One of the toughest assignments in hockey is amateur scouting. These men are asked to look at a variety of players, most around the age of 17, playing in leagues of differing quality, and then project their NHL careers. Forwards, defensemen and goaltenders need to be sifted through and ranked, and heaven help it if the team’s first pick doesn’t perform as expected.
If NHL scouting staffs got a do-over on last year’s draft, with an extra year of information on hand, how would they change things? Which players would rise, and which players would fall? That’s what we will consider this morning, as we rearrange the first round of the 2010 Draft.
|New Rk.||Old Rk.||Name||Team||Comments|
|1||1||Taylor Hall||EDM||Strong rookie season, wide range of skills|
|2||7||Jeff Skinner||CAR||Calder Trophy winner surprised many|
|3||4||Ryan Johansen||CBJ||Highly regarded two-way forward should make NHL debut in 11-12|
|4||2||Tyler Seguin||BOS||Showed flashes, but given limited opportunity|
|5||6||Brett Connolly||T.B.||Injuries remain a concern; scoring does not|
|6||3||Erik Gudbranson||FLA||Had an up and down season in Kingston but is NHL-ready|
|7||12||Cam Fowler||ANA||Offensive upstart remains a work in progress|
|8||9||Mikael Granlund||MIN||Superbly skilled forward will play in Finland in 11-12|
|9||5||Nino Niederreiter||NYI||40 goals in 50 WHL games|
|10||14||Jaden Schwartz||STL||Put in a strong performance at Colorado College|
|11||26||Evgeny Kuznetsov||WSH||Had a great season and is a top offensive prospect|
|12||13||Brandon Gormley||PHX||Two-way defenseman has some injury concerns|
|13||16||Vladimir Tarasenko||STL||Russian captain at WJC possesses major offensive skills|
|14||25||Quinton Howden||FLA||Gets it done at either end of the rink|
|15||8||Alexander Burmistrov||WPG||Brought along slowly in Year One|
|16||29||Emerson Etem||ANA||45 goals in the WHL; has speed and shooting down|
|17||15||Derek Forbort||L.A.||A bit of a project with a wide range of possible outcomes|
|18||17||Joey Hishon||COL||Injury history overshadows strong offensive numbers|
|19||23||Mark Pysyk||BUF||Possesses variety of skills; still a few years away|
|20||28||Charlie Coyle||S.J.||Great rookie year in NCAA action|
|21||20||Beau Bennett||PIT||23 of 25 points came at even-strength|
|22||10||Dylan McIlrath||NYR||Hulking rearguard is a throwback-style player|
|23||19||Nick Bjugstad||FLA||Poor faceoff man, but led U of Minn. In shorthanded goals|
|24||22||Jarred Tinordi||MTL||Physical specimen lacks an offensive game|
|25||27||Mark Visentin||PHX||Built on already strong totals with Niagara (OHL)|
|26||18||Austin Watson||NSH||Put in a disappointing year offensively|
|27||21||Riley Sheahan||DET||Five goals did nothing to dispel checker reputation|
|28||11||Jack Campbell||DAL||Suffered through a miserable year in Windsor (OHL)|
|29||30||Brock Nelson||NYI||On track, but no more than that|
|30||24||Kevin Hayes||CHI||Just four goals in his first year with Boston College|
Some of these choices will be controversial, so let’s look at the biggest movers.
- The choice between Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner for the top spot was a difficult one. Hall likely would have posted similar numbers in the tougher conference had he not been injured (particularly with the way he improved over the course of the season) and plays more of a power game than Skinner, which ended up giving him the edge.
- Cam Fowler’s another big mover, but many would likely rank him higher. It’s worth remembering that those great offensive numbers came with Anaheim’s phenomenal power play, and that they were joined to a minus-25 rating.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko both had strong years; the ‘Russian factor’ may have impacted their draft number but both are on track to be difference makers at the NHL level.
- Quinton Howden already had a two-way reputation, but his offensive numbers took a big step forward last season and he looks like a steal at this point.
- Alexander Burmistrov did play in the NHL last year, but he was carefully handled and didn’t put up the sort of offensive numbers that his lofty draft position would warrant. He’s still a solid prospect, but he was a reach pick when Atlanta drafted him and he remains that today.
- Jack Campbell and Dylan McIlrath take the biggest tumbles. In McIlrath’s case, that’s mostly because of concern that he’ll top out as a physical defenseman in more of a depth role, rather than as the shutdown option New York obviously envisions. In Campbell’s case, it’s because his OHL season was absolutely terrible; not only was his save percentage (0.884) flat-out bad, it was also worse than unheralded backups John Cullen (0.924) and Troy Passingham (0.898).