2010 NHL Entry Draft: Pro Hockey Talk's mock draft

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for our complete coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

It’s that time. Pro Hockey Talk now presents our highly anticipated,
most likely grossly inaccurate mock for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. For
any NHL draft, and especially this year, anything after the fifth pick
is up in the air. It’s isn’t about grabbing a player to fit a need, as
team’s choose who they generally feel is the best player left on the
draft board. There’s always exceptions, but generally teams’ boards are
much different than all of the rankings we see leading up to the draft.

There
is still some debate this year, however, and I’m sure some of our picks
will be a bit contrarian. We’ll get started, with the Edmonton Oilers
selecting…..

1. Edmonton Oilers


Taylor Hall – LW – Windsor (OHL)

The Oilers are in dire
need of an impact player, and Taylor Hall is primed to be that player
immediately this season. A lot of the debate this summer has been
whether Hall or Tyler Seguin deserves the top spot, but in the end it’s
Hall that will ultimately be the more dynamic scoring machine of the
two. It’s this remarkable scoring touch that the Oilers need and what
they’ll get with Hall.

2. Boston Bruins

Tyler
Seguin – C – Plymouth (OHL)

Seguin may ultimately
develop into the more complete player between himself and Hall, as he is
certainly the most well-rounded playmaker in this year’s draft. He’s a
center that makes the players around him better, and he’ll get the
chance to make an instant difference next season in Boston.

3.
Florida Panthers

Cam Fowler – D – Windsor (OHL)

The
next big debate this summer is who goes next after Hall and Seguin. For
most of this past season it’s been Fowler, but recently Gudbranson has
taken the 3rd spot in nearly every recent mock draft. We’re sticking
with our guns here, and going with the most offensively talented
blueliner in the draft and a player who is likely the best skater of all
the players this season.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Eric
Gudbranson – D – Kingston (OHL)

Thank you Tyler
Myers. His emergence as a top defenseman in the NHL as a large, solid
blueliner has considerably raised Gudbranson’s stock. The defenseman out
of the OHL is said to be the very next Chris Pronger, although
hopefully without the bad attitude. He’s already a large fellow (6-4,
195) but at 18 years old is likely not going to make the jump to the NHL
right away.

5. NY Islanders 

Brett
Connolly – RW – Prince George (WHL)

If Connolly had been
healthy last season then this would have likely had been a three-headed
battle for the top pick. Instead, he played in just 16 games for Prince
George last season while battling a hip injury. With his injury history,
taking Connolly this high is a big risk but his potential is just too
great to pass him up. He has the ability to become the best player to
come out of this draft class, if healthy.

6. Tampa Bay
Lightning

Nino Niederreiter – RW – Porland (WHL)

I
was tempted to put Gormley in this spot, as it’s tough to picture him
falling past Tampa Bay. Yet the Lightning took Victor Hedman last year
and now have the chance to add one of the premier all-around forwards in
the draft. He’s one of the hardest workers of all the players this
year, and  showcased exceptional playmaking skill. His stock has
skyrocketed since a great showing at the World Juniors and it’s tough to
picture the Lightning passing up the chance to take a talent like
Niederreiter.

7. Carolina Hurricanes

Brandon
Gormley – D – Moncton (QMJHL)

Gormley is the rare
defensemen with all of the tools and he would instantly improve the
Carolina blueline. He’s gifted
offensively, he can move the puck with ease, is a great skater and is
more than solid in his own end. He’s the type of toolsy defenseman all
teams wish they had and can be a top blueliner the Hurricanes can build
around moving forward.

8. Atlanta Thrashers

Ryan
Johansen – C – Portland (WHL)

Johansen will need more
time in the WHL to mature, both physically and as a player, but he would
instantly become the most exciting prospect for the Thrashers. He is
praised for his hockey sense and ability to avoid defenders while with
the puck, but is much to lanky to take the step to the next level at
this point – he’d be killed, no matter how “shifty” he is. Still, he’s a
pure scorer and playmaker who is drawing comparisons to Eric Staal.

9.
Minnesota Wild

Mikael Granlund – C – HIFK
(Finland)

He’s the top ranked European skater and for good
reason. He’s magical with the puck and his leadership and intangibles
are nearly unmatched outside of the top two this year. The only reason
he wouldn’t go higher is he’s yet to play in North America, and
generally European players need some time to mature heading into the
NHL. It won’t be long, however, as Granlund has the offensive talent the
Wild desperately need as they move forward under their new system.

