Hockey sense, defensive play, size, work ethic, safe pick
+ Skating, upside
- Lacks natural offensive ability
Money in the bank to play in the NHL for a long time but he lacks the top end offensive upside to be a first liner. Skates well for a big man with a very good top gear and nimble feet. Uses his big frame to his advantage offensively as he drives the net hard with or without the puck and is useful on the power play creating screens in front. Cycles the puck well and does a good job winning battles for the puck out of the corners. Sutter is an okay finisher that gets the puck to the net in a hurry but he lacks the precision accuracy to be called a sniper. His best offensive attribute is his mature distribution of the puck as he sees the adequately and makes heady passes. His best attribute is his play away from the puck. His defensive awareness for a forward at this young age is off the charts. He marks his man quickly and neutralizes him with a consistent effort in his own zone. Willing shot blocker, Sutter is a team player that sacrifices himself to make the job of his line mates easier. I love his grit, courage, and heart.
30. D Nick Ross, 6-2 200 2-10-1989, Regina Pats WHL, 70 gp – 7 g – 24 a – 31 points - +11 – 87 pim. NHL Comparable: Brad Stuart
++ Upside, Poise
+ Athleticism, foot work, hands, vision, physicality
- Inconsistent effort, questionable decision making
The book on Ross is that he’s always had the physical attributes to be a stud defenseman but scouts questioned his hockey sense and if he wanted it bad enough. He silenced the critics with a commanding second half. Big kid with an adequate physical edge as he has a knack for devastating open ice hits. Appears almost too calm at times but this serves him well as he never panics and he makes big plays at big times. Comfortable on the point and he has above average offensive upside with the ability to distribute the puck and a heavy slap shot. Mobility isn’t pretty but his feet are fine. Still prone to the odd brain cramp but those are less evident in each game he’s viewed.
31. D Theo Ruth, 6-1 205, 2-14-1989, USNTDP 39 gp – 5 g – 11 a – 16 points.
++ Character, take charge attitude
- Doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well.
This Notre Dame recruit has the type of character scouts drool over and won a lot of teams over with his impressive performance at the combine. Talk to any of his current or former teammates and they just rave about him as a person. Theo is also an impressive package on the ice as he is at least average at everything but does a few things above average as well. What really stands out about him is the way he competes every night and is a real general on the ice with his take charge attitude. His mobility is fine as he possesses a quick and strong stride although it needs to be lengthened out a bit. His hands are adequate and he possesses a heavy point shot that is quickly released although he needs to fine tune his shot selection. Ruth sees the ice adequately and makes a decent first pass although he’s not an offensive puck moving defenseman per say as he often just elects to chip the puck off the glass. Defensively Ruth does a good job playing the body and he possesses good strength making him a decent physical presence. While he can improve his footwork as at times he’ll struggle containing guys with top end speed, Ruth shows the determination and awareness to be a good defensive defenseman.
32. D Thomas Hickey, 5’11 185, 2-8-1989, Seattle WHL 68 gp – 9 g – 41 a – 50 points.
++ Mobility, hand skill, creativity
+ Vision, puck movement, physical edge
- Lacks height
Hickey is pretty close to a complete defenseman although he lacks the height standing at 5’10. His offensive upside is quite high but he also plays with a commendable edge in his own end. Hickey is a fluid skater that can reach great speeds in all directions effortlessly. He’s light on his feet, he’s agile, and his lateral mobility is superb. Hickey uses his speed to rush the puck up the ice on his own and he wins foot races to the puck because of his quick acceleration. His hands are very soft and he handles the puck like a skilled forward. Hickey has a good point shot as he releases the puck quickly and gets it through low to the net with decent velocity. His one timer is an asset. Hickey sees the ice very well and he moves the puck crisply. He’s creative on the point and can quarterback the power play and he also shows the poise to make a heads up first pass. He’s smart and competitive defensively as he’s strong on his skates and possesses good core strength to land a stiff check. He uses his mobility and defensive positioning to be a formidable defender. He’s the real deal but he just lacks the height, something that he can conquer.
33. LW Dana Tyrell, 5-11 180 4-23-1989, Prince George Cougars WHL, 72 gp – 30 g – 26 a – 56 points - +4 – 51 pim.
++ Top end speed, wrist shot, character, work ethic.
+ Two way play, hockey sense
- Top end offensive upside
Skates like the wind with a commanding top gear and rapid acceleration. His work ethic is exemplary and he has a non stop motor. Makes all the little plays and is a team first player that wins one on one battles, back checks hard, makes him self an open outlet on the breakout, and the list goes on and on. Has a wicked wrist shot that is heavy and accurate and he’s just starting to learn how to use his deadly combination of speed and scoring ability. Sees the ice adequately but isn’t a creative play maker. Gritty kid with tremendous puck pursuit, finishes every check, and goes hard to the net. Bigger than listed as he’s stocky with a strong core and good upper body strength. Works hard defensively and back checks with vigor. Does a good job picking up his man and plays with full effort in his own zone. His team first attitude and play is contagious.
34. C David Perron, 5-11 185 5-28-1988, Lewiston Maniacs QMJHL, 70 gp – 39 g – 44 a – 83 points - +37 – 75 pim.
++ Hands, creativity, patience.
+ Vision, ability to elevate game, puck protection.
- Small, lacks a top gear, weak.
One of the real wild cards of this draft could be a top 20 selection or slip into the middle of the second round. Past over at last years draft, Perron has seen his stock sky rocket this season thanks to his impressive offensive skills and a dominant playoff performance. His best attribute is his magnetic hands that are a treat to watch has he can perform some sick stick handling wizardry. Perron is extremely slippery thanks to his arsenal of dynamic one-on-one moves and his feet are agile giving him fine quickness in all directions. He can also slow the game down for himself thanks to his superb puck protection and patience. Blessed with exceptional vision, Perron is a creative play maker. David is also an instinctive offensive player who can create something out of nothing and is extremely crafty. Owns a quick release with good accuracy, Perron just needs to add some velocity to complete his impressive shooting arsenal. Possesses exceptional hand eye coordination. While he’s quick, I would never call him fast as he lacks a top gear which is my biggest concern at the moment. Perron is also frail looking and can get pushed around by larger opponents. To his credit he’s wiry in the corners and he makes it tough for the opposition to ever get a clean check on him. Defensively he improved dramatically as the year progressed to the point where he was actually a strong defensive forward at the memorial cup where he marked his man quickly and then maintained healthy defensive positioning.
35. RW Maxim Mayorov, 6-2 180, 3-26-1989, Russia 33 gp – 7 g – 5 a – 12 points.
++ Good skater and size.
+ Decent shot, willing to play physical
- Inconsistent, lacks poise.
His combination of a mature frame and a fluid and powerful stride has the NHL’s attention. Maxim has decent skill as his hands are soft although he doesn’t possess first line dangle ability as he can fumble the puck. He’s a dynamic one on one threat as he has speed to burn and his lateral burst are powerful. He’s difficult to stop as he always keeps his feet driving and he has a good motor. Mayorov is one of the better skaters available in this years draft as he owns a fluid stride with nimble feet that produce a powerful burst of speed right out of the gate. He owns a commanding top gear as he can absolutely fly and his lateral bursts are special. Mayorov shoots the puck hard and often but he isn’t a natural goal scorer, he scores most of his goals by simply going hard to the net. He can execute a nifty pass once in a while but he’s not a natural play maker as he lacks the patience and poise with the puck to wait for a play to open. Mayorov is a one dimensional player as he generates all of his offensive chances from his speed and really nothing else. He has a good sized frame and he is a fairly physical player. Mayorov also back checks and fore checks hard as he competes and attacks the puck hard. Maxim is strong on his feet and handles traffic well. He will need to improve on his defensive awareness. He plays like a torpedo but he also suffered from consistency this season.
36. LW Mikael Backlund, 6-0 195, 3-17-1989, Sweden 27 gp – 8 g – 7 a – 15 points.
++ Hockey sense and doesn’t have any flaws
+ Hands, quick shot, mature body, fluid stride.
- Doesn’t possess first line ability, has he topped out?
Doesn’t have any flaws and does everything above average. He’s a smart offensive player that brings a little bit of everything. Backlund projects as a complimentary second line winger possibly but is a safe bet to play on the third line. His frame is mature and he appears to have NHL ready strength as he wins one on one battles and is never knocked off of his feet. Owns a fluid stride with adequate quickness but he lacks a top gear. Has a heady offensive game as he’s always in position. Mikael moves the puck well but isn’t the creative play maker that Andersson and Hjalmarsson is. Owns a quick release with good velocity and he scores a lot of goals by being in the right position and have the skill to finish despite lacking the accuracy of a natural goal scorer. Hands are soft and he covers the puck well with his mature frame. Not a defensive specialist but he does an adequate job away from the puck.
37. RW Michal Repik, 5-10 180, 12-31-1988, Vancouver WHL 56 gp – 24 g – 31 a – 55 points.
++ Offensive instincts
+ Creativity, quickness, skill, vision.
Repik is the type of skilled player in junior that shows signs of developing into a fine two-way player at the next level. Repik has soft hands and some slick one on one moves. For a smaller player he’s strong on his feet and does a good job slipping off of checks. Repik has a quick shot with a snappy release and he shows willingness to go into traffic areas to finish. His bread and butter though is his finishing ability as he’s poised with the puck, he sees the ice very well, and he displays creativity executing some slick passes. He can thread the needle through congested traffic and or put touch on the pass and saucer it to his man tape to tape. He’s not an end to end speedster but he’s fluid on his feet with good agility and quickness. His defensive commitment came a long way this season and looking down the road it could actually become a strength of his game. His puck pursuit and back checking also improved and he also finishes some checks now. Repik saw his stock soar with a commanding playoff performance. Could develop into a fine second liner.
