2010 NHL Entry Draft's Top Diamonds in the Rough
It's time to take a step back from the first round, and take a look at a few of the depth players in the draft.
Rarely do you see a superstar drafted late, but it does happen; Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson, and Henrik Zetterberg were all drafted late, and have had tremendous careers thus far.
The amazing thing about the upcoming draft is that there is a wealth of talent that does not just fill the first round, but several rounds later we could still be seeing great players drafted.
All positions are represented well, and by the end of the day every team should be happy with what they got.
The following article outlines one line of players that will likely go in the second round or lower, but could still have a significant impact for whichever team drafts them.
Goaltender: Philipp Grubauer
Philipp Grubauer started his career with the Belleville Bulls, playing in a backup role to OHL standout Mike Murphy. In his rookie season he only managed to appear in a handful of games, and while looking solid there were still many questions about his game.
The next season however he got the reins in net, and really showed the junior hockey world what he was made of. While only winning 10 of his first 31 games Grubauer posted a .913 save percentage and really carried a mediocre Bulls squad on his back.
However when the trade deadline rolled around the Bulls ended up dealing the Rosenheim native to the Windsor Spitfires. In 16 games played with the Spits Grubauer recorded 13 wins, one loss, one overtime loss, and one shootout loss.
In the playoffs Grubauer carried Windsor to the finals, and stoned the Colts in a four game sweep for the OHL title. In the Memorial Cup Grubauer really stood out as an elite goalie in the league.
Ranked as the 15th best goaltender in North America Grubauer will likely fall into the later rounds, but he could be a solid talent. Grubauer has lightning quick reflexes, an amazing second effort, and he never gives up on the play.
Many may not recognize the name, but they will soon.
Image Courtesy: Ontario Hockey League
Defence: Matt Mackenzie
Matt Mackenzie has been a part of the Hitmen organization for the past three seasons now. In his first two seasons in the league he hadn't really stood out as a huge threat. While rock solid in his own end, he really didn't pack much punch after that.
With only eight points his rookie season, and 12 in his sophomore season he really didn't put up any dazzling numbers. However this past season Mackenzie exploded for a career high in goals (6), and a career high in assists (34).
The offensive touch carried on through the playoffs in which he got 16 points in an extended run that saw the Hitmen down the Wheat Kings for the WHL championship.
With this new found prowess in the offensive zone, and his still consistent defensive play Mackenzie has become a real two way threat from the back end.
While some scouts have questioned his skating, Mackenzie has the knowledge and the skill to compensate for any shortcomings. At 6'0" 198 he has solid size, and he still has room to grow.
Mackenzie may be a stud that falls into the second or third rounds, and could be one of the bigger steals in the draft.
Defence: Martin Marincin
Martin Marincin has finished up another year playing in Slovakia, and has performed very well. Marincin played for the Slovakian U-20 team, and really made a name for himself at the World Juniors.
Marincin has shown flashes of brilliance, and has proven that he can be an elite talent at a high level of competition. Some scouts however question Marincin's game, and wonder how well he will actually develop.
Marincin will be joining the major junior ranks next season, and will likely develop at a much better and much quicker rate than in Slovakia. Which is why he could be a very solid third or fourth rounder.
Forwards: Devante Smith-Pelly
Devante Smith Pelly played for the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors of the Ontario Hockey League this past season. Devante, while starting off slow, has really progressed in his game at both ends of the ice.
Devante is a forward, but is likely more known for his defensive game. Smith-Pelly could be a future Selke winner, as he can read and react to plays very well, and can shut down players with ease.
After recording only 25 points in his rookie season it wasn't looking like he was going to develop into a lethal offensive player, however in his sophomore season Devante managed 62 points in 60 games played, and really showed that he has what it takes to play both ends of the ice.
Devante has the skill set to make the NHL, and could put up decent numbers, along with being a strong two-way player. You can see a lot of a Jordan Staal in Devante Smith-Pelly.
Forwards: Oscar Lindberg
Oscar spent this past season between Skelletfea's junior and Elite League teams. In junior he managed to rack up 37 points in 30 games played, and at the elite level he only managed 2 points.
Lindberg have turned the heads of scout lately, and that is largely in part of his quick developing in the elites and juniors.
Lindberg has been noted to be very strong in his own end of the ice, and has proven to be sharp in the offensive zones. Lindberg also is a great faceoff man. Leading the league the past two seasons in faceoff percentage, which has been invaluable to Skelletfea's J20 club.
A potential move over the summer to major junior could be exactly what Lindberg needs to develop his game in North America. However no plans to do so have been set out yet.
Image Courtesy: folkbaldet
Forwards: Chrsitian Thomas
Christian Thomas really stepped up his game after leaving the London Knights in a trade that saw John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto head London's way.
The only reason Thomas is ranked 69th among North American skaters is because he is very small. At 5'6" 165 he still has a lot of growing to do if scouts want to take him seriously.
Thomas had a slow rookie year only scoring eight goals in 59 games, but he exploded this year scoring 41 goals and adding another 25 assists for 66 points in 64 games played.
Christian is a very skilled winger that brings blinding speed, and a good set of hands to go with it. Thomas has a hard accurate shot, and is dangerous one on one.
If the Toronto Ontario native could bulk up a little more, whichever team decides to draft him could be very surprised at what they actually picked up.
Image Courtesy: Ontario Hockey League