As expected, the Edmonton Oilers used the number one pick to select Taylor Hall , while the Boston Bruins selected Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick.
Hall, who won back-to-back Memorial Cups and Memorial Cup MVP’s, gives the Oilers a very talented, offensive-minded forward who should bring a certain amount of respect back to the floundering Oilers franchise.
In Seguin, the Bruins get a player that won the OHL scoring title and is the more well rounded of the two top picks. Given Seguin’s skill-set the Bruins feel as if he is ready to step into their everyday lineup as a top six forward.
No question, both teams got great players and, while I suspect Hall will be a tremendous NHL scorer, I suspect Seguin will emerge as the better, more well-rounded player.
Despite all the speculation, there never really was any doubt as to which player the Oilers would pick—it was always Taylor Hall.
Drafting Seguin with the first overall pick would have (in my estimation) been a public relations nightmare as the minute the Oilers had won the coveted number one pick Oiler fans rejoiced in celebration with Hall on their minds, nobody else.
The Florida Panthers , (who made a big trade with the Vancouver Canucks which included the 25th overall pick) had three picks in the first round and seven picks in the top 93 in this years draft.
The Panthers used the third overall pick to select bruising defenseman Erik Gudbranson who played with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs last season.
Here what I thought about Gudbranson:
“In my humble opinion, Gudbranson would be an excellent compliment to the Panthers young Russian defenseman Dmitri Kulikov and is the best choice for the Panthers.”
Know as a physical, stay-at-home defenseman, many scouts have compared him to former Montreal Canadiens perennial all-star Larry Robinson.
This kid is fierce and he is huge, standing 6’4" and weighing in at 195 pounds. No question, he’s gonna be a huge cog in the Panthers rebuilding process and a big part of any future success they may have.
Listening to him interview, he’s a real confident kid who is well spoken and looks to be mature beyond his years.
Which brings us to the fourth overall pick held by the Columbus Blue Jackets , who have picked in the top ten in ten of the past eleven years.
Thought to be the favorite to be selected third overall, Windsor Spitfires defenseman Cam Fowler was passed over once again, this time for centre Ryan Johansen .
Johansen, who many say was the long shot of this draft, stands 6’3" and weighs in at 189 pounds was expected by many to go in the top 15, but not many had him at number four!
Kudos to Johansen will likely need some time to develop and some have questioned his
compete level, but you don’t go fourth overall by mistake, do you?
The New York Islanders , who held the number five overall pick and who more recently have earned the reputation of making deals at the draft, elected to forgo any movement this year, selecting Nino Niederreiter , who stands 6’2", and weighs in at 205 pounds from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.
Niederreiter, who hails from Switzerland, shot up the draft rankings all season long, posting ten points in seven games at the World Junior Championships.
Did Niederreiter rise too soon, or have the Islanders found an offensive player that can evolve alongside budding NHL super-star John Tavares?
Next up, Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning .
Yzerman decided to go a little off the board, selecting Brett Connolly with the sixth overall pick.
Here’s what I wrote about Tampa Bay in my Eastern Conference Preview:
“Connolly would be an awesome match with Stamkos, while Burmistrov would give the Lightning a formidable 1-2 punch down the middle for the next decade.”
“While there is no consensus pick at the six spot, it will likely come down to whether or not Yzerman believes Connolly is healed or not. If he gets a clean bill of health, Connolly should be Stevie-Y’s guy.”
Due to question marks about his hips, Connolly slid from the top five into what many thought would be a top ten pick. He ends up number six, which, for a guy who played all of 16 games last season (scoring ten goals, adding nine assists) is very impressive.
Many scouts feel, as long as he stays healthy, Connolly will emerge as one of the better offensive players of the draft, quite possibly giving the likes of Hall and Seguin a run for their money.
Next up, the Carolina Hurricanes , who, with the seventh overall pick, selected Kitchener Rangers forward Jeff Skinner .
Here’s what I wrote about the Carolina Hurricanes in my Eastern Conference Preview:
"For my liking, the Hurricanes need to add some offensive depth—and the perfect fit here would be Jeff Skinner, who scored 50 goals in 64 games as a member of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers last season.
"Skinner, a natural Right Winger, would be a tremendous fit alongside Staal, where the two could feed off each other’s creativity and Skinner’s shot could be utilized best.
