2010 NHL Entry Draft: Ducks come up 'winners' of 1st round with Fowler, Etem

fowlercam.jpgDeclaring a winner regarding often-raw 18 and 19-year-old hockey players is almost as absurd as pinning the future of your NHL franchise on them. Still, that being said, if I had to pick a “winner” of the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft it would be the Anaheim Ducks.

The team landed much-ballyhooed defensive gem Cam Fowler with their No. 12 pick and turned boos to uproarious cheers when they drafted California-product Emerson Etem with their Pronger trade-fueled 29th pick.

Many mock drafts tabbed the offensively gifted defenseman Fowler as high as No. 3. In fact, the Ducks didn’t even interview him at the Combine this year; they figured it was unlikely that he would drop that far. Often times in sports, a player will see his value free-fall out of nowhere due to health or even personality concerns (see: the NFL’s Randy Moss). It’s unclear if there was some “intel” on Fowler that made teams sour on him, but if not, the Ducks might have landed the steal of the draft. Here’s a quick video that shows the young D’s impressive speed.

Long beach-native Emerson Etem has serious draft day bargain written all over him, as well (and not just because of the ovation he received from the crowd) Anaheim Calling features a nice write-up on the intriguing prospect who lit up the WHL last season.

The book on Etem is that he’s got a great shot, incredible speed and a strong work ethic. He gives a solid interview, and he’s worked hard to develop his game and his body, which he put on display with Combine Fitness Testing Top 10 finishes in Aerobic Fitness Test Duration, 4 Jump Average Height, Vertical Jump, Leg Power, Curl-Ups, and Pull Strength.

His flaws? He relies on that speed to the outside a little too much i.e. not all that creative offensively, and that gives the impression of a player who’s a little bit raw.

Again, it’s important to emphasize that draft analysis is akin to lottery forecasting. Some of the most criticized picks (such as Ryan Johansen to Columbus or Dylan McIlrath to the Rangers) could end up being the best players in the draft.

You never know, but if I had to guess, the Ducks improved themselves the most … at least during the higher-spectacle first round. At least without the advantage of hindsight.

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    Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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    Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

    Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

    Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

    Read more about his rise here.

    Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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    In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

    Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

    See it for yourself:

    Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

    He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

    Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

    Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:

    Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

    CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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    No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

    The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

    Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

    He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

    Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

    With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

    The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

    He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

    With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

    Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

    Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: