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Blue Bullet's 2004 Top 50 Draft Ranking

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06-07-2004, 03:33 PM
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Blue Bullet
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Blue Bullet's 2004 Top 50 Draft Ranking

It's my favorite time of the year, the draft. When expectations are high and unlimited potential is in the air. Prospects never look as bright as they do on draft day.

Now this year is nothing like last year which was one of the better years but it is not as bad as some people make it out. I think it is just a let down going from one of the best draft years ever to an average one. The first two rounds of the draft look very solid with many players having the potential to be a top goalie, top 6 forward or top 4 d-man. However, there isn't too much to get excited about after the first draft day. So without further ado here is my final draft rankings for the 2004 entry draft.

1. OVECHKIN, ALEXANDER
He is the complete package. Ovechkin is only 18 but he's beginning to be a main fixture on Russia's National teams. Can't wait to watch him at the World Cup.

2. MALKIN, YEVGENY
Malkin would normally go 1st in any other draft year. He's a big skilled centerman like previous # 1overalls Thornton and Lecavelier.

3. BARKER, CAMERON
Barker is the best d-man in the draft. His play is reminiscent of a young Eric Brewer except with more offensive upside.

4. TUKONEN, LAURI
Tukonen is probably the best scoring winger of the draft. He is big and skilled and has a good work ethic.

5. OLESZ, ROSTISLAV
Olesz was passed by this year by a few players. He had a better season last year and he was supposed to improve his offensive totals which did not happen. Part of the reason for his lower numbers offensively is the lack of playing time on a scoring line and his coach's desire to improve his defense and his play away from the puck.

6. SCHWARZ, MAREK
Schwarz has everything you want in a goalie except size. He makes up for that with his amazing mobility and reflexes. He was dominant at the U-18 tournament.

7. SCHREMP, ROBBIE
Schremp has had a very interesting year to say the least. Even though there are hints at some character issues I would not hesitate to take this talented center in the top 10.

8. RADULOV, ALEXANDER
Radulov is one of the most talented players in the draft and he showcased it at the tournaments this year. If he was a little bigger he would be in the top 5.

9. LADD, ANDREW
Did anybody predict Ladd would have this kind of year. He has a great work ethic combined with a good skill level which will make him at least a very good 2nd line pro.

10. STAFFORD, DREW
Stafford had a very good year on a loaded North Dakota team. He is a safe pick that will likely be a very good two way player that contributes on both sides of the ice. I expect him to showcase more of the offensive upside next year.

11. PICARD, ALEXANDRE
Hard worker that can score; sign me up. Sure he has a awkward skating style and doesn't have any abilities that really stand out (not too many defincies either) but he was a leader on Lewiston and he stepped it up another notch in the playoffs.

12. MONTOYA, ALVARO
For those that didn't know him, they sure did after the WJC. The Turcoesque goalie was outstanding and has proven to be a money goalie.

13. THELEN, A.J.
He has a ways to go in his defensive game but its tough to pass up on a big d-man that can man the PP and isn't soft. Was one of the leading scorers among college d-man even though he was only 17 during the year. Tons of potential.

14. MESZAROS, ANDREJ
Meszaros had good size and great offensive instincts. His defensive game needs work and he could gain some size but he has tons of potential. Wasn't out of place at the World Championships.

15. SMID, LADISLAV
Smid is much like Meszaros. However I have a few more reservations about Smid due to his play at the major tournaments this year. I question his toughness and though he played well at the U-18 I was expecting more.

16. WOLSKI, WOJTEK
Wolski has dropped down on my list this year due to other players overtaking him and his deficiencies in his game. I was expecting more after a good rookie year. With his size and skill level he should be a top 10 pick. The reason he drops is because he doesn't create enough on his own relying too much on his teammates.

17. KORPIKOSKI, LAURI
Where did this guy come from. He's not the biggest guy but he has speed and skill and is hard working like most Finns.

18. GREEN, MIKE
Green had a good year on a poor team (sounds like Pouliot) and you wonder what his point totals would have been on a better team. He plays tough and contributes on both ends of the ice.

19. CHIPCHURA, KYLE
Chipchura was one of those guys that you hoped would breakout offensively. If he put up 30 goals instead of 15 he is definite top 10 and ahead of Ladd. However, he didn't and he looks like he will be a very good 3rd line checker like Stoll (except I think Stoll has more offense to his game).

20. BOLLAND, DAVE
Bolland is an ideal garbage goal man. He is smart and knows where to be to score. He's not a big guy but he makes up with it with his heart.

21. FRANSSON, JOHAN
Fransson is a safe pick who will likely be at least a #4 d-man in the league. All areas of his game are solid but none really stand out.

