2010 NHL Entry Draft: Gudbranson poised for #3 pick, Isles trading down?

I’m getting ready to head over to the Staples Center for tonight’s
draft, but wanted to pass along a few more notes.

First, it’s
almost an absolute certainly that I’m confident in the order of the
first three picks tonight. Taylor Hall will go 1st overall to Edmonton
and then Tyler Seguin to Boston with the 2nd pick. But what about 3rd?

up to the draft Cam Fowler seemed to be the consistent #3 pick, but
lately that opinion has been changing. I’ve maintained that Fowler was
the best defenseman in the draft (and have him going third to Florida)
but it seems that Florida is getting ready to draft Eric Gudbranson in
that spot.

Gudbranson is a physical specimen, and is primed to
step into the NHL immediately. Generally, these young prospects who are
this tall need time to fill out and build muscle, but Gudbranson is
already a very stocky and well-built player. He’s also extremely
charismatic, well-spoken and (I can admit this) a good looking guy. He
would be the perfect player for Florida to build around and market in
the area.

Now after the third pick, that is likely to be
Gudbranson, you’d think that Fowler would be very next pick. That’s
likely, although with Columbus shopping their 4th overall pick anything
can happen. I highly doubt, however, that a team would trade up to #4
and not take the next best player on the board, which would be Fowler in
that position.

What follows could get interesting. The Islanders
aren’t looking to take any risks and despite the amount of talent at #5,
the Isles could trade down if they feel they would get better value in
the 10-15 range (hypothetically). That could certainly see some waves
sent across draft boards, as the player the Isles would nab at #5 is
likely a bit different than a team trading up.

Tonight could be
interesting, considering the amount of picks up for sale. Every team’s
draft board is completely different and tonight is shaping up for us to
see some teams grab players a bit higher than we might have expected.

Visit NBC’s Draft
for our complete coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Scroll Down For:

    Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

    Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

    DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

    Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

    Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

    Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

    Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

    Fleury had 21 saves.

    The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

    Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

    The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

    Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

    The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

    Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

    NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

    Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

    Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
    1 Comment

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

    Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

    McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

    Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

    Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

    Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

    Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

    NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.