38. RW Akim Aliu, 6-3 210 4-24-1989, Sudbury Wolves OHL, 53 gp – 20 g – 22 a – 42 points - +0 – 104 pim. NHL Comparable: Todd Bertuzzi
++ Size & Strength, top gear
+ Hands, finishing ability
- Attitude, Inconsistency, bust potential.
Possesses the talent and size combination to make him worth a selection in the top 20 of this draft but because of serious issues with his character I wouldn’t take him until the second round. The one word that sums up Aliu’s game is power, as when he wants to be, he is one of the best pure power forwards with the puck. Big kid with a powerful body and stride. When he lowers his shoulders and drives the net he is unstoppable. Hands are soft and he’s a good finisher and an underrated play maker. Doesn’t always play hard and his defensive game is suspect. Tons of untapped upside here but his character is a major concern.
39. D Mark Katic, 5-9 185 5-9-1989, Sarnia Sting OHL, 68 gp – 5 g – 35 a – 40 points - +8 – 31 pim. NHL Comparable: Mike Green
++ Skating ability
+ Vision, hands, smarts.
- Size and Strength.
The best skating defenseman in the draft, Katic looks like he was born on skates with a fluid and powerful stride. Twists and turns to elude the oncoming forecheck without loosing a step. Sees the ice well and moves the puck quickly with a great first pass and does a good job distributing the puck on the power play. Doesn’t own a heavy shot but he has a quick release and gets his shots through. For all of the offensive talent he possesses he makes mature decisions and never sacrifices his defensive assignments for offense. The question mark is his size as he can get pushed around by the larger players and lose one on one battles. He’s a stocky hard working kid though and is willing to get his nose dirty. He is a smart player though in terms of defensive positioning and he isn’t soft.
40. RW Stefan Legein, 5-10 175 11-24-1988, Mississauga Ice Dogs OHL, 64 gp – 43 g – 32 a – 75 points - +31 – 115 pim. NHL Comparable: Scotty Upshall.
++ Speed, tenacity
+ Shot, non stop motor
Fast and spirited spark plug that plays much bigger than his size. Possesses swift acceleration and good separation gear that he uses to fly past the opposition to the outside down the wing. His speed generates most of his offensive from his top gear and he isn’t afraid to drive the net which often forces the opposition to take a penalty. Owns a non stop motor and never quits moving his feet with or without the puck. Back checks and forechecks with vigor and does a good job finishing his checks or tying up his man. Competes hard and is a gritty player who plays with a lot of jam. A real pest that plays with a nasty edge that gets under the oppositions skin. Goes hard to the net and is an effective goal scorer with impressive hand eye coordination and accuracy. Doesn’t see the ice well but at times he breaks through with nice pass because of his creativity with the puck and okay hands..
41. D Colby Cohen, 6-3 200, 4-25-1989, Lincoln USHL 53 GP – 13 g – 47 a – 60 points.
++ Point shot
+ Puck movement and offensive skill
- Defensive play.
Joined the Lincoln Stars a month into the season after leaving the USNTDP and instantly became the second best draft eligible prospect amongst defenseman in the USHL. Has smooth feet for a big man with good strength behind his stride and has adequate quickness and foot speed. He isn't hesitant to skate the puck up the ice on his own as he's comfortable and confident with the puck. He’s an offensive catalyst as he’s poised, and is an instinctive passer. He sees the ice well and distributes the puck precisely. Colby has the upside to play on the top power play unit as he has some creativity moving the puck and has a huge point shot. Can unload a real bomb from the point as he possesses a bone rattling slap shot that he is accurate and quickly let go. He pinches in and his wrist shot is effective as he gets it to the net quickly. Maintains a tight gap and uses his stick to defend his man off the rush. He isn't a mean spirited player, but used to his big frame to get leverage on his man and is a willing fighter. The question mark is his defensive game as he his IQ away from the puck is noticeably less than with the puck. That said he doesn’t have any defensive deficiencies that can't be coached out of his game. The most glaring of which is his tendency to loose positioning in his own zone and at times he’ll cough up the puck with an errant first pass. More of an offensive defenseman despite his size, he should be selected early in the 2007 draft.
42. D Will Weber, 6-4 205, 12-20-1988, Gaylord High School 18 g – 18 a – 36 points.
++ Athleticism, upside, coast to coast ability, skating, size. + offensive touch, mean
- Extremely raw defensively, questionable poise.
He’s this years Derrick LaPoint and the teams that sleep on this kid will regret it. He’s committed to Miami Ohio and was recently the first overall selection in the USHL draft by the Chicago Steel, the team that he will play for next season. Chicago Steel General Manager Jason Koehler loves what he sees in Weber “Top end defenseman are rare and are at a premium right now, he’s big, fast, and mean. Is he raw? Yeah. Does he need to work on anything? Yeah. But he’s a pro defenseman with a big shot and is a tremendous athlete”. Weber is blessed with a tall, well built, strapping 6-4 205 frame. He’s an offensive defenseman that can coast to coast. His mobility is phenomenal for a player of his size as he owns a fluid and powerful stride. Weber doesn’t lack in confidence and his hands are exceptional as he can really dangle around the opposition. For a big man he can stick handle in a phone booth. He displays good creativity while quarterbacking the power play and can stretch the ice with a home run out let pass. That said he often tries to do it on his own and he will need to quicken his decision making while making the first pass at the next level. His shot is heavy and quickly released as he does a great job getting it through. He owns a bone rattling slap shot but it’s his deadly wrist shot that is especially good as he can pick corners with it or generate rebounds. Defensively he’s a wild horse and is very raw. He’ll need to refine his defensive positioning but he’s naturally mean and does a good job standing up his man at the blue line with a stiff check. Definitely one of the best pure athletes in the draft at any position although he might fall to the middle rounds because of his obscure hockey back round playing high school hockey in Michigan.
43. D Brendan Smith, 6-2 175, 2-8-1989, St. Michael’s OPJHL 39 gp – 12 g – 24 a – 36 points.
++ Offensive upside
+ Size, speed, hand skill, creativity, point shot
- Defensive awareness
Very intriguing prospect on the back end that could be a real wild card come draft day. Based on pure talent he is worthy of a first round selection, but because of him playing all season against suspect competition and a questionable defensive game, Smith could fall into the third round. Possesses a tall and athletic frame to develop into. Smith is a great skater for a kid of his size and age with nimble feet, rapid acceleration, and a fast top gear. He’s proactive offensively as he loves to skate the puck up the ice on his own and he displays impressive creative in the offensive zone. His hand skill is phenomenal and his point shot is heavy and quickly released. The knocks on him is that he gets caught up the ice too often and his defensive positioning leaves much to be desired. Still, if he rounds out his defensive game he could be a real stud in a few years. He’s committed to the University of Wisconsin.
44. D T.J. Brennan, 6-1 200 4-3-1989, St.Johns Fog Devils QMJHL, 68 gp – 16 g – 25 a – 41 points - -8 – 79 pims.
++ Upside, Shot, hand skill
+ Creativity, mobility, physical play
- Defensive awareness, raw.
Was invited to St. John’s camp for a walk on try out in which not only did he make the team but he finished the season as their top defenseman playing 30 minutes a night. He’s an enticing package of size and offensive skill. Brennan possesses nimble feet for a big kid with a strong stride and good mobility. He’s blessed with soft hands and he’s capable of going coast to coast. He sees the ice adequately well and displays some creativity while playing the point. His most stand out quality is his ferocious point shot that is NHL caliber already. Defensively he needs some work as he can get over aggressive and take himself out of position. At times he’ll get caught up the ice and will make risky offensive plays. That said his gap control is already good and he can skate with anybody. He also is a big and strong kid that can land a stiff body check.
45. D Simon Lacroix, 6-2 180, 5-29-1989, Shawinigan QMJHL 60 gp – 11 g – 27 a – 38 points.
++ Instincts and Hockey Sense
+ Fluid mobility, vision, skill
- Size & strength
One of the smartest defenders I had the pleasure to scout this season, he instantly jumps out at you while watching him on tape. The type of defenseman that makes crafty plays in all three zones. Offensively he’s creative and instinctive as he knows when to lead the rush or pinch in down low. Composed on the point and does a decent job quarterbacking the power play. He anticipates the game well and is a very smart player. Simon sees the ice well and makes a heads up first pass. His mobility is above average as his feet are fine and he has a nice, long stride that produces a good top gear. He’s a crafty defender with healthy gap control and defensive positioning. Simon is also deceptively strong on his feet and handles his own physically. He does an exceptional job staying stick on stick.
46. D Yannick Weber, 5-11 195, 9-23-1988, Kitchener Rangers OHL 51 gp – 13 g – 28 a – 41 points.
++ Quick feet, agility
+ Offensive upside, hand skill and creativity.
- Smallish, forces shots.
