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.

NHL injury roundup: Crawford getting closer; Johnson hurt in practice

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Let’s take a quick look around the NHL at some injury situations that are worth monitoring as training camps and the preseason roll on.

Yes, Corey Crawford is still getting closer … but he is not back yet

The biggest injury situation this preseason still remains in Chicago where starting goalie Corey Crawford has yet to return to practice with the team. He is still skating on his own, including 30 minutes before practice on Sunday. And while that is a step, it still does not seem that he is ready to return to game action. Coach Joel Quenneville said on Sunday that Crawford is getting closer and that he has not yet been ruled out for a return to practice with the team this week (via Scott Powers of The Athletic; subscription required).

Crawford missed the majority of the 2017-18 season due to an upper-body injury that he finally revealed earlier in training camp was a concussion. As recently as 10 days ago Crawford said he was still dealing with some symptoms and until they clear up he will not be able to return.

[Related: Crawford still dealing with concussion symptoms]

Given the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation behind him they desperately need him healthy this season if they are going to make a return to the playoffs.

Tyler Johnson “day-to-day” with upper body injury

Some potentially big news in Tampa Bay where forward Tyler Johnson missed practice on Sunday with what the team is calling an “upper-body injury.”

General manager Julian Brisebois said the injury happened during practice and is going to keep him out of the lineup on a day-to-day basis. While the team does not expect it to be a long-term injury, Brisebois said on Sunday there are no guarantees he will be ready for the season opener.

After missing at least 12 games in each of the past two seasons, Johnson managed to play in 81 games for the Lightning last season, finishing with 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) to help the team reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning were decimated by injuries during the 2016-17 season, a development that played a large role in them falling just short of the playoffs, but were remarkably lucky a year ago on the injury front. When healthy this is one of the best teams in the league and Johnson is a huge part of that.

Ryan Murray to miss some time after being kicked in the groin

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray was injured in the team’s exhibition game on Tuesday night, and after initially believing that it was just a day-to-day injury, the team revealed over the weekend that it might be a little bit longer.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said on Sunday (via Aaron Portzline) that Murray is dealing with a “soft-tissue groin injury” after he was kicked between the legs against the Chicago Blackhawks.

That sounds … awful.

Injuries have been a constant problem for Murray throughout his career and have limited him to just 198 out of a possible 328 games over the past four seasons.

Another injury for Loui Eriksson in Vancouver

With Henrik and Daniel Sedin retiring this summer, Loui Eriksson is now the elder statesman in the Canucks’ locker room.

After struggling through back-to-back injury plagued seasons in his first two years with the Canucks, his third season is not off to a much better start as it was revealed this past week that he is going to be out on a week-to-week basis with a lower-body injury.

After signing a six-year, $36 million contract with the Canucks in free agency prior to the 2016-17 season, Eriksson has managed just 21 goals and 47 total points in 115 games. He still has four years remaining on that contract.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Paul Byron gets four-year, $13.6 million contract from Canadiens

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It’s been a tough couple of years for Canadiens fans when it comes to the team’s roster movement, but they finally got some better news on Sunday morning when the team announced that it has signed speedy forward Paul Byron to a four-year contract extension worth a total of $13.6 million.

That comes out to a salary cap hit of $3.4 million per season.

The 29-year-old Byron would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season had the Canadiens not signed him to a new deal.

He has been one of the better additions made by general manager Marc Bergevin during his tenure in Montreal, as Byron has completely turned his career around carved out a nice role for himself with the Canadiens.

The Canadiens snagged Byron on waivers from the Calgary Flames prior to the 2015-16 season, and in the three years since he has become one of their most consistent — and productive — forwards. He is the only player on the roster to have topped the 20-goal mark in each of the past two seasons, plays on the penalty kill, and has been a positive possession player on a team that tends to get outshot. He has also managed to top the 20-goal mark in each of the past two seasons while getting very little power play time.