22. NOKELAINEN, PETTERI
The 3rd Finn in the top 25. I must be an Oilers fan. Nokelainen is the least skilled of the 3 but is probably the most well rounded of the bunch. Already playing in the SM-Liiga.

23. SCHNEIDER, CORY
He hardly got scored on all year in high school because of the weak competition. However he proved himself at the U-18 and established himself as a 1st round pick.

24. HEDMAN, OSCAR
Hedman is all over the map on draft lists. He's high on mine. He showcased his offensive abilities in the junior leagues and at the U-18 while showing that he can hang with the boys in his 20+ games in the SEL this year.

25. O'NEILL, WES
O'Neill has most abilities you want in a d-man. However questions about his smarts and his lack of an offensive upside has dropped him down to the bottom of the 1st round.

26. VALABIK, BORIS
A lot of people are hyping Valabik as the next Chara. I don't buy it. He won't be as good a skater or as good offensively as Chara. He also lacks Chara's smarts. He's a project like most big d-men.

27. SALMONSSON, JOHANNES
Salmonsson stock dropped a little due to his shoulder injury which affected his play. He has size and skill and he isn't soft. I have a feeling I may regret ranking him this low.

28. SHANTZ, DAVID
Shantz had a good year on a poor team while facing many shots every night. Than in the playoffs the team got on a role thanks in a large part due to his outstanding play.

29. ALEXANDROV, VIKTOR
When Central Scouting ranked him 8th there were a lot of skeptics. However, if you take a closer look you'll notice that 2 years ago at the age of 15 Alexandrov was playing in the same league Radulov, Voloshenko and Lisin played in just this year. He is already a regular in the RSL which he has in common with the top 2 players in the draft. His size and lack of exposure in national tournaments hurt his rankings..

30. VOLOSHENKO, ROMAN
Voloshenko has great hands and it his hard to pass that up. His skating isn't the greatest but it should be less of a factor in the smaller rinks.

31. SINDEL, JAKUB
Sindel sounds a lot like Hemsky except a sniper instead of a playmaker. Both are small and skilled and were considered soft in their draft year. Sindel was ROY in the Extraliga and captain of the U-18 game but too many comments about his softness and dissapearing in physical games has dropped him down on the list.

32. LISIN, ENVER
Lisin would be higher on my list if he had not gone to the U-18. One goal in 6 games for a guy that likes to cherry pick is not very good. He has speed but does he have anything else.

33. DUBNYK, DEVAN
Dubnyk was once considered the best goalie in the draft, so what happened. He's big and he takes up the net well and when he's on his game he is very tough to beat. However his mental toughness was questioned as he had trouble bouncing back from bad games, bad goals or long layoffs. And in my books what seperates a # 1 goalie from a backup is his mental toughness.

34. LYAMIN, KIRILL
He's a big stay at home d-man that plays a tough solid game. Proved himself at the U-19. Upside is a top 4 d-man.

35. KASPAR, LUKAS
He's big and he lit up the junior leagues while getting some playing time in the top league. So why is he a 2nd round choice? Mainly its due to his attitude. He takes nights off and by the end of the year he was hardly getting any playing time in the Extraliga

36. PINEAULT, ADAM
What happened to this guy. Just a year ago he was playing as a 16 yr old on the U-18 USA development team. He than graduates early and sits on the bench in college. If this guy had went to junior instead he may have gone in the top 15 this year. Could be a huge steal.

37. ZAJAC, TRAVIS
Zajac is a guy that you wonder how much offensive upside he has. He played in a weak league and is also a year older than many players in the draft. Too high a risk IMO to go 1st round.

38. SÖDERBERG, CARL
See Kaspar. These two players are much alike. Both but up very similar numbers this year in their respective leagues and have received very similar criticisms. However with the right coaching they could be very good 2nd line players.

39. GRAHAM, BRUCE
Graham is lower on my list because I have trouble seeing where he will fit on an NHL team. He's big with decent hands but I question whether he's good enough for the top 2 lines or if he's useful as a 3rd liner. However if Chad Kilger can find a roster spot than there is hope.

40. WHEELER, BLAKE
Cool name. He's also big with good hands and speed. However, he drops down to #40 mainly because I got burnt last year with Brian Boyle. The problem is when a good player is surrounded by inferior competition it makes him look even better. And in Wheeler's case he wasn't even playing top tier high school.

41. GARLOCK, RYAN
He has a tremendous work ethic and tons of character as he demonstrated by coming back early from injury and playing hurt when most guys would be sitting. Could be a very effective checking center.

42. BRENT, TIM
Has re-entered the draft after Anaheim did not resign him. Brent is not the biggest guy but could become a very solid 3rd line player. Plus being 2 years older is also advantageous for the team that drafts him.

