It's time do some spring cleaning on the draft board. Some 2008 NHL draft-eligible prospects come
roaring into the Top 30 like a lion, while some lame lambs have slipped-
1. Los Angeles Kings- Steve Stamkos, C
He's no John Tavares, but the 19 year-old Stamkos has pulled away from the
pack with his consistency and leadership. He's turning into a perfect
Modano clone from top to bottom, and would give the Kings some truly
ridiculous options up front.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning- Drew Doughty, D
As the season progresses, Doughty begins to look more and more like
Tampa's other top three defensive selection- Roman Hamrlik. A career-high
65 points and 103 PIM looks nice, but a -24 not so much. The Lighting will
pass on Schenn for Doughty’s ability to play in every single situation,
but that will devastate his plus/minus for at least four years.
3. St. Louis- Luke Schenn, D
The Blues have a plethora of young rearguards, but only one franchise
dude. The problem is thus: does St. Louis build a stone-cold top six of
EJ, LS and BJ, or do they try and add some elite offensive balance? Schenn
is simply too good to pass up here; let Oshie, Berglund, Backes, Eller and
Boyes handle the scoring duties.
4. Atlanta- Alex Pietrangelo, D
Tobias Enstrom has set the standard for defensemen in Atlanta. Pietrangelo
is a smooth top-end skater, although he lacks great acceleration and a
good first step. His smarts will carry him, however, and his first pass is
off the charts. You can’t score if you don’t have the puck, and a pairing
of Pietrangelo-Enstrom would have it every second.
5. New York Islanders- Zach Bogosian, D
A NY state native that plays a Potvin-esque game is a perfect fit for Long
Island. A tepid offense will have to wait, but Kyle Okposo, Jeff
Tambellini and Jesse Joensuu provide a good starting point for now.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets- Tyler Myers, D
The Blue Jackets are perhaps picking the top ten for the last time in a
long time. The question becomes whether or not to complete a truly
disgusting offensive arsenal by shoring up a relatively weak left side, or
adding a stud blueliner to an average group. Mikkel Boedker and Nikita
Filatov are brilliant talents, but Myers is a mobile 6’7 rearguard that is
willing and able to jump into the play. He may be the missing piece.
7. Anaheim Ducks (from Edmonton)- Kyle Beach, RW
Attitude problems, skating issues, and a reckless physical game backed up
by great skill. If that doesn’t sound like a Brian Burke pick to you,
watch this thing called the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs- Nikita Filatov, LW
Ha! Like the Leafs will actually lose games. The Hockey Gods, Mats Sundin
and MLSE will never let that happen. However, if- and we say IF- they find
Filatov here, Cliff Fletcher will break his walker rushing to the podium
for the enigmatic super-talent. The Leafs have the money and prestige to
draw a deadlocked Russian talent.