General Hockey

Western Conference Draft Previews: Part One

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By Ryan Porth

Anaheim Ducks

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- Peter Holland (15th overall), Kyle Palmieri (26)

2008- Jake Gardiner (17)

2007- Logan MacMillan (19)

2006- Mark Mitera (19)

2005- Bobby Ryan (2)

2004- Ladislav Smid (4)

2003- Ryan Getzlaf (19), Corey Perry (28)

2002- Joffrey Lupul (7)

2001- Stanislav Chistov (5)

2000- Alexei Smirnov (12)

Busts: Smirnov, Chistov

Late-round steals:

Martin Gerber (8th round, 2001)

Shane O’Brien (8th round, 2003)

The Ducks struck gold on three picks: Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan.  The three are considered their future core (assuming Ryan re-signs), the former two were big parts to the Ducks’ Cup victory back in 2007.  After that, though, Anaheim’s decade of drafting was pretty average.  They were able to grab a couple 8th round picks that made it to the NHL, but Gerber and O’Brien didn’t last too long in Anaheim.  Two other first-rounders (Lupul and Smid) were used to acquire Chris Pronger in the summer of 2006.  There is a lot of untapped potential in their farm system that they hope will eventually pan out.

Decade Grade: ­B-

Top 5 Prospects…

1. D Luca Sbisa

2. RW Kyle Palmieri

3. D Jake Gardiner

4. C Peter Holland

5. LW Nicolas Deschamps

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Goal-scoring winger

Defensive defenseman

Goaltending depth

First round picks:

12th Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: LW Emerson Etem)

29th Overall, from PHI (C Calle Jarnkrok)

Other selections:

Round 2 (42nd overall)

Round 5 (132)

Round 6 (161, 177)

Round 7 (192)

Final Remarks…

Two California kids – Etem and Beau Bennett – are expected to be first-round picks, and the Ducks are right in the area where both will be drafted.  I think it’d be a great story if GM Bob Murray was able to get one of them.

Calgary Flames

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- Tim Erixon (23rd overall)

2008- Greg Nemisz (25)

2007- Mikael Backlund (24)

2006- Leland Irving (26)

2005- Matt Pelech (26)

2004- Kris Chucko (24)

2003- Dion Phaneuf (9)

2002- Eric Nystrom (10)

2001- Chuck Kobasew (14)

2000- Brent Krahn (9)

Busts: Krahn, Chucko

Late-round steals:

David Moss (7th round, 2001)

Adam Pardy (6th round, 2004)

Really, the only first-round pick to live up to his potential was Phaneuf, part of the great draft class of 2003.  Kobasew and Nystrom could never take the next step, while most of the picks from 2004 until now have yet to get to Calgary.  Backlund has had his cup of coffee, but will need to raise his game next season.  The Flames have been able to find a couple nice depth guys in the later rounds, but nothing of significance.  They really need their top picks to start fulfilling their potential, as the farm system is anything but deep.

Decade Grade: ­C-

Top 5 Prospects…

1. C Mikael Backlund

2. C Greg Nemisz

3. D Tim Erixon

4. LW Ryan Howse

5. D John Negrin

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

All-around talent

Offensive-minded forward

Defensive depth

First round picks:

None – traded to Phoenix in Olli Jokinen trade

Other selections:

Round 3 (64th overall, 73)

Round 4 (103, 108)

Round 5 (133)

Round 6 (163)

Round 7 (193)

Final Remarks…

Without a pick in the first two rounds, Calgary is missing out on a good opportunity to improve their rather shallow farm system.  Look for GM Darryl Sutter to possibly acquire a second-rounder by packaging some later picks.

Chicago Blackhawks

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- Dylan Olsen (28th overall)

2008- Kyle Beach (11)

2007- Patrick Kane (1)

2006- Jonathan Toews (3)

2005- Jack Skille (7)

2004- Cam Barker (3)

2003- Brent Seabrook (14)

2002- Anton Babchuk (21)

2001- Tuomo Ruutu (9), Adam Munro (29)

2000- Mikhail Yakubov (10), Pavel Vorobiev (11)

Busts: Yakubov, Vorobiev, Munro

Late-round steals:

Dustin Byfuglien (8th round, 2003)

Troy Brouwer (7th round, 2004)

After a couple years (’00 and ’01) where the drafting was, well, awful, the Blackhawks rebounded.  They’ve had pretty good success with their first-round picks, as the team struggled to stay competitive around the lockout.  Toews and Kane brought life back to the fan base in Chicago, while Seabrook and Barker were solid top picks as well.  It goes beyond them, though, as Duncan Keith and Dave Bolland were 2nd-round selections.  Also, some big parts to their final run – Byfuglien, Brouwer, and Hjalmarsson – were all picked past the 4th round.  Chicago’s return to NHL prominence was due in large part to their drafting.