43. BOOTH, DAVID
Booth had a poor year offensively and that dropped him to a mid 2nd round pick. He has a good work ethic but he needs to bounce back in his junior year and demonstrate the offensive ability he showcased as a freshman wasn't a fluke.

44. TESLIUK, ROMAN
Tesliuk is a very steady safe pick. He isn't a big d-man but he plays a tough solid game. He is also a good skater and there is hope that in his 2nd year in North America he begins to develop the offensive side of his game. Watch for him to have a breakout year.

45. WHARTON, KYLE
Wharton is a safe steady pick that had to fight through injuries this year. He did not look great early in the year but he was one of Ottawa's best players down the stretch and in the playoffs mainly due to the fact that he was healthy and recovered from his injuries.

46. LEPISTÖ, SAMI
Lepisto is a late bloomer that had a great WJC against the younger competition. He's not big but he can handle the rough stuff. However his inconsistent play and his lack of production in the SM-Liiga has dropped his stock down a little.

47. PETERS, JUSTIN
Peters had a very good year similar to Shantz. He is a solid goalie with the potential to be a number 1. He plays a better positional game but he does not have Shantz's reflexes.

48. GRACIK, JURAJ
Gracik has size and a nice touch around the net getting 22 goals in 28 games this year in the junior leagues in Slovakia. A so-so U-18 keeps him from moving up into the top 40.

49. SCHULTZ, JEFF
This guy is a lot like Cory Cross. Both are slow and don't play a very physical game but they use their size and reach effectively in their own end and play a simple game. The big difference is that Schultz has more potential offensively and makes a better 1st pass.

50. BERTI, ADAM
When Berti is on top of his game he looks like a 1st round pick and when he's not you don't even notice him. He is very inconsistent and it is hard to know which player you are getting. He has the potential to be a good crasher and banger in the NHL

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06-07-2004, 03:39 PM
  #2
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Excellent 'at a glance' draft list, BB. Mucho Gracias.

Cutting and saving to .doc format as we speak.

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06-07-2004, 05:30 PM
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Once again, BB shows why, IMO, he's a good a pre-draft poster as any. List is shockingly close to mine, perhaps that's why I like it so much.

I have Meszaros inside my top 10, what in your opinion holds him out of the top 10?And what holds Bolland out of your top 15?

I hadn't really realized that Zajac is 19, still playing in the BCHL. Don't get me wrong, I still have him in my top 30, but he's dropped a couple notches with that revelation

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06-07-2004, 08:48 PM
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Great, great write-up. Exactly where I thought A.J Thelen & Wolski should be.

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06-07-2004, 09:46 PM
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I love reading these things, and this one is the best I've read. Love that Alexandrov gets his due, and imo this frames the Oilers decision perfectly. There are still great kids at 14, but which one do you choose?

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06-07-2004, 10:55 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speeds
Once again, BB shows why, IMO, he's a good a pre-draft poster as any. List is shockingly close to mine, perhaps that's why I like it so much.

I have Meszaros inside my top 10, what in your opinion holds him out of the top 10?And what holds Bolland out of your top 15?

I hadn't really realized that Zajac is 19, still playing in the BCHL. Don't get me wrong, I still have him in my top 30, but he's dropped a couple notches with that revelation
I don't think there is anything holding Meszaros out of the top 10 other than I decided to go with what I felt were safer picks in Ladd, Picard and Stafford. All 3 of Thelen, Meszaros and Smid are all big guys with offensive potential and could all be top pairing guys. If I was a bigger risk taker I think I would have ranked Thelen and Meszaros ahead of Ladd in 9th and 10th spot respectively.

With Bolland, he ends up behind my top 17 guys because I feel they have a higher skill level and top end potential. I feel that Green, Chipchura and Bolland are all interchangable in positioning, so it all depends on what your team needs are at that point.

Zajac drops mainly because I cannot safely predict how well he will do in college. The best comparison I had was that Jeff Tambellini put up similar points in the BCHL. If he puts up similar numbers to Tambellini than I was wrong in my ranking and he should have been in my top 30.

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06-07-2004, 11:01 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
I love reading these things, and this one is the best I've read. Love that Alexandrov gets his due, and imo this frames the Oilers decision perfectly. There are still great kids at 14, but which one do you choose?
I'd go with my list for picking at 14. I just hope Montoya is gone because I wouldn't want to make the decision of taking a goalie at 14. I think my perfect day would be Schremp at 14 and Green at 25 with the Oilers picking Shantz in the 2nd round.

