Redoing The 2010 Draft

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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).