It's time do some spring cleaning on the draft board. Some 2008 NHL draft-eligible prospects come
roaring into the Top 30 like a lion, while some lame lambs have slipped-
1. Los Angeles Kings- Steve Stamkos, C
He's no John Tavares, but the 19 year-old Stamkos has pulled away from the
pack with his consistency and leadership. He's turning into a perfect
Modano clone from top to bottom, and would give the Kings some truly
ridiculous options up front.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning- Drew Doughty, D
As the season progresses, Doughty begins to look more and more like
Tampa's other top three defensive selection- Roman Hamrlik. A career-high
65 points and 103 PIM looks nice, but a -24 not so much. The Lighting will
pass on Schenn for Doughty’s ability to play in every single situation,
but that will devastate his plus/minus for at least four years.
3. St. Louis- Luke Schenn, D
The Blues have a plethora of young rearguards, but only one franchise
dude. The problem is thus: does St. Louis build a stone-cold top six of
EJ, LS and BJ, or do they try and add some elite offensive balance? Schenn
is simply too good to pass up here; let Oshie, Berglund, Backes, Eller and
Boyes handle the scoring duties.
4. Atlanta- Alex Pietrangelo, D
Tobias Enstrom has set the standard for defensemen in Atlanta. Pietrangelo
is a smooth top-end skater, although he lacks great acceleration and a
good first step. His smarts will carry him, however, and his first pass is
off the charts. You can’t score if you don’t have the puck, and a pairing
of Pietrangelo-Enstrom would have it every second.
5. New York Islanders- Zach Bogosian, D
A NY state native that plays a Potvin-esque game is a perfect fit for Long
Island. A tepid offense will have to wait, but Kyle Okposo, Jeff
Tambellini and Jesse Joensuu provide a good starting point for now.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets- Tyler Myers, D
The Blue Jackets are perhaps picking the top ten for the last time in a
long time. The question becomes whether or not to complete a truly
disgusting offensive arsenal by shoring up a relatively weak left side, or
adding a stud blueliner to an average group. Mikkel Boedker and Nikita
Filatov are brilliant talents, but Myers is a mobile 6’7 rearguard that is
willing and able to jump into the play. He may be the missing piece.
7. Anaheim Ducks (from Edmonton)- Kyle Beach, RW
Attitude problems, skating issues, and a reckless physical game backed up
by great skill. If that doesn’t sound like a Brian Burke pick to you,
watch this thing called the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs- Nikita Filatov, LW
Ha! Like the Leafs will actually lose games. The Hockey Gods, Mats Sundin
and MLSE will never let that happen. However, if- and we say IF- they find
Filatov here, Cliff Fletcher will break his walker rushing to the podium
for the enigmatic super-talent. The Leafs have the money and prestige to
draw a deadlocked Russian talent.
9. Chicago Blackhawks- Mikkel Boedker, LW
Hawks fans have finally learned to see Martin Havlat as a sometimes nice
surprise instead of a regular roster option. Dazzling winger Boedker has
the hands and outstanding offensive awareness to make sh*t happen on a
line with Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews.
10. Florida Panthers- Colin Wilson, C
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And if the rumors around Olli Jokinen
are any indication, there’s a five-alarm in Florida. Wilson is a mature
two-way pivot that owns a great shot arsenal. His best work is away from
the puck, with the offensive results- and thus fantasy value- happening
thanks to infinitely more gifted linemates. Luckily for poolies, Michael
Frolik and Nathan Horton have all the tools to make Wilson look good.
11. Washington Capitals- Zac Boychuk, C
Ovy need help. Nicklas Backstrom is his BFF, but Boychuk’s vision and
great hand-eye burns the best the Dub has to offer. He can do the same at
the NHL level, provided he adds some pounds and muscle. He’ll be a great
anchor for the second line.
12. Buffalo Sabres- Aaron Ness, D
Brian Campbell’s departure spells the death of Buffalo’s transition game.
For now. Enter Aaron Ness. Severely undersized at 5’9, 157, Ness’ speed
and acceleration have drawn piles of scouts to Roseau High School. His
wristshot and passing ability challenge most forwards in his age group.
He’s a Phil Housley clone.
13. Phoenix Coyotes- Jordan Eberle, C
If you read Bugg Bytes last week- and why wouldn’t you have?- you maybe
heard a bit about Eberle. If not, go to my blog. Now. You may be lucky
that those in your keeper league don’t know who he is. Play up the lack of
muscle and skating ability; Eberle’s got a shot arsenal and pinpoint
accuracy that defies size and frame. He’ll likely be converted to wing at
the next level, making him the perfect target for Kyle Turris or Peter
14. Nashville Predators- Cody Hodgson, C
It’ll be a crime if Hodgson drops this far, but he’s a perfect-picture
pick for the Preds. Wildly talented offensively- he dominated the TPG with
three helpers- Hodgson has begun to demonstrate a solid two-way game. He
was a poor man’s Stamkos before, but perhaps we can call up a $0.75
version of Stamkos.
15. Philadelphia Flyers- Joe Colborne, C
Junior A’s most hyped player of 2008 has fallen from top-ten status, but
he won’t fall past a team that prides itself on size and skill. James van
Riemsdyk is proving to be worth every bit of his draft position with a PPG
season in one of the NCAA’s toughest divisions. Colborne isn’t the
beautiful power-stride skater JvR is, but the 6’5 (6’6?) centre plays
below the paint better than most any other prospect. His huge wingspan and
soft hands give goalies fits, and make him a great target- or screen- for
Claude Giroux and van Riemsdyk.
Discuss these prospects and visit our fantasy prospect section in our forum