Desjardins NHLE for 2010′s Best Draft Prospects

This is Taylor Hall. Desjardins NHLE loves him and a few others this spring. Last year I did a top 30 pre-draft list that looks reasonable a year later; it was based on Gabe’s math, SP, a healthy dose of logic and the realization that luck is a big part of the pie chart that is a fan’s evaluation of amateur talent. I’ll do the same list this summer pre-draft but wanted to start the look earlier this time around (since the Oilers will be front and center). Below is most of the ISS top 30 plus a few gems they missed; I’ve run them through Desjardins and with the same dose of logic and SP from a year ago. This is not my top 30, this is a ranking of position players (by point total per 82gp) run through Desjardins for their respective leagues.

  1. LW Taylor Hall 17-29-46. His father was a CFL receiver and just like Dad the kid drives to the high traffic areas. This is a good number by Desjardins standards, in the same range as Stamkos a couple of years ago and Tavares last year. Franchise player.
  2. C Tyler Seguin 19-22-41. I liked the words passed on by his junior coach, who said he knew Seguin had the skill but was amazed by his heart and effort. Franchise player. He’ll likely be #1 on my final list, as Redline says he’s a “smarter, better player (than Hall). He’s got the two-way game and is a tremendous overall skill who thinks the game as well as he plays it.” We know rhe Oilers value kids who test well on the IQ tests and this fellow has that going for him too.  
  3. C Mikael Granlund 13-28-41. Small and very skilled forward. Lacks top end speed but can make wonderful plays with the puck. He does a lot of damage on the PP and should go right after all the sure thing selections are gone, and may go ahead of Connolly (injury) and Tarasenko (Russian) and could land in the top 10 overall. He’ll be good value.
  4. R Vladimir Tarasenko 21-18-39. Just completed his second KHL season and has a quick release on a lethal shot. His father is his KHL coach and has stated Vladimir should stay in Russia for awhile, which may impact his draft number (along with all the usual worries about Russians crossing the pond).
  5. R Jeff Skinner 19-16-35. He’s a very good scorer in an excellent leage (OHL) and according to scouting reports a hard working winger. ISS has him mid-1st round and Central Scouting has been smoking the drapes in terms of his draft number unless the know something no one has published.
  6. C Jordan Weal 12-23-35. An undersized skill C (5.10, 162) who has had to battle through 2 seasons in the rugged WHL. The Canadian junior leagues provide NHL teams with about a half-dozen such players every year (small kids with a death wish and ridiculous puck skills) but Weal really can play the game.
  7. C Jaden Schwartz 12-19-31. USHL kids are hard to project (Gabe has done some excellent work here) because the league doesn’t have a decade worth of players making the transition. This number might be a little off (although that league is attracting better kids every year) but it is the best we have right now. Described as a deceptive and shifty center who is always around the puck. Good balance and difficult to remove from the puck. Determined, competitive.
  8. C Tyler Toffoli 14-16-30. Average size but a very skilled center. He can score and make beauty passes and his offensive game is most of what he’ll bring to the pro level.
  9. R Brett Connolly 15-14-29. In 2008-09 he became the first 16-year old to score 30 goals in the WHL since Partrick Marleau almost 15 years ago. The scouting reports rave about his overall ability but that injury resume is a concern and will cost him on draft day.
  10. L Kirill Kabanov 11-15-26. Explosive skater with a tremendous release and has been compared to Kovalchuk in terms of style. 6.02, 173 which we used to call “lanky” and the big item here is that the kid left his junior team and went home to Russia under unusual circumstances. That added to the Russian worry will flush his draft number but he has some skill according to Desjardins.
  11. L Austin Watson 10-16-26. He could be a draft gem. His scouting report mentions two-way play and forechecking ability, and that added to good offensive ability should mean he can help a team win. He’ll have a good number on my final top 30 because of his range of skills.
  12. C Alexander Burmistrov 9-17-26. Another Russian with pure skills, he’s fast and brilliant off the rush and fans love his style of play. 5.11, 157 and he plays an aggressive style so injuries are probably going to be a worry when he turns pro.
  13. C Quinton Howden 11-14-25. Size, skill and speed from the center position means he’s going to have a good draft day. Scouting report suggest he has a wide range of skills and at 6.02, 182 he could end up being that big C in the middle for an NHL team someday.
