Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DraftBuzz's 2007 Final Ranking with Commentary

The final ranking will be released in sections as they are finished. This last list is slanted towards DraftBuzz's preferences as the draft nears. Here is the top 30:

1. Patrick Kane F (USA)
~An electrifying winger with dance, dazzle, and deadly offensive instincts. He will find every way possible to put the puck in the net and sets his teammates up equally as well. His slight frame and light defense are minor concerns. The winger from Buffalo, NY is a gamebreaker, and is ranked at the top as a result of routinely standing out and exerting offensive dominance in the OHL and WJC stage. There is nothing left for Kane to prove in the OHL, so we may be seeing him at NHL arenas next year ala Phil Kessel.
**
2. Jakub Voracek F (CZE)
~If Kane were not as much of a consistent force as he was, Voracek would be first on our list. Voracek is a strapping winger with sweet hands, vision, and playmaking ability. He is a beautiful sight to see rush the puck up ice and can finesse or power his way to the net. His skating is still a bit rough, and he was somewhat inconsistent during the season. He offers a tremendous package of size and skill, but still needs to iron out some jagged edges and as a result could use one more season in the Q. Realistically, he could be ready as early as the 2008 season.
**
3. Sam Gagner F (CAN)
~Our favorite player of the draft who just needs time to pass to show how good he really is. The most talented, complete player of the draft went about his business in the shadow of his flashy linemate, Kane. Gagner is captain material and is above average in all facets of the game. There is no better combination of shooting, passing, defensive awareness, hockey sense, and skating in the draft. He is not tall, and consequently may be ranked lower by the scouting community who desire size. It is possible that Gagner slips on draft day leaving one GM and team overjoyed with the selection of this Knight.
**
4. Kyle Turris F (CAN)
~Turris is pretty much a BCHL Sam Gagner with less meat on his bones and a little more height. He shows a lot of ingredients in being a star pro as he is an offensive force with patience and confidence, skates well, has a quality shot with precision, and springs his teammates with pinpoint passing. The only real concerns are his slight stature/weight, and the fact that he faced inferior competition - until he performed respectably at the U18. He will need atleast a year at Wisconsin before turning pro, but he has an above average skill set and athletic smarts one team will not mind waiting for.
**
5. Lars Eller F (DEN)
~Going from complete unknown to hot prospect on the rise is the book on Eller. Playing on a heavily scouted J20 team that had three other highly ranked draft eligibles on the roster, Eller distinguished himself and impressed many with his size, vision, pinpoint passing, composed shot, and soft stickhandling. Although he is Danish, he is not as risky a prospect as others from similarly unconventional hockey countries. Coming with all that offensive flair is a guy you can depend on in many situations. You can put the puck on his stick and have confidence in his ability to act under pressure and lead his team. Eller most likely needs two years in the SEL before coming across the pond and testing out professional hockey in North America.
**
6. Karl Alzner D (CAN)
~As steady as they come, Alzner is a defenseman who slows the game down from the backend with great composure. He does not have any single trait that stands out, but is well-rounded in everything he does. If he had an edge and was more physical, he would challenge for one of the top three picks atleast. Although it was not hard distinguishing himself from this crop of defensive prospects, Alzner is an assuring and reliable blueliner who will not need much more time to develop.
**
7. James Van Riemsdyk F (USA)
~The big forward from Middletown, New Jersey has solidified himself as a legitimate top ten pick with his superb performance throughout the year and most recently at the WJC U18 in April. He has one of the deadliest releases in the draft and is a solid skater overall. He knows what he is doing offensively blueline in and really stands out, showing us great instincts with the puck and the poise to carry the play. But was he really just that much better than his competition? There are some concerns that Van Riemsdyk will have a tough transition to NCAA hockey, and no matter what should have atleast two years of seasoning at UNH.
**
8. Alexei Cherepanov F (RUS)
~Cherepanov is a mystifying prospect. It is obvious he has extraordinary scoring ability and can light the lamp as good as anyone else draft eligible. His offensive zone instincts are excellent and he finds shooting lanes/openings with ease. But other non-playing forces and concerns are just too unsettling to rank him higher than some of the safer prospects. (1) Does the transfer agreement pose a future problem? (2) Will Cherepanov’s team be willing to negotiate his release? (3) Will his team also have to deal with the added, almost cliché, Russian drama that someone like Zherdev has shown Columbus? Anyways, an eighth overall ranking is respectable as he has undeniable talent on the ice.
**
9. Zach Hamill F (CAN)
~The Silvertips well-developed center has gotten better with every passing year and is a quietly talented forward. Hamill has great hands, shooting patience, and uncanny playmaking anticipation along with being a steadfast defensive center as well. His strength is still coming around, and he needs to add some quickness to his skating. Hamill could turn pro as early as the 2007-2008 season since he has already completed four years of CHL hockey.
**
10. Max Pacioretty F (USA)
~The USHL star winger from New Canaan, CT has grown tremendously since his days at Taft Prep, both physically and skill wise, and is now a legitimate NHL prospect. Pacioretty is a possible sleeper to take the draft by storm ala Blake Wheeler in 2004 with similar through the roof potential. He is big, strong, owns an NHL stride, has soft hands, and great rink wide awareness. He is an attractive prospect, as he does not have many flaws aside from being unpolished. He will be heading to Michigan next season and should step into one of their top two lines. Already showing to be a fast developer, there is no real time table as to how short/long this Wolverines stay at Michigan will be.
**
11. Logan Couture F (CAN)