Switzerland native that was one of the best offensive defenseman in the OHL this season. While he lacks in height, he doesn’t let that affect him as he’s very stocky and strong on his feet with good core strength. He lacks an explosive top gear but his all around mobility is strong as he’s a swift skater with good agility and all compass mobility. Doesn’t back down physically as he competes hard with his man one on one and is willing to throw his weight around. Weber possesses enticing offensive upside as he possesses soft hands and superb vision. He is an instinctive passer who knows where he wants to move the puck the instant he receives it. He sees the ice well and moves the puck crisply. He makes a great first pass and displays the tools to quarterback the power play as he’s creative and poised with the puck. His shot needs work as it’s often off the mark but he is a solid goal scorer from the point as he does a good job pinching in down low near the net, ala Matt Carle.
47. RW Aaron Palushaj, 6-0 185, 9-7-1989, Des Moines USHL 56 gp – 22 g – 45 a – 67 points.
++ Ability to finish or create near the net in heavy traffic
+ Long reach with soft hands and can stick handle through traffic.
- Skating, inconsistent effort, poor defensive play.
Palushaj is a team player who communicates positively with coaches and teammates that will do the dirty work for his linemates and displays good body language on the bench. His skating needs improvement as his first few strides lack power and appear sluggish and his turns can be sloppy but with his superb anticipation and economical approach he gets where he needs to and can slip around the opposition. Is as dangerous as they come from within 15-feet of the net. He has a long reach, is a patient puckhandler with soft, quick hands that can really dangle and can make something out of nothing in heavy traffic using the toe drag to slip off the opposition. Scores many goals with his willingness to get his nose dirty. Has a knack for pouncing on loose rebounds using his quick release to finish and displays hunger, bears down and finishes his chances. He can also make a deft pass through heavy traffic and can draw the opposition and execute a creative pass with defenders draped all over him. Aaron shields the puck well and can maintain possession allowing his teammates to get open. Ever improving defensively, it just has not come full circle yet as he needs to backcheck harder and leaves the defensive zone too early but picks up his man well and will come down low to help. Palushaj pursues the puck adequately, clogs passing lanes, and maintains proper positioning. He handles traffic well and is very effective battling along the board. He fits the mold of a real offensive threat if he fixes his skating concerns. Palushaj had a phenomenal playoff in which he displayed that he can elevate his game in the critical moments and that there is more upside to him. Aaron will play for Michigan next fall.
48. RW Oscar Moller, 5-11 180 1-22-1989, Chilwack Bruins WHL, 68 gp – 32 g – 37 a- 69 points - +1 – 50 pim. NHL Comparable: Jonathan Cheechoo
++ Shot, grit.
+ Hands, play in traffic, attitude.
- Top gear, height.
Small but extremely stocky and balanced, Moller handles traffic areas very well. One of the best natural goal scorers in the draft as he does an excellent job of getting open near the net and his quick release produces an accurate shot and heavy shot. Arguably the best in this class at scoring in heavy traffic. Feisty player that plays with grit and passion every game and throws his weight around on the forecheck. Not a particularly fast or imposing physically player, Moller could really thrive with a big play making center. Will need upgrade his skating as he lacks a separation gear. Moller is an astute player with good hockey sense and an exemplary work ethic.
49. C Nick Larson, 6-1 180, 1-16-1989, Hill Murray USHS 25 gp – 25 g – 30 a – 55 points.
++ Size, power, and speed combination
+ Soft hands, rocket wrist shot
He’s the prototypical power forward as he brings an enticing package of size, power, and speed. He’s a big kid with a mature body and he knows how to use it as he can bull his way to the net. While it would be nice to see him use his big frame more away from the puck to throw some more hits, when he does he is a bone rattling hitter. Nick is a swift skater with good feet and a powerful stride. His first step is decent and his top gear is exceptional. Larson has owns a heavy wrist shot that is precisely accurate and he’s at his best when he uses his speed to fly down the wing before launching his powerful wrist shot while moving at full speed. He was a feared sniper in high school and the USHL this season. His hands are soft and he owns a good reach which aides his strong puck protection. He showed some more detail to his game while playing on the checking line with the Omaha Lancers where he was strong on the cycle and used his speed to break up plays while covering his defensive assignments. Consistency is the issue as he doesn’t bring it every night and he’s even inconsistent shift to shift. Also he lacks the vision and creativity to be much of a play maker at the next level. He will be a Minnesota Gopher next season.
50. D Drew MacKenzie, 6-2 200, 12-17-1988. Taft Prep.
++ Size and strength
+ Mobility, hockey sense, physicality
- Lacks offensive creativity
Committed to Vermont for the 2008 season, MacKenzie will play for the Waterloo Blackhawks next season as they made him their first round pick in the USHL draft. Drew is a big defenseman with impeccable character and a steady defensive game. He’s a formidable one on one defender that uses his reach and size well to neutralize his man. Drew owns a tenacious physical game that should be a cornerstone of his game at the next level. His gap control is good and he can land some big body checks. His strong lateral mobility allows him to cut his man off swiftly with a stiff hip check. Projects as a stay at home type as he is very savvy in his own zone and maintains healthy defensive positioning at all times. He is poised with the puck and makes mature decisions but he lacks the creativity to be a power play quarterback and while he gets his shot on net he doesn’t own a powerful shot that would make him worthy of playing on the power play. Drew is an excellent skater for a big man with good feet, swift pivots, and a strong stride.
51. D Blake Kessel, 6-2 200, 4-13-1989, Waterloo USHL 59 gp – 11 g – 27 a – 38 points.
++ Mature two-way defenseman
+ Vision, hockey sense, good personality and leadership.
- Doesn’t do anything exceptionally well.
The younger broth of Boston Bruin Phillip Kessel as come a long way over the past year from being a long shot to make the USHL, and now a legitimate NHL prospect. He’s at his best while working the point. He owns a quick release and does a great job of getting all of his shots through accurately. Kessel is poised with the puck and sees the ice well giving him the ability to quarterback the play. He possesses soft hands, makes quick decisions and never seems to be stripped of the puck. He’s a heads-up, outlet passer as he makes a great first pass even in the face of oncoming pressure. He has a good-sized frame with an adequate physical edge, as he covers his crease well and does a decent job along the boards. Blake still needs to trim some baby fat. He knows when to attack and when not to defensive. Kessel will take a poor angle to his man at times but doesn't get beat at this level however, he will need to correct this as he moves up against better competition. He’s a decent skater with an upright stride that is fluid enough, as his agility has improved vastly since the beginning of the season. New Hampshire recruit is a mature two-way defender with good puck movement and hockey sense.
52. C Alexander Killorn, 6-0 185, 9-14-1989, Deerfield USHS
++ Quick feet, complete game
+ Vision, quick shot, competitiveness
- Lacks first lien ability.
Killorn is a Harvard recruit that is the top forward eligible for this years draft from the Eastern Prep level. Alex is a complete two-way center with quick feet, rapid acceleration, and a commanding top gear. He sees the ice adequately well and is a mature play maker. He owns a quick shot with ever improving accuracy. Killorn is at his best when he uses his speed to get around the defender and then unleashes his shot at full speed. He displays a good one ice work ethic as he’s always the first man in on the forecheck and the first one back on the back check. He plays bigger than his size and wins one on one battle as he does all the little the things right.
53. D Taylor Ellington, 6-1 205, 10-31-1988, Everett WHL 60 gp – 5 go – 8 a – 13 points.
+ Defensive game, size, mobility
- Lacks offensive ability
Think Craig Rivet and you have a good mental picture of what Taylor Ellington can bring to a club down the road. While he will never wow you with his offensive exploits, Ellington gives you everything he has and maximizes his potential every shift. He’s a big and strong defender that uses his size well to play a punishing physical game. He clears his crease with vigor and effectiveness and he’s a solid open ice hitter. He does a good job standing his man up at the blue line with a stiff check. His mobility is an asset as he owns a strong stride and decent agility. Ellington doesn’t see the ice as good as some of his peers but he moves the puck maturely and efficiently.
54. C Brad Malone, 6-2 205, 5-20-1989, Sioux Falls USHL 57 gp – 14 g – 19 a – 33 points.
++ Two way Awareness and size
+ Skating, vision and play making
- Finishing ability, offensive upside.
Put the enticing physical package he possesses together as the season progressed. Malone brings a consistent physical edge shift to shift as he has a strong upper body and uses it to land powerful body checks that he now finishes every time. Power forward that opens the ice for his line mates as he’s willing to fight and displays leadership qualities. He is a smart player with top-notch hockey sense and does not make mistakes. Bradley is aware with or without the puck and is a good two-way player that is committed to his defensive assignments. He’s an asset to the PK and he uses his long reach to clog lanes, competes hard down low in his own zone, and back checks harder than anyone else does on his team. A good skater for a big man that possesses an impressive top gear. He’s a fluid skater with good footwork. Hs first step is average and could be improved and stride could be lengthened. He possesses soft hands as he handles the puck with ease although he is not elusive one on one. Uses his large frame to gain and maintain position offensively. He has superb vision and distributes the puck instinctively and crisply. Has a creative side to his passing game as he’s effective at threading the needle with a pass from the boards off the rush to a teammate in the slot. He plays along the half wall but will also move to the crease area on the power play. Possesses an underrated release with fine velocity on his shot but he is hesitant to shoot and lacks a goal scorers mind as well as he’s accuracy is poor. The best way to describe it is that he shoots like a defenseman as he keeps the puck low often just looking for a rebound. He’s versatile as he can play center or right wing. Could be a third line two way power forward who can skate and create but lacks finish.
55. D Alex Plante, 6-5 220 5-9-1989, Calgary Hitmen WHL, 58 gp – 8 g – 30 a – 38 points - +18 – 81 pim.
+ offensive talent and vision.
