Thread: Prospect Info: Bugg's Final Top 45
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06-10-2010, 10:53 PM
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Bugg's Final Top 45

1. Taylor Hall- Best player in the class, now and in 10-15 years. He's going to be our Jonathan Toews.

2. Tyler Seguin- Anyone that's talking about Seguin in the No. 1 slot is banking on future potential, and I can understand although not agree with the reasoning.

3. Mikael Granlund- CBJ boreds poster had a great point; of all the skills to worry about, skating is perhaps the easiest to fix (see: Getzlaf, Parise, Carter). Granlund has everything else and he weighs about the same as Kane/St. Louis/Gionta so I'm not too worried about that. Can take and make hits like a man.

4. Brandon Gormley- Great Mem Cup really puts him over the top for me. Elite skater, and could make an NHL pay cheque even if he's only ever an offensive guy or defensive guy, never mind melding the two. Scott Niedermayer-esque upside.

5. Vladimir Tarasenko- If he was an upper-echelon skater or 6'2 he'd maybe garner a bit more respect, but he's both the best one-on-one player in the Draft and the smartest. Who cares if he's 5'11 and not blazing fast?

6. Nino Niederreiter- One week too old for 2011. Big, raw plowhorse who just loves to play. A bit one dimensional but he's an above-average skater for his size and can be taught another dimension or two.

7. Cam Fowler- He's a defender who will make a living off his sheer talent and physique, but I don't see the instincts of an elite defensive or offensive guy. I've said it before, but he's Cam Barker 2.0.

8. Brett Connolly- Has everything; size, top-end speed, best hands in the WHL, terrific shot. Too bad about the hip. You hope you can believe it's just a series of 'micro-tears' or whatever he called them, but if he doesn't heal completely that's a waste of a pick. Due diligence is required here.

9. Jack Campbell- The best player at his position by so much that he's better than the second- or third- best at others. Just a dynamite goalie who has all the makings of a big-game keeper.

10. Jeff Skinner- Fantastic season. Not a lot more he could have done, and while his skating is still not as good as you'd like I don't think it'll be a major barrier. Played good defense early in the Kitchener/Windsor series but he and the rest of the Rangers got lured into firewagon hockey and they predictably lost. Built like a brick wall; I have no worries about the physical side of things.

11. Alexander Burmistrov- Had a great playoff series against Windsor, even if he didn't necessarily rack up the points. They had a lot of trouble containing him and needed two or three men at times; he's just so creative and slick, and constantly changes the dynamic of the game whenever he's on the ice. Bonus: he does a lot of good things away from the puck.

12. Ryan Johansen- Hard-working kid who just gets it. Maybe he tops out as an elite #3 center, but his puck protection skills are elite and he's shown a fine playmaking touch for a big guy.

13. Greg McKegg- Just an incredibly mature player. He's got all the makings of a Richards/Reilly type center who can control the game both offensively and defensively. 70% on the dot at the U18s. 70%!

14. Jon Merrill- Wasn't as dominant offensively at the U18s as I felt he could have been, but he doesn't get beat wide like a rook as still happens to Gudbranson, and is a much, much better skater. He gets the puck out of trouble using his mobility, smarts and cool hands, and that's what counts. Hopefully the rest follows.

15. Nick Bjugstad- Just a sublime skater for his size; could probably play defense if he wanted to, he's that smooth. I worry about him getting so easily muscled off the puck by high school defenders, but he's all of 188 lbs despite being 6'4.

16. Evgeny Kuznetsov- Boy can he skate. Like the Seguin/Hall debate, there's a camp that strongly believes Tarasenko will level out and Kuznetsov will pass him as he adds dimensions to a game that predominantly features an NHL-caliber speed and shot. Underrated playmaker and really did a job of using his reputation as a shooter during the U18s to create lanes.

17. Derek Forbort- Just two assists at the U18s, but was a team-best +9. Played a simple game and that's really what was missing from his arsenal all year. However, it reinforced my initial judgment that he's going to end up one of two things: a PP guy or a stay-at-homer. I don't think he has the hockey sense to run the game both ways, as great as that would be from a smooth-skating 6'5.5 defender.

18. Dylan McIlrath- Was forced to skate during the WHL playoffs, and it was surprising just how fast he was when he lengthened his stride. Calling card is obviously his physical game, but if he can find a balance between hitting and moving the puck, I think he could be special.