"As a resident of Kitchener, Ontario, I watched Skinner play on numerous occasions—he's the 'real deal' and is undervalued with many scouting services ranking him anywhere from 10th-25th overall."
The Atlanta Thrashers would draft in the eight position, electing to select Russian-born prospect Alex Burmistrov , who played for the OHL’s Barrie Colts last season.
Here’s what I wrote about Atlanta:
“Drafting eighth overall the Thrashers will likely have a few high quality offensive players available to them including, Nino Niederreiter, Jeff Skinner, Ryan Johansen and perhaps even Alexander Burmistrov.
“Truth be told, it all really depends on what the teams ahead of them do. That said, I think it’s a safe bet to assume the Thrashers are looking for a forward, preferably a centre that can play and grow alongside 18 year-old left winger, Evander Kane.”
With Niederreiter, Skinner, and Johansen already gone, Burmistrov was the obvious choice in my books, although I do not think Fowler is getting much respect here...
Burmistrov, who has electric skating speed and ability, has stated that he wants to play in North America, stating, “The KHL is for old men”...lol...true say!
Burmistrov scored 22 goals, added 43 assists, for a total of 65 points last season, establishing himself as a dynamic player who brings fans out of their seats night after night.
At 6'0" and just 159 pounds, Burmistrov will need to add another 15-20 pounds before he will be NHL ready. That said, with his speed, anything is possible.
The Minnesota Wild were up next with the ninth selection, drafting Finnish sensation Mikael Granlund .
Granlund, who has a hockey IQ that’s off the charts, is a play making forward who, in 2-3 years, will be a nice addition to a Wild team that needs offense badly.
Make no mistake about it, Granlund, who stands 5'10" and weighs in at 176 pounds, is no joke and, at this point, looks to be the steal of this draft.
The New York Rangers came to the podium with the number ten pick, selecting rugged defenseman Dylan Mcilrath , who had 19 fights in the WHL as a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors last season.
Mcilrath, who was expected to go anywhere from 15th through 25th in the draft, was a surprise pick to many experts. Let’s hope Rangers general manager Glen Sather made the right choice—you’d hate to turn back three years from now and see Fowler competing for a Norris Trophy some day.
I had the Rangers taking a forward, nothing to report here!
The Dallas Stars , who had just allowed veteran goaltender Marty Turco to explore free agency, held the 11th pick overall and, as many expected, selected American goaltending prospect Jack Campbell .
Campbell, is a big body goaltender who stands 6'2" and weighs in at 185 pounds. His incredible play at the 2010 World Juniors is well documented where Campbell helped lead the Americans over the highly-touted Canadians, playing with incredible confidence and looking every bit like a star in waiting while doing so.
This kid looks to be a legitimate franchise goaltender and should be up with the big club in two years time.
Next up, with the 12th pick overall, the Anaheim Ducks , who traded Chris Pronger and watched as Scott Niedermayer retire within the past twelve months—who had to be drooling at the prospect of drafting Cam Fowler —did just that, drafting smooth-skating, offensive minded defenseman Cam Fowler, which should help shore up their defense for years to come.
Fowler, who amassed 55 points in 55 games with the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) last season, was a standout for Team USA in the 2010 World Juniors, playing with a poise that has many NHL Scouts drooling.
While Fowler does have some offensive shortcomings, it is widely believed that Fowler will be a legitimate top two defenseman. It says here, several teams made a mistake letting Fowler slide this far down the pipe...and they will regret it!
Of note: Scott Niedermayer handed him his sweater! (good omen, or what?)
With the number thirteen pick, the Phoenix Coyotes , who were the surprise story of the 2009-10 NHL season, selected 6'2", 187 pound, Brandon Gormley —who many mock drafts had as a top five pick.
Gormley, who is a steady, well-rounded defenseman, that can do just about everything and has a bit of a physical edge as well. He’s a legit top four D-man and should play in Phoenix for a very long time.
With the 14th overall pick, the St. Louis Blues (who many had selecting goaltender Jack Campbell in their mock drafts until they acquired Jaroslav Halak from the Montreal Canadiens), selected Jaden Schwartz , who many had as a late first round draft pick.