~Coming from the school of hard knocks, Couture had a forgettable, injury filled year battling both mononucleosis and a skate cut to his leg. However, this is of no concern to us as we project what he will do in five years or so because we believe those injuries masked Couture’s talents and production. Couture is a phenomenal passer with great vision, who is also a very good shooter as well. His skating is fine although lacking in eye-catching explosiveness and potency. He is a slick centerman who just needs a steady, healthy season or two following his early selection on June 22nd.
**
12. Billy Sweatt F (USA)
~The Illinois product is a speedster who has a solid assortment of skills and, hopefully, a blooming offensive game. Atleast once a game, Sweatt would dazzle fans with an end-to-end rush where he would blow by and undress the opposing team. Along with this ability to separate himself from the pack with unreal speed, come his size, grit, and defensive capabilities. Sweatt needs to gain some more lower body strength to be able to power his way to the net just as well as he finesses his way there. Just in case his offensive talents do not develop as hoped, he can still make it in the NHL as a third line energy checker.
**
13. Ryan McDonagh D (USA)
~Minnesota’s 2007 Mr. Hockey is the next best defender after Karl Alzner as McDonagh’s skills are a bit less polished and pronounced. He was a rock on defense for his Cretin-Derham HS team during the year and stepped onto the USA WJC U18 without missing a beat. He has a strong command of his team from the blueline, and consequently has the potential to become a leader at each level he progresses to in the NCAA, AHL, and then NHL. He must improve his offensive arsenal and sharpen his skating. However, he may only need a year or two at Wisconsin to step his game up to elite prospect level.
**
14. Maxim Mayorov F (RUS)
~Mayorov is a Russian package laced with great size, speed, and intensity. He is a phenomenal skater with an admirable motor, and is a powerful winger who keeps defenders back on their heels. He is a bit inconsistent and needs to develop his puck skills further. Mayorov offers similar tools as Billy Sweatt, but is ranked a few spots after Sweatt because of the lingering concerns with Russian players. Regardless, the skill is alluring and talent prevails in this ranking. If he stays in Russia, he will atleast need two years to develop. But if he is drafted in the CHL import draft, it is feasible that he spends just a year there before turning pro.
**
15. Jonathan Blum D (USA)
~Blum is a well-traveled young man who has been through a lot of unfathomable hardship with family tragedy (sister’s death) and illness (mother’s cancer). Athletically, he has come a long way from playing roller hockey in California. Now, he is a legitimate first day draft talent and a defenseman any NHL team would love to have in their stable. He is such a smooth and controlled skater, who has unbelievable puckhandling ability and passing for a defenseman. Though, he needs to put on weight badly and must remove some brain cramps from his defensive zone play. Developmentally, he will have his chance to lead the Giant’s defense corps and looks like he will gain great experience over the next few years.
**
16. Thomas Hickey D (CAN)
~Seattle’s underrated defenseman has been a workhorse playing in all situations and is a quality defenseman. Hickey has shown a little bit of everything you want to see from a great defenseman: smooth skating, agile, solid passing, slick puckhandling, physicality, and consistently strong defending. He is not the tallest prospect on D, but he has a great hockey body with surprising strength as evidenced on some impressive hits. He needs to learn more of the technical skills to defending, but looks like to be a promising student. The production is there, the skillset is there, so he just needs to continue on his optimistic developmental path.
**
17. Mikael Backlund F (SWE)
~The 2006-2007 seas were rough for this Scandinavian centerman after being touted a top five pick and appointed Sweden’s next challenger to Backstrom last year. This year, Backlund regressed greatly before waking up at the WJC U18 scoring 6 goals in 6 games. We believe this lack of regular season production and subsequent fall was due in part to a knee injury he suffered early in the season. Not putting much stock into draft year injuries, he is still ranked top 20 as he possesses the typical Swedish athleticism and is both a good finisher and passer. He has a boring, yet effective style of play; no one skill stands out above the rest and he is solid overall. Nonetheless, Backlund is a steady prospect who had an unusual year and hopefully rebounds next season.
**
18. Stefan Legein F (CAN)
~Legein is a gritty, old school winger who never stops moving his feet, has economical speed, and possesses good overall offensive talent. He is a complete player who always hustles, yaps, and hits. One of his most impressive traits is he is always active and doing something – he is not afraid to get his nose dirty and in the face of his opposition. One worry is that Legein is not the most natural offensive player and may not translate his production at a higher level of play, as he is small and somewhat rough in his skills. But he has the kind of character and mental makeup to disprove those concerns.
**
19. Nick Petrecki D (USA)
~Growing up, Petrecki used to haul stone and mix concrete for his fathers stone/concrete business in Clifton Park, New York. Now age 17, Petrecki has become a physical specimen in the rink with off the charts athleticism, skating ability, and strength. He is a BC recruit and has earned the reputation of being a heavy hitter and nasty defensive zone presence. He may not have the most natural decision-making and needs to develop his offensive skills some more. Petrecki will perform well as an Eagle and could turn pro early because of his freakish size and maturity.
**
20. Oscar Moller F (SWE)
~The amiable Swede made a wonderful choice in coming over to play WHL hockey this year with the Chilliwack Bruins and played well. Moller is a fine all around player with a sweet trigger – he can unleash shots at will and in any position. He is always in the mix and buzzes around with a grin that is even missing a tooth. Size is a problem for some as he is pretty short. But he has an athletic, stocky build that he carries well and disguises this lack of height. He does have some room to improve his quickness. Moller is a great option for a team who needs a winger with fine hands and goal scoring ability.
**
21. Kevin Shattenkirk D (USA)