- Foot work.
Towering defenseman that plays like a 5-10 offensive one. Plante possesses soft hands with a long reach and has a lot of offensive skill. He sees the ice well and makes a heads up first pass and can also distribute the puck fairly creatively on the power play. Owns a heavy point shot that he does a good job of getting through to the net and keeps it low. Does a good job covering his net and has an adequate physical edge to compliment his size but he’s not a punishing physical presence either. Can be beaten with speed to the outside and must improve his pivots and foot work. Well coordinated for a big kid but his feet are heavy and he will need to improve his skating before he plays in the NHL.
56. C Nico Sacchetti
++ Hockey sense
+ Competes, good skater, soft hands, good play maker.
- Not a first line type as he lacks the finishing touch.
One of the best two-way centers available this year from the high school ranks. Nico is a great skater with an effortless and powerful stride. He’s nimble on his feet and quick in all directions. He has a superb separation gear as he can fly around the opposition to the outside when he turns on the jets. He’s more of a play maker than a finisher as he currently lacks the natural touch around the net. Nico sees the ice very well and is a creative play maker. He can move the puck well at full speed. His hand skill is above average as his hand eye coordination is good but he isn’t a top end stick handler either. He anticipates the game well and he displays astute hockey sense. He competes well and has some grit to his game. He’s strong on his feet and loves to go to the net. For a high schooler his defensive maturity is exceptional as he works hard away from the puck and displays good defensive zone awareness. He’s a natural center that is strong on draws.
57. C T.J. Galiardi, 6-2 180, 4-22-1988, Dartmouth NCAA 33 gp – 14 g – 17 a – 31 points.
++ Size/Skill combo.
+ Nimble Skater, good vision and play maker.
- Needs to use his size more
Galiardi could’ve been a first round selection if the draft was held around Christmas this year after being past up in last summers draft because of his strong start to the season. His momentum tailored off though as the season progressed as he didn’t use his size much down the stretch and he lost his scholarship for academic reasons. He’s an intriguing player because of his NHL esq. frame and impressive offensive skill set. Galiardi possesses soft hands and slick puck protection abilities. He has a good reach and the puck just seems to be magnetic with to stick. He’s a play making center with impressive vision and creativity. He’s a slick and crisp passer with good poise. T.J. owns a quick shot with adequate accuracy that he is still learning how to harness. He’s blessed with intrinsic hockey sense and above average defensive awareness. While he’s tough to knock off of his feet he should be more proactive using his size more and finish some checks and drive the net harder. For a big man Galiardi moves very well as he is light on his feet and owns a fluid stride. His acceleration and quick first step are superb for players of his size and his top gear is above average.
58. Matt Marshall, 6-0 190, 8-30-1989, Nobles
++ Speed and creativity
+Two-Way Play, vision, poise.
- Ultimate offensive upside, weak shot.
Similar to Sharks prospect Torrey Mitchell, Marshall is blessed with exceptional speed and possesses a gritty two way game. He knows how to use his explosive top gear and rapid acceleration to generate offense. Marshall was utilized on the point this season during the power play because of his impressive vision and passing skills. He will need to upgrade his shot as the release needs to be quickened and his accuracy needs refinement. Marshall works hard away from the puck and does a good job winning races to loose pucks on the forecheck and is willing to get his nose dirty. He also back checks hard and possesses strong defensive awareness.
59. RW Ruslan Bashirikov, 6-0 185 3-7-1989, Quebec Remparts QMJHL, 64 gp – 30 g – 37 a – 67 points - +11 – 117 pims.
++ Offensive instincts and creativity.
+ Hands, vision, quickness
- Size, defensive play.
Ruslan is a Russian forward that came over to North America this season to play in the QMJHL with his twin brother. Ruslan is the much more talented of the two and even lead Russia last season at the U-18 World Championship in scoring. His hands are gold as they are quick and soft. His skill set is top end and his wrist shot is quickly released, precisely accurate, and fairly heavy. Ruslan sees the ice very well and displays some impressive creativity distributing the puck time to time. A fine skater with a quick and fluid stride, Ruslan has above average straight away speed but it’s his exceptional agility and lateral bursts that are special. He’s very patient with the puck and is crafty at buying himself time. He does a very good job of exploiting the oppositions weaknesses as he has great timing and offensive instincts. He’s not a sand paper kind of guy but he isn’t hesitant to go into traffic areas and his defensive game is respectable. Doesn’t carry the baggage that most Russians do and his talent is second round, 2nd line NHL caliber.
60. C Logan MacMillan, 6-2 195 7-5-1989, Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL, 68 gp – 20 g – 35 a – 55 points - -5 – 59 pims.
++ Mature two-way game, hockey sense, character
+ Hands and passing ability
- Questionable top end offensive upside.
One of the late risers of the draft, MacMillan had a slow start to the season but came a live and dominated late in the season all the way through the playoffs where on some nights he was even better than his line mate Jakub Voracek. Very safe pick, MacMillan will definitely play in the NHL but will mostly likely bounce between the 2nd and 3rd lines while never touching the top line. Offensively he’s a decent skater despite his heavy feet and is always in position to finish the play or create one through his impressive vision and passing skills. Hands and skating are fine but neither is great. Should be a tremendous asset to the penalty kill and is will bring exceptional character and leadership qualities to the team that drafts him.
61. C Olivier Fortier, 5-11 170, 5-2-1989, Rimouski 69 gp – 28 g – 36 a – 64 points.
++ Defensive play, speed
- Lacks top end offensive talent
Reminiscent of Ottawa Senator Antoine Vermette, Fortier is a fast and gritty center whose specialty is killing penalties and taking care of his own zone first. He’s a great skater with very quick feet. He accelerates rapidly and he also owns an explosive top gear that he uses mostly to wreak havoc on the oppositions breakout as he gets in on his man in a hurry on the forecheck. Fortier is small but is strong on his feet and finishes every check. He loves to get his nose dirty and he excels in traffic areas. He anticipates the game well as he’s dynamic at creating turn overs and then with his speed he’s gone the other way. Fortier is one of the drafts best penalty killers and is also strong on face offs. He’s a gritty kid who plays with passion every night. The knock on Olivier is that he lacks offensive upside and will top out as a third liner at the most. That said, he’s a safe pick and brings the intangibles that a team needs to win.
62. RW Spencer Machacek, 6-0 185, 10-14-1988, Vancouver WHL 63 gp – 21 g – 24 a – 45 points.
++ Non Stop Motor and Work Ethic
+ Awareness without the puck, decent skater
- Lacks offensive upside
Spencer is the kind of player that what you see is what you get. The team that selects him will be doing so with in mind that he will never be more than a third liner and that he won’t be a player that lights up the stat sheets. What he will give you is heart, character, leadership, and the type of player that will run in front of a Mack Truck if you asked him too. Spencer is the type of player who does all of the little things that it takes to win. He’s tenacious on the forecheck with a non stop motor and he finishes every check with vigor. Spencer goes to traffic areas without any hesitation and thrives because he’s a stocky kid with great core strength. He wins one on one battles. Machacek goes hard to the net with or without the puck and can be a valuable playoff goal scorer but he isn’t a natural finisher. Spencer plays with jam and has a good physical edge. Offensively he’s limited, as while he covers the puck well his hands aren’t soft and he lacks offensive instincts. He makes most of his plays through hard work and he is also an efficient penalty killer. Solid third or fourth line player down the road with tremendous character.
63. C Keven Veilleux, 6-5 200 6-27-1989, Victoriaville Tigers QMJHL, 70 gp – 20 g – 35 a – 55 points - -6 – 53
pims. NHL Comparable: Brian Boyle (Kings Prospect)
++ Hulking frame, puck protection
+ Soft hands, heavy shot.
- Doesn’t use size away from puck, inconsistency.
I love his size and hand skill combination as well as his howitzer shot, but his inconsistency game to game and his hesitation to use his big frame to its full advantage away from the puck keep him out of the first round. Heavy player that is extremely difficult for the opposition to move as once he plants his feet he is staying there. Does a good job opening up the ice in the offensive zone for his linemates and draws multiple defenders to him when he plants himself in front of the net. Keven possesses soft, quick hands and superior puck protection. He’s difficult to stop when he goes hard to the net with or without the puck and he can cycle the puck all day. A decent play maker, Veilleux’s strength his ability to finish. Blessed with a powerful wrist shot that is fairly accurate, Veilleux projects well as a goal scoring power forward at the next level. For a big man his feet are nimble and he shows good footwork down low which helps him shed off the oppositions checks.
64. C Riley Nash, 6-1 180, 5-9-1989, Salmon Arm BCHL 55 gp – 38 g – 46 a – 84 points.
++ Hockey sense, Vision
+ Speed, hands, and two-way play.
- Finishing ability, skinny.
Crafty and intuitive play two-way center. Blessed with superb vision and exceptional offensive imagination, Riley is a top end play making center. Possesses a fluid stride with a deceptively good top gear. Can quarterback the power play from a long the half wall. Picks up his man astutely in his own end and gives an honest effort back checking. Hands are soft and he protects the puck well. Will need to bulk up his upper body strength but his balance is fine and he handles traffic well. Displays leadership qualities and is a safe pick with decent upside.
65. C Luca Cunti, Switzerland, 6-0 185, 7-4-1989, Switzerland
++ World Class skill
+ Quickness, scoring touch, creativity
- Attitude, lacks an resemblance of a team oriented game.