Decade Grade: ­A+

Top 5 Prospects…

1. LW Kyle Beach

2. D Nick Leddy

3. RW Jack Skille

4. D Dylan Olsen

5. RW Akim Aliu

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Goaltending depth

Forward depth

First round picks:

30th Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: C Jaden Schwartz)

Other selections:

Round 2 (43rd overall, 60)

Round 3 (90)

Round 4 (120)

Round 6 (180)

Round 7 (191, 210)

Final Remarks…

GM Stan Bowman may be busy in Los Angeles, as he is expected to be shedding some salary and acquiring draft picks at the same time.  Schwartz was a point-scoring machine in the USHL, and would be a great selection if still available at #30.

Colorado Avalanche

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- Matt Duchene (3rd overall)

2008- None

2007- Kevin Shattenkirk (14)

2006- Chris Stewart (18)

2005- None

2004- Wojtek Wolski (21)

2003- None

2002- Jonas Johansson (28)

2001- None

2000- Vaclav Nedorost (14)

Busts: Nedorost, Johansson

Late-round steals:

John-Michael Liles (5th round, 2000)

Marek Svatos (7th round, 2001)

David Jones (9th round, 2003)

Brandon Yip (8th round, 2004)

Kyle Cumiskey (7th round, 2005)

Colorado’s first-round picks from earlier in the decade didn’t pan out… so why do they get an A-minus??  GM Pierre Lacroix did an exceptional job drafting past round one.  In 2000 and 2001, the Avs grabbed Liles and Svatos later on, and both have produced in Colorado since then.  Lacroix also found Cumiskey, Jones, and Yip in the late stages, and all three are a part of the Avs’ young depth.  New GM Greg Sherman did well in last year’s draft, as both Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly made immediate impacts in the NHL.  Colorado has done a great job of drafting over the years.

Decade Grade: ­A-

Top 5 Prospects…

1. D Kevin Shattenkirk

2. D Colby Cohen

3. LW Ryan Stoa

4. D Cameron Gaunce

5. D Tyson Barrie

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Top-flight goaltender

Goal-scoring winger

Forward depth

First round picks:

17th Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: D Mark Pysyk)

Other selections:

Round 2 (47th overall)

Round 3 (77)

Round 4 (107)

Round 5 (137, 139)

Round 7 (197)

Final Remarks…

There are two names to watch if they fall to #17: Jack Campbell and Dylan McIlrath.  If one of them is available, I anticipate GM Greg Sherman pouncing on the opportunity.  If they’re gone, Colorado could continue to build the defense or go with a forward.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- John Moore (19th overall)

2008- Nikita Filatov (6)

2007- Jakub Voracek (7)

2006- Derick Brassard (6)

2005- Gilbert Brule (6)

2004- Alexandre Picard (8)

2003- Nikolai Zherdev (4)

2002- Rick Nash (1)

2001- Pascal Leclaire (8)

2000- Rostislav Klesla (4)

Busts: Picard, Brule

Late-round steals:

Marc Methot (6th round, 2003)

Derek Dorsett (7th round, 2006)

Picking in the top ten for the span of a decade, you’d think the Jackets would have done better on the ice.  Instead, it’s only resulted in one playoff appearance, and they’ll be picking #4 overall this week.  Nash is really the only top pick to live up to expectations.  We all know Zherdev has a ton of talent, but didn’t put it all together in Columbus; people are concerned Filatov could be headed in a similar direction.  Leclaire only had one good year before getting traded, while Picard and Brule became busts.  Brassard and Voracek have a great amount of potential, but are no guarantees to fulfill.  Columbus has found some decent players here and there late in the draft, but nothing to brag about.

Decade Grade: ­B

Top 5 Prospects…

1. LW Nikita Filatov

2. D John Moore

3. D Grant Clitsome

4. D Cody Goloubef

5. RW Maksim Mayorov

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Top-flight defenseman

Center depth

First round picks:

4th Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: D Erik Gudbranson)

Other selections:

Round 2 (34th overall, 55)

Round 4 (94, 102)

Round 5 (124)

Round 6 (154)

Round 7 (184)

Final Remarks…

Who knows what GM Scott Howson is going to do with that 4th overall selection… it could be used as trade bait, or they could draft one of the extremely talented defenseman.  If they draft by need (elite puck-moving defenseman), Cam Fowler would be the guy they’d want over Gudbranson over Gormley.

