The bottom third of the first round is one of the most unpredictable in all the NHL Entry Draft. Late risers compete with fading mainstays, and teams aren't adverse to trading or going for the homerun. At least one pick in the 21-30 range will change hands, fodder for a deadline deal or part of a move on draft day. And fans will love every minute it- once they know who they've drafted. And, by popular demand, the fantasy potential of the Bugg Bytes Top 30!
21. Mike Hoeffel, F, USNTDP
Height: 6'1 Weight: 175
Scouting Report: One need only look at his stats to know Hoeffel's forte- he was 12 goals to his four assists. A bona fide sniper who can score 'that' goal, as in that goal to put his tema ahead or seal the lead. An average skater buoyed by a way-above-average wrist and slapshot. A tendency to take 'that' penalty- as in that penalty that took the wind out of his team's sails- is a problem that needs correction, especially since Hoeffel's penalties tend to come from being out of position. Both problems should find their resolution with maturity. Compares best to Justin Williams.
22. Dana Tyrell, C, Prince George (WHL)
Height: 5'11 Weight: 180
Scouting Report: After totalling of all of 18 points in 69 games last season, the hard-working forward has almost doubled that through 47 games... gritty, defensively aware and steadily developing. Has seen his PPG pace decrease as the season wears on, proof that his endurance needs work to survive an 82-game season. An above-average passer, good shooter, and above all, excellent teammate. Pays the price to get into position, and has the skills to produce from there.
23. Michael Biega, F, Salisbury HS (USHS)
Scouting Report: An extremely underrated prospect, much like brother Alex was heading into the '06 draft... leads Salisbury in goals, assists, PPG and shots, and sits second on the club in GWG and faceoff percentage. The most complete player in the high school ranks, and easily the most intelligent. Even if he were to lose his soft hands, blazing speed and crackerjack wrister tomorrow, Biega would still make the NHL as a shutdown forward. As it is, the potential for high-end offensive production at the pro level is being fulfilled every shift.
24. Brandon Sutter, C, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Height: 6'3 Weight: 174
Scouting Report: The Sutter genes carry on in Brandon. Has shown flashes of being a dominant playmaker and two-way forward, but in a first, the work ethic isn't there. Or wasn't. The youngest Sutter seems to be 'getting it'. A propensity to rely on his soft hands and above-average skillset instead of hard work through minor hockey seems to finally be going by the wayside. When he works hard, the tall, powerful centreman is unstoppable down low. Boasts great vision and a hard, accurate wristshot. Has all the tools to be a big-league steal.
25. Jon Blum, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Height: 6'1 Weight: 170
Scouting Report: With Cody Franson, forms one of the deadliest powerplays in the CHL. Sits second among Giants blueliners in points (35), plus/minus (+17) and is second among all Vancouver skaters in assists (29). Loves to jump up with the puck or take it deep. Has the skill to do what he likes with it in such situations. Has the elite passing ability, good awareness and excellent skating required to be a PP QB in the NHL following a likely 70-point campaign in the WHL next season.
26. Tommy Cross, D, Westminster School (USHS)
Height: 6'3 Weight: 195
Scouting Report: A high riser on the CSB mid-term rankings. A decision to pass up the USNTDP in favor of attending tiny Westminster HS led Cross to fly under the radar most of the year. However, NHL-calibre skating and skill stands out no matter where it's demonstrated. Cross' season parallels that of '06 draft pick Chris Summers, a stellar skating defenseman who didn't gain much attention until the last few months of the 2005-06 season. He went on to be drafted 29th overall. Bigger, more offensively aware and more willing to throw around the opposition, Cross will at the very least equal that draft position. A huge point shot, tremendous vision and great positioning complete the package.
27. Teddy Ruth, D, USNTDP
Height: 6'1 Weight: 200
Scouting Report: Rumored to be coveted by several teams for his outstanding potential, Ruth is an enigma. Not overly big but well-built and not overly skilled but well-rounded, Ruth has drawn interest for his huge heart. It doesn't hurt that his point shot is one of the deadliest among his age group. Has shown the rare ability to be where the puck is, cashing in on all manner of rebounds, deflections and loose pucks- and he's a defenseman. Distributes the puck with equal aplomb.
28. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, USNTDP
Height: 6'0 Weight: 190
Scouting Report: Long-scouted thanks to his advanced puck sense and laser slapshot. Still not a world-beater in his own zone, that'll never be Shattenkirk's game anyway... a premier powerplay specialist. A late growth spurt has made the formerly frail rearguard into a tough-to-wear-down defender. Was considered a mid-round pick at season's beginning, and still could end up there. But a glut of offensive defenseman, some with better overall games, has caused him to drop.
29. Zach Hamill, C, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Height: 5'11 Weight: 190
Scouting Report: WHL's leading scorer. One of the most embattled prospects in '07. Ranked anywhere from the #2 spot to the #35th spot. Absolutely phenomenal stickhandling and elite passing ability are offset by so-so skating, small size and poor defensive ability. The WHL's Rob Schremp, minus the attitude problems and shot. A team that really likes him could take him top five, but he could just as easily fall to 20th or lower.
30. Trevor Cann, G, Peterborough (OHL)
Height: 5'11 Weight: 175
Scouting Report: On a team 9 games under .500 and averaging almost four goals a game against, Cann boasts a 0.913 SV%. Small, underweight but not lacking heart. Fights for every puck and makes the third or fourth save. Never gives up on a play. Quick, agile pads and a good glove. One of the more underrated goalies in major junior. Incredible mental toughness. A small, agile, speedy netminder who can stand up to a barrage of shots.
And, by popular demand, the fantasy potential of the Bugg Bytes Top 30!
Name Production @ Peak
1. Logan Couture: 90 (30-60)+ points, 80% chance. 100+ points, 75%.
2. Alexei Cherepanov: 90 (50-40)+ points, 75% chance. 100+ points, 70%
3. Jakub Voracek: 90 (45-45)+ points, 90% chance. 100+ points, 65%
4. Sam Gagner: 100 (40-70)+ points, 50/50
5. Karl Alzner: 30 (10-20)+ points, 90% chance. 50+ points, 65%
6. Angelo Esposito: 100 (25-75)+ points, 40/60
7. Patrick Kane: 90 (30-60)+ points, 90% chance. 100+ points, 60%
8. James Van Riemsdyk: 90 (45-45)+ points, 70% chance, 100+ points, 40%
9. Kyle Turris: 100 (35-65)+ points, 60/40
10. Luca Cunti: 90 (45-45)+ points, 60/40, 100+ points, 30/70
11. Keaton Ellerby: 30 (10-20)+ points, 90%, 50+ points, 50/50
12. Bill Sweatt: 75 (30-45)+ points, 90%, 80+ points, 30/70
13. Mikael Backlund: 110 (30-80)+ points, 30/70
14. James O'Brien: 70 (35-35)+ points, 60/40, 85+ points, 40/60
15. Nick Petrecki: 26 (6-20)+ points, 80%. 35+ points, 30/70
16. Alexandre Plante: 45 (20-25)+ points, 30/70
17. Maxim Mayorov: 75 (35-40)+ points, 70%, 85+ (40-45), 60%
18. Tyson Sexsmith: Star Starter, 60/40, Starter, 80%
19. Sergei Korostin: 65 (30-35)+ points, 80%, 90+ points, 40/60
20. Thomas Hickey: 30 (5-25)+ points, 75%, 50+ points, 30/40
21. Mike Hoeffel: 55 (30-22)+ points, 75%, 75+ points, 40/60
22. Dana Tyrell: 60 (30-30)+ points, 90%, 70+ points, 20/80
23. Michael Biega: 75 (30-45)+ points, 70%, 90+ points, 40/60
24. Brandon Sutter: 65 (20-45)+ 90%, 80+ points, 20/80
25. Jon Blum: 40 (10-30)+ points, 75%
26. Tommy Cross: 20 (5-15)+ points, 95%, 40+ points, 40/60
27. Teddy Ruth: 20 (10-10)+ points, 95%, 40+ points, 30/70
28. Kevin Shattenkirk: 45+ points, 30/70
29. Zach Hamill: 90+ points, 50/50
30. Trevor Cann: Starter, 60/40, Backup, 80/20