Cunti is the enigma of the draft as he possesses a skill set worthy of a top 10 selection but his attitude is a serious question mark. He rather stick handle around three opponents with an awe-inspiring display that gets him nowhere instead of making the simple pass that would get his team a goal. Cunti is a fluid skater with a dynamic change of gears and exceptional agility as he can turn on a dime. He effortlessly can reach speeds most dream of and he’s an end to end threat. Cunti possesses world class hand skill and can execute some impressive dangles while carrying the puck coast to coast. The main concern is that he doesn’t move his feet away from the puck and his defensive effort is horrid. He can often be caught floating on the back check. Cunti also is selfish with the puck and must learn how to utilize his line mates more. That said when he does decide to share the puck he displays great vision and poise with the puck executing some creative passes. An outspoken character, Cunti is interested in coming to North America to play college hockey and might play for the Chicago Steel of the USHL next season.
66. RW Mike Hoeffel, 6-2 190, 4-9-1989, USNTDP 44 gp – 16 g – 7 a – 23 points.
++ Size and willingness to use it offensively.
+ Skating, grit, hockey sense
- Vision and lacks premiere offensive ability.
Highly regarded power forward that works hard and plays an honest two-way game, Hoeffel is a solid investment in the second round. Type of player that maximizes his ability through hard work and ability to be coached. Has a big frame and knows how to use it with or without the puck. Drives the net hard and will go to the front of the net to create a screen or dig up a loose rebound. Finishes all of his checks, cycles the puck well, and is strong in the corners. Hoeffel has okay hands with a quick release, and while he isn’t a good goal scorer from the outside, he has a knack for scoring from within five feet of the net. Hoeffel lacks the vision to find his open teammates and often just elects to dump the puck in and chase after it. His feet are nimble for a player of his size and he owns a fluid stride with deceptive speed. Projects as a good third liner capable of filling in on the second line at times. Committed to the University of Minnesota.
67. LW Brett MacLean, 6-1 200 12-24-1988, Oshawa Generals OHL, 68 gp – 47 g – 53 a – 100 points - +9 – 43 pim.
++ Offensive instincts
+ Hands, shot, vision, Size.
- Defensive game, doesn’t use his size away from the puck, skating.
Reminds me of Steve Bernier with less skill and none of the physical game. He’s a big kid who is always around the puck and possesses supple hands. Patient around the net, Brett is a good finisher with a quick release and accurate shot. He’s a creative and instinctive offensive player and is generates offense every game. Has a big stocky frame with superb balance and he protects the puck very well. Skating and on ice work ethic are question marks but to his credit he improved both throughout the season. Sees the ice decently and shows some creativity distributing the puck but it seems he is a step late at finding the open man which leads to the opposition breaking up the passes he attempts. Didn’t do anything for me until his trade to Oshawa where he got to play with two of the better players in the league every night (Tavares & Clutterbuck) but he also deserves credit as he made things happen on his open too.
68. RW Corey Tropp, 5-11 185, 7-25-1989, Sioux Falls USHL 54 gp – 26 g – 36 a – 62 points.
++ Offensive instincts and ability to finish
+ Hands and balance
- Me first attitude, defensive play.
An offensive game breaker who steps up in the big games. He Lead the Clarkson Cup Champion Sioux Falls in regular season and playoff scoring and w as also named the USHL All Star Game MVP. Tropp is blessed with outrageously soft hands that can undress the opposition and he uses a long stick. Seemingly handles the puck as if it is on a string and he’s very dangerous one on one off of the rush and in heavy traffic. Tropp is imaginative and patient with the puck. He’s resilient in possession as he is sturdy on his feet .as he has a knack for slipping off checks. Possesses strong arms and has covers the puck well. He likes to change direction on a dime behind the net to shed the defenseman before taking the puck to the net. Trop can be guilty of over handling the puck at times. He’s strong along the boards and in front of the net and he will be able to handle the trenches in the NHL some day. Especially dangerous from within 15 feet of the goal although he can also be an end-to-end threat despite lacking explosive speed. Has a goal scorers release and instincts as he releases the puck in a heart beat. His hot is accurate and hard and he anticipates well as he finds the quiet areas near the net. Has a knack for disappearing back door before remerging wide open. Trop also sees the ice well and has the vision, creativity, and touch to be an above average playmaker. He spots the open man instantl and can execute passes through tight lanes in heavy traffic from his backhand and forehand. Tropp displays impressive imagination while distributing the puck and can execute with the opposition all over him. He possesses a good first step and a decent top gear when he keeps his feet moving with the puck. He does lack an explosive separation gear but he is agile with good lateral cuts. His defensive play is lackluster and he is always the first to leave the zone and is the last one to get back to his own zone. He competes and wins battles for loose pucks in the offensive zone but not in his own. Puck pursuit is non-existent unless an offensive chance is probable as he does not finish check. He displays poor body language and he gets frustrated too easily and sulks noticeably at his teammates time to time.
69. C Casey Pierro-Zabotel, 6-2 200, 1-1-1989, Merritt BCHL 55 gp – 51 g – 65 a – 116 points.
++ Size and skill combination
+ Finesse, play making, hand skill
- Floats around, inconsistent.
His style of play is similar to Steve Bernier’s, as he’s a big and strong power forward with good finesse. Casey is committed to play for the University of Michigan Tech beginning next season. He’s a blossoming power forward as while his physical game is inconsistent as of now, he shows signs of becoming a force as he can really throw a thunderous body check. He does a good job of using his size to be strong on the puck and excels in traffic. His hands are soft as he handles the puck with ease. Casey owns a quick shot as he’s a precise finisher from in close range. His best offensive attribute is his play making touch as he sees the ice well and can execute some nifty passes. For a big kid his skating is fine as his stride is strong but he will need to work on keeping his feet moving as he can be caught coasting at times. Casey has all of the tools to be a stud but it is yet to be seen if he can develop the shift to shift consistency to excel at a higher level of play.
70. RW Sergei Korostin, 5-11 185, 7-5-1989, Russia 7 gp – 0 g – 0 a – 0 points.
++ Hand skill
+ Creativity, nimble feet
- Defensive game, shies away from traffic.
Korostin is your typical Russian which is a good and a bad thing. It means he has world class skill and offensive creativity but it also means he shies away from the rough stuff and his team play is horrendous. His feet are special as he can stop on a dime, his acceleration is superb, and his lateral mobility is elite. Korostin lacks that top end gear however. His hands are elite and he can really dangle. He’s dangerous one on one and he’s a creative stick handler than can put on a show. He owns a quickly released shot that is accurate and quick from both sides of his stick. He’s also a good play maker with impressive vision and creativity. Depending on what game you see him he can have the look of a pure goal scorer and then the next he can have the look of a dynamic play maker. Korostin mostly sticks to the outside and doesn’t enjoy adventures into traffic areas. He’s unwilling to pay the price and never finishes a check. His defensive effort is some times there but he needs to consistently work harder away from the puck to make the NHL. Might be a Jiri Hudler clone.
71. D Juraj Valach 6-7 220, 2-1-1989, Tri-City WHL, 58 gp – 7 g – 23 a – 30 points.
++ Size & Upside
+ Confidence, hands, vision.
-Agility, and defensive awareness.
The next in line of towering Slovakian defenders, Valach spent the season playing in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans. He’s a perplexing prospect as his skill set doesn’t match his size but neither does his defensive game. Valach’s strength is his offensive ability. He sees the ice well and makes a good first pass. He appears comfortable on the point and displays adequate poise and creativity. Valach owns a hard point shot that he does a good job releasing quickly and getting it to the net. He skates remarkably well for a player of his size moving forward, but his pivoting is very rough and he’s a slow backwards skater. He can be exposed by players with a lot of skill and speed in the open ice. Valach uses his size well a long the boards and in front of his net but he doesn’t possess a mean streak. I was impressed with the fact that he didn’t look out of place at the WJC’s against the top players at his age group. He’s a hard working player that is just scratching the surface of how good he could become and is worth a pick in the third round but could also go in the second.
72. C Ben Ryan, 5-11 190, 10-16-1988, Des Moines USHL 59 gp – 22 g – 42 a – 64 points.
+ Quickness, grit
- offensive upside
A gritty two-way center with exceptional character that displays leadership qualities acting like a second coach on the bench. He always takes the shortest, often most physical route from point a-to-b. He plays with grit, jam, and passion. Is a pest on the forecheck, displaying tremendous puck pursuit while finishing every check with impressive power . Can land a big open ice hit. He’s not an explosive skater but has quick feet and is agile. He accelerates swiftly but lacks a top gear and his stride is a bit choppy. Possesses quick hands but they could be softer. Likes to pinball his way through traffic with his superb balance. Played the point during the power play this season but doesn’t project to stay there at the next level. He sees the ice well and is an above average play maker as he can can execute a nice touch pass through traffic but not consistently. He will go to the net but lacks overall finish. He is an astute two-way player with exceptional defensive awareness as he works tirelessly away from the puck, blocks shots well and a definite asset to the penalty kill. A strong two-way center with quickness and vision but will never be a top-end offensive player.