19. Austin Watson- I'm leery of this kid. Just really leery. Team USA was basically playing shinny in Belarus every night and despite prime ice-time, Watson had just three points. Good skater for his size, great vision, but all he seems to do is win battles, gain possession, and then do nothing with it. He doesn't have an NHL shot, and he's not a sublime passer.

20. Erik Gudbranson- Just didn't do much this year. You can blame the mono for a lot of it, but he lost a lot of development time on top of that and it showed against his peers in Belarus.

21. Emerson Etem- Unorthodox skater, but Evander Kane had the same reputation and all he does is get results. Etem is similar; needs to mature all-around but his potential as a scorer is tantalizing.

22. Quinton Howden- Unbelievable hands, and can take over a game when he wants to. Top-end speed is fantastic. Gets questioned a lot for a seemingly one-dimensional game, but he was utilized on the PK this year with some success as he'd take the puck, deke out the point man, and turn the man disadvantage into a breakaway. Just needs to want to play more.

23. Mark Pysyk- I don't think he'll ever develop a truly dominant offensive game, and that might be a problem if he's genetically unable to add mass. You can't survive as a stay-at-homer in the NHL at 175 lbs, no matter how breath-taking a skater you are. Safe player, but that makes him- to me- a major risk. Has been injury-prone in the WHL.

24. Beau Bennett- I said this before and managed to slightly offend a BCHL color commentator, but Bennett's Ryan Smyth with hands. Not an explosive skater, but he works his ass off to get moving and is extremely strong and agile on his skates. Not a sniper, but he scores goals because he gets to the dirty areas and bangs away. Not very muscular, but he takes massive punishment to hold the puck. Not a pure playmaker, but he does all of the above to get open and find open teammates. However, his hands are something special- where Smyth would wrap the puck around the net and jam away, Bennett just dangles around somebody to get there.

25. Brock Nelson- Fantastic year despite the playoff upset. Topped Minnesota HS hockey with a 70% win rate on the dot, and that's doubly as deadly because he'd just bull the net with that big frame of his once he had the puck, and he'd either score or draw a penalty. Skating is lacking- top-end gear is mediocre- but he's got deceptive speed out of the blocks. I think Central Scouting compared him to Backes, and that's pretty close.

26. Calle Jarnkrok- Love this kid. Think a faster Omark; was turning SEL defenders inside-out all year long and can hold onto the puck for years as he scoots around the zone looking for opportunities. A project- he's all of 5'10, 165- but his skills are top-fifteen, maybe top-ten.

27. Brad Ross- Lots to like. Deceptive acceleration, but his top-end speed is as good as anyone he and plays a no-frills game that gets results. Top agitator in the Draft.

28. Riley Sheahan- Had really hopes for him after a strong start, but he faded down the stretch. Physical specimen and dominated Ontario Junior A last year with his size and soft hands.

29. Charlie Coyle- Has good bloodlines and he's a savvy playmaker for a big guy. Knows how to win battles with his shoulders and he's a pro already at how he spreads the D out with long, lateral passes. Needs to work on his skating ability and he hasn't got much of a shot.

30. Jaden Schwartz- I've made this point a couple times year, but how does Sam Gagner do if he stays back in the USHL in his draft year without Patrick Kane? He probably wins the scoring title like Schwartz. Will surprise at the Combine with his strong, strong body; not an explosive skater so he gets dinged a bit but he's smart, smart, smart.

31. Jordan Weal- Smaller than Schwartz, and questions continually arise regarding his team/linemate, but he was still very good without Eberle- even last year, I recall Eberle being away at camp and Weal basically putting the Pats on his back. He'll need to do it again next year.

32. Patrick Cehlin- Will give Jarnkrok a run for his money when it comes to Mystery Meatball First Rounder. I see one player when I watch Cehlin: Jordan Eberle. Not very big, not very fast, but is surprisingly resilient as he drives into corners and he's a terrific shot. Highest-scoring '10 forward in the Elitserien.

33. Alex Petrovic- Safe player. His junior numbers compare to one Smith, Jason and they're about the same kind of player- the wrong guy to look at if you're expecting speed and offense, but just a steady leader that you can throw out for 25-30 minutes.