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06-08-2004, 12:05 AM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Bullet
I'd go with my list for picking at 14. I just hope Montoya is gone because I wouldn't want to make the decision of taking a goalie at 14. I think my perfect day would be Schremp at 14 and Green at 25 with the Oilers picking Shantz in the 2nd round.
Just wanted to throw in my kudos' with the rest. Great list, things like this just make the excitement of the draft even better. There is of course a few names I disagree with in their placings, but that's what makes the draft so fun too.

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06-08-2004, 04:36 PM
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Blue Bullet: Let me fill in a few holes for you on the some of the NCAA guys. While I agree with you on much (not all) of what you had to say about them, I also think you missed a few points here.

1) Why Adam Pineault didn't do well at BC? If you followed the Eagles to ANY existent this season, you'd know why.

2) O'Neill has another problem I found in the games I saw him play in this past season (and I've already mentioned this): consistency. On a given night you never know WHICH Wes O'Neill is going to show up. One night, you'll get a big guy playing out of his mind, and the next night you'll get a warm body out there who is just taking up space on the ice and nothing more.

3) My biggest concern about David Booth is his skating. It's not great. In fact, it's not much better than average. I love this kid and what he brings to the table, but if he ever expects to make a run at the NHL, he's gotta improve his skating.

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06-08-2004, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
Blue Bullet: On a given night you never know WHICH ------is going to show up. One night, you'll get a big guy playing out of his mind, and the next night you'll get a warm body out there who is just taking up space on the ice and nothing more.
I didn't know Brad Isbister played in the NCAA last year.... :lol

Sometimes I just kill myself....

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06-09-2004, 10:34 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
Blue Bullet: Let me fill in a few holes for you on the some of the NCAA guys. While I agree with you on much (not all) of what you had to say about them, I also think you missed a few points here.

1) Why Adam Pineault didn't do well at BC? If you followed the Eagles to ANY existent this season, you'd know why.

2) O'Neill has another problem I found in the games I saw him play in this past season (and I've already mentioned this): consistency. On a given night you never know WHICH Wes O'Neill is going to show up. One night, you'll get a big guy playing out of his mind, and the next night you'll get a warm body out there who is just taking up space on the ice and nothing more.

3) My biggest concern about David Booth is his skating. It's not great. In fact, it's not much better than average. I love this kid and what he brings to the table, but if he ever expects to make a run at the NHL, he's gotta improve his skating.
1) I know Pineault did not getting any playing time but thats besides the point. He was in a tough situation but I don't like the fact that it affected how hard he played. Maybe I'm being hard on him but I would expect him to step up and make himself be noticed regardless of playing time, even more so. If you only got 5-10 minutes playing time a night make it your best. (same reason i'm tough on Laraque)

2) Could coaching can sometimes fix that.

3) I agree about Booth on his skating. However most NHL teams have great skating coaches and this area could be improved. However, the heart and character can't be teached. You either have it or you don't and Booth does.

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06-09-2004, 10:36 PM
  #12
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Thanks for all the positive responses. I really appreciate them.

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06-09-2004, 10:49 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Bullet
1) I know Pineault did not getting any playing time but thats besides the point. He was in a tough situation but I don't like the fact that it affected how hard he played. Maybe I'm being hard on him but I would expect him to step up and make himself be noticed regardless of playing time, even more so. If you only got 5-10 minutes playing time a night make it your best. (same reason i'm tough on Laraque)

2) Could coaching can sometimes fix that.

3) I agree about Booth on his skating. However most NHL teams have great skating coaches and this area could be improved. However, the heart and character can't be teached. You either have it or you don't and Booth does.
I saw a number of BC games and Pineault played well when he got the opportunity to play. He had to play LW all season......he is a RC/RW. He fought in the corners and he sparked some of the upperclassmen on his line to score. Once BC had everyone back from injuries Pineault sat 14 games. He was on a stacked team, all the freshmen had a poor year at BC for the same reason.

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06-09-2004, 11:18 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penkil2
I saw a number of BC games and Pineault played well when he got the opportunity to play. He had to play LW all season......he is a RC/RW. He fought in the corners and he sparked some of the upperclassmen on his line to score. Once BC had everyone back from injuries Pineault sat 14 games. He was on a stacked team, all the freshmen had a poor year at BC for the same reason.
Judging by a scan of your 27 posts on HF and that 25 of them are specifically about Pineault. I guess you're one of the following:

- Pineault.
- Pineault's Dad.
- Pineault's Mom.
- Pineault's Agent.


Great work, Blue Beetle. However I think Zajac will sneak into the first round. This kid has put up big number going back to the Western Canadian Bantam Championships. With four years in additional development, I think Zajac will develop into a nice player.


Last edited by Behind Enemy Lines: 06-09-2004 at 11:24 PM.
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06-09-2004, 11:38 PM
  #15
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yeah, right!

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