He is not a player that is going to significantly alter the course of the Canadiens’ rebuild, or whatever it is they are calling this current phase, but he is a good, solid NHL forward whose contract isn’t going to break the team’s salary cap structure.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Fast-skating Avs center MacKinnon speeds toward success

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DENVER — Mention a topic, just about any topic, and sharp-shooting Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon takes his elusiveness to a whole new level.

Not appearing on the cover of the NHL’s latest video game? ”Don’t care,” he responds. The pressure of becoming one of league’s top stars after a 97-point season? ”Feels normal,” the top pick in the 2013 draft quips. Taking another step in his evolution on the ice? ”Hopefully a few,” he offers.

It’s not like the speedy, 23-year-old shies away from the spotlight he has earned through his electrifying play. Rather, he’s just highly focused on helping Colorado return to the playoffs after a stirring run a year ago behind his hard-to-keep-up speed and hard-to-stop shot.

”He’s a legitimate, bona fide superstar in our league,” said defenseman Ian Cole, who joined the Avs after spending last season with Pittsburgh and Columbus. ”He’s one of the most dangerous players in the league.”

MacKinnon finished with 39 goals and 58 assists last season. He finished second to New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall in voting for the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is given to the player who means the most to their team. That didn’t exactly sit well with MacKinnon’s line mate, captain Gabriel Landeskog.

In Landeskog’s view, seeing is believing in MacKinnon’s skills.

”The hockey world is big in the East and they don’t see Nate as much, or us as much,” Landeskog said. ”We all know how good he is. It’s a matter of time. But he doesn’t need the recognition from anybody else – we just need him to keep doing what he’s doing as far as being a really good offensive player.”

MacKinnon turned in a breakout season in which he posted stats that hadn’t been seen in Colorado in a while, including:

– Most points by an Avalanche player since Joe Sakic had 100 in 2006-07

– Most shots (284) since Sakic during the Stanley Cup championship season in 2000-01

– 12 game-winning goals, matching the Avalanche record set by Sakic in ’00-01

– 13 three-point games, which was the most since Peter Forsberg had 14 in 2002-03.

Quite a list – and one he hopes to top this season. That’s why his summer consisted of working out every day and skating three times a week. Maybe an occasional round of golf , but his world revolved around the rink.

”I’m always thinking about hockey,” MacKinnon said . ”Not stressing over it, but definitely always thinking about it. I worked hard because another 100 points isn’t going to be handed to me. It’s tough to get that many. I don’t know if I will get that many this year. But I’ll try to and see what happens.”

MacKinnon’s prepared to embrace the pressure of being one of the game’s elite players. Then again, expectations have never weighed down MacKinnon, a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

”Growing up, I was always a top prospect, and I went first overall. So it just feels normal,” said MacKinnon, who signed a seven-year, $44.1 million deal in July 2016. ”It’s somewhere I expect to be. It’s not like I won the lottery here. I feel like I’ve earned that.”

He wasn’t one of the cover players for EA Sports’ NHL ’19 , which features Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban, Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, Winnipeg winger Patrik Laine, and Toronto center William Nylander on respective editions.

”I really don’t care,” MacKinnon said. ”I just don’t.”

More on his mind is getting the Avalanche back to the postseason. The team earned the No. 8 seed with a win in their last contest of the season before being eliminated in six games by Nashville.

”We’re trying to prove ourselves,” said MacKinnon, who missed eight games in February with a shoulder injury. ”I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing – keep getting better by doing the little things. Be very consistent every night and making sure I’m healthy and feeling good.”

That sort of mentality is music to the ears of Avalanche coach Jared Bednar.

”He’s one of the hungriest guys I’ve ever met. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever met,” Bednar said. ”He’s hungry to prove that (last season) wasn’t a one-off – that’s who he is. He expects to be even better this year.”

Maybe even the best in the league.

”I’d like to. I’m working for that,” MacKinnon said. ”I’m trying to be the best me, and hopefully that’s the best player in the NHL.”

