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.

Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

avalanche injuries
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

“Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

“He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

“I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

“I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

“I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

“It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

“Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

“I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.