34. Ludvig Rensfeldt- I called his great U18s, and some team may surprise by taking him way high. Really thrives as a scorer when placed on the wing but he defaults to a playmaking game at center. You hope he can do both consistently but that's one rub. 6'4, 196 lbs.

35. Tyler Pitlick- Bang-and-crash winger. I think his skillset is a little limited but he plays an NHL game and like Jordan Caron last year, I could see a team in need of a cheap cap-hit taking him high. My money's on San Jose.

36. Teemu Pulkkinen- I would like to put him higher but I'm not quite sure where. Falls into that category of smaller skill forward- although he's put on significant weight and is now built like a brick ****house- who isn't explosively fast. Injuries ruined what was shaping up to be a great year.

37. Kirill Kabanov- I've got to put him somewhere. I echo what's already been said: top-five skillset, but he just doesn't seem to want to put in the effort to be a top player either here or at home.

38. Jarred Tinordi- I think he's destined for a Canucks uniform, but he doesn't have the elite offensive tools to be a first rounder in my books. Certainly not a bad skater for his size and plenty physical; could play in the NHL within two years.

39. Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel- Magic talent had the best season ever in Allsvenskan by a U20 goalie. All of 6'1, 176 lbs but he's lightning-fast post-to-post and extremely flexible. Most impressive thing to me is his second-efforts; a goal's not a goal until the light goes on for him. He'll use everything at his disposal to keep it out.

40. Stanislav Galiev- Really not a player that screams pro potential to me. Savvy playmaker and plays a NA-style game in how he drives right into/through traffic, but he's such a poor shooter that you wonder what NHL teams will do to him when they realize making passes is the only thing in his arsenal.

41. John McFarland- Too many red flags for me to consider him any higher. I think a team like Nashville would love to have him in their system- he's got an NHL one-timer and incredible hands, but his skating is below-average and he's an absolute rag without the puck.

42. Calvin Pickard- Thunderbirds average just 2.4 goals a game and were totally unorganized in every department; the only reason they didn't finish with fewer wins than PG was this guy. I feel Campbell and FPW are the better talents, but Pickard is right there with them.

43. Johan Larsson- Smart kid who gets wrongly labeled as two-way player or defensive forward. Those types don't score 2 PPG at international tournaments. Hard-working forward who skates better than most his age and knows what to do the moment he sees daylight.

44. Joonas Donskoi- A fierce competitor in traffic, not afraid to pull a deke even if it means contact will be quick to follow. Donskoi's trademark is a lethal one-time blast. Lacks that separation gear the best have.

45. Kevin Hayes- Top 30 talent, but whenever I've seen Hayes, he brings back all those terrible memories of Brad Isbister, Jason Bonsignore and Steve Kelly- big guys with varying skill that just either didn't give a **** or didn't have anything beyond size and ability. Not a slow skater by any means- he's actually very strong on his edges and quite agile- but he looks it because he's just that bored in the play action 99% of the time. Killed high school because he was lethal one-on-one; that won't work even in the NCAA.

As an aside, I watch Sweden like a hawk. These are five potential home-run shots that probably won't find a home before the 3rd round:

1. G Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel- See above.

2. RW Emanuel Åström - An excellent skater for his 6'3, 225 lbs frame, Åström had little trouble keeping up with men during his first season at the Division 1 level and even managed to out-maneuver opponents with quick stops and spins. Physical, smart, and thrives on crashing the net.

3. D Tim Heed- You know who I think of when I watch this guy? Duncan Keith. 6'1 165 lbs but finished fourth among J20 defenders in Elitserien scoring. Great transitions, quickness and decision-making. Dominant on the powerplay. Passed over in '09.

4. D Jesper Hoffman- Probably the tallest player worth drafting this year at 6'7, 215 lbs. In the same organization that develop Jonathan Ericsson. Love this kid.

5. RW Patrik Näslund- A hulking 6'3, 220 lbs, Näslund enjoyed a meteoric rise from J18- the North American equivalent to Midget AAA- to what was eventually a regular role in the Allsvenskan, Sweden's version of the AHL. Näslund's primary strength is his above-average skating ability and balance for a big man, and his adeptness at handling the puck at top speed.


Last edited by hfboardsuser: 06-10-2010 at 11:24 PM.
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