72. D Ben Blood, 6-3 215, 3-15-1989, Shattuck USHS
++ Size and Strength
+ Hockey sense, play on the point
- Mobility, Poor competition level
Blood was the heart and soul of this years Shattuck U-18 team, and will be the only player selected in this years draft from Shattuck. He’s committed to the University of North Dakota for next fall. He’s a big and strong kid that displayed a commanding two-way game this year. The type of defenseman that if he develops properly, he could play in all situations. For a big man his mobility is fine but it will need to be improved on. He appears to have too much junk in the drunk and will need to trim down to become quicker. His feet are okay though and his stride is strong. Blood possesses soft hands with a long reach and he is poised with the puck. He displays the vision and creativity to quarterback the power play. His shot is heavy, quickly released, and he gets it through. Blood makes a decent first pass and displays mature puck movement. Defensively he uses his size to intimidate the opposition and does a good job angling his man to the boards before landing a stiff check. He struggled this year because of his mobility on the larger ice surfaces and he will need to improve on his gap control and defensive positioning.
73. RW David Skokan, 6-1 190, 12-6-1988, Rimouski QMJHL 52 gp – 14 g – 21 a – 35 points.
++ Few weaknesses
+ Good skill, mobility, and hockey sense
- Isn’t the top end offensive player some projected him to be when he was 16.
David Skokan is eerily similar to Sharks first round selection in 2004 Lukas Kaspar. He’s an enticing package of size, skill, and speed but something just seems to be missing as he never dictates play. What you have down the road is a skill third line player who plays adequately in all situations. Skokan possesses soft hands and is strong on his feet. He cycles the puck well and does a good job covering the puck in traffic. He sees the ice well and is an above average play maker displaying decent creativity. His shot is quick and fairly accurate but he lacks the instincts of a pure goal scorer. Skokan plays a mature two-way game as he shows good awareness away from the puck and he finishes his checks playing with adequate competitiveness. Safe bet to be a contributor at some stage in the NHL but he will never be a top two line guy.
74. D Steven Kampfer, 5-11 200, 9-24-1989, Michigan NCAA 35 gp – 1 g – 3 a – 4 points.
++ Poise, vision, hockey sense
- Does nothing special.
Plays a mature two-way game that goes unnoticed by the untrained eye but he’s the type of reliable defenseman that the more you see of him the more you like. He’s mobile with exceptional lateral mobility and a strong stride heading forward. He sees the ice well and distributes the puck crisply. Possesses underrated skill that shines through every so often, and it is something that should be on display more next season with increased ice time. His defensive positioning is impressive and he can skate with anyone making him a formidable one-on-one defender. He’s not a big guy, but is sturdy on his feet and can land the odd nice open-ice body check. Steven is a smart player with superb two-way awareness. While he’s not a first-round prospect he definitely deserves to be drafted before the mid-rounds.
75. G Jeremy Smith, 6-2 160 4-13-1989, Plymouth Whalers OHL, 34 gp – 2.59 avg - .923 svpg.
++ Athleticism, skating
+ Glove and leg quickness
- Prone to weak goals.
American born goaltender whom played in the OHL this season, Smith is the top rated goalie eligible for this years draft on most teams lists. Tall, lanky goaltender with tremendous athletic ability, Smith could sneak into the late first round but is more probable to go in the second. Very skinny and will need to put on some weight to handle the rigors of the pro game. A phenomenal skater with quick lateral movement from his stance or the butterfly, Smith covers a lot of the net. He’s capable of making the high light real save but is also prone to allowing too many weak goals. He has long and quick limbs that are capable of robbing the opposition of a goal. Mechanics are adequate as he has a tight butterfly and keeps his glove low.
76. G Reid Ellingson, 5-10 190, Cloquete USHS.
++ Athleticism and composure
- lacks prototypical size
The top high school goaltender available in this years draft, Ellingson brings everything to the table except for size. While he is a smaller goalie he plays big in the net by getting square to the puck and challenging the shooter without over committing. His lateral movement is quick and fluid from both his stance and his butterfly. Ellingson anticipates the game well and is mental composure and hockey IQ for a goaltender is superb. Reid is athletically gifted with quick limbs and good dexterity. He has a tight butterfly and recovers quickly back to his stance. His glove is exceptional and his blocker is also quite good for his age. His leg quickness is also superb. He’s amongst the tops in this years draft in terms of rebound control as he does a good job using his glove to suck in the high shots, and he does a great job using his stick and angling his pads to kick his rebounds out to the corners. Ellingson makes it all look easy thanks to his rock solid mechanics, mental composure, and quick reflexes. He’s a good skater and plays the puck adequately. After some seasoning in the NCAA for the next four years he could be a stand out goaltending prospect.
77. G Timo Pielmeier, 6-0 185, Kolner Germany
++ Athletic legs, lateral quickness.
+ Reflexes, aggressive angles.
- Exposed up high at times.
Very aggressive goaltender that loves to challenge the shooters and plays outside the blue paint. Displays impressive dexterity .. Great legs with good quickness. Lateral movement is superb. Flexibile .. Capable of high light saves .. anticipates the game well and shows strong mental make up as he shrugs off goals and waites for the shooter to make the first move .. great down low but just average up high .. flops a bit .. adequate rebound control but still prone to some bad ones.
78. C Jean-Simon Allard, 6-2 200 5-24-1989, St.Johns Fog Devils QMJHL, 69 gp – 12 g – 38 a – 50 points - -30 – 47 pims.
++ Upside, Hands, Creativity
+ Good size, Deceptively fast.
- Great one night but sucks the other night.
Poor mans Vincent Lecavalier that jumped out at the U-17’s but had a tough season this year playing with pretty much no help. Intriguing combination of size and offensive skill. Possesses underrated skating ability as he has a fluid stride with a deceptive change of gears. Sees the ice well and is a creative set up man that is especially dangerous on the power play. Willing to shoot but must refine the accuracy on his shot to be a consistent goal scorer. Picked his spots of when to play hard this season as he could look like a real dynamic offensive threat one night and then look like a lazy floater the next.
79. C Taylor Matson, 6-0 185, 9-16-1988, Des Moines USHL 10 gp – 1 g – 2 a – 3 points.
+ Hockey sense, speed, two-way game, decent shot
- lacks high end offensive upside.
Minnesota Gopher recruit has a nice blend of skill and physical play, despite his modest frame. Plays like a bull in traffic areas and is quite strong on his feet possessing impeccable balance. Will get down right mean at times while finishing his hits and generates good power behind them, although he could be more physically consistent. Matson has a knack for winning battles for loose pucks, and is hard to stop when he decides to drive the net with or without the puck. Possesses a strong first step, his stride has adequate power behind it giving him a good top end gear, however his foot speed could be improved, is agile, and turns well never loosing speed on his crossovers. Possesses above average hands, has a quick stick which he uses to grab the loose puck from traffic areas, also uses his hands for some pretty moves. Once a lone with the goaltender he faked the shot then pulled it to his forehand sending the goalie sprawling before burying it top shelf. Quickly releases his wrist shot, gets a real good snap on his stick, accurate in close shooter, and just lacks that natural sense to be a scorer at this time. Above average play maker, looks off his man to open up the passing lane he desires then distributes a nice crisp pass. After he makes a pass he works to the puck back. Clever in all three zones, instinctive, digests every situation quickly, works hard without the puck to get open in the offensive zone.
80. D John Lee, 6-2 185, 1-16-1989, Waterloo USHL 27 gp – 2 g – 7 a – 9 points.
+ Point shot, long stride.
- physically weak.
University of Denver recruit used the Waterloo Black Hawks as a before and after team, as he spent most of the season playing for Moorhead in Minnesota. He’s the younger brother of Ottawa Senators first round pick Brian Lee. This Lee is extremely thin and lanky, and will need to bulk-up his tall frame. His best attribute is his very quick and long stride for a big man with fluid agility. He will be a commanding skater once he adds some lower-body bulk to increase the power behind his stride. John sees the ice adequately and is a decent passé. His point shot is a cannon that he must learn to harness, as he struggles to find shooting lanes and seems a bit hesitant to use it. He jumps up into the rush at appropriate times and can recover thanks to his superb skating ability. John possesses good hands. Defensively he needs to get more physical but his skating allows him to stay with his man one-on-one although he is s too reliant on his skating at times. His style of play resembles Christian Ehrhoff if he bulks up and increases his physical tenacity.
81. C Michael Dorr, 5-10 185, 12-28-1988, Des Moines USHL 26 gp – 7 g – 9 a – 16 points.
++ Grit, non stop motor, speed
- Hockey sense, doesn’t see the ice well.
Roseville's captain is a swift skating two-way winger with an excellent top gear and a powerful wrist shot. Michael is committed to Minnesota Gophers and played in the USHL for the Des Moines Buccaneers as a before and after team. The first thing that jumps out about his game is his skating ability . Dorr has an appealing, strong stride with a quick burst out of the gates and is also very agile. He uses his speed to wreak havoc on the forecheck, also uses it to catch back up with the play instantly when he's back checking. Dorr creates a lot of turn overs. His admirable play away from the puck, is a real asset to the penalty kill for his defensive zone awareness and commitment. Offensively he uses his speed to his advantage but also has a few one on one moves up his sleeves. He’s limited as a play maker, however his wrist shot is deadly accurate. His speed and work ethic give him great range on the ice and he has an outside shot of being drafted this year.
82. C Craig Smith, 5-11 175, 9-5-1989, Waterloo USHL 45 gp – 8 g – 10 a – 18 points.
++ Untapped potential
+ Hockey sense, skating, grit
- Physical immaturity, lack of ice time.