~Team USA’s captain and leader at the WJC U18 had a good offensive showing with a goal and four assists and was awarded Media All-Star and Best Defenseman at the tournament. Shattenkirk has made his mark as a premier puck mover, skater, and shooter. He has a natural feel for the game, however, and is a calm skater with the puck on his stick. He may not be the most physical defenseman, is not the greatest one-on-one defender, and is a bit light on his skates. Nevertheless, Shattenkirk is a defenseman with great skill who can log a ton of minutes.
**
22. Simon Hjalmarsson F (SWE)
~This sharp shooting Swede has had a similar climb pre-draft to Lauri Korpikoski and looks like he will be drafted in the same range as well. Hjalmarsson had a fantastic WJC U18 lighting the lamp four times and racking up 9 points in total. He has a great nose for the net and is an active forward in all three zones. It is imperative that he gains more strength and rounds out the rest of his game. Hjalmarsson’s best bet is to be drafted in the CHL import draft to translate his skills ASAP to the North American style of game.
**
23. Kevin Marshall D (CAN)
~The gritty defender has been a one man stopping crew this season for Lewiston. Marshall is definitely a candidate to be one of those players to develop better than expected with his fire, decent skill, and unwavering defending ability. No matter what advantage his opponent has on him, Marshall will find a way to stop him and turn the play up ice. Some of his main flaws keeping him from being considered an elite defense prospect are his unspectacular offensive skills and rough stickhandling. A prospect who has simply just focused on being a good “defenseman,” Kevin Marshall has the desire to compete and can be expected to improve greatly within the next few years.
**
24. Colton Gillies F/D (CAN)
~An absolute thoroughbred who has some nice NHL qualities about him already, Gillies has been a hotly debated prospect around the hockey circles. One quick look at Colton Gillies will make 30 out of 30 NHL GM’s salivate. He’s towering at 6’4’’, has graceful and effortless skating with speed to burn, and loves to be physical. However, his hockey sense and offensive production are issues. He chases the play a lot, and does not look comfortable with his linemates. That said, he has okay hands, makes some nifty passes, and hides a pretty good shot. He is versatile too as he played defense for a little stretch during the season. There is a lot to like about this brute center, but he has to put his talents together and show it consistently on the ice and on the scoreboard.
**
25. Keaton Ellerby D (CAN)
~Another many intriguing tools but still finding the toolbox player. Some people see an elite defenseman and rate him better than Alzner, some just see parts and rate him lower or not at all. Once past the top fifteen or so of the draft, the selection thins out real quickly so it is hard to let a guy with such raw potential slip too far. Ellerby is huge, has a great wingspan and reach, nimble feet, and can pass/shoot the puck well. But he takes unnecessary penalties and finds it hard to consistently show up. He has a lot of development left in him, and some team has to be patient and hope he comes around with time.
**
26. Logan MacMillan F (CAN)
~Logan MacMillan is a big, aware forward who has a complete skillset. Earlier in the year, it was fashionable to say that MacMillan was the shot to Voracek’s passes. But when the two were separated, the two-way centerman showed much more than just a knack for scoring “easy” goals. He elevated his own play as well as his two other linemates not named Jakub Voracek. MacMillan was superb in the playoffs, showcasing great skating, hands, defensive zone play, and scoring. He needs to add weight and add some more flair to his offense, but could be a prospect who ends up making us regret this 26th overall ranking.
**
27. David Perron F (CAN)
~2nd year draft eligible, 1st year QMJHL’er has skyrocketed into 1st round status after displaying supreme stickhandling skills and slick passing this past year. Perron went unnoticed in junior hockey until recently excelling with Lewiston and has been a fast riser on many lists. If he were not a year older, he may even be ranked higher as he is a strong player who does not mind hitting, and backchecking on top of creating offense. He needs to pick up the intensity of his shifts, as he is inconsistent in his efforts. It will be fun tracking Perron’s road to the NHL as it is hard to gauge whether his success this year came from him being a year older and mature.
**
28. Tommy Cross D (USA)
~Say hello to Erik Johnson’s less dynamic clone. Cross is certainly two levels or so talent wise below STL’s cornerstone defenseman, but he strikes a similar resemblance with his size, stride, and understanding of the game. Cross’ game is pretty simple; like Alzner, he does everything well, but does not have one specific trait that stands out. He is not overly physical, but is not soft. Another BC defense recruit from the 2007 draft class (other being Petrecki), he is just a steady defender who a team can rely on. He is an interesting prospect because it is not clear whether Cross will step up his skillset a notch or just blend in and take a backstage role with the talents he has now.
**
29. Brett MacLean F (CAN)
~Brett MacLean is an offensive horse opponent’s blueline in. Combining quick hands with a lightning quick release and a body that is hard to knock off the puck, MacLean is a constant nuisance to OHL defensemen. He has okay speed past the first three strides and has a great will to finish plays that he starts. He does not mind throwing his body around and battles hard. What will make or break MacLean as a prospect is his skating ability: if it comes around, he’s a prospect who potentially has the Getzlaf factor – someone who had skating concerns and triumphed developing beyond expectations. But if it does not, he will be playing with Pavel Brendl overseas.
**
30. Alexander Killorn F (CAN)
~Alexander Killorn is a Quebecois who turned American prep star after he decided he wanted the opportunity to get an education and play hockey in the states. At Deerfield this past year, he established himself as a great hockey athlete with decent skating, great hands, and unmatched strength. On and off the puck, Killorn would have his way with seemingly underdeveloped HS’ers, bulling and hitting his way around the ice. He has a great shot and is good at carrying the puck. However, he is still growing and it shows in his gangly skating stride that lacks an extra gear and awkward mannerisms at times. He is expected to play for Harvard in 2008 and looks to have one more year to show some dominance and gain supreme confidence at the prep level.