  14. R Beau Bennett 8-17-25. An Amercian kid in the BCJHL with outstanding offensive instincts. He is an excellent shooter (although there are questions about the quality of goaltending in that league compared to the CHL or college) and more of a pure offensive winger than some of the kids ranked a little lower on this list.
  15. D Cam Fowler 4-21-25. Central scouting compares him to Tomas Kaberle and that’s a helluva player. His NHLE is a little shy of Doughty’s at the same age (and he is not the complete talent the LAK defender has turned out to be) and the scouts say he has a little chaos in his game.
  16. C Ryan Johansen 9-15-24. There’s a post-season buzz about this player and I suspect he’ll surprise casual draft observers when he’s taken. He’s a center with size and scouts say he can play in any situation, so someone is going to grab him. Johansen is a late bloomer (draft wise) which some of us view as a positive.
  17. R Nino Niederreiter 14-9-23. Maybe the best PF in this year’s draft, he certainly has size, skill and drives to the net. Among the most famous prospects in this year’s draft because of the WJC performance for the Swiss.
  18. R Emerson Etem 13-9-22. A good skater with size who handles the puck well at full speed. This was his first WHL season so we need to take that into consideration when evaluating him. He’s listed as 6-feet but he doesn’t look that big when he’s on the ice.
  19. C Nick Bjugstadt 11-11-22. He’s getting a lot of hype and is among a fairly large group of power forwards at the top of the draft this season. He’s 6.04, 188 so one of those eastern teams will take him early.
  20. L John McFarland 8-11-19. Skill winger with excellent speed (he’s one of the fastest players in the OHL). Has some grit to his game and his coach says McFarland has been working hard on his checking game. Junior coaches lie in draft years, but it is an interesting comment.
  21. C Evgeny Kuznetsov 4-14-18. Another slick, fleet Russian with terrific skills. This young man goes into high traffic areas and makes plays. Scouting report says he never stops skating, and his NHLE number might be hurt by minutes played in the KHL.
  22. C Charlie Coyle 6-12-18. A complete player. Size, skill, grit, soft hands around the net and I’ve read in several places that he can take and make a pass (which is a big deal even though no one ever talks about it).
  23. D Brandon Gormley 4-14-18. Likely the most complete defenseman available in this draft, I’ve read a few scouting reports that rave about his ability to play defense. He’s also a quality puck mover and handles the puck well. Might be the first D taken.
  24. C Tyler Pitlick 9-8-17. Big kid who wins faceoffs already at the college level. His offense isn’t grand but those NCAA schools ration playing time based on years of service. Interesting player, we’ll need to follow what they’re writing about him this spring.
  25. C Riley Sheahan 5-10-15. A defensive specialist at the center position doesn’t ordinarily get a top 30 ranking (they actually don’t often exist at age 17, good defensive forwards usually learn their craft after failing as scorers at the highest levels). He’s a young NCAA player (turned 18 in December) and he may not be playing a lot in those college games. Having said that, his Desjardins NHLE makes him a high risk for first round selection.
  26. D Erik Gudbranson 1-13-14. 6.04, 195 and very tough, he sounds like a throwback defenseman. Has a big brain (something the Oilers value) but is more of a stay-at-home type than the others at the top of the draft.
  27. D Mark Pysyk 4-8-12. Suffered a broken foot this year and played on a horrible team (which may have had an impact on his offense). He’s 6.01, 174 and should have a nickname like “the Pencil.” Scouts say he skates well, can play defense and complements the offensive play with good passing and putting himself in good scoring positions when the opportunity shows itself.
  28. D Alexander Petrovic 3-9-12. The scouting reports are glowing, he sounds like a complete player. Calm feet, moves the puck effectively and he’s effective in all areas. Safe pick.
  29. D Derek Forbort 3-9-12. 6.05, 198 and scouts talk about good 2-way ability. I’m not certain he’ll be an offensive player but the scouting report about his defensive play is impressive. He’s off to UND this fall, we’ll get a better view of his heralded offensive ability at that time.
  30. D Dylan McIlrath 3-6-9. He’s a beauty. 6.04, 212 and he’s big and mean. Its like Michael J Fox went back to 1970 and brought back a defenseman. Very physical player, he’s just average as a puck mover.

So, to review: this is not a top 30 mock or ranking, it’s me running all their stats through Desjardins equivalencies to have a look at them in a row. Defenders will obviously be moving up this list and the skilled, one dimensional forwards will be moving off my top 30 by the time we get to late June. I’d love your input.

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