Reminds me a lot of Trevor Lewis in his first draft year and while he’s a long shot to be drafted this year, remember this kids name. One of the better skaters in the USHL despite his age, has exceptional foot speed that propel a lively and powerful stride, can absolutely fly, although uses his speed more without the puck than with it. Lanky kid who despite being regarded as a gym rat will need add more strength as he tends to wear down as the shift progress. It's scary to think how fast he could be with more lower body strength Gets involved physically, has very good puck pursuit, closes the gap quickly on the forecheck, finishes his checks hard as possible and is especially pesky on the penalty kill where he can get to the point man quickly. Useful defensive player because of his work ethic and speed, back checks very hard. Smith is More of a playmaker than a finisher, can disguise his intentions, possesses superb vision with the ability to thread the needle at times, and makes a crisp catch able pass through tight lanes creatively, especially strong creating a play from down low setting up his man in the slot. Has a knack for winning the race to the puck on the forecheck then getting the puck quickly to an open man. Will go hard to the net without the puck and has the knowledge to stop and stay there looking for a rebound, can finish in close thinks to quick release and good accuracy although he struggled to create scoring opportunities for himself, something he can work on as he's still young. Hands could be softer, despite his speed is not dangerous one on one yet, and can struggle to catch a pass. Could go far with his speed, vision, and work ethic.
83. Paul Thompson, 6-2 200, New Hampshire Junior Monarchs EJHL.
++ Balance, pure goal scorer.
+ Deceptive skating ability.
- Play away from the puck, poor competition.
The top prospect from the EJHL this season is committed to the University of New Hampshire. He’s clearly more physically mature than his peers, he has a stall, well stocked frame. Thompson is a natural center that does well on draws and is committed to his defensive assignments. His hockey sense separates him from others in the league. He’s a natural finisher, snaps the puck off his stick instantly with precise accuracy and he has a good one timer. Can get the puck to the top corners in tight. Thompson gets open to support the puck carrier well. He quickly accelerates and can deceptively get to the outside on the opposition although he will be asked to improve his explosiveness out of the gates. Paul possesses a wide legged, stable stride although his agility is a bit rough as he takes long turns to get back into the play. He likes to attack the net with the puck. He could improve his puck pursuit and use his frame to be more physical as he didn't finish his checks routinely. Thompson can put a nice touch on his passes but lacks the elite vision and creativity to be a play maker at the next level.
84. C Drew LeBlanc, 5-11 185, 6-29-1989, Chicago Steel USHL.
++ Craftiness, anticipation.
+ Hands, vision.
- Skating, lacks balance.
Joined the Steel after he took his high school team to the state tournament. A crafty player who is always in position. He anticipates the play and tracks the puck well. Drew owns a fluid stride but he lacks any explosiveness and must improve his balance as he is too easily knocked off of his feet but that said, he isn’t hesitant to take a hit. His hands are soft and he covers the puck decently but he senses danger poorly and is stripped of the puck too often. His best offensive attribute is his ability to create by distributing the puck as he sees the ice well and displays impressive creativity and touch moving the puck. He needs shoot the puck more but his release is okay. Defensively he is a work in progress as he must give a better effort away from the puck. He’s a willing shot blocker but isn’t a willing back checker and he appears lost on his defensive assignments. A solid mid round prospect with good upside that is committed to St. Cloud State.
85. LW Joshua Turnbull, 5-11 180, 7-12-88, Waterloo USHL 60 gp – 25 g – 29 a – 54 points.
++ Hard shot, goes to the net hard as anyone in this draft.
+ Work ethic
Turnbull is blessed with goal scorer's instincts as he goes to the net as hard as anyone with or without the puck, he shoots at every opportunity, and his hard shot that is deadly accurate makes him a threat to score on every shot. He’s surprisingly strong, he is difficult to knock off the puck and he can also deliver a strong body check as evidence by him landing a big hit that sent the much bigger Daniel Lawson to his back. Turnbull finishes every check and skates hard into traffic. He can take a heavy hit yet stay in stride thanks to his superb balance. He's a very heady player away from the puck who is always in position, and he anticipates the play so well that it seems the puck just follows him. His puck pursuit is impressive and he's a competitive player who plays 100% every shift away from the puck and he's disruptive to the opposition's breakout as he is always takes away the proper passing lane. Joshua is gifted with soft hands that allow him to perform some tricky one on one moves. He uses head and stick fakes to deke the opposition. Hee's not an explosive skater but his acceleration and stride are where you want them to be. Turnbull is an above average playmaker even though he often elects to shoot. While is vision is just decent, he does display creativity a couple of times a game and can set up his line mates. He’s very vocal on the ice and bench with leadership qualities. "Podge" really stood out this season.
86. C Steve Moses, 5-9 170, Boston Junior Bruins EJHL
+ Hands, dynamic one on one.
- Lacks finish, played against poor competition.
Could be a fine selection late in the draft this year despite his small frame. Moses is a special skater with swift acceleration and a great top gear. He has quick feet with a powerful stride which he uses to blow by the opposition on the outside. Moses displays great puck pursuit, as he uses his speed to get in on the forecheck quickly and will finish his checks. He has soft hands with a few trick moves one on one. Steve likes to stutter step to fool the opposition before turning on the jets to get around the defenseman. He can be guilty of over handling the puck at times but at the same time I like his patience with the puck. He has an accurate wrist shot with a decent release. He needs to involve his teammates more, struggles to see the open man and lacks a playmaker's touch. Moses does try high risk high reward passes so he doesn't lack confidence. Can be utilized on the penalty kill and always plays hard away from the puck.
87. D Alex Grant, 6-2 195, 1-20-1989, Saint John’s QMJHL.
+ Mobility, puck movement, offensive upside, size
- Just can’t seem to put it all together
Grant is a tremendous talent from the back end that was taken first overall in the QMJHL draft two years ago. Unfortunately though he just hasn’t been able to put it all together and be a consistent force. Still, Grant possesses the attributes to be a good NHL defenseman and worth a look in this years draft. He has a big frame and plays with an adequate physical edge. Grant also moves very well for a big man with a fluid stride and good agility. Alex sees the ice well and makes a heads up first pass. Grant possesses blossoming offensive ability as he’s fairly creative while quarterbacking the power play and isn’t hesitant to join or lead the offensive rush. Defensively he needs to tighten his gaps and overall refine his defensive positioning. Still quite raw but his combination of offensive talent, size, and mobility will make Grant a decent prospect worthy of a look at the draft.
88. G Mark Owuya, 6-2 200, 7-18-1989, Sweden 12 gp.
++ Size and athleticism
+ Confidence, plays big
- Glove side, rebound control
Intriguing prospect to say the least as not only is he a talented goaltender but a rapper as well back in his home land. He appeared on Sweden’s equivalent to American Idol with a rap performance but was told that he should stick with hockey. Coaches and players rave about his bubbly personality. Owuya is a big goaltender who plays big. He has a wide butterfly and likes to challenge the shooter by playing outside of his crease. Mark is difficult to beat on the first shot, especially from the outside. He’s especially good down low as he possesses quick feet and impressive flexibility and dexterity. His glove side is weak though and he’s prone to weak goals.
89. LW Max Gratchev, 5-11 200 9-26-1988, Rimouski Oceanic QMJHL, 70 gp – 35 g – 42 a – 77 points - -7 – 88 pim.
++ Grit, quickness
- Lacks top end offensive upside, small.
Small but tenacious torpedo that pin balls his way through traffic. His hands are quick but he’s not a dangler and his short reach limits him. He’s small but stocky with great core strength and likes to drive through the defender than rather go around him. Gratchev is a good skater with very quick feet and rapid acceleration although he lacks an explosive top gear. He moves the puck maturely but lacks the creativity to be a play making dynamo. Max owns a hard shot that is quickly released with decent accuracy but he lacks in the instincts of a pure goal scorer. Possesses above average jam and is willing to throw his weight around on the forecheck and goes hard to the net. He’s defensively committed as he wins the one on one battles a long the boards and marks his man quickly.
90. G Mark Guggenberger, 6-3 200, Richfield Minnesota High School
++ Size and mechanics
+ Ability to raise game, rebound control
- Skating ability, top end reflexes?
He’s a big butterfly goaltender who can steal a game for his team much in the mold of a JS Giguere. Stays square to the first shooter, and has good positional sense in the crease. Follows the puck through traffic exceptionally well, made all the saves through screens thanks to his positioning and big frame. Patient does not go down to early but does go down on every shot, is very difficult to beat on the initial shot. Has a flashy glove side that is impenetrable, uses his glove to corral rebounds on his chest. Adequate blocker side although rebound control is shaky. Rebound control overall was average, not a glaring weakness but it could be improved. Possesses long limbs, extends his legs out well when he hits the butterfly, and seems to have fairly flexible legs. Aggressively plays the puck with strong passes, can make a pass to the opposition's zone, once caught the opposition on a line change, and aggressively sent the puck up to exploit it. Communicates well his teammates, a chirpy player on the ice who can be heard talking some trash to opponents. Competitive kid who noticeably thrives on difficult situations like the penalty kill, and each big save he made seemed to inflate his ego. Needs to improve his ability to recover for the second shot. Often he would make the first save then resort to flopping on the ice which doesn't cut it. Was also exposed on breakaways where his below average lateral speed showed. Lacks the foot speed as well. Overall some teams really like his style of goaltending and he can be very effective if you put a team in front of him that will keep the shots to the outside and limit secondary scoring chances.
91. LW Dwight King, 6-4 210, 7-5-1989, Lethbridge WHL 62 gp – 12 g – 32 a – 44 points.
++ Size and Strength
+ Heavy shot, decent hands
- Play away from the puck, inconsistency, has a poor motor.