For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Spezza wants to be more than ‘good locker room guy’ for Stars

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Jason Spezza is unlikely to play like a $7.5 million guy for the Dallas Stars this season, but it’s tough to imagine things getting worse than they did last season.

Spezza mixed with Ken Hitchcock about as well as wolves get along with sheep in 2017-18, seeing his ice time plummet from 16:10 minutes per game in 2016-17 to a pitiful 13 minutes per night. To put things mildly, Spezza’s numbers suffered, with just 26 points in 78 games. Excluding the 2012-13 lockout (when he generated five points in as many contests), you’d need to go as far back as Spezza’s rookie season to see such a poor point total, and Spezza managed his 21 points in just 33 games all the way back in 2002-03.

Waning confidence could be seen in a number of areas, including a 5.8 shooting percentage, easily a career-low and just the second time Spezza’s endured a sub-10 shooting percentage over 15 seasons.

Brutal stuff, right?

The good news is that his shooting percentage is almost certain to level out, and the even better news – for Spezza, if not the Stars as a whole – is that Jim Montgomery replaced Hitchcock as head coach. That said, at 35, you wonder how much Spezza really has left in the tank.

If nothing else, Spezza told Mike Heika of the Stars website that he has a “fire in his belly” after that miserable 2017-18 campaign. A mixture of pride and the motivation of a contract year should make it certain that, if Spezza has anything left, he’ll show it this season.

“I’m here to play,” Spezza said. “I’ve produced my whole life and I want to do that again. I don’t want to just hang around for intangibles and being a good locker room guy. I’m here to produce — that’s what I expect of myself.”

Amid struggles that could prompt an existential crisis in a less confident athlete, Spezza continued to succeed in the faceoff circle last season, a sneaky-impressive area of his game. The former Senators center won 55.8-percent of his draws in 2017-18, while his career mark is a strong 53.5.

Such successes weren’t lost on Montgomery, who told Heika that he expects Spezza to take more faceoffs in the defensive zone this season. (Spezza began 43.4-percent of his shifts in the defensive zone last season.)

That’s an interesting idea beyond leveraging Spezza’s ability to win draws.

Most obviously, it could open the door for Radek Faksa to enjoy more favorable opportunities. The stealth Selke candidate began just 33.4-percent of his shifts in the attacking zone last season, and one cannot help but wonder if Faksa could enjoy a Sean Couturier-like leap if his workload was relaxed to a substantial degree. The Stars’ top centers (Faksa, Spezza, and Tyler Seguin) were all pretty effective at winning faceoffs last season, which would hopefully inspire Dallas to focus more on landing advantageous matchups, rather than obsessing over who might win or lose a draw.

Of course, Spezza wasn’t talking about faceoff wins when he was discussing production; he wants to put up points and land another NHL gig after this contract year.

The veteran center truly stands as a crucial make-or-break player for the Stars, especially if Dallas continues to load up with a top-heavy first line of Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alex Radulov.

Through one preseason game, Spezza primarily lined up with Valeri Nichushkin (another Stars forward who could go either way, really) and Mattias Janmark. Via Natural Stat Trick, Janmark stood out as Spezza’s most common linemate last season, so we’ll see if that combination sticks even with coaching changes. You could do worse than Spezza with Janmark and Nichushkin, a trio that would have a lot to prove, even if Spezza’s in a very different phase of his career.

It’s important to remember that Spezza’s not that far removed from being the productive scorer he hopes to be. He generated 50 points in 2016-17, and that total came in 68 games. Before that, Spezza rattled off three consecutive seasons with at least 62 points.

Considering his age and the possibility that Faksa and others might push Spezza for power play reps and other opportunities, it might be too much to ask for Spezza to hit 60+ points in 2018-19. Despite that $7.5M clip, the Stars would probably be quite happy if the veteran landed in the 50 range, especially if he can juggle that with increased defensive duties.

That would make him “good in the room” and on the ice.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.