From a keeper league standpoint, here are some more quick notes from the weekend’s Entry Draft:
Montreal – They did okay with Danny Kristo, considering their first pick was late in the second round, however the wait will be long for the potential second-liner. Where the Habs really shone was the selection of Maxim Trunev 138th. One of, if not the, youngest players in the draft, the Russian winger can dazzle. Dobber’s Prospects Report indicates that this guy could possibly be a first rounder in 2009 had he been born just a few days later. Watch him.
Nashville – They picked up a dependable, two-way second-liner in Colin Wilson with the seventh-overall pick. He’ll be a 60- to 70-point guy, but will be in college for a couple of years before making the jump. The Preds then grabbed DobberHockey’s top goalie in the draft Chet Pickard. With little proven Dan Ellis and unproven Pekka Rinne as the top goalies in the system, Pickard could be here sooner than you think.
New Jersey – I really like this Mattias Tedenby pick. Probably one of the fastest players on the planet, Tedenby’s hands are reportedly able to keep up with his feet. If that’s the case, then there is a lot of potential here – and the Devils need an upgrade in wingers on their scoring lines. He could be a Devil in two years. Brandon Burlon at No.52 is a possible quarterback for the Devils in six years.
NY Islanders – The team traded down two spots because – in my opinion – they felt they could still get Nikita Filatov and still gain an extra pair of draft picks in the deal. When Filatov went to Columbus right before them, the Isles decided that Josh Bailey was their man. They maintain he was their man all along, but c’mon…over Filatov? Anyway, they figured they could get Bailey later so they again dropped two spots and gained picks. It was brilliant, no matter what the experts say. You have to take risks. Their first risk failed. Bailey could be a second-line NHLer and make his debut within three years. The Isles may have nabbed Corey Trivino a little early, but in him they have an elite setup man. Matt Bugg described him as a potential Adam Oates in the Fantasy Prospects Report. Aaron Ness was a second-round steal, as he will be a power-play quarterback in several years. David Toews was a great pickup at No.66 and he should provide a third-line leadership presence for the team in a few years, but don’t be fooled by the name – minimal upside, 60 points at the very best. Things got even better in the third round, as the team grabbed Jyri Niemi, a blueliner with a wicked slap shot. But the fantasy jewel is Kirill Petrov. If he continues to improve and if the Isles can get him over here, he’ll be a star: 80-point potential. Goaltender Kevin Poulin’s stock has fallen dramatically. All the same, it can certainly go back up. Grabbing him in the fifth round is the perfect time to take this risk. Finally, high-scoring juniors that don’t get a sniff at the draft because of either size or skating ability should always be grabbed in the seventh round. There is no excuse for NHL teams to completely ignore a Justin Azevedo. You never know if they’ll overcome their obstacles and at the very least they can help your farm team. Well, the Islanders did this by drafting Justin Dibenedetto, a 98-point player for Sudbury. The Islanders and the Coyotes had the best drafts of all the teams – so they get extra long notes here.
NY Rangers – With Bobby Sanguinetti on the way, drafting Michael Del Zotto is a little silly. The two rearguards both emphasize offense. Evgeny Grachev was a good pickup at 75. The big Russian pivot has a lot of skill for his size and is willing to play in North America. He could make the Rangers in three years and his upside is 70 points.
Ottawa – Of their seven picks, the only one of fantasy interest is defenseman Erik Karlsson, although Andre Petersson bears keeping on the radar. Bugg called Karlsson a potential “franchise player” in the Fantasy Prospects Report. He has elite hockey sense and skills to match. He could be on the Ottawa blue line in three years and debut with 30 points.
Philadelphia – Goaltender Jacob Desarres in the third round caught my interest, because in a few years It’s hard to figure out what the Philly goaltending situation will be.
Phoenix – Alright, here’s the other team that had a monster draft – and not just because they landed Olli Jokinen. Here we go – after Nikita Filatov and Steven Stamkos, Mikkel Boedker is the next best forward. He is said to be better than fellow Dane Lars Eller and he was drafted accordingly. The Coyotes need wingers because they have so many centermen, so Boedker could get a look as early as 2009. He is a potential 70- to 75-point player, depending on his pivot (which in Phoenix will be a good one no matter where you turn). I really like their pick of Viktor Tikhonov. He has already committed to coming to North America and he has a very high upside – he could be a star winger for the team. Just when you thought they hit a couple of home runs addressing their need on the wing, Phoenix grabs the fourth member of the Staal Clan – Jared. High risk/reward but if anyone can get it out of him, it’s Wayne Gretzky. A few picks later, the team did well in nabbing the WHL’s second leading scorer Colin Long – whom nobody drafted last summer.
Pittsburgh – Their first pick was in the fourth round and Nathan Moon is a bit of a project. He has natural talent, but a lack of work ethic. He’s worth keeping an eye on though.
San Jose – Purely from an interest standpoint – the team drafted twin brothers. Justin Daniels was picked up in the third round and Drew was selected in the seventh. Both are prolific high school scorers, but like with all high school players you just don’t know what you will be getting. Harri Sateri, drafted in the fourth round, could be the goaltender of the future for the Shards, but like other picks such as Tomas Greiss, it’s a long shot.
St. Louis – Of course Alex Pietrangelo will be a PP QB for the Blues and he should be in the NHL in two years (and productive in four) – so let’s get to some less obvious picks. Jake Allen is one of the better goaltenders in the draft and although the Blues have a stacked system, someone has to be the one to step forward. He could be that guy in five or six years.
Tampa Bay – Besides Steven Stamkos, who should debut with 65 to 75 points next season, the Lightning grabbed DobberHockey’s second favorite goalie in the draft in Memorial Cup winner Dustin Tokarski. We all know the Lighting situation between the pipes.
Toronto – Who would you sooner draft – Adam Foote or Ilya Kovalchuk? On one hand, you have a winner. A hard-hitting leader who will chip in 30 points – that’s Luke Schenn. On the other hand, you have an elite talent on the wing in Nikita Filatov. The Leafs went for – no went out of their way to get – the sure thing. Their next pick, Jimmy Hayes, has minimal offensive upside. However, pick No. 98 Mikhail Stefanovich has a lot of upside as a second-line winger.
Vancouver – Perhaps the next Trevor Linden (in his early Canuck years) can be found in Cody Hodgson. A potential first-line center who is defensively responsible, Hodgson is also close to NHL ready.
Washington – The Caps drafted former Cap Bengt Gustafsson’s son Anton. He could wind up centering the second line behind fellow Swede Niklas Backstrom with Michael Nylander’s contract ends.
If you haven’t already, you can read more on the great prospects in your fantasy league in Dobber’s Fantasy Prospect Report – just $12.95 at DobberHockey.com.
Next week – a look at the free agent signings.