10.
NY Rangers

Alexander Burmistrov – C – Barrie (OHL)

He’s
so small (5-11, 147) and not very well built, but his raw offensive
talent and exceptional speed will make it hard for teams to pass him up.
He’s like the Barry Sanders of hockey, weaving his way across the ice
and is nearly impossible to hit, but there’s no way he’s ready for the
NHL anytime soon.

11. Dallas Stars


Derek Forbort – D – USA U-18 (USDP)

This is the perfect
player for the Stars to take in this spot. He’s a big, steady and
talented defenseman who wont score many goals but does everything else
nearly perfectly and many think he has the most potential of any
defenseman in the draft.

12. Anaheim Ducks

Jeff
Skinner – RW – Kitchener (OHL)

He’s going to fall because
of his size (5-10, 187) but he’s about as pure a scorer as you can
find. 90 points last year in 64 with Kitchener (OHL), and with another
year of putting on muscle is deadly close to becoming the next great,
young sniper in the NHL.

13. Phoenix Coyotes

Austin
Watson – LW – Peterborough (OHL)

Flew under the radar in
Windsor but really shined after being traded to Peterborough, and teams
are high on his leadership and combination of size and skill. He’s the
“hidden gem” that a player is labled with every draft.

14.
St. Louis Blues

Dylan McIlrath – D – Moose Jaw (WHL)

He’s
big and is perhaps the most intimidating player in the first round.
He’s not just a big body as he has skill in the offensive zone as well
and is the type of defensemen teams like to build around.

15-30 after the jump…

15. Florida Panthers

Emerson Etem – RW – Medicine Hat (WHL)

A
talented US-born winger (from California!) that is poised to tear up
the WHL. As a rookie with Medicine Hat he had 65 points in 72 games, and
has an excellent combination of speed and scoring skill.

16.
Ottawa Senators

Jack Campbell – G – USA U-18 (USDP)

Could
go higher, but he’s falling on many draft boards because of concerns
over his attitude. Yet he’s the best goaltender prospect to come out of
the US in years and has the combination of athleticism, size and
confidence in net every team hopes to have in their goaltender.

17.
Colorado Avalanche

Jonathan Merrill – D – USA U-18
(USDP)

Has the tools to make a difference offensively, and
is rock solid in his own end as well. He’s a big, hard hitting
defenseman who is about as versatile as you could ask for, possessing
great speed on top of his size and big shot.

18.
Nashville Predators

John McFarland – LW – Sudbury (OHL)

Once
considered an elite prospect, many thought McFarland would eventually
be a top-5 pick in the NHL draft. Instead, he’s been a relative
disappointment as he never took that next step in the OHL. He’s still a
great talent, and taking him later in the first is not that much of a
reach for the former #1 pick in the OHL draft.

19. Los
Angeles Kings

Nick Bjugstad – C – Blaine (High-MN)

One
heck of a player coming out of high school, but some scouts were
worried about his concentration against lesser opponents. Still, he
loves to score and has all of the ability to be a dangerous sniper.

20.
Pittsburgh Penguins

Mark Pysyk – D – Edmonton, WHL

Many
have Pysyk going higher, but it just seems like he’s one of those
players with all of the tools to be great but withouth the mental makeup
to put it together. He could develop into the great defenseman he has
the potential to be, but he hasn’t gotten there yet.

21.
Detroit Red Wings

Vladimir Tarasenko – RW –
Novosibirsk (KHL)

This kid can score and every team would
want him on their roster in a heartbeat and many have him as a top-10
pick. But there’s no guarantee he leaves the KHL to come across the pond
to play with the team that drafts him; otherwise he’d go much higher and a team late in the first round may find him falling to them. It’s a risk, but later in the first round it’s a worthwhile one to take.

22.
Phoenix Coyotes

Jarred Tinordi – D – USA U-18 (USDP)

A
big defenseman with natural leadership ability who’s on his way to
Notre Dame, and is a natural in his own end. Big, physical and
intimidating he’s a call-back to the ways of old which should be no
surprise; he plays just like his father, Mark Tinordi.

23.
Buffalo Sabes

Riley
Sheahan – C – U. of Notre Dame (CCHA)

An exciting
prospect before last season, his production dropped off with Notre Dame
and he’s fallen a bit. Yet he’s a gritty two-way player that excells in
all areas of the ice, and is more than just a flashy scorer like you see
at the top of the draft.

24. Chicago Blackhawks

Quinton Howden – C – Moose Jaw (OHL)

A
skilled forward with a good combo of size, speed and scoring touch, yet
who plays as a much smaller forward. He’s not flashy but creates
turnovers on the forecheck and if he can play up to his size (6-3, 182)
could be special.