3 comments:

rick1042 said...

Very interesting top 15.

I am very happy you have Ellers rated so high. People seem to forget that when an organisation drafts a player, they are mainly hoping that he becomes an important player for their organisation but they are also trying to get some assets. Ellers may not be a spectular pick for some, although I believe that he has all the qualities needed for todays NHL, but the fact that he does seem to have a good chance to make it, at least makes him a good asset. I also agree with Pacioretty being that high. There is a lot to like about his game.

Excellant work and I can't wait for part 2.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.facebook.com/pages/weathercom/298713874092l]www.weather.com[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I keep coming to this website[url=http://www.weightrapidloss.com/lose-10-pounds-in-2-weeks-quick-weight-loss-tips].[/url]Plenty of useful information on nhldraftbuzz.blogspot.com. Frankly speaking we really do not pay attention towards our health. Are you really serious about your weight?. Research displays that nearly 70% of all USA adults are either fat or overweight[url=http://www.weightrapidloss.com/lose-10-pounds-in-2-weeks-quick-weight-loss-tips].[/url] So if you're one of these citizens, you're not alone. Its true that we all can't be like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, and have sexy and perfect six pack abs. Now next question is how you can achive quick weight loss? You can easily lose with with little effort. Some improvement in of daily activity can help us in losing weight quickly.

About me: I am writer of [url=http://www.weightrapidloss.com/lose-10-pounds-in-2-weeks-quick-weight-loss-tips]Quick weight loss tips[/url]. I am also health expert who can help you lose weight quickly. If you do not want to go under painful training program than you may also try [url=http://www.weightrapidloss.com/acai-berry-for-quick-weight-loss]Acai Berry[/url] or [url=http://www.weightrapidloss.com/colon-cleanse-for-weight-loss]Colon Cleansing[/url] for effective weight loss.