In this summer’s edition of the Fantasy Prospects Report, co-writer Matthew Bugg and myself present a chart of the 20 forwards who will be selected this weekend that we would most like to own in a strictly points keeper league. With Draft Day fast approaching, it’s high time that I take the 10 best out of my chart and expand on them a little. One can never have too much insight. Besides, I can’t promote this e-magazine too much – I’m pretty shameless that way.
10. Thomas Tatar
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going 29th to Detroit
TSN’s Mock: Does not have him listed in Shane Malloy’s Top 30, nor was he noted as a candidate to be drafted in the latter part of the first round at all.
I originally had Marcus Johansson in this slot, but in later updates knocked him down to 20th. Johansson is more of a sure thing, but at this point that is more from his two-way play and solid all-around game. Tatar, however, is a wild card. If he makes it to the NHL it will be as a top offensive player – no more, no less. Think Zigmund Palffy.
9. Nazem Kadri
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going ninth overall to Ottawa.
TSN’s Mock: Malloy also has him going ninth to Ottawa.
If he does wind up in Ottawa, there would be room for him in the top six immediately, provided he shows that he is NHL ready in training camp. As a second liner, he would top 40 points as a rookie in the fall. That’s great immediate return and by his mid-20s I could see him regularly producing in that 65-75 range.
8. Jordan Schroeder
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going 11th to Nashville.
TSN’s Mock: Malloy has him going 12th to Minnesota.
The 5-9 forward is all about offense. Already offensively dominant in the WCHA, his strong WJC numbers were attributed to playing weaker teams. His play against tougher opponents left something to be desired, otherwise he would be a Top 5 pick. You’ll only have him sitting idle on your bench for a year, because I’m confident that in 2010-11 he’ll be an NHLer and he reminds me of – and has upside similar to – Phil Kessel.
7. Chris Kreider
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going 19th to the Rangers.
TSN’s Mock: Malloy has him going 23rd to the Devils.
Kreider is the opposite of Johansson. He’s not a sure a thing. His competition to date has been high schoolers, but he dominated there. It’s that uncertainty that intrigues me. He could wind up in any role in the NHL or AHL – including first-line NHL sniper, or second-line AHL goal-scorer. How he looks against inferior competition, by all accounts, is elite. The fact that he should be a first-round pick makes it more likely that he’ll be that NHL sniper over the alternative.
6. Scott Glennie
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going 10th to Edmonton
TSN’s Mock: Malloy has him going 11th to Nashville.
If it’s Nashville, you can probably knock Glennie down on this list, as the wait on him will no doubt be a long one. The Oilers aren’t exactly a team that screams ‘need’ when it comes to their top six either, as they have a choice of several solid youngsters when it comes to scoring talent. On another team, however, Glennie could be an NHLer by 2010-11 and make a decent 45-point impact for starters.
5. Evander Kane
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going fourth to Atlanta.
TSN’s Mock: Malloy also him going to Atlanta.
A responsible player with loads of offensive talent, the fact that he could be on the Thrashers has to make poolies drool. With only Angelo Esposito, Riley Holzapfel and Mr. Running-Out-Of-Chances Brett Sterling as prospects in the system with any hope of a top six spot, Kane would have a real shot here. As a rookie, he’ll have a Bryan Little type of impact.
4. Brayden Schenn
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going fifth to Los Angeles
TSN’s Mock: Also fifth to LA.
After seeing what Mike Richards did in Philadelphia and how quickly he did it, I’m more than happy to move the younger Schenn up my list. The two have similar size, similar junior numbers and similar style of play. Both work their tails off.
3. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
Bugg’s Mock: Has him going eighth to Dallas
TSN’s Mock: Also eighth, also Dallas
A steal if he goes this late. Of all the players available, only John Tavares has a higher NHL production ceiling. Not guaranteeing MPS will hit it, but just having that kind of upside is good enough for me. Of all the players in the draft, he’s the one you could look back on in 10 years and wonder how he slipped to eighth.
2. Matt Duchene
Bugg’s Mock: Third – Colorado
TSN’s Mock: Third – Colorado
Think Steven Stamkos, except he slips to third overall because John Tavares and Victor Hedman happen to have their draft year at the same time. That means 40 to 50 points right off the bat and 80, 90, or even more down the road.
1. John Tavares
Bugg’s Mock: First overall – Islanders
TSN’s Mock: Ditto
He’s no Sidney Crosby – I wouldn’t put him in among the “Big 3”, but I would put him in that second tier. You know, that tier where we put the Kovalchuks, the Datsyuks, the Heatleys, etc. I can see 60 or 65 points as a rookie and several future 50-goal seasons.