25. Vancouver Canucks

Tyler
Pitlick – C – Minnesota State (WCHA)

An intriguing
prospect, with a big and deadly accurate shot. He’s also a physical and
speedy forward, who was forced to be a one-man show on a bad Minnesota
State team. He has the size and power to be a special player with the
right roster around him.

26. Washington Capitals

Jaden
Schwartz – C – Tri-City (USHL)

Forget the knocks on his
size (5-10, 180), he’s well-built and is nothing short of a dynamic,
pure scoring machine. He’s more than just a sniper, he’s willing to do
the dirty work on defense and along the boards as well.

27.
Montreal Canadiens

Brock Nelson – C – Warroad
(High-MN)

He’s off to North Dakota next year to prove his
offensive production in high school wasn’t a fluke. He’s an exciting
scorer with hockey in his blood; his uncle, Dave Christian won the gold
medal for the U.S. in 1980.

28. San Jose Sharks

Calvin
Pickard – G – Seattle (WHL)

His numbers weren’t great
with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season, but there’s no doubt he has
the talent to become one of the top goaltender prospects in the NHL in
the near-future.

29. Anaheim Ducks

Stanislav
Galiev – RW – Saint John (QMJHL)

He’s more of a passer
than a scorer, but he’s a Russian prospect who has is already having
success in North America. He can get physical when needed, but should
add some strength before make the jump to the next level.

30.
Chicago Blackhawks

Beau Bennett – RW – Penticton
(BCHL)

A talented winger, who is just coming out of
prep-school hockey, he’s been shooting up draft boards and could sneak
into the first round.

San Jose Sharks’ defense looks very promising

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 03:  Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues and Brent Burns #88 and Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 of the San Jose Sharks go for the puck at SAP Center on January 3, 2015 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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In the long term, there are some questions about the San Jose Sharks’ defense.

For one thing, Brent Burns is due what could be a raise almost as big as his Burt’s Bees beard.

What’s even more troubling is, like the Sharks’ forwards, the defense’s upper ranks might see Father Time nipping at their heels. Burns is 31, Paul Martin is 35 and three defensemen are 29 in Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and newly signed blueliner David Schlemko.

This isn’t to say that the Sharks will age as rapidly as Melisandre, but that group prompts more questions about how long San Jose’s window might be hope.

Quite a promising present

So, maybe it won’t be a strength forever … but wow, this group sure looks promising on paper heading into next season.

Burns gets the most attention thanks to his booming shot, strong all-around skills and bizarre presence, yet Team Canada isn’t oblivious to Vlasic’s subtler brilliance. Paul Martin might be slipping a bit, but he’s still a useful player.

The signing of Schlemko really ties the room together, though.

The point isn’t that Schlemko is a star or better than the likes of Jay Bouwmeester. The very different nature of their roles makes a comparison a little risky.

Instead, it argues that Schlemko is the sort of supporting cast player who can push the Sharks closer to having a quality defenseman on the ice during every shift.

Beyond those four blueliners, the Sharks have some interesting options. Braun enjoyed some nice playoff moments. Brenden Dillon has his flaws, but perhaps he’d flourish if used in more protected situations.

With Mirco Mueller and Dylan DeMelo among those waiting in the wings, it’s not as though the Sharks are totally devoid of young talent on defense.

In an age where it almost feels like teams would give up vital organs for difference-makers on defense, San Jose’s group looks primed to rank among the elite. After struggling when the likes of Roman Polak were caught in bad situations, the Sharks have a great chance to trot out a remarkably balanced group in 2016-17.

Let’s argue about EA Sports’ NHL 17 player ratings

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via EA Sports
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EA Sports released top player rankings for NHL 17 about a week ago, but it isn’t too late to needlessly argue about them.

The top 50 overall ratings is probably the best place to start, but EA also shared top 10 lists for centers, defensemen, goalies, left wings and right wings.

Now, it’s important not to take this stuff too seriously. There are plenty of things to cool down any diehards who feel like Their Guy was disrespected, but do note that ratings sometimes get tweaked.

Still, there are some fun observations and debates that can come from pouring through these rankings, especially if you’re … well, bored.