Schwartz, who hails from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, Canada, (that’s wheat country folks!) stands 5'10" and weighs in at 180 pounds.
He is one of those undersized players that many NHL scouts are attracted to these days that will bring speed, a high hockey IQ and a compete level that’s off the hook.
Of note: today was his 18th birthday! Happy Birthday, Jaden!
The first trade of the night saw the Florida Panthers trade the 15th overall selection (a pick they acquired earlier in the week from the Boston Bruins as part of the Nathan Horton deal) to the Los Angeles Kings , who traded their 19th overall pick and their second round pick to the Panthers in return.
With two Los Angeles-born players still on the board (Beau Bennett and Emerson Etem) many fans were hoping to see a hometown kid drafted here...but they were disappointed to hear the Kings announce American defenseman Derek Forbort .
Forbort, who stands 6'5" and weighs in at 198 pounds, is thought to have a huge upside and all the tools to be a top four defenseman.
Clearly, the Kings are stacked with good young defenseman, but Forbort was just too good to pass on.
Next up? The Ottawa Senators , who, with the 16th overall pick, elected to trade their pick to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman David Rundblad (who went 17th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft).
Rundblad is a physical defenseman that should be able to compete for a spot on the Senators roster as early as the 2011-12 season.
The St. Louis Blues took a bit of a risk, selecting Vladimir Tarasenko , who will bring a ton of skill and toughness to the Blues organization.
Tarasenko, who stands 5'11" and weighs in at just a shade over 200 pounds, is said to be all muscle. TSN’s Bob Mckenzie describes him as a “tank.”
Of note: The Blues had a jersey already made up for this kid—must have wanted him bad...it’s like they knew they were gonna get him!
Making the 17th overall pick, the Colorado Avalanche went off the board, selecting Joey Hishon —who posted just 40 points in 36 games having to deal with various injuries.
Hishon, who stands 5'10" and weighs in at 170 pounds, posted 37 goals and 44 assists for a total of 81 points as a member of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack during the 2008-09 season. Clearly, the Av’s are beating on Hishon being that player, not the injury riddled player we saw in 2009-10.
With the 18th pick, the Nashville Predators selected Austin Watson from the OHL’s Peterborough Petes.
Watson, who stands 6'3" and weighs in at 185 pounds, had a tough time establishing himself as a member of the Windsor Spitfires played excellently when he was dealt to the Petes.
He should evolve into a top six or nine forward, who will play a gritty two-way game with a physical edge.
Nice sleeper pick for the Preds!
With the 19th overall pick, the Florida Panthers selected highly-touted American born Nick Bjugstad , who stands 6'4" and weighs in at 188 pounds.
He was named “Mr. Hockey” in 2010, but looks to have a few years of development left before he will make a solid run at an NHL job.
Simply put, he’s a project with good physical tools.
With the 20th overall pick, the Pittsburgh Penguins California native, Beau Bennett ...and the crowd goes wild!!!!
And, just like that, Bennett (who stands 6'1" and weighs in at 176 pounds) becomes the highest drafted California born player in NHL history...let the wave of talent begin!
Known for his skating, passing, and vision, Bennett—who has a tremendous amount of skill—is another project player that will require a few years of strength training and tutoring before he will be NHL ready.
Pittsburgh needs good wingers like Bennett— too bad he will take so long to develop...
The Detroit Red Wings , who have a reputation for finding diamonds in the rough, used the 21st selection to bring Riley Sheahan into the fold.
Sheahan, who stands 6'2" and weighs in at an impressive 202 pounds, looks to be a solid addition to the Red Wings and will be given plenty of time to develop—we’re talking four years or more here.
I am betting Sheahan will evolve into a solid number two centre once he works on his defense, which is suspect at best.
The Phoenix Coyotes held the 22nd pick, but elected to trade it along with the 122nd pick in exchange for the Montreal Canadiens 27th pick and the 57th pick, respectively.
The Montreal Canadiens selected 6'4", 205 pounds Jarred Tinordi (son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi).
Tinordi is known for his leadership skills and tough, physical play. He should evolve into a top four defenseman who can log big minutes and be a force on the Canadiens back end.
This would mark the seventh American prospect taken in this draft...wow! For the record, I had the Habs taking Riley Sheahan, who went at number 21.
