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.

Canucks sign free agent defenseman Philip Holm to one-year deal

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The Vancouver Canucks announced on Friday that they have signed free agent defenseman Philip Holm to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Before signing with the Canucks Holm had been rumored to be on the verge of joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that obviously did not come together.

“Philip is a mobile, two-way defenseman who adds depth to our blue line,” said Canucks general manager Jim Benning in a statement released by the team. “He made strides in his development last season with Vaxjo and played a strong series with Sweden at the World Championships We’re pleased to welcome him to the Canucks organization.”

The 25-year-old Holm has spent the past seven seasons playing professionally in Sweden for Vaxjo HC and Djurgardens IF.

He is regarded as a smooth skating, puck-moving defenseman and had a pretty strong season for Vaxjo this past year, scoring four goals and adding 17 assists in 52 games. He was the top-scoring defenseman on the team.

He also had three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships. Sweden won the Gold Medal at the tournament by defeating Canada in the championship game.

The Canucks already have six defensemen under contract for 2017-18 (and they do not seem to be in a hurry to trade any of them) but it was a unit that clearly needs an upgrade, so Holm should be an opportunity to make an impact next season.

Sabres fire AHL coach Dan Lambert

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The Buffalo Sabres continued to overhaul their organization under new general manager Jason Botterill on Friday when they announced that Dan Lambert, the coach of the Rochester Americans, their AHL affiliate, has been relieved of his duties.

“I would like to thank Dan for his hard work and contributions to our organization during the last two seasons and I wish him the best in the future,” said Botterill in a statement released by the team.

“I felt this was the right move for both the Sabres and Amerks and we will begin the process of searching for a new head coach immediately.”

The 2016-17 season was Lambert’s only season as the head coach. The team ended up finishing with a 32-41-3 mark.

When he was hired by the Sabres Botterill talked about wanting to improve the team in Rochester and this appears to be the first step in that process. The entire Sabres organization took a pretty significant step backwards this season with the NHL team finishing with a worse record than it did a year ago. That resulted in general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma all being replaced.

The Sabres have yet to hire a replacement for Bylsma.

Now both of the top teams in the organization are in need of a new head coach.

Report: KHL team in talks with Capitals’ Orlov

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After losing in the second-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs again and entering an offseason where they have several free agents, it is expected that the Washington Capitals roster is going to be look very, very different next season.

One of those upcoming free agents already seems to be drawing some interest, and not from an NHL team.

According to a report from Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko, the KHL’s CSKA Moscow is in talks with defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

Orlov, who turns 26 in July, is slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason. He has played in every game for the Capitals the past two seasons and has emerged as a solid defenseman on the team’s blue line. He has posted pretty dominant possession numbers the past two seasons and has tallied 29 and 33 points during that stretch. He played nearly 20 minutes per game for the Capitals this season and should be in line for a pretty significant pay raise.

Along with the Orlov news, the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan mentioned on Twitter that another KHL team may also be in talks with restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov, though she downplayed the possibility of him leaving. Given that Kuznetsov is one of the top offensive players in the league that would certainly be a shocking move, but it still seems like a long-shot to think that he would leave the NHL.

The Penguins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final has been filled with challenges

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PITTSBURGH — When a team wins the Stanley Cup there is always an expectation that it should be able to come back the next season and contend for it once again. So it shouldn’t be a huge shock that the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team with an All-Star cast of forwards led by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, are back in the Stanley Cup Final for a second year in a row (and for the fourth time in 11 years) thanks to their thrilling 3-2, double overtime Game 7 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.

What is a shock is how they managed to do it.

Getting back to the Stanley Cup Final two years in a row is a heck of a lot easier said than done.

Keep in mind the NHL has not had a repeat champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. It has only had two repeat champions since 1990 (the Red Wings, and the 1991 and 1992 Penguins). Only six teams have even made it to the Finals in back-to-back years. It is a grueling task that requires not only a talented, well-coached team that is playing well at the right time of year, but also a lot of luck.

And luck is not just limited to puck luck or getting the right bounces. It is also about having the right matchups and having the right players healthy all at the same time.

All of that seemed to be working against the Penguins this postseason in what has been a run that has, in a lot of ways, defied the odds. Not only did they have to get through two of the top-three teams in the NHL this season in the first two rounds, but they had to do it with an injury list that seemed to grow by the day, leaving them with what was at times an undermanned defense.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan talked extensively about their journey so far after their Game 7 win on Thursday night.

“It’s been hard. It’s been a really hard playoffs, and I give this group of players so much credit,” Said Sullivan. “They find ways to win, and we’re not perfect on some nights by any stretch. But this group of players has a will to win as a group more so than any other group I’ve been around.”

“I think it starts with the leadership group we have. We’ve got a group of veteran players. I think they have a certain perspective that they understand the opportunity to play this deep and compete for the Stanley Cup doesn’t come around every year. And when it does, when a team like ours puts itself in the position like we have, we have to maximize this opportunity. It’s a great opportunity. And our veteran guys know it. They’ve been around the game a long time, and they understand when they have something special, and we believe we have that with the chemistry of this team. We did it last year, and we’re finding ways to do it again this year. But it’s hard to win. This is the hardest trophy in sports, in my mind. It’s a war of attrition. And I don’t think any team has endured more injuries than this group of players has endured, and we continue to find ways to win.”

The injury situation has been especially brutal.

After entering the playoffs without their best defenseman (Kris Letang), forcing the team into a defense-by-committee approach that is almost unheard of for teams going this deep into the playoffs, they have also had to spend time without Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley for stretches.

All of that, combined with the daunting path through two of the NHL’s best teams, resulted in a style of play that has not been quite as consistently impressive as their run a year ago.

Until Game 4 of their series against the Senators the Penguins had been dominated on the shot chart and were bleeding chances against, spending the entire postseason to that point defending and relying heavily on the goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury to get through.

“I mean, just the competition,” said Chris Kunitz, the Game 7 hero on Thursday night when asked about the different challenges they have faced this year.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. It’s tough to overcome them, or sustain maybe that pressure that we had last year. It felt like we were in more of a flow. This year it’s been back and forth. It’s been tough,” he continued. “We’ve had great individual performances. We had great goaltending. It’s something every night. We haven’t dominated the play that maybe we wanted to. Maybe we’ve done a better job these last couple of games. But it’s something we’re going to have to get better at playing a 60-minute game if we’re going to have a chance to beat Nashville.”