Shea Weber vs. P.K. Subban

Did Michel Therrien and Marc Bergevin chime in on the debate? /Scratches chin

Weber came in with a blazing 94 rating:

 

Weber wins the digital battle with Subban, who lags behind as a 91. To the naked eye, EA seems to disagree with the analytics-based argument that Subban is the better all-around player than Weber at this juncture:

Here’s the thing, though: if you break both down rating by rating, each guy looks pretty great in NHL 17. Perhaps the real debate comes down to whether Weber really is that great defensively or not.

Then again, maybe EA just has a blind spot for Nashville Predators past and/or present? Pekka Rinne‘s high rating is sure to ruffle some feathers:

91rinneea

To give you some context, that 91 rating ties Rinne with Cory Schneider and places him ahead of the likes of Ben Bishop, Corey Crawford and Tuukka Rask.

Some other debate-starters

Need some other fun ones to bicker about? Sure you do:

***

Again, take it easy with this stuff. None of these choices are “Mike Richards being higher-rated than Anze Kopitar” bad.

You can have a lot of fun batting around different observations, as these player rankings often provide an interesting window into the way the hockey world sees things.

And, hey, at least Dustin Byfuglien‘s getting some much-deserved recognition.

NHL says it isn’t bothered by Coyotes’ salary cap methods

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 02:  Dave Bolland #36 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers skate after the loose puck in Game Three of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Wachovia Center on June 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is deftly playing the system when it comes to the salary cap to the point that some might accuse him of exploiting loopholes.

If the NHL bristles as such tactics, they’re at least not showing it in public.

In taking on the absolutely dead money of Chris Pronger and Pavel Datsyuk along with the possibly dead money of Dave Bolland, the Coyotes are getting to the cap floor while saving money in the actual cash they’re dishing out.

The Score’s Ian MacLaren succinctly explains the savings they’re enjoying thanks to these clever trades:

That’s how the league is viewing Arizona taking on the salaries of Chris Pronger, Pavel Datsyuk and Dave Bolland. The cap hits amount to almost $18 million but result in less than $2 million in actual salary paid out by the club, while simultaneously allowing it to reach the cap floor.

Honestly, it’s difficult to shake the image of Gary Bettman & Co. bristling at the tactics of a franchise they’ve defended year after year amid myriad arena issues.

Today’s Slapshot’s Craig Morgan caught up with Bill Daly, whose overall message is that the league is OK with what Arizona is doing.

“I would say that it’s a matter that we monitor, like all other areas of the CBA (collective bargaining agreement), and if we believe it starts to be abused in a way that is inconsistent with how the system is designed to work, at that point, we would try to correct it in collective bargaining with the union,” Daly said. “I would say we aren’t at that point on this issue — we do not view it as the loophole that‎ some describe it as.”

One key point from Daly is that he doesn’t view Bolland’s case as the same as that of Pronger or Datsyuk. The critical distinction is that Bolland at least hopes to become healthy enough to play again.

(Chakya’s update wasn’t particularly optimistic in that regard, but a return isn’t totally inconceivable since Bolland is just 30.)

Best of both worlds for Coyotes

Again, the Coyotes are really reaping the benefits of this gameplan. Not only are they saving real dollars by absorbing other teams’ dead money, they’re using those trades to acquire promising assets like Jakob Chychrun and Lawson Crouse.

These are the sort of moves that make the team look bright today and possibly terrifying for opponents in the future, even if the 2016-17 product may be a little hit-or-miss.

Time may tell how the NHL truly feels

To some extent, we probably won’t know how the NHL truly feels about this situation until the next CBA eventually gets hashed out.

Then again, the league did make a big stink about cap circumvention during the memorable days of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract negotiations, so perhaps such maneuvering really doesn’t bother the NHL?

Maybe, but you’re free to picture Bettman grumbling about Chayka’s moves either way.

(H/T to the Score.)

Alex Ovechkin tweets about tying the knot with Nastya Shubskaya

viaovechkin
via Alex Ovechkin's Twitter page
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Alex Ovechkin shared the news via his official Twitter feed that he married Nastya Shubskaya.

His message includes a caption that translates to “This is happiness,” according to NHL.com.

Washington Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks indicated that the two got married during a small, private ceremony, so it might have actually happened a week or so ago.

Here’s the Ovechkin tweet from Sunday:

This continues a run of big news for Capitals players, with a life-changing event for Ovechkin’s partner-in-crime Nicklas Backstrom as well:

There were some fun jokes on Twitter about the happy news, with this one possibly taking the cake:

This summer figures to be a busy one from a hockey standpoint for Ovie, as he’s been part of various activities and will represent Russia at the upcoming 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

In case you’re wondering, Ovechkin will soon turn 31.