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

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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.

Gretzky returns to NHL fold as official ambassador of centennial celebration

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 6:  Former Edmonton Oilers forward Wayne Gretzky greets fans during the closing ceremonies at Rexall Place following the game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks on April 6, 2016 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The game was the final game the Oilers played at Rexall Place before moving to Rogers Place next season. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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The National Hockey League was founded on November 26, 1917. Almost ninety-nine years later, the commissioner of the league, Gary Bettman, was in Toronto to announce that Wayne Gretzky, arguably its greatest player ever, would be the official ambassador of its centennial celebration.

For Gretzky, whose relationship with the NHL was tested during the Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, it marks a return to representing the league in an official capacity. (In 2013, he was reportedly paid around $8 million in a settlement.)

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Gretzky said in a statement. “I’ve said this a million times that everything I have in my life is because of hockey and because of the National Hockey League. I happen to think it’s the greatest game in the world. It was kind to me my whole life. The game just gets better every year, so for me to be involved in just trying to help promote and sell our sport even more it’s a great thrill for me and an honor to be part of it.”

Watch the following video to see what the NHL has in store for 2017, starting on Jan. 1 with the Centennial Classic at BMO Field between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings:

 

Report: Panarin wants six-year deal from ‘Hawks, at least $6M per season

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks poses after winning the Calder Trophy named for the top rookie at the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Artemi Panarin is looking to cash in on his Calder-winning campaign.

Chicago’s prized Russian sniper and the reigning rookie of the year, Panarin is reportedly seeking a six-year contract extension “worth more than $6 million per season,” per the Chicago Tribune.

As the Tribune points out, that figure could be problematic. Nobody’s arguing that Panarin isn’t worth the money — he’s 24, and coming off a 30-goal, 77-point campaign — but people are wondering how the ‘Hawks can afford him. Eight players on the active roster are pulling in at least $4 million per season, which includes Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they of the $10.5M cap hits.

That said, it sure sounds like Panarin will get done.

Reports last week said his agent and ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman were well into extension talks, and Bowman seemed confident a deal would be inked.

“I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent], he’s a very knowledgeable guy and I know Artemi put a lot of faith in him,” Bowman said. “Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin’s heading into the last of a two-year, $6.775 million deal with a $3.387 AAV — a deal that gained plenty of notoriety as the season progressed. Since it was so performance-laden, Panarin cashed in a couple of times, including a $1.725 million bonus for finishing among the top-10 scorers in the NHL.

That led to Bowman making some tough financial decisions this offseason, including the deal that sent Bryan Bickell — more specifically, Bryan Bickell’s contract — and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina in exchange for draft picks.

So, this latest situation isn’t anything new for the ‘Hawks GM. He’s been down the financial squeeze road before, and usually found a way to keep his core players in the mix.

If Panarin is considered a core guy — and at this point, it sure sounds like he is — then finding common ground on an extension shouldn’t be too difficult.

Gudbranson-Hutton pairing will be key for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks' defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who was acquired from the Florida Panthers in the off-season, answers questions during a news conference ahead of the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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There’s a long list of things that have to go right for the Vancouver Canucks if their playoff hopes are to be realized.

One of the biggest is for new addition Erik Gudbranson to form a cohesive second pairing with sophomore Ben Hutton. If that happens, and if Alex Edler and Chris Tanev can stay healthy, the Canucks should have a reliable top-four defense, and that’s something they rarely, if ever, had last season.

Gudbranson, a big stay-at-home type, and Hutton, a puck-mover, have been skating together at training camp. The Canucks believe the pairing has great potential, with each defenseman’s strengths complementing the other’s.

“I want to get his feet moving and hit him in stride and get him up the ice with the puck as soon as possible,” Gudbranson said, per The Province. “I think we’re going to be a good partnership. We’re both on the same page. We’re both excited to play with each other and grow as a unit.”

Vancouver’s third pairing remains to be seen. Luca Sbisa with Philip Larsen is the most likely at this point, though Nikita Tryamkin and Andrey Pedan on the left side, and Alex Biega and Troy Stecher on the right, could make things interesting. Jordan Subban is another wild card. Olli Juolevi too, though he’s a long shot and will likely end up back in junior.

The Canucks were decimated by injuries to their best defensemen last season. Edler only played 52 games, Dan Hamhuis 58, and Tanev 69. Other teams with more depth could survive that, but Vancouver floundered.

That’s why health is another big thing that has to go right for the Canucks. Another injury-filled season and it’s hard to picture them staying in the playoff race.

Vancouver opens its preseason schedule tonight in San Jose.

Boedker to make Team Europe debut in World Cup final

DENVER, CO - MARCH 09:  Mikkel Boedker #89 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on March 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Ducks 3-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Mikkel Boedker‘s first game for Team Europe will be a big one.

Boedker, a healthy scratch throughout the World Cup, will make his European debut on Tuesday, replacing the injured Marian Gaborik (foot) in the first of the best-of-three final.

Head coach Ralph Kreuger opted for Boedker rather than dressing Luca Sbisa as a seventh defenseman, and lamented losing Gaborik’s presence in the lineup.

“We’re losing some leadership and smarts on the puck that were exemplary,” Krueger said, per the L.A. Times.

What the Europeans will gain, however, is speed. Boedker’s one of the fastest skaters in the league and is coming off a good offensive campaign, tying a career-high with 51 points.

The 26-year-old appeared in two of Europe’s exhibition games, both against Team North America. He received a ton of ice time in the first — 19:46 — but had that cut in half for the rematch, when he had 13 shifts for just 9:22 TOI.

Related: Gaborik (foot) to miss eight weeks