The 23rd pick belonged to the Buffalo Sabres , who watched their 2007-08 first round draft choice, Tyler Mayers, take home rookie of the year honors for his incredible 2009-10 performance.
The Sabres went with another defenseman this year, selecting Mark Pysyk —an undersized defensive defenseman, who needs to work on his skating and needs to put on some poundage.
Pysyk, who stands 6'1" and weighs in at 175 pounds, should evolve into s solid top four defenseman who can log heavy minutes. He’s a few years away.
Nothing fancy here, I had the Sabres taking the best player available...time will tell if they managed that.
The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks (who acquired this pick from the Atlanta Thrashers in the Dustin Byfuglien trade), were up next with the 24th overall pick.
With this pick the Hawks’ general manager Stan Bowman selected Kevin Hayes , who was ranked as a second rounder in many mock drafts.
Hayes, who stands 6'2" and weighs in at 200 pounds, will likely take a few years to evolve. But he is a pretty big kid, one that could evolve into a good top six forward as he also has good offensive tools.
The Vancouver Canucks were up next. But, instead of selecting at number 25 chose to make a trade with the Florida Panthers which saw the Canucks acquire defenseman Keith Ballard from the Panthers.
And, just like that, the Florida Panthers would chose for the third time in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
With the 25th pick the Panthers selected the former first overall pick of the Western Hockey League, Forward Quinton Howden .
Howden, who is described as a complete player, will probably evolve into a solid two-way forward who can chip in offensively.
The next selection belonged to the Washington Capitals . With the 26th overall pick, the Caps took Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov .
Known as a highly-skilled, fast-skating player, Kuznetsov will take some time to develop and likely will not see NHL action for 2-3 years.
That said, with the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin in the fold, Kuznetsov may make an extra effort to try to crack the Caps lineup just to be with his Russian counterparts.
The Phoenix Coyotes went against the grain, selecting Niagara Icedogs goaltender Mark Visentin with the 27th overall pick.
Visentin, had a record of 24-26 with a 2.99 goals against average and a .911 save percentage in 55 games played.
He is described by hockey’s future as:
“Visentin has worked hard to improve his game, which has led to his being a top goaltending prospect in his age group. Has enough size and flexibility to cover the net, but could stand to improve his post-to-post play as well as his ability to read a play”.
It was surprising to see the Coyotes pass over the likes of Calvin Pickard—a goalie that was ranked at number two amongst goaltenders by the International Scouting Service.
Windsor Spitfire’s goaltender Phillipp Grubauer was also rated ahead of Visentin as the number three goaltender
The San Jose Sharks were next, selecting Charlie Coyle , who stands 6’2 and weighs in just under 200 pounds, with the 28th overall pick.
Coyle looks to be a solid two-way player, who many say will have a limited offensive upside.
A curious pick...will they regret not taking California native Emerson Etem?
And then, with the crowd sitting on pins and needles...the Anaheim Ducks selected the aforementioned Emerson Etem with the 29th overall pick.
The crowd went wild, saluting Etem with a standing ovation. It was well deserved for a player that was supposed to be picked anywhere from top ten to 20th overall in many mock drafts.
Described as an excellent skater with great hands, Etem does have some defensive deficiencies which he must work on before becoming a legitimate NHL prospect.
It’s was a great pick and great for the fans to support the young forward.
The Chicago Blackhawks elected to trade the number thirty pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to the New York Islanders for the number 35 and the 58th pick.
The Islanders selected American Brock Nelson , making it 11 Americans drafted in the first round of this draft—an NHL record!
Of note: There were 14 Canadians drafted...we still reign supreme!
Nelson, who stands 6’3 and weighs in at 205 pounds scored 53 goals and added 42 assists for 95 points as a member of the Minnesota High School League.
He will be a project for the Islanders, but should evolve into a solid, physical forward who can be a pest in front of the net and in the corners.
There you have it, all thirty picks. Only time will tell which teams won or lost....
Of note: there were no Swedish players taken in the first round, no Czechs and just three Russians and a Swiss player was selected in the top five!!!....Yes, NHL Fans, the times, they are-a-chang'in!
For more NHL news and notes check out my website at www.theslapshot.com
Until next time,