Dallas Stars

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- Scott Glennie (8th overall)

2008- None

2007- None

2006- Ivan Vishnevskiy (27)

2005- Matt Niskanen (28)

2004- Mark Fistric (28)

2003- None

2002- Martin Vagnar (26)

2001- Jason Bacashihua (25)

2000- Steve Ott (25)

Busts: Bacashihua, Vagnar

Late-round steals:

Antti Miettinen (7th round, 2000)

Jussi Jokinen (6th round, 2001)

Jamie Benn (5th round, 2007)

If the Stars’ top picks through the decade had panned out, they would have really done well.  Second-rounders Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Trevor Daley, and Nicklas Grossman are all important parts to their current roster.  Late-round steals Miettinen and Jokinen made an impact in Dallas’ success right after the lockout.  Then 2007 fifth-rounder Benn has good future ahead of him.  But when you look at the players chosen in the first round, it’s easy to see why this team has taken a couple steps back in recent years.  In their defense, though, they were selecting late in the first round due to their playoff success.

Decade Grade: ­C+

Top 5 Prospects…

1. RW Scott Glennie

2. D Philip Larsen

3. RW Alex Chiasson

4. G Tyler Beskorowany

5. RW Colton Sceviour

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Top-flight defenseman

Goal-scoring forward

Center depth

First round picks:

11th Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: D Derek Forbort)

Other selections:

Round 2 (41st overall)

Round 3 (71)

Round 5 (131)

Final Remarks…

I don’t think it’s any secret that the Stars need a defenseman in this year’s draft.  Forbort would be a great pick at #11… but would they think about packaging that pick and maybe Mike Ribeiro to trade up and grab one of the top three blueliners?  It’d be worth it if you ask me.

Detroit Red Wings

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- None

2008- Thomas McCollum (30th overall)

2007- Brendan Smith (27)

2006- None

2005- Jakub Kindl (19)

2004- None

2003- None

2002- None

2001- None

2000- Niklas Kronwall (29)

Busts: None

Late-round steals:

Jonathan Ericsson (9th round, 2002)

Darren Helm (5th round, 2005)

GM Ken Holland and the Red Wings have always done a masterful job when it comes to the draft, and this past decade was no exception.  They may have gone five of six years without a first-round pick, but they’ve made up for that in other rounds.  Jimmy Howard and Jiri Hudler were second-round selections, while Johan Franzen and Valterri Filppula were nabbed in round three.  Two other steals were Ericsson and Helm.  Kronwall has developed into a fine defenseman, while Kindl and Smith have great potential.  The Wings’ great drafting has put them in a great position for years to come.

Decade Grade: ­B+

Top 5 Prospects…

1. D Brendan Smith

2. D Jakub Kindl

3. LW Tomas Tatar

4. G Thomas McCollum

5. C Landon Ferraro

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Defensive depth

All-around talent

First round picks:

21st Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: D Jonathan Merrill)

Other selections:

Round 2 (51st overall)

Round 3 (81)

Round 4 (111)

Round 5 (141)

Round 6 (171)

Round 7 (201)

Final Remarks…

Although Detroit is sitting there at #21, Holland is always willing to move back and absorb picks.  After going with a forward and goalie with their top selections in the last two drafts, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them take a defenseman.

Edmonton Oilers

Decade in Review…

Last ten first-rounders:

2009- Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (10th overall)

2008- Jordan Eberle (22)

2007- Sam Gagner (6), Alex Plante (15), Riley Nash (21)

2006- None

2005- Andrew Cogliano (25)

2004- Devan Dubnyk (14), Rob Schremp (25)

2003- Marc Pouliot (22)

2002- Jesse Niinimaki (15)

2001- Ales Hemsky (13)

2000- Alexei Mikhnov (17)

Busts: Mikhnov, Niinimaki, Schremp

Late-round steals:

None

It’s no wonder why the Oilers have missed the playoffs in five of the last six years.  Other than Hemsky in 2001, the Oilers have had an issue with first-round picks ever since the mid-90’s.  It also hasn’t helped that they haven’t drafted any useful players in deeper rounds.  Gagner and Cogliano had big expectations early, but have struggled to take the next step.  Dubnyk has shown promise, but has some work to do to reach his previously-thought potential.  The organization really needs Eberle, Paajarvi-Svensson, and either Hall or Seguin to live up to their billing and contribute.

Decade Grade: ­D

Top 5 Prospects…

1. C Jordan Eberle

2. LW Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson

3. D Jeff Petry

4. C Riley Nash

5. D Alex Plante

2010 Look-ahead…

Draft needs:

Top-flight forward

Defensemen

First round picks:

1st Overall (Current RLD mock draft pick: C Tyler Seguin)

Other selections:

Round 2 (31st overall, 48)

Round 3 (61)

Round 4 (91)

Round 5 (121)

Round 6 (151, 162, 166)

Round 7 (181)

Final Remarks…

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but the Oilers must strike gold with their #1 overall pick – whether it’s Hall or Seguin.  They’ve drafted poorly through the years, and they can’t mess this one up.


** Ryan is a diehard hockey fan that would prefer to watch a Leafs-Islanders regular season replay over any NBA game! He’s been the editor in chief of RLD Hockey since it started in 2008, and also contributes to Inside Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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