If the draft was based on a pure raw physical package, Dwight King would be in the first round. He’s huge and has a decent skill set. Dwight was amazing at the U-17 challenge and had scouts flocking to see him since, but after that break through tournament his play has been leaving many wanting more. King’s bread and butter is using his size and elite puck protection to drive hard to the net. Once he parks himself in front he isn’t going anywhere. He owns a quick and heavy shot but he needs to learn how to utilize it more. His vision is okay but he isn’t a special play maker. His skating is fairly good for a player of his size with above average first step quickness and a fluid stride although he lacks explosiveness. While King uses his size well with the puck he is completely void of doing so without it. He doesn’t finish his checks often and his puck pursuit his lacking. He floats around without the puck and must improve his defensive game.
92. C Travis Erstad, 6-4 200, 11-9-1988 Stevens Point WI High School.
++ Upside, combination of size and skill.
+ Hands, tall, decent skater.
- Work ethic, dumb as door nails defensively.
Comes from the same school that Sharks Joe Pavelski played for. Erstad is a tall center with good feet and great hands and natural offensive ability but his defensive game is awful. He possesses nimble feet for a big man with a fluid stride and good agility. Once he adds some bulk to his skinny legs he will be a great skater for a big man although he needs to quit gliding so much. He’s dreadful on the defensive side of the puck as he doesn’t move his feet away from the puck and displays a complete lack of defensive awareness. He’s a huge project but he might be worth it as he possesses amazing hands with a long reach. He’s dynamic one on one when he uses his speed and hands to be nearly impossible to defend. There is a lot of projection here as if you can get him to work hard and add about 20-30 pounds he could be an absolute monster. He sees the ice well and can be a creative play maker although he will also over handle the puck as he tries to go end to end too often. His shot is quickly released with good accuracy and velocity. He can play center, wing, and even defense and he’s just a real raw project with great upside. Committed to the University of Wisconsin but will play for the Lincoln Stars next season in the USHL. He’s not as good as Derrick LaPoint in his draft year but he is better than Brent Gwidt.
93. D Robin Olsson, 5-10 185, Sweden
++ Offensive upside, ability to work the blue line.
+ Hands, creativity, point shot
- Size, defensive game
One of he pleasant surprises at the World U-18 Championships was the play of Swedish defenseman Robin Olsson. His game fits what the new NHL is all about and that should help his stock rise in this years draft. Olsson is an offensively talented defenseman that works the point very well. He’s a fluid skater with good feet and all compass mobility. Robin possesses a cannon slap shot that he keeps low and gets through to the net. He displays some creativity and poise quarterbacking the power play. Olsson makes a strong first pass and possesses soft hands. Defensively he’s positionally sound and is willing to throw his body around as he’s wiry in the corners. He will need to upgrade his strength though as he can be beaten one on one. Olsson also needs to improve his backwards mobility as he can be beaten with speed.
94. G Tyson Sexsmith, 5’11 205, 3-19-1989, Vancouver WHL
++ Mature mentally, doesn’t rattle
+ Good feet, lateral movement, makes it look easy
- Lacks top end athletic ability
Regarded as the top goaltender available in this years draft at the beginning of the season, Sexsmith saw his stock fall with a sub-par first half and the fact that he played for the best team in Canadian Junior definitely hurt his stock because he wasn’t challenged as much as scouts would’ve liked to have seen. That said he has the best mental make up of any goaltender available in this years draft as he’s extremely focused, composed, and simply cannot be rattled. His athleticism is okay but it’s not as good as some of the other goaltenders available in this years draft. His lateral movement is quick and fluid. Tyson has decent feet and a quick glove hand. While he plays the puck astutely, he can improve on his skating and puck handling skills.
95 D Brett Bellemore, 6-4 200, 6-25, 1988 Plymouth OHL
++ Defensive awareness
+ Projectable frame and mobility
- Lacks offensive creativity
Just looking at his stats tells you exactly the type of player that Brett is as he was plus 48 although he didn’t score a single goal. He’s a character player with elite defensive awareness and takes care of his own zone. While he was passed over at last summers draft he is just scratching the surface of how good he could become as he owns a lanky frame that could be a commanding one if he adds bulk. He moves well for a big man with nimble feet, good agility, and swift pivots. Bellemore lacks the creativity to be an offensive catalyst but he sees the ice adequately and moves the puck maturely as he makes a good first pass. He’s not a mean spirited player but he uses his long reach and large body to neutralize the man one on one. He has great stick work and his gap control is good. Overall his defensive awareness and positioning is flawless. Might be a shut down defenseman down the road that teams will line up against the oppositions top forwards.
96. LW Nick Palmeiri, 6-2 215 7-12-1989, Erie Otters OHL, 56 gp – 24 g – 21 a – 45 points - -24 – 99 pim.
++ Size and speed.
- Lacks the finish offensively.
American born winger that spent the season on a dismal Erie Otters team. Palmieri is difficult to read because he didn’t always play hard this season. He has the mature body of a budding power forward and he knows how to use his size well. At his best when he combines his size with his fluid and strong stride to scream down the wing and then drive the net. Possesses adequate offensive creativity although he seems a bit stiff with the puck to be a true play maker. He owns a heavy and quickly released shot that just need its accuracy refined. His hockey sense is the question mark right now as isn’t the force a player of his size and skill set should be. Uses his size adequately and plays a solid two-way game.
97. D Tristin Llewellyn, 6-1 195, 5-2-1989, Tri-City USHL
++ Physical defensive game, confidence
+ Character, untapped upside
- Decision making without the puck.
At one point Tristin was a phenom in the American Hockey system as a possible top 5 pick in this years draft as he was playing in the USHL at the age of 15. Playing against players up to five years older then himself stunted Tritin’s development and now he’s a mid to late round pick. He likes to stand up his man at the blue and for the most part does an effective job but he does caught flat footed every now and then, as he can be beaten to the outside. He usually maintains a tight gap and takes the proper angle to his man before standing him up with a nice body check. Can get too aggressive seeking the open ice hit but that presence he brings is a plus. Skating is in need of improvement as he lacks that initial burst forwards or backwards and his turns are a bit choppy although his feet are adequate. His composure with the puck has improved and he makes a strong first pass. He makes good decisions with the puck for the most part but his decision making without the puck is the question mark. He uses a long stick and has adequate hands and escape moves. He was sensing danger better by the end of the season. He possesses a heavy shot but he must improve his shot selection as he’ll force shots into traffic.
98. RW Corey Chakeen, 5-11 190, 7-18-1989, Chicago Steel USHL
++ Excellent wrist shot, powerful first step, dynamic one on one.
- Doesn’t see ice well, inconsistency.
A possible late riser that has possesses the tools to make him worthy of being drafted but he might slip through the cracks as he played for the worse team in the league. Chicago Steel’s General Manager Jason Koehler also sees the upside in Chakeen “He’s only a junior in high school, we expect him to be a 20-30 goal scorer for us next season”. Chakeen owns a great first step and lateral quickness a long with a swift stride He’s skilled and undressed a few defenders this year with his dynamic one on one moves as his silky hands are capable of high light real stuff. He’s limited as a play maker as his vision is just average. Corey possesses a wicked wrist shot that is released in a hurry and produces a precisely accurate and bone rattling pay off. He works just as hard away from the puck as he does with it. His defensive awareness still needs to be improved but he works hard. Chakeen forechecks with vigor and is a gritty kid with a stocky frame that he likes to throw around. Corey is vocal on the ice and is a great locker room guy. He’s worthy of a look late in the draft.
99. C Calle Ridderwall, 5-10 180, Tri-City USHL
++ Hockey sense and character
+ Mobility and skill
- Size, lacks top end upside.
Stockholm Sweden native was past up in last years draft but it doesn’t appear likely to happen again as his subtle skill and skating ability caught on this year in his first season in the USHL. Notre Dame recruit is small but he doesn’t back down as he’ll go to the net and in the corners and while he gets knocked off his feet but bounces right back up. Possesses a silky smooth stride that can deceptively accelerate to his top gear rapidly allowing him to get around the opposition. First step possesses a quick burst out of the gates. Possesses soft and very quick hands that he combines with a nice lateral burst to be shifty and elusive one on one. Displays decent vision and at times moves the puck creatively but he looks to take the puck to the net himself first. Possesses a really quick release with precision accuracy although his velocity is just okay. He can play both wings. Didn’t see any penalty kill time but he back checked hard and did a good job picking up his man and he anticipates the game well. He’s a crafty player although he should finish his checks. He’s a great locker room guy and is very personable.
100. RW Patrick Cullen, 6-2 200, AJHL
++ Speed and fluid feet
+ Shot, size and power.
- Poor competition level.
The only player from the AJHL to make this list, Cullen is an intriguing combination of power and speed. He’s committed to RPI for the fall of 2008, and will play for the Indiana Ice next season who drafted him 4th overall in the USHL draft. “He has an extra gear and he can finish too, he fits the new game well” well says Indiana Ice General Manager Paul Skjodt. Cullen is a hard working two-way forward with grit and skill. He’s a swift skater with excellent agility and acceleration. He goes hard to the net and has a quick shot to finish.
Max Giese is a scout for McKeen’s Hockey. His general focus is on players from the USHL and NCAA, but Max keeps a keen eye on talent from around the world. The following is his top 100 NHL eligible players for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and the top 5 prospects broken down by attribute. Max is also a regular contributor on the Hockeys Future messageboards and on Sharkspage.com.