The 2010 NHL Entry Draft is just a couple weeks away. The Edmonton Oilers, as of this writing hold the number one overall pick, unless there’s a major trade made. With the players that are ranked one and two, Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, there’s really no way that the Oilers can go wrong. Both players are offensively gifted, and both players are likely ready to start the 2010-2011 season in the NHL.
Here at FanSided Sports, our NHL writers are participating in a mock draft that we’ll publish shortly. Some of our writers have already been posting updates. Here is a preview of the Top Ten picks of the NHL draft that will be taking place on June 25th, 2010 at The Staples Center in Los Angeles. Our own Steve Fetch from The College Hockey Blog compiled the list from Central Scouting.
Tyler Seguin, C, Plymouth (OHL)
Seguin became the first Plymouth player to lead the OHL in scoring when he had 106 points in 62 games. His 48 goals were 3rd in the league. Seguin may be a little small, but he plays big. It’s extremely tough to separate him from the puck. He’s not necessarily a natural goal scorer, but is a great two way player who is both strong and fast. His biggest asset, however, is his head. Seguin sees the ice extremely well, and possesses unparalleled work ethic.
Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor (OHL)
The best pure offensive player in the draft, Hall tied for the OHL lead in points despite playing only 57 games. He also had 17 goals in 19 playoff games as Windsor won the Robertson Cup, repeating as OHL champions. Hall was named to the 2010 World Junior Championships all-star team, as he had 6 goals and 12 points in the tournament. Hall had 3 of those goals in the medal round as well. Although he’s not the best two way player, he has a tremendous offensive ceiling.
Brett Connolly, RW, Prince George (WHL)
Connolly is the guy on this list with maybe the most helium, after being a 30 goal scorer and nearly a point per game performer for a Prince George team that went 12-56 this season. The Cougars scored 172 total goals, so you can see how important Connolly was to them. He suffered a hip injury at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament prior to the WHL season, causing him to miss part of the year, but he rebounded nicely.
Erik Gudbrandson, D, Kingston (OHL)
Gudbrandson has a very good offensive game with the ability to quarterback a powerplay, but he is also a punishing defender. His stock seemingly slipped after a poor showing at the 2010 Under-18 tournament, in which Canada briefly feared relegation, but his stock has rebounded. Of note: Gudbrandson is considered to have the best make-up in this draft, which has to be related to his 6 year old brother’s struggles with cancer.
Cam Fowler, D, Windsor (OHL)
Fowler is possibly my favorite prospect in the draft. The American, who could go as high as third, was Windsor’s best defenseman this year, with 55 points in 55 games. Fowler had just 2 points in the WJC, but he was 2nd on the team in +/- with a +8, and played on the power play and killed penalties for the gold medalists. He has #1 defenseman upside.
Brandon Gormley, D, Moncton (QMJHL)
Gormley is the safe pick in the top 10. He doesn’t have the offensive upside of Fowler or Gudbrandson, but he is a good skater who can punish opposing forwards, and he can kill penalties. I have him a spot lower than this in my personal rankings, but how much you like Gormley depends entirely on how much you weigh certainty vs. upside.
Mark Pysyk, D, Edmonton (WHL)
Another elite WHL prospect who played on a bad team, Pysyk’s Oil Kings won just 16 of their 71 games this year. Pysyk played in just 48 of those and was still named Edmonton’s MVP with 24 pts in those 48 games. He finished the year with a broken foot, yet still displayed great skating ability. Pysyk is strong in his own end and although he doesn’t join the rush much he is a good puck mover.
Emerson Etem, RW, Medicine Hat (WHL)
The Californian doesn’t look fast or necessarily smooth when he skates, but don’t be fooled. He can really get around the ice. He’s not a terribly physical player, but that’s not to suggest he shies away from contact. He takes hits and gets back up like they didn’t even happen. The former USNTDPer scored 37 goals this year in the WHL, and had 7 goals in 12 playoff games. He will almost assuredly be the highest drafted native Californian ever, surpassing only Brooks Orpik (born in San Francisco) who was taken 18th overall in 2000 by the Penguins.
Derek Forbort, D, USNTDP
I am extremely high on Forbort, and not just because he is coming to Grand Forks next year to play for my alma mater, the University of North Dakota. Forbort had a great U-18 tournament this year for the Gold medal winning Americans. He has both a high upside offensive game, with the ability to quarterback a power play, combined with a rough and tumble defensive game. He is a punishing presence on the ice, and could be the best defenseman from this draft when all is said and done.
Ryan Johansen, C, Portland (WHL)
Johansen played for a pretty good Portland team that also features prospect Nino NIederreiter, who could go as close as a pick before or a pick after Johansen. Johansen had 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games, a very good scoring rate for the traditionally lower scoring WHL. He has great vision on the ice, has great creativity, and is 6’3”, with room to fill out. Johansen is definitely a late bloomer. Johansen was taken in the 7th round of the 2007 WHL bantam draft. He might not last until the 7th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft.
It certainly will be an interesting day not only for these youngsters, but for the teams and fans as well. Usually there’s a big trade or two before the actual draft starts, then as players are taken the wheeling and dealing begins.
It promises to be a great night, and interesting weekend.
